BEST (Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities) Robotics

Tensegrity Robots:

Inspired by Nature and Toys

Black Girls Code with Tensegrities:

Jasmine Gipson Lead Graduate Student (right)

BEST Team with versions of tensegrity robots, Fall 2014 (back) Aliakbar Toghyan, Kyunam Kim, Xiang Li, Borna Dehghani, Azhar Khaderi, Hao Ji

(front) Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Prof. Alice M. Agogino, Jasmine Gipson, Yakshu Madaan, Hugo Wagner.


Tensegrity robots are revolutionary soft robotic concepts that integrate biomimetics and tensegrity structures. Tensegrity robots are composed of purely tensile and compressive components (cables and rods). We are exploring co-robot applications (where humans and robots work as partners) since they are unlikely to harm their environment or human users. The application areas we are pursuing include space exploration, home health care, and search & rescue. Our tensegrity robot research has been featured in Wired Magazine, the Economist, the Smithsonian, Discovery Channel and IEEE Spectrum. We are part of the Robots and People initiative at CITRIS (Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society).


Working with Vytas SunSpiral and Adrian Agogino from the Intelligent Systems Division of the NASA Ames Research Center, we have recently won a new grant from NASA titled: Precision Hopping/Rolling Robotic Surface Probe Based on Tensegrity Structures (Graphic, below left). Professor Alice Agogino and her team introduce the BEST Lab's tensegrity research in the video (below right):




The simulated images (below) and animation (lower left) are for the Super Ball Bots application
envisioned for space applications where they could deployed and bounce
to a landing before moving and exploring the surface. The image above
right is of the UC Berkeley BEST Lab rapid prototyping tensegrity robot
using linear actuators.

Simulated image of super ball bot Mockup of space exploration application UC Berkeley rapid prototyping version of SuperBallBot


See video of NASA collaborators Adrian Agogino and Vytas SunSpiral explain the structural advantages of tensegrity robots in this article and video (below right): NASA's Squishable 'Super Ball Bot' Could Explore Titan, IEEE Spectrum, December 2013.



Also see Kyunam Kim's simulation of the Super Bot robot using a lumped mass model of six struts (below left), and our recently developed rapid prototyping six-strut tensegrity robot (below right).



Related News and Videos

Related Publications

  • L.-H. Chen, P. Keegan, M. Yuen, A.M. Agogino, R.K. Kramer, A.K. Agogino and V. SunSpiral. "Soft Robots Using Compliant Tensegrity Structures and Soft Sensors". Accepted for Soft Robotics Workshop, ICRA 2015.
  • Kyunam Kim, Adrian K. Agogino, Aliakbar Toghyan, Deaho Moon, Laqshya Taneja, Alice M. Agogino. "Robust Learning of Tensegrity Robot Control for Locomotion through Form-Finding." Submitted 2015.
  • Kyunam Kim, Adrian K. Agogino, Alice M. Agogino. "Emergent Form-Finding for Center of Mass Control of Ball-Shaped Tensegrity Robots." Accepted for workshop at ARMS (Autonomous Robots and Multirobot Systems) workshop, Istanbul, Turkey, May 4-5.
  • Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Jonathan Bruce, Ken Caluwaerts, Pavlo Manovi, Roya Fallah Firoozi, Sarah Dobi, Alice M. Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral. "System Design and Locomotion of SUPERball, and Autonomous Tensegrity Robot." To appear in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2015.
  • Kyunam Kim, Adrian K. Agogino, Deaho Moon, Laqshya Taneja, Aliakbar Toghyan, Borna Dehghani, Vytas SunSpiral,  Alice M. Agogino. “Rapid Prototyping Design and Control of Tensegrity Soft Robot for Locomotion.” In Proceedings of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO2014), December 2014, Bali, Indonesia. Finalist Best Student Paper. (Video of experiments
  • Jonathan Bruce, Ken Caluwaerts, Atil Iscen, Andrew P. Sabelhaus, and Vytas SunSpiral. "Design and Evolution of a Modular Tensegrity Robot Platform." International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2014. 
  • *Jonathan Bruce (NASA-ARC; UC, Santa Cruz),
    Andrew P. Sabelhaus (UC, Berkeley), Ken Caluwaerts (Ghent University

    Jonathan Bruce, Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Ken Caluwaerts, Alice M. Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral. "SUPERball: Exploring Tensegrities for Planetary Probes." 12th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS). June 2014.

  • Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Ken Caluwaerts, Jonathan Bruce, Alice M. Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral. "SUPERball: Modular Hardware for a Mobile Tensegrity Robot." 6th World Conference on Structural Control and Monitoring (6WCSCM), Special Session on Tensegrity Systems. June 2014.
  • Super Ball Bot - Structures for Planetary Landing and Exploration with Report and Presentation.
  • "Presentation on Tensegrity Robots for Planetary Exploration," NASA Ames, March 21, 2013.