facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

NASA developing robots that will land by bouncing on a surface

The experimental structural design will help rovers make soft planetary landings by deforming or squishing like a toy until they come to a stop.
By Ananth Baliga   |   Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:08 PM   |   Comments

http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-2441388171330/2013/1/13881730358891/NASA-developing-robots-that-will-land-by-bouncing-on-a-surface.jpg
Dec. 27 (UPI) -- NASA is developing the Super Ball Bot that will be able to absorb the impact of a hard planetary landing by squishing and bouncing until it comes to a stop.

Signaling a departure from the traditional rigid structure for rovers, the new robots will use use the principles of tensegrity which will give them a more fluid and elastic structure. Robots using this kind of structure will be made up of hollow rods and elastic cables, having no rigid connections and consisting of counter-intuitive tension structures.

The robot will absorb the impact of the landing by squishing, returning to its original shape and rolling across its surface like an oddly-shaped ball.

Because of this increased flexibility, the structures are hard to control and Vytas SunSpiral and Adrian Agogino of NASA's Ames Research Center are researching algorithms and oscillatory controls to keep it stable.

They plan to have a payload inside the structure that will be dropped safely with little or no damage.They have already dropped an egg from ten meters (about 30 feet) using such a structure and have suggested a rover could land on Saturn's moon, Titan, with no protection.

[NASA]
[The Verge]

Follow @antbaliga and @UPI on Twitter.
Contact the Author
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Scottish fish were the first to have sex and they did it sideways, study finds Scottish fish were the first to have sex and they did it sideways, study finds
2
Internet trolls in Britain could face serious jail time Internet trolls in Britain could face serious jail time
3
First white rhino born in captivity dies in Kenyan conservancy First white rhino born in captivity dies in Kenyan conservancy
4
Sean Parker to atone for wedding's Big Sur damage with app Sean Parker to atone for wedding's Big Sur damage with app
5
Protestors object plans to build telescope on land sacred to native Hawaiians Protestors object plans to build telescope on land sacred to native Hawaiians
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback