NASA SBIR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-2 S4.02-7665
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Robotic Mobility, Manipulation and Sampling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Miniature 70-W Brushless Motor-Controller for Compact Extraterrestrial-Based Actuation

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Barrett Technology, LLC
73 Chapel Street
Newton, MA 02458 - 1088
(617) 252-9000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
William T. Townsend
73 Chapel Street
Newton, MA 02458 - 1088
(617) 252-9000 Extension :25

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Wilkinson
73 Chapel Street
Newton, MA 02458 - 1088
(617) 252-9000

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

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)
This SBIR will support rover locomotion and manipulation with a system of newly-developed penny-sized 70-W brushless servomotor controllers that are networked on a bus-topology (CANopen DS-402 protocol). Each "P3" controller is small enough to be mounted in the tiny volume normally reserved for the encoder; and, indeed, each P3 carries the entire active electronics of the encoder function by measuring the magnetic field of a 6x2.5-mm radially-polarized button magnet bonded to the tail of the spinning motor shaft. A Kalman filter enables the encoder to read down to 12-bits-absolute at commutated speeds up to 14,000 RPM. The controller has the functions expected of conventional controllers. However, based on three patents of international scope and a fourth PCT application, the part count has been substantially reduced, with subsequent reduced size, fewer sensitivities to radiation, fewer parts that otherwise generate quiescent power, and reduced cost. Phase I demonstrated successful integration with NASA-selected motors and stress-testing of P3 in adverse environments including temperature extremes, vibration, and vacuum, resulting in a TRL-advance from 3 to 4. Phase-II efforts will focus on design-modifications relevant to space-qualification, performance characterization, and further environmental testing including radiation testing. Phase II is expected to result in a TRL of 6. Phase-III commercialization efforts will create a system of motor controllers that not only support NASA rover missions with a TRL of 7, but also support other space-based non-terrestrial applications, such as servomotor actuation on satellites for precision antennae and laser pointing and the deployment of articulated structures.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Brushless servomotors are essential in NASA applications such as mobile manipulation on rovers and for satellite navigation, control, and positioning. Unlike brushed motors, brushless servomotors have high torque density, add no brush friction, do not generate contaminating dust, and have lifetimes measured in years instead of days. The use of brushless motors however, requires custom, expensive electronics that are often larger than the motors they control. This is especially true for small motors that operate below 100 watts. The proposed snap-in P3 module will support a wide array of these smaller motors.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As machines become more intelligent through embedded processing and sensor fusion we expect them to do more too, improving not only industrial productivity but our quality of life as society ages. While embedded processors and MEMS-based sensors have become tiny, highly effective, and affordable; similar improvements in servomotors have evolved more slowly. At fractional-horsepower levels the power electronics contribute significantly to total bulk and complexity. Providing smaller and more efficient servo electronics enable OEMs to increase the competitiveness of their products. For example, robots can become more agile with additional degrees of freedom and less mass to accelerate. New fuel-cell designs combined with ultra-high motor efficiency will enable affordable prostheses with true dexterity instead of 0 or 1 degree of freedom; and orthotics will begin to assist human motions intelligently, rather than passively bracing.

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
Attitude Determination & Control
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Machines/Mechanical Subsystems
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)
Vehicles (see also Autonomous Systems)

Form Generated on 03-07-17 15:43