NASA STTR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 T11.01-9734
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Information Technologies for Intelligent and Adaptive Space Robotics
PROPOSAL TITLE: Soft Robotic Manipulators with Enhanced Perception using Multimodal Sensory Skins

NAME: Otherlab, Inc. NAME: Faboratory at Purdue University
STREET: 3101 20th Street STREET: 585 Purdue Mall, ME 2147
CITY: San Francisco CITY: West Lafayette
STATE/ZIP: CA  94110 - 2714 STATE/ZIP: IN  47907 - 2088
PHONE: (415) 970-2209 PHONE: (765) 494-2219

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Maria Telleria
3101 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 - 2714
(248) 568-1789

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. James McBride
3101 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 - 2714
(415) 970-2209

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Information Technologies for Intelligent and Adaptive Space Robotics is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose that the key to robotic automation in unstructured environments is compliant robotic manipulators that can tolerate, sense, and leverage contact in a feedback loop. We will demonstrate an instrumented end-effector that will be capable of enhanced perception through observed and controlled contact. This approach requires: (i) a network of sensors capable of capturing the highly compliant state of the soft robot and high resolution tactile sensors for multi-point contact, (ii) integrating these sensors with a core embedded system capable of processing large arrays of sensor data and (iii) development of algorithms that can extract state/tactile information to serve as high frequency feedback to the control system.

The goal of this STTR is to transfer the promising technology of elastomeric sensors from the Purdue Faboratory's research setting into a commercial product. These sensors present a solution to the remaining piece of the puzzle of how to manage and leverage the additional degrees of freedom of Pneubotics' compliant systems. Towards this goal, Otherlab will serve as the commercial expert with a deployable platform. We will provide requirements and specifications for the sensor design as well as insight into integration challenges and cost constraints. The Faboratory will serve as the experts on liquid-embedded elastomeric sensors, optimizing the design and fabrication methods to serve the commercial applications. The full system demonstrations proposed in this Phase I are feasible because we will exploit the Pneubotics' manipulators and gripper designs that Otherlab has developed through government grants (NASA, DARPA), commercial partners, and private funding.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Future NASA missions will increasingly rely on advanced robotic systems to enable effective space exploration. In particular, longer and more complex operations require new technologies which have increased autonomy to free-up ground control resources and astronauts' time. Perhaps most importantly these robots must be capable of robustly operating in unstructured, natural environments with ever changing conditions. A critical part of this reliability comes from developing platforms that can tolerate interaction with their surroundings. Pneubotic manipulators derive their structure and actuation from pressurized fluid, which allows for control over stiffness, force generation and deformation of the manipulators. This qualities make these soft robots perfectly suited for space exploration missions were planetary rovers are equipped with soft robotic manipulators capable of identifying and manipulating both heavy debris and delicate samples by actively matching their compliance to the given task. Similarly the light-weight, compliant nature of the Pneubotic technology makes them safe for performing collaborative tasks with astronauts.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The mobile material handling sector is a large near-term market where industrial robotics have already established the precedent for the use of robotic automation but are incapable of addressing mobility needs. The remaining limitation for soft manipulators to enter this market is robust and high throughput grasping of wide variety of objects. The STTR work will address this challenge by using contact to quickly identify box edges and position the end effector relative to the target. Multi-point contact and force control will be utilized to ensure a secure grasp.

A key piece to bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States is incorporating automation into an agile manufacturing line with the goal of shortening product-development cycles and augmenting worker productivity. However, the problem with traditional robots is that they fall short in meeting the needs of agile manufacturing because of cost, weight, and task limitations. Utilizing soft robots in manufacturing operations requires end-effectors capable of establishing safe and controlled contact to create a closed structural loop, significantly reducing the need for high cost sensors and actuators traditionally required to achieve high positional accuracy and stiffness. This interaction which will enable sub mm-scale tool positioning using light-weight, low-cost robots.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Man-Machine Interaction
Manufacturing Methods
Materials (Insulator, Semiconductor, Substrate)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:16