The Super Ball Bot is a unique concept for space robots. Its inspiration came from a baby teething toy that is squishy and unbreakable. The challenge for scientists is that the model is so different, a lot of the normal design approaches for mobility and control just don’t work.
“The Super Ball Bot is a robot made of metallic rods and cables that can extend and retract on command. It looks a little bit like a tangled mess of toothpicks and dental floss, but in space, that manipulable structure is ideal—it can expand and compress to absorb impact on landing, squeeze into tight spaces, and even move across the surface of a foreign planet in an odd crawling-slash-tumbling motion.”
Watch how Super Ball Bot works: