Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

Viability of Tensegrity Robots in Space Exploration

Cheng-yu Hong

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2014-116
May 20, 2014

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-116.pdf

Robots in extraterrestrial exploration traditionally faced difficulties in surface landings and flexible locomotion. Our project explored the viability of building robots around the tensegrity structural concept, which allows greater shock absorbance and flexibility by using isolated components held together through continuous tension. The study was separated into two parts: a physical prototype of a Super Ball tensegrity robot to test manufacturing viability and impact resilience in combination with a software simulation model to test control strategies and design concepts, such as position and number of actuators. This paper focused on the robustness of using software simulation models to predict the behavior of complex physical structures, such as the Super Ball tensegrity robot. Results included controlled locomotion simulations from a custom framework built on top of Bullet, a real-time physics simulation software, and initial rolling movement with a physical prototype. Software simulation models provided useful results for preliminary viability assessments, but should not replace physical prototyping, especially for complex structures. In conclusion, tensegrity robots could become promising alternatives to traditional rigid robots, which are more fragile and less flexible.

Advisor: Björn Hartmann


BibTeX citation:

@mastersthesis{Hong:EECS-2014-116,
    Author = {Hong, Cheng-yu},
    Editor = {Agogino, Alice and Lee, Edward A.},
    Title = {Viability of Tensegrity Robots in Space Exploration},
    School = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2014},
    Month = {May},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-116.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2014-116},
    Abstract = {Robots in extraterrestrial exploration traditionally faced difficulties in surface landings and flexible locomotion. Our project explored the viability of building robots around the tensegrity structural concept, which allows greater shock absorbance and flexibility by using isolated components held together through continuous tension. The study was separated into two parts: a physical prototype of a Super Ball tensegrity robot to test manufacturing viability and impact resilience in combination with a software simulation model to test control strategies and design concepts, such as position and number of actuators. This paper focused on the robustness of using software simulation models to predict the behavior of complex physical structures, such as the Super Ball tensegrity robot. Results included controlled locomotion simulations from a custom framework built on top of Bullet, a real-time physics simulation software, and initial rolling movement with a physical prototype. Software simulation models provided useful results for preliminary viability assessments, but should not replace physical prototyping, especially for complex structures. In conclusion, tensegrity robots could become promising alternatives to traditional rigid robots, which are more fragile and less flexible.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Thesis
%A Hong, Cheng-yu
%E Agogino, Alice
%E Lee, Edward A.
%T Viability of Tensegrity Robots in Space Exploration
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2014
%8 May 20
%@ UCB/EECS-2014-116
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-116.html
%F Hong:EECS-2014-116