Space Robotics

NASA's Shape-Shifting Rovers

Posted 20 Oct 2006 at 01:50 UTC by steve Share This

A Technology Review article offers a photo and description of a new planetary rover designed by Pamela Clark and other NASA researchers. The rover, called TeTWalker, is a tetrahedral design that would make Bucky Fuller proud. It moves by expanding or contracting each of its four vertices. A payload can be carried in the center of the robot. A larger version, called 12-Tet made up of 12 tetrahedrons is being finished. Much of the research is focused on developing appropriate gates for a robot that moves by expanding and contracting 26 interconnected struts rather than just rolling on wheels. A NASA video (MOV format) shows a simulation of 12-Tet moving on the Martian surface. More information and video of the real TeTWalker robot can be found on the NASA Tetraheral Walker Project website.

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