BEST (Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities) Robotics


Kyunam Kim,Yangxin Chen,Yuejia (Margaret) Liu and Justino Calangi
with Professor Alice Agogino at Fung Institute poster session, December 2013.
Team at NASA Ames conducting research and preparing
for the Discovery Channel filming.


Research with Vytas SunSpiral and Adrian Agogino from the Intelligent Systems Division of the NASA Ames Research Center on a revolutionary soft robotics concept that integrates 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.

UC Berkeley doctoral students working on the tensegrity robotic research are: Andrew (Drew) Sabelhaus and Kyunam Kim.  Deaho Moon is a volunteer researcher who received his B.S. at UC Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering. We are joined this year by a team of Masters students (Jasmine Gipson, Patrick Bailey Hylton,  Peadar Keegan, Azharuddin Khaderi, Xiang Li, Alexander Lim, Yakshu Madaan, Chan Woo Yang) and undergraduate researchers. Hugh Wagoner is a visiting student from France working on our Open Innovation business model.

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

The simulated images (above) and animation (below 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.

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.


See our recent development in the locomotion of rapidly prototyped six-strut tensegrity robot.


Related News and Videos

Related Publications

  • Rapid Prototyping Design anc Control of Tensegirty Soft Robot for Locomotion (video of experiments), July 2014.
  • 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. Submitted to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2015.
  • 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 Syystems. 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.