NASA SBIR 2014 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 H20.01-8788
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Human-Robotic Systems - Manipulation Subsystem and Human-System Interaction
PROPOSAL TITLE: Pneubotics - Membrane-Based Robotics for Remote Material Handling

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Otherlab, Inc.
3101 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 - 2714
(415) 970-2209

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kevin Bjorn Albert
3101 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110 - 2714
(617) 372-6915

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Charlie Dunlap
3101 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 - 2714
(808) 782-0628

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Human-Robotic Systems - Manipulation Subsystem and Human-System Interaction 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 have invented a new class of robotics, called `Pneubotics', that rival current manipulators in payload and reach at 1/10th the weight. Our technology leverages insights into lightweight materials and mass manufacturing to create robots that derive power, structure, and movement from pressurized air. As a result, drive trains, motors, bearings, shafts, sliding surfaces, and excess structural material are eliminated, leading the way for robots that exhibit extremely high strength to weight ratios, inherent human safe operation, and high degrees of freedom at comparatively low part count.

This transformative new technology has the potential to enable the widespread use of automated material handling on missions beyond low earth orbit. The compliant nature of these robotic systems allows them to robustly grasp arbitrarily shaped objects and make them ideal for operating around sensitive equipment or cooperatively with humans. Similarly, due to their fluidic architecture they can be deflated and stowed for efficient transport. The work described in this phase I SBIR proposal aims to develop the key technological components that will allow the production of Pneubotic systems, including novel pressure vessel based fabric actuator design, a pneumatic power architecture that exceeds electromagnetic efficiency, and dynamic models of inflated fabric structures. These components will enable the construction of a full prototype manipulation system in phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Pneubotic systems offer robust grasping, human safe operation, and efficient transportation, vital qualities for robotic manipulators that will join future NASA missions. This unique technology enables a diverse set of applications from tele-operated repairs to safe capture systems at the large scale. The lightweight, fully compliant structure alleviates concerns about errant motion during interactions with humans while the use of fabric manufacturing techniques allows for the construction of complex shapes which enhances dexterous manipulation. The technology also enables wearable fabric orthotics (exoskeletons) that can be actuated based on a tele-operated arm and provide haptic feedback to a human user.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Due to the low weight and price point of Pneubotic technology, high performance manipulators with the strength of industrial arms become available to mobile applications.
The commercial potential of such a product is immense and has applications in a wide range of markets including manufacturing, agriculture, military, commercial, and consumer.
We are targeting an untapped sector of the global material handling market that we are calling "mobile material handling".
This market encompasses tasks that take place outside the confines of a structured industrial cell where objects between 10kg - 30kg need to be moved short distances.
Distribution centers, fulfillment centers, package delivery, baggage centers, and small manufacturing facilities are all potential customers.
Traditionally, these applications have resisted robotics due to their high cost, weight, lack of mobility, and need for safety cages.
Pneubotics can uniquely address the challenges presented by mobile material handling and offer a product that replaces pallet jacks and hand trucks with human directed solutions that take the burden of lifting off of the operator.

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
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
Man-Machine Interaction
Pressure & Vacuum Systems
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37