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I'm sure there are obvious tutorials for this but I didn't know how or what to google exactly so I'm asking here. How would I create and rig an object that has a limb or another piece of geometry that is normally hidden but that can extend from the object? I'd eventually like to have a perfect sphere most of the time but have the ability for the sphere to extrude hands and legs and have them function as a normal rig. I've attached a before and after cube, the after representing the arms and hands.

No limb

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You could create your robot's basic armature, with all its limbs out. Parent the limbs bones to the body bone. When you'll parent the object to the armature, use the With Empty Groups mode then in Object Data > Vertex Groups assign each part of the mesh to the group it is supposed to be part of.

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Then in the Pose Library save the basic pose and save a second pose that will be the contracted pose, here I've scaled my bones on the X axis. Click on the "+" button to save a pose:

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Now whenever you want you can recall the contracted pose (select it and click on the magnifying glass icon of the Pose Library) and keyframe it in the Dope Sheet:

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