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SBIR Phase I: A High-Force-Fidelity and Compact Actuator for an Upper-Body Exoskeletal Rehabilitation Robot

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1721941
Agency Tracking Number: 1721941
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: EW
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-06-30
Small Business Information
2201 Buffalo Tundra Dr
Austin, TX 78754-5961
United States
DUNS: 080362294
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Bongsu Kim
 (512) 541-1925
Business Contact
 Bongsu Kim
Phone: (512) 541-1925
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is significant. The compact and torque-controllable proposed actuator will prompt the development of a highly-potential upper-body exoskeletal rehabilitation robot that support a wide range of motion with an anatomical mobility and impedance-based dynamic behaviors. The high-performed exoskeleton will allow to implement contemporary therapeutic trainings based on neurological motor learning principles. This would enhance the efficacy of robotic rehabilitation leading to better recovery after neuromuscular injuries. Therefore, rehabilitation robots powered by the proposed actuator will be better accepted to physical rehabilitation market and bring a significant commercial impact. Ultimately, this project will contribute to reduction of socio-economic costs caused by neuromuscular impairments. Also, exoskeletons powered by the proposed actuator would contribute to better understanding of neurobehavioral principle of human body by serving as an experimental tool that creates force-based human-robot interactions with anatomical movements. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will focus on developing a compact rotary-type series elastic actuators (SEAs) for upper-body exoskeleton application. A substantial portion of the US population suffers from neuromuscular impairments, requiring intensive rehabilitation services. Robotic rehabilitation has been attracting attention from many sectors because of the potential for better rehabilitation outcome. However, the lack of anatomical shoulder mobility and compliant dynamic control in existing upper-body exoskeletons limits the capability to produce neurologically-based therapeutic behaviors. The proposed SEAs will help to overcome the limitation by enabling exoskeletons to have force and impedance-based behaviors for advanced rehabilitation protocols. Its compact form factor will benefit the linkage design of exoskeletons for a wide range of motion and anatomical mobility. Also, the SEAs with the tight configuration and high torque/power capacity will provide a high flexibility in a variety of robot designs contributing to advances of general robotic technology.

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

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