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Soft Robotic Manipulators with Enhanced Perception using Multimodal Sensory Skins

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC17C0030
Agency Tracking Number: 150276
Amount: $749,900.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T11.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-09-26
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-03-26
Small Business Information
3101 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110-2714
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jonathan Pompa
 Principal Investigator
 (814) 682-6432
Business Contact
 James McBride
Title: COO
Phone: (617) 453-8171
Research Institution
 Yale universty
 Rebecca Kramer
9 Hillhouse Rd
New Haven, CT 06511-8938
United States

 (860) 933-2161
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

We propose that the key to robotic automation in unstructured environments is compliant robotic manipulators that can tolerate, sense, and leverage contact in a feedback loop. We have demonstrated proof of concept of an instrumented end-effector capable of enhanced perception through observed and controlled contact in phase I. We will now expand the project to develop highly capable state and contact sensing capability. This approach requires: (i) a network of sensors capable of capturing the highly compliant state of the soft robot and high resolution tactile sensors for multi-point contact, (ii) integrating these sensors with a core embedded system capable of processing large arrays of sensor data and (iii) development of algorithms that can extract state/tactile information to serve as high frequency feedback to the control system. The goal of this STTR is to transfer the promising technology of elastomeric sensors from the Yale Faboratory's research setting into a commercial product. These sensors present a solution to the remaining piece of the puzzle of how to manage and leverage the additional degrees of freedom of Pneubotics' compliant systems. Towards this goal, Otherlab will serve as the commercial expert with a deployable platform. We will provide electronic system design, control system design, and robotic system integration as well as insight into integration challenges and cost constraints. The Faboratory will serve as the experts on liquid-embedded elastomeric sensors, optimizing the design and fabrication methods to serve the commercial applications. The full system demonstrations proposed in this Phase II are feasible because we will exploit the Pneubotics' manipulators and gripper designs that Otherlab has developed through government grants (NASA, DARPA), commercial partners, and private funding.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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