Bio-inspired Tensegrity Soft Modular Robots

  • D. ZappettiEmail author
  • S. Mintchev
  • J. Shintake
  • D. Floreano
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10384)


In this paper, we introduce a design principle to develop novel soft modular robots based on tensegrity structures and inspired by the cytoskeleton of living cells. We describe a novel strategy to realize tensegrity structures using planar manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing. We use this strategy to develop icosahedron tensegrity structures with programmable variable stiffness that can deform in a three-dimensional space. We also describe a tendon-driven contraction mechanism to actively control the deformation of the tensegrity modules. Finally, we validate the approach in a modular locomotory worm as a proof of concept.


Modular robots Soft robotics Tensegrity structures 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Zappetti
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Mintchev
    • 1
  • J. Shintake
    • 1
  • D. Floreano
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Intelligent SystemsEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland

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