NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 05.02-8013

PROJECT TITLE : : Skin Analog Sensor for Mobile Robotic Systems

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Nature, with evolutionary wisdom, has been developing aware, autonomous sensor/processor/actuator systems for millions of years. Animals have evolved visual, auditory, chemical, and tactile/proximity sensors that enable awareness of and operation in their environments. As robotic units become more capable, they are expected to operate in environments that are less structured and more like uncontrolled natural environments. It is in these environments that tactile/proximity sensors, mimicking skin on higher level organisms, become more and more important. These sensors provide a final protection against damage incurred by otherwise undetected objects. Sigma Labs proposes to develop multi-layer, flexible, electrically active sheets, that incorporates all the proximity, tactile, and temperature sensing capabilities of naturally evolved skin. This sensor will enable robots to operate in unregulated, confusing environments even when other sensors have failed or are ineffective due to smoke or other interference. Sigma Labs is in a unique position to be able to produce this skin-like by virtue of proprietary, protected polymer/metal thin film deposition techniques combined with experience developing unique electrical devices. Ultimately, when combined with fairly simple alarm types of algorithms, the spacial resolution and sensitivity of the sensors will enable performance equivalent to or better than naturally evolved skin.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
Commercial applications include robotic systems in private sector manufacturing environment, in local government applications for inspection of environments with high potential for danger to humans, and in the Federal government for similar purposes, for exploratory robots, and for vehicular control in outer space.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Theodore A. Miller
Sigma Labs, Inc.
10960 N. Stallard Place
Tucson, AZ 85737
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
Sigma Labs
10960 N. Stallard Place
Tucson, AZ 85737