#! /usr/bin/php ReachBot | Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab
Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab



ReachBot is a new project with Stanford's ASL and with NASA.


PI: Marco Pavone, Aero & AstroAA PhD students: Stephanie Scheider
Co-I: Mark Cutkosky, MEBDML Phd students: Tony Chen
Co-I: Mathieu Lapôtre, Geological Sciences 

Research Pillars:

The objective of this effort is to develop a mission architecture where a long-reach crawling and anchoring robot, which repurposes extendable booms for mobile manipulation, is deployed to explore and sample difficult terrains on Solar System bodies, with a key focus on Mars exploration. To this end, the robot concept we present here, called ReachBot, uses rollable extendable booms as manipulator arms and as highly reconfigurable structural members. ReachBot is capable of (1) rapid and versatile crawling through sequences of long-distance grasps, (2) traversing a large workspace while anchored (by adjusting boom lengths and orientations), and (3) applying high interaction forces and torques, primarily leveraging boom tensile strength and the variety of anchors within reach.

Currently the research is divided into the following four research pillars:

RP I: Optimize Reachable Workspace

Optimization of ReachBot’s reachable workspace of stable configurations.

S. Newdick, T.G. Chen, Ben Hockman, E. Schmerling, M.R. Cutkosky and M. Pavone, “Designing ReachBot: System Design Process with a Case Study of a Martian Lava Tube Mission” (arxiv) submitted to ICRA 2023.

S. Schneider, A. Bylard, T. G. Chen, P. Wang, M. R. Cutkosky, and M. Pavone, “ReachBot: A Small Robot for Large Mobile Manipulation Tasks,” (arxiv) in IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 2022.

RP II: RPII: Grasping Site Selection and Gripper Design

Identifying grasping sites and designing lightweight and robust grippers.

T. G. Chen, B. Miller, S. Schneider-Newdick, A. Bylard, M. Pavone, and M. R. Cutkosky, “ReachBot: A Small Robot with Exceptional Reach for Rough Terrain,” in Proc. IEEE Conf. on Robotics and Automation, 2022.

RP III: Develop Control Strategies to Mitigate Risk

Design control strategies to maximize robustness and mitigate impacts from grasp failures.

S. Newdick, N. Ongole, T.G. Chen, E. Schmerling, M.R. Cutkosky and M. Pavone, “Motion Planning for a Climbing Robot with Stochastic Grasps,” (arxiv) in IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 2023.

RP IV: Test in Realistic Mission Environment

Field testing of partial ReachBot in a realistic environment.

Potential field testing location: Mojave Desert Lava Tube

News Articles and Presentations

CNN: meet a robot that could crawl through caves

NASA: ReachBot | A Revolutionary Rock-climbing Robot Concept

Page last modified on January 24, 2023, at 01:57 PM