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Semi-Autonomous Manipulator Control

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Army 09-187
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Vecna Technologies Inc.
6404 Ivy Lane Suite 500 Greenbelt, MD 20770-1423
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Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Semi-Autonomous Manipulator Control
Agency / Branch: DOD / ARMY
Contract: W56HZV-10-C-0216
Award Amount: $70,000.00


Current teleoperation and control systems for unmanned ground vehicles (UGV?s) and manipulators are tedious and time consuming to use. Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technicians devote significant of time and mental energy when attempting to individually control manipulator joints, which could be better used for situational awareness. Effective semi-autonomous manipulator control requires three technologies: an intuitive user interface and control, a perception/sensor system, and robust and scalable autonomous end-effector positioning. Vecna Technologies, Inc. is partnering with Think-A-Move, Ltd. to develop an intuitive speech-driven user interface that gives soldiers hands-free control of the manipulator. Vecna is developing vision processing software that extracts 3D information from a single video camera; eliminating the need for additional costly sensors. The 3D information is used to map the local terrain and identify objects the manipulator interacts with. A heads up display or monocle shows the operator the video feed with an overlay showing the identified objects. Vecna''s robust and scalable autonomous end-effector positioning is absolutely essential to improving UGV EOD manipulation effectiveness. If the robot or object is moving, Vecna''s high-level software will maintain high manipulator accuracy and tracking by accounting for the entire system, rather than just the manipulator like low-level controllers.

Principal Investigator:

Karl Muecke
Sr. Robotics Engineer

Business Contact:

Michael Bearman
Vice President/General Counsel
Small Business Information at Submission:

Vecna Technologies Inc.
6404 Ivy Lane Suite 500 Greenbelt, MD 20770

EIN/Tax ID: 522152399
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No