Workshop on Structurally Adaptive Tensegrity Robots

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

As robots are leaving structured environments and factory floors to operate in complex real-life situations, they are required to safely interact with objects, humans, and their surroundings. To head in this direction, in there has been an increasing interest in incorporating elements of structural compliance in the body of the robot: from simple compliant bumpers, series elastic actuators, completely deformable soft bodies, and hybrid combinations of softness and hardness as seen in tensegrity systems. Enabling structural compliance is of great value to the future of space exploration as it enables the safe interaction of robots and astronauts in confined spaces, and opens up new exploration strategies and architectures.

Designing robots with structural compliance enables valuable passive dynamics of adaptation when physically interacting with the natural world, but opens up new challenges in design, sensing, actuation, control, and motion planning. Early progress on addressing these issues has shown insights can be drawn from physiology, neuroscience, machine learning, emerging soft robotics technologies, and advanced motion planning algorithms.

This workshop seeks to bring together a multidisciplinary community of researchers to collaborate and share insights and progress on technologies for tensegrity robotics such as new soft sensors and actuators, development of prototype robots, machine learning for design and control, motion planning algorithms, and new mission concepts designed around the use of tensegrity technologies.

Main Organizer:
Vytas SunSpiral (NASA ARC)

Jonathan Bruce (NASA ARC)
Massimo Vespignani (NASA ARC)

Confirmed Invited Speakers:

  • Samuel Case Bradford (JPL, Advanced Deployable Structures Group) and Julian Rimoli (Georgia Tech, Computational Solid Mechanics Lab)
  • Kostas Bekris (Rutgers, PRACSYS lab)
  • Rebecca Kramer (Purdue U., Faboratory)
  • Kevin Schroeder (Virginia Tech, CRASHlab)
  • Klaus Zimmermann and Valter Böhm (Ilmenau University of Technology, Technical Mechanics Group)

Call for Contributions:

We invite extended abstracts of 1-2 pages in the standard IEEE conference format. Submissions should describe novel designs, control techniques, or applications for tensegrity systems. Information will be shared in-person via presentations and posters.

Authors should submit their abstracts via EasyChair.

Submissions will be judged based on relevance to the workshop topics, technical quality, and novelty.

Authors of accepted abstracts are expected to give a 5-minute lightning talk and present a poster at the workshop.