NASA SBIR 01-II Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: H5.02-9883 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 012116 )
PHASE-I CONTRACT: NAS9-01165
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Velocity-Control Framework for Kinematically Redundant Manipulators

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
During Phase I we designed, implemented, and demonstrated a generic control method for cooperating kinematically redundant serial and bifurcating manipulators. This method extended an augmented Jacobian technique recently published by Energid personnel by 1) adding a post-processing step to increase its robustness and 2) writing an Extensable Markup Language (XML) based description language for the framework to allow control system supervision and modification. The method was proven through implementation in C++ toolkit form and integration with an OpenGL-based viewer. During the Phase II effort, we will 1) refine and extend the existing algorithms and language, 2) add support for vision-based feedback, 3) add support for acceleration control, 4) add support for force control, 5) add algorithms for collision reasoning about rigid, flexible, and movable objects, 6) include simulation capability as part of the control algorithm, 7) enhance the demonstration viewer and integrate a GUI for editing, viewing, and exchanging velocity control systems, 8) add grasping support, and 9) add support for floating-base manipulators. Phase II will culminate in the demonstration of the toolkit working with the software API for Johnson Space Center's Robonaut and CMT manipulator systems.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
There are many potential applications for kinematically redundant manipulators and the software toolkit we will develop. Harvesting citrus fruit from trees is an area in which Energid Technologies has particular interest, and we believe this problem is especially amenable to a robotic solution. We believe our manipulator-control toolkit can be applied to harvesting, where complex mechanisms are required to reach around limbs to access the fruit. The potential market for this application is large, and the need is great. In the 2001-2002 season, approximately 380 million boxes of oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and tangerines were picked in the United States (in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California). A box contains about 200 oranges or 100 grapefruit. The cost to pick this fruit is about $1/box, for an annual total of almost $400 million.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
James English
Energid Technologies
258 Belmont Street
Watertown , MA   02472 - 3563

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Energid Technologies
258 Belmont Street
Watertown , MA   02472 - 3563


Form Printed on 05-09-02 16:37