SBIR Phase I: Combining Mobility and Manipulation in a Tri-Sphere Robot

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0740231
Agency Tracking Number: 0740231
Amount: $99,752.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 07-551
Small Business Information
3135 Mallard Road, Jackson, WY, 83001
DUNS: 128363145
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Viola
 (307) 734-0211
Business Contact
 Robert Viola
Title: MS
Phone: (307) 734-0211
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I research project explores the utility of a robot predicated on a novel Tri-Sphere design. Robots are playing a progressively more significant role in our modern world. In support of this ascendance, researchers have developed elegant, biologically-inspired robots with an impressive range of capabilities. However, these capabilities often come with daunting mechanical complexity. Consequently, robots required to function outside the laboratory generally make use of standard wheeled locomotion and utilize serial jointed manipulation. While functional, this configuration has serious limitations. New approaches to both locomotion and manipulation based on the Tri-Sphere design are proposed. As envisioned, Tri-Sphere robots will be rugged, scalable and capable of dexterous manipulation and autonomous mobility in unstructured environments. An applied research effort will develop a conceptual design for a Tri-Sphere mobility platform, explore complementary sensory systems, gauge the performance of the resulting robot and demonstrate the concept's potential for successful application to real-world needs. A fully realized Tri-Sphere robot will be a powerful enabling technology. The military represents the primary market for this system where, in various incarnations, it will perform explosive ordnance disposal, carry out reconnaissance missions and act as a self-propelled communications installation. The aerospace industry is a logical secondary market where dexterous Tri-Sphere manipulators will be integrated into spacecraft for automated on-orbit repair of satellites. The scalable, mechanically austere design of Tri-Sphere robots make them ideal candidates for operation on the surface of the moon and Mars where they will support our nation's ambitious space exploration goals. A third market is the Department of Energy where these high-payload mobile robots will assist in the clean-up of sites contaminated by nuclear waste.

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

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