Tensegrity Project Description


Above is our team's 12 strut tensegrity prototype made with PVC and paracord.

Tensegrity is a novel structural system that involves isolated components both in compression and tension. The rigid members of the tensegrity structure (such as the PVC members in the above prototype) are in compression, while the tensile members (the paracord) are in tension. Because all elements of the tensegrity structure are in pure compression or tension, no bending moment is ever applied to the structure, creating exceptionally resilient structures that are also very lightweight.

The goal of our team at the University of Idaho is to create a 6 or 12 strut spherical tensegrity robot that can withstand a 30 foot drop. In the second half of our project, our group plans to add actuators to the robot to roll the robot by adjusting string lengths. By the conclusion of our project, we hope to have a spherical tensegrity robot that can both withstand a 30 foot drop and move in a controlled fashion. We also will have full documentation and computer simulation of our design.