We will provide actuation for JPL’s light-weight and robust passive tensegrity lander, and develop simplified actuation based on either traction motors or payload-based actuation for JPL lander. We will develop minimal actuation topology and control using NTRT (NASA Tensegrity Robotics Toolkit), and evaluate how each actuation pattern performs based on the pattern’s weight, size, control complexity, and achievable positioning from random initial orientations. We would then propose further development and funding through either the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program (NIAC), or by incorporating into a multi-year Game Changing Development (GCD) program that we hope to start up in FY18.
Tensegrity robots can be highly capable, robust, scalable, however current designs are large, complex replacements for traditional rovers. There is a need for light-weight designs, simplified actuation, and to turn static structures to active robots. We will develop the minimum actuation topology needed to achieve meaningful mobility, a simplified actuation augmentation for static structures, and show that above actuation can position sensors and/or provide mobility.