Semi-Autonomous Manipulator Control

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W56HZV-10-C-0216
Agency Tracking Number: A093-187-0387
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: A09-187
Solicitation Number: 2009.3
Small Business Information
6404 Ivy Lane, Suite 500, Greenbelt, MD, 20770
DUNS: 094078958
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Karl Muecke
 Sr. Robotics Engineer
 (617) 864-0636
Business Contact
 Michael Bearman
Title: Vice President/General Counsel
Phone: (240) 965-4500
Research Institution
Current teleoperation and control systems for unmanned ground vehicles (UGV?s) and manipulators are tedious and time consuming to use. Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technicians devote significant of time and mental energy when attempting to individually control manipulator joints, which could be better used for situational awareness. Effective semi-autonomous manipulator control requires three technologies: an intuitive user interface and control, a perception/sensor system, and robust and scalable autonomous end-effector positioning. Vecna Technologies, Inc. is partnering with Think-A-Move, Ltd. to develop an intuitive speech-driven user interface that gives soldiers hands-free control of the manipulator. Vecna is developing vision processing software that extracts 3D information from a single video camera; eliminating the need for additional costly sensors. The 3D information is used to map the local terrain and identify objects the manipulator interacts with. A heads up display or monocle shows the operator the video feed with an overlay showing the identified objects. Vecna''s robust and scalable autonomous end-effector positioning is absolutely essential to improving UGV EOD manipulation effectiveness. If the robot or object is moving, Vecna''s high-level software will maintain high manipulator accuracy and tracking by accounting for the entire system, rather than just the manipulator like low-level controllers.

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

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