SBIR Phase I: Methodology for Applying Haptic Robotics to Agile Manufacturing

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0539682
Agency Tracking Number: 0539682
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 05-557
Small Business Information
625 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Townsend
 (617) 252-9000
Business Contact
 David Wilkinson
Title: Mr
Phone: (617) 252-9000
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will introduce a novel and general methodology for applying highly backdrivable robots and haptics in agile, small-production-run manufacturing. Application to spray painting will help to demonstrate, develop, and evaluate this methodology. The proposed methodology has two steps: (1) identifying best candidate tasks and (2) guiding the application of haptics and backdrivability in those specific tasks. There are four research objectives for Phase I. First, the paint-spraying example is fleshed out in detail. Consider the wide variations in part-surface geometries and other production and safety issues. Second, haptic paint-spraying is implemented for at least two different types of part geometry with Barrett's new haptic WAM arm. Third, apply the paint-spraying lessons learned to strengthen the general methodology. Fourth, reassess the feasibility and generality of the methodology by applying it to three additional manufacturing examples. The technologically revolutionary haptics field has not yet revolutionized manufacturing. Many areas today lack solutions, especially for short-run production, that would require intimate and simultaneous robotic and human interaction to be accomplished competitively, safely, and with high quality. Extending haptics to include backdrivable robotics and developing the appropriate methodology can address short-run production directly. Other manufacturing areas likely to benefit include short-run production operations in the following areas: mill and lathe tending with in-line metrology, composite layups, castings, seam welding, and sealant dispensing.

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

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