SBIR Phase I: A Pneumatically Actuated Robot System
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project addresses the challenges of a decade's long u esolved technological barrier preventing a revolutionary increase in the performance of robotic systems. Enhanced productivity sought in many applications requires higher cycle rates placing great demands on robot kinematics, actuators and control systems. Further increase in operating speed must resolve dynamic challenges intrinsic in directly coupling servo actuators and robot linkages. When compared with existing electromechanical servo actuators - which route power through complex mechanical transmissions - direct-drive actuation of robot linkages enables simple mechanics and rapid motion, but does not provide dynamic isolation between the actuator and robot system. Consequently, direct-drive servo actuators are sensitive to variations in plant parameters, unknown disturbances, and un-modeled dynamics. This R & D investigates the feasibility of an innovative, direct-drive pneumatic robot actuator coupled with advanced control algorithms which rapidly accommodate dynamic system variations. Effectiveness of a new control strategy that is model insensitive, resolving unknown disturbances, un-modeled dynamics, and unknown system parameters, will be researched and developed. Success of this project will provide for a parallel delta robot that is significantly faster, more precise, possesses greater load capacity, and is substantially more affordable than contemporary delta robot systems. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project involves engineering research conducted to enhance understanding of the dynamic interaction between direct-drive servo actuators and robotic mechanisms, and further to enhance the effectiveness and understanding of a novel control strategy which provides for an advantageous coupling between them, heretofore not practically feasible. This has the potential of introducing transformative change in the robotics industry, and to industrial automation in general. Furthermore, much of the controls knowledge gained from this research can be extended to systems employing AC linear motors, and to electromechanical servos with mismatched inertia ratios. Two market segments will be targeted: robotics and general motion control, both estimated at $7 billion. If software, peripherals and systems engineering are included, the robotics market is estimated at $19 billion. Parallel delta robots are estimated at 25% of the robotics market. The robotics industry significantly supports the national economy with applications ranging from manufacturing and food processing, to medical advances such as remotely controlled surgery, and to national defense. Well paying new hi-tech jobs are created in engineering and technical services. This research will develop revolutionary new robotic applications, educational STEM opportunities, enhanced scientific and technological understanding, making the U.S. more competitive globally.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Sunstream Scientific Incorporated
2149 West Leland Ave Chicago, IL 60640-5999
Number of Employees: