NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-1 S4.02-8764
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Fiber Optic Shape Sensing for Tethered Marsupial Rovers

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Luna Innovations Incorporated
1 Riverside Circle, Suite 400
Roanoke, VA 24016 - 4962
(540) 769-8430

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Emily Horrell
3157 State Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 6604
(540) 953-4259

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Shirley Evans
1 Riverside Circle, Suite 400
Roanoke, VA 24016 - 4962
(540) 961-6724

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling 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)
Luna Innovations Incorporated is proposing to design, build, and test a shape, length, and tension sensing tether for robotic exploration and sample-gathering missions on remote planets and moons. The proposed tether system is capable of determining the location and orientation of marsupial robots as they navigate difficult terrain. The tether system will also provide shape and tension information along the entire tether, distinguishing elevation changes, tension due to snags, and potential points of harm. The tension feedback is particularly crucial, as it can be used to determine whether the rover has fallen down a slope or cliff, lost traction, or whether it is still moving under its own power. The system is based on Luna's unique fiber optic position and shape sensing technology, and is an enabling technology for obtaining images, data, and samples in areas with difficult terrain. In addition to providing new, vital feedback, the fiber optic shape sensor within the tether is lightweight, small, and flexible. Luna's unique shape sensing fiber also has the potential to provide both communication and power through the same fiber, further reducing the size and weight of the total tether package.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA's Mars rovers have exceeded all goals and expectations, but they are still limited in the types of terrain that they can cover. Small, rugged marsupial robots with self-localizing and tension-monitoring tethers have the potential to reach critical sampling sites, explore steep craters, and navigate up and down sheer cliff faces on Mars, the Moon, asteroids, and other large bodies within our solar system. Self-localizing tethers also enable higher levels of precision for precursor-mission construction and manipulation robots sent to build infrastructure for later human missions to Mars, the Moon, and beyond.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Robots used for urban search and rescue have a significant challenge with localization since typical means such as GPS are not available inside a collapsed structure, and rubble and difficult terrain can snag tethers without the robot's knowledge. Deep diving underwater exploration vehicles both manned and unmanned could make use of a light weight tether system that can supply communication and localization information. The integrated tether sensing system can provide these systems with accurate localization information as well as power and high bandwidth communications.

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.)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Fiber (see also Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Photonics)
Navigation & Guidance
Positioning (Attitude Determination, Location X-Y-Z)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Waveguides/Optical Fiber (see also Optics)

Form Generated on 03-28-13 15:21