Broad Application of a Reconfigurable Motor Controller

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNJ06JD79C
Agency Tracking Number: 054945
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
625 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA, 02138
DUNS: 620793612
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Townsend
 Principal Investigator
 (617) 252-9000
Business Contact
 David Wilkinson
Title: Director of Engineering
Phone: (617) 252-9000
Research Institution
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.

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

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