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Force Learning Robotic System for Dynamic Characterization of Micro-Scale…

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 09-108
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Orbital Research, Inc.
OH Suite 500 Cleveland, OH 44103-3757
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Force Learning Robotic System for Dynamic Characterization of Micro-Scale Aerial Vehicles
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8651-10-M-0250
Award Amount: $100,000.00


The design process for Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAVs) requires specialized tools, which is particularly true for biologically inspired MAV concepts. Some of the positive features of a MAV, including light weight, novel modes of propulsion and non-traditional flight control methodologies, can also present challenges in the design, and testing of the final system. The interactions of a flexible structure and non-linear aerodynamics can result in biologically inspired MAV designs that have unexpected behaviors that must be understood to develop successful control methods for free flight. Unique computational tools have been developed that incorporate higher order effects as compared to the computational tools used in traditional aerospace design tools. Experimental facilities, which are used for validating the computational tools and preparing empirical models, require the same level of higher order investigation. The Orbital team proposes to create an innovative empirical measurement system that explores the higher order aerodynamic, structural and aeroelastic interactions of MAVs. A combination of mechanical robotic design and force learning software algorithms will be used to accomplish the measurement of the high frequency, highly complex behaviors of MAVs in free flight. The resulting system will act as a robotic free flight tether which allows for investigation of near real flight dynamics and behaviors. BENEFIT: Orbital Research's role in commercialization will be the identification, design, and development of the enabling robotic system for dynamic characterization of micro-scale aerial vehicles. The availability of such a motion apparatus would be of great interest to universities and organizations which study micro-scale air vehicles. Applications of the robotic system may also extend directly to delicate medical procedures, robotic manipulation of fragile objects and delicate assembly, and even sensitive operations such as remote disarming of IEDs.

Principal Investigator:

Zak Sowle
Aerospace Engineer

Business Contact:

Joseph Snyder
Vice President
Small Business Information at Submission:

Orbital Research Inc
4415 Euclid Avenue Suite 500 Cleveland, OH 44103

EIN/Tax ID: 341672688
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No