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Super Ball Bot

Super Ball Bot
Tensegrity Robot: Child's Play or Space Tech?

Super Ball Bot is an all-in-one landing and mobility platform based on tensegrity structures, allowing for lower-cost, and more reliable planetary missions. Inspiration strikes from the most unlikely sources. Adrian Agogino and Vytas Sunspiral of NASA’s Intelligent Systems Division and Fellows of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program ( are in the process of developing a Super Ball Bot–a collapsible, terrestrial robot based on a tensegrity toy that could one day become important to NASA’s exploration goals. These planetary surface explorers are sturdier and can withstand a substantial impact. The Super Ball Bot has a sphere-like matrix of cables and joints that could withstand being dropped from a spacecraft high above a planetary surface and hit the ground with a bounce. Once on the planet, the joints could adjust to roll the bot in any direction while housing a data collecting device within its core. The lighter weight and maneuverability of the Super Ball Bot could make an exploration mission possible to Saturn’s moon Titan. It has a soft planetary surface more like hazardous marsh with lakes of liquid methane that would not be suitable for a traditional rover that could sink down and get stuck.

To learn more about the Super Ball Bot, visit:

NIAC Phase I Research
NIAC Phase II Research
Video Episode from Discovery Channel Canada› Video of the tensegrity robot in motion (folding and exploring)