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Broad Application of a Reconfigurable Motor Controller

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2006 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Barrett Technology Inc
625 Mount Auburn Street Cambridge, MA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2006
Title: Broad Application of a Reconfigurable Motor Controller
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNJ06JD79C
Award Amount: $70,000.00


An ultra-miniature (<50 grams) high-performance brushless-motor controller, code named 'Puck', has been developed by Barrett for Earth-based mobile-manipulation use where efficiency, low mass, and robustness are critical attributes. Application of a distributed intelligent system will enable these Pucks to be used liberally across a variety of NASA's future satellite, articulated-machine, and robotic applications requiring low-level robust brushless commutation directed by high-level task intelligence. In addition to supporting space-vector control of brushless motors, each Puck carries a virtually unburdened 32-bit DSP running at 80 MHz with plenty of memory and high-speed serial communications to neighboring Pucks. So even as machines increase in degrees of freedom - and therefore complexity - the excess computational power provided by the Pucks increases proportionately, working in tandem to overcome increasingly complex controls issues. While another Barrett proposal submitted to NASA is focused on developing the hardware for a space-qualified Puck controller, this proposal focuses on a control architecture that leverages the distributed DSPs. Phase I will build an architecture that best leverages a distributed network of Pucks, such as a solution of computationally-intensive kinematics equations (e.g. Jacobian matrix), and local tasks, such as estimating precise realtime velocities and supporting series-elastic-actuator (SEA) strain-gages.

Principal Investigator:

William Townsend
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

David Wilkinson
Director of Engineering
Small Business Information at Submission:

Barrett Technology
625 Mount Auburn St. Cambridge, MA 02138

EIN/Tax ID: 043072253
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No