Video: Seminar on “soft machine” approach to robotics

The latest SETI Institute seminar is titled “Refactoring Space Exploration with Soft Machines”:

Vytas SunSprial, NASA Ames/Stinger Ghaffrian

To understand how we control motion, we need to understand the physical mechanism being moved. Emerging theories of vertebrate physiology are overturning the traditional bone-centric model of the body in favor of a “tensegrity” model, in which the primary load paths are in the continuous tension network of the soft tissues. In this talk, I will discuss research and development at NASA Ames into dynamic tensegrity robots and how these “soft machines” may be controlled through biologically inspired methods. Along the way, I will talk about how the unique properties of tensegrity robots may enable new methods of planetary landing and exploration.