SBIR Phase I: High Performance Hydraulic Actuation for Mobile Robots

Award Information
Agency:
National Science Foundation
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$150,000.00
Award Year:
2009
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
0945411
Award Id:
91161
Agency Tracking Number:
0945411
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
6404 Ivy Lane, Suite 500, Greenbelt, MD, 20770
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
094078958
Principal Investigator:
Daniel Theobald
MS
(617) 674-0636
theo@vecna.com
Business Contact:
Daniel Theobald
MS
(617) 674-0636
theo@vecna.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project addresses three fundamental challenges to the broad adoption of hydraulic actuation in small mobile robotic applications: poor efficiency, poor controllability, and noisy operation. Component level and system level innovations will be combined for a novel, integrated approach to hydraulic actuation which overcomes these challenges. Hydraulics research has received relatively little attention since the 1950's, hence there are significant opportunities for improvement. Hydraulics research is important because no other actuation technology has come close to matching the power-density (strength X speed / weight) of hydraulic systems, and power density is critical for robots intended to do real work. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is large if the challenges that have traditionally limited the adoption of hydraulic actuation technology can be overcome. It will open up a whole new range of applications for this actuation technology and for the first time make possible robots with human/super-human abilities to manipulate, lift and carry objects in unstructured environments. This will benefit numerous market sectors such as assistive technologies for aging populations, warehouse automation, search and rescue, construction, security, entertainment, and flexible factory automation to name a few. In addition to this, any existing sector that currently utilizes hydraulic actuation (such as earth moving equipment and aviation) will benefit significantly from the significantly improved hydraulic efficiency saving millions of dollars in fuel and preventing untold tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere. Preliminary analysis has show that over 10X improvement in efficiency is achievable in many applications. This research if successful will make hydraulics a green technology.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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