NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X9.02-9593
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Surface Mobility/Mechanisms
PROPOSAL TITLE:Universal Brushless-DC Motor Controller for Space Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Barrett Technology
625 Mount Auburn St.
Cambridge ,MA 02138 - 4555
(617) 252 - 9000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
William   Townsend
wt@barrett.com
625 Mount Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA  02138 -4555
(617) 252 - 9000

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The goal of this SBIR is to adapt an initial prototype ultra-miniature high-performance brushless-DC-motor controller, code named 'Puck', for use by NASA across a wide range of motor drives. The Puck was recently developed by Barrett for terrestrial mobile-manipulation uses where efficiency, low mass, and robustness are critical factors. While quite small (<50 grams), the controller can pump from milliamps to several amps continuous. Several features of this controller make it a candidate for NASA's wide range of needs for servomotor control in the demanding environments of extra-terrestrial and interplanetary exploration. One of the key enabling design strategies that led to the Puck is elimination of transmission lines through total integration of power conditioning, rotor-position optics, and commutation into a single tiny module. The module is small and energy efficient enough to make casting within high-heat-conduction plastic feasible. Pure conduction cooling, a distinct advantage for NASA applications, is unusual for motor amplifiers which are generally cooled by natural convection or forced air. The hermetically-sealed packaging also excludes lunar or Martian dust from affecting robustness. The primary strategy for this technology to avail for NASA will be to minimize the effects of radiation while enabling self-diagnosis, self-repair, and ultimately easy change-out.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
This innovation's potential benefits to NASA are widespread. The success of this ultra-miniature motor control technology will be a breakthrough necessary for successfully implementing many projects at NASA, including mobile robotic systems, crew vehicle motors, and motorized cargo system mechanisms for robotic lunar and Mars missions. Their inherent modularity and replace ability will allow for easy maintenance and a reduced number of spare parts.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The military and commercial sectors are continually ramping up the use of robotics, especially lightweight mobile platforms. A large majority of these systems are now and will continue to be driven by brushless-DC motors. The commercial availability of a powerful yet miniature motor controller enabled by this innovation will have an enormous impact on future robotic mechanism designs and will greatly increase the practicality of mobile robotics.
Furthermore, preparation for space qualification will boost the utility of these motor control modules. Radiation hardening and design for temperature extremes will enable these electronics to be used in telerobotic slaves for nuclear-remediation activities as well as in robots that can be deployed robustly in homeland-security search-and-rescue missions.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Highly-Reconfigurable
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Intelligence
Manipulation
Mobility
Optical
Radiation Shielding Materials
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics
Semi-Conductors/Solid State Device Materials
Thermal Insulating Materials
Ultra-High Density/Low Power


Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12