STTR Phase II: General Robot Controller for Legged Mobile Robots with Integrated Open Source Software

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0848762
Agency Tracking Number: 0711909
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: IT
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-598
Small Business Information
RoadNarrows LLC
308 E. 5th St., Loveland, CO, 80537
DUNS: 112129684
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kim Wheeler-Smith
 (970) 593-0370
Business Contact
 Kim Wheeler-Smith
Title: MEE
Phone: (970) 593-0370
Research Institution
 Sourthern Illinois University at Edwardsville
 Jerry B Weinberg
 Box 1046
Edwardsville, IL, 62026-1046
 (618) 650-3010
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technolgy Transfer (STTR) Phase II project focuses on the development of a generalized processing and sensor pack complete with open-source software and curricula for using legged robots as an educational platform for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses. The innovation of this proposal is a middleware product called SkewZone Brain and Sensor Pack. This Brain Pack which consists of processing boards, plug-in sensors, wireless communication, software interfaces and mechanical hardware for attachment to commercially available legged robots, serves as a value-added layer between the low-level operations of a robot platform and the high-level software. Educators will be able to migrate their Brain Pack from one robot to another, allowing software, curriculum, and hardware reuseability. The Brain Pack provides sufficient sensory feedback to close the loop on the mechanical control of the legged platform. Higher-level cognitive algorithms, such as path-planning, vision, and behavior-based systems, can be easily developed or reused. The distinctive features and challenges of legged robots provide unique opportunities for high-school and college curricula in numerous STEM topics. Robots are currently used in a variety of classes. However, current educational robot platforms are dominated by wheeled robots; legged robots with a biological basis are almost absent. Robots, which have sufficient on-board processing power, sensors, a wireless interface, and open-source software, are necessary for building curricula that meet educational standards and for interesting research assignments.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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