NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-1 H6.01-8135
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Systems - Mobility, Manipulation, and Human-System Interaction
PROPOSAL TITLE: Liquid Cooled Viscoelastic Actuation for Robust Legged Robot Locomotion

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
1512 West 29th Street
Austin, TX 78703 - 1922
(512) 300-8171

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Nicholas A Paine
1512 W. 29th St.
Austin, TX 78703 - 1922
(512) 300-8171

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Luis Sentis
1512 W. 29th St.
Austin, TX 78703 - 1922
(650) 906-1196

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Robotic Systems - Mobility, Manipulation, 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)
The work proposed here seeks to significantly improve actuation technology for mission-capable articulated robots and exoskeletons such as NASA's Robonaut 2, Valkyrie, and ATHLETE systems. The goal is enabled by a new type of robotic actuation technology, Viscoelastic Liquid Cooled Actuation (VLCA), which offers improved energy efficiency, power density, and mechanical robustness over conventional actuators for space applications. The scope of the proposed work encompasses the construction and experimental evaluation of a VLCA prototype for Phase I, including the mechanical structures, avionics, and embedded control software. Additional work in Phase I will include studies on liquid cooled brushless DC motor architectures and space-compatible elastomers that will reduce risk for a detailed VLCA design and build in Phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Robotic assets with human-levels of strength and dexterity, such as Robonaut 2, Valkyrie, and to some extent, ATHLETE, have been of increasing interest to NASA. Development of the proposed VLCA technology can augment the performance capabilities of future such systems. These robots will be able to work alongside astronauts, will alleviate astronauts from mundane and time consuming tasks, will be capable of semi-autonomous mobility over unstructured terrain on other planets, will have the strength to carry significant payloads, and will have manipulation capabilities to construct scientific outposts and human dwellings.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Any commercial application that relies on hydraulic actuation could potentially be a market for VLCA technology. Its high payload and mechanical robustness enables it to perform well in many of the same application domains. Its increased efficiency and safety are technology benefits that could be exploited to replace hydraulic machines. Example industries include disaster response robotics, construction, rehabilitation and tactical exoskeletons, scouting and exploration, industrial automation, oil and gas.

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
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems

Form Generated on 04-26-16 15:14