This web page's content and links are no longer actively maintained. It is available for reference purposes only. NASA Official: Cynthia Cheung

GSFC Logo, Goddard Space Flight Center
ANTS: Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarm

Two Columns


The 12-Tet

Addressable Reconfigurable Technology is based on tetrahedron as ‘building block’, acting singly, or connected in continuous network, where apices act as nodes from which struts reversibly deploy. Conformable tetrahedra are the simplest space-filling form the way triangles are the simplest plane-filling facets. Single tetrahedra can tumble over irregular terrain. Continuous networks have locomotion with a high degree of freedom resembling amoeboid movement. Ultimately, ART structures are reusable, reconfigurable, relocatable, and self-repairing, capable of functioning as and when needed to meet mission requirements.

Our development path begins at a simple robotic walker from a single reconfigurable tetrahedron capable of movement through punctuated tumbling movements (now an operational prototype), to a 12Tetrahedral Walker (ALI) (prototype now being built) which has interior nodes for a payload, more continuous motion, and low level (autonomic or actuator level) intelligence, commandable through a user friendly interface for target selection. The tetrahedral framework acts as a simple skeletal muscular structure.

Complex continuous n-tetrahedral structures (LARA) will have exterior and interior nodes, deployable outer skin, and even higher degrees of freedom. Combined high and low level intelligence (bilevel) through an extended neural interface will allow ‘shape shifting’ for required function, from surface-conformable lander to amorphous rover shifting capable of operating in a wide range of terrain-dependent gaits (slithering, rolling) to concave surface formation for antenna function.

First Gov . gov NASA Logo -