IMPACT-TESTING THE INTEGRITY OF 6-STRUT TENSEGRITIES
Kimberley Fountain, Lee-Huang Chen, Alice Agogino.
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.
Tensegrity robots are a revolutionary generation of soft robotics, designed to operate safely and effectively alongside humans. For space exploration purposes, these robots have a much better chance at confident landing than traditional robots. Due to the natural compliance and structural force distribution properties of tensegrity structures, these robots are able to absorb significant forces upon impact, making them an effective replacement for traditional space rovers. Designing the first controlled drop test for tensegrity robots will further improve the framework of these structures and develop an optimized means of observation of their behavior upon impact, allowing for recognition of opportunities for improvements for subsequent versions of the robot. The design focus of this study was on testing 6-rod tensegrity structures, but the design will be modular for developing and testing other tensegrity structures. Video analysis and motion tracking tools were used to perform detailed falling and impact analyses of the structure deformation and center of gravity during drop tests. By observing the results of the structural deformation per height drop upon different surfaces, scientists and engineers will be able to build a superior 6-strut tensegrity robot for planetary exploration.