NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 S5.03-9535
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Surface and Subsurface Robotic Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE: Active Ankle for Use with Microspine Gripper

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Sqaure One Systems Design, Inc
PO Box 10520
Jackson, WY 83002 - 1052
(307) 734-0211

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert Viola
PO Box 10520
Jackson, WY 83002 - 1052
(307) 734-0211

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Asteroids and comets are fascinating members of the celestial order. These objects provide a unique window into the composition of the original solar nebula and offer clues on how this nebula evolved into planetesimals and eventually into planets. Further, these "small solar system bodies" are thought to have served as the mechanisms that brought water to the Earth and, possibly, the organic molecules that served as the building blocks of life. To help uncover the secrets these bodies hold, NASA has prioritized exploration missions to study the surfaces of near earth objects. However, the small mass of asteroids and comets provide only a fraction of the gravitational force produced on earth. Consequently, robotic mobility technologies currently employed are fundamentally incompatible with these missions. An innovative concept for an active foot that allows a walking robot to anchor itself to the surface with each step is proposed. By combining an omni-directional microspine gripper with an actively actuated ankle, the system will provide the dexterity necessary to conform to variable surface topography, engage and disengage the gripper from the surface, quantify the quality of attachment, and insulate the gripper from the disruptive motions of the robot as it moves. A basic prototype will be built and tested in Phase I, and the development and integration of a fully functional first article system will take place during Phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Square One intends NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to be the primary customer for the Active Ankle. During Phase II, Square One will work to seamlessly integrate the Active Ankle with a walking robot, such as the Lemur IIb, currently in operation at JPL. Once a fully functional terrestrial version of the Ankle is realized, Square One will partner with a top-tier aerospace company to develop versions of the system suitable for space missions. Square One has collaborated with Raytheon Space, ATK Mission Research, and Boeing Phantom Works in the past, and will actively solicit input from these companies during Phase II. Although initial versions of the Active Ankle will be dimensioned for integration with smaller robots, this design can be scaled-up to interface with a variety of other robotic platforms.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Although space exploration represents a potent and enduring market for the Active Ankle, robots are also being solicited to inspect America's aging concrete infrastructure. Regular inspection of bridges, dams, and cooling towers is essential for public safety. Current inspection methods require humans to scale these surfaces and manually examine areas of interest, a task which is both dangerous and time consuming. Integrating the Active Ankle into a walking robot designed for concrete inspection would allow it to access vertical, horizontal, concave and convex concrete surfaces with ease, thus saving time and money.

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.)
Actuators & Motors
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and smaller
Resource Extraction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Vehicles (see also Autonomous Systems)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43