TECH

Nasa's Super Ball Bot Looks Like A Rotary Washing Line But Is Actually Very Clever

27/02/2014 10:38 GMT | Updated 27/02/2014 10:59 GMT

This is Nasa's new robot...

rotary washing line

Oh no wait, this is it...

nasa

Not much to look at, is it?

But the Super Ball Bot is actually a rather clever bit of kit.

It's based on a principle developed by Buckminster Fuller called 'tensional integrity' - the idea that rods connected by wires can move by changing how loose or tight they are.

rotary washing line

A rover designed in this way would have the benefit of being able to 'bounce' onto the surface of a moon, planet or asteroid and could relatively easily tackle rough terrain.

rotary washing line

Adrian Agogino, is developing the bot with Vytas SunSpiral. He told Wired: "Tensegrity systems are compliant without sacrificing rigidity.

"They naturally kind of change shape as they’re touching things so they don’t break things, but things also don’t break them."

It's certainly an interesting idea and shows Nasa'a incredible ability to think outside the box.

On a completely separate note here are some surprisingly boring pictures from Nasa's 'Picture of the Day' archive...