SBIR Phase I: An Icosadedral Robotic Motion Cell

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1047378
Agency Tracking Number: 1047378
Amount: $149,585.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
3500 South Park Drive, Jackson, WY, 83001-9514
DUNS: 128363145
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ryan Talermo
 (307) 734-0211
Business Contact
 Ryan Talermo
Title: BS
Phone: (307) 734-0211
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project addresses a new approach to robotic mobility. Over the past decade, robots have become an increasingly important component of human existence. While the introduction of mobility technologies have allowed robots to migrate from manufacturing assignments out into the wider world, the vast majority of mobile robots rely solely on wheeled locomotion. Consequently, these platforms find their fields-of-play limited to relatively smooth, prepared surfaces. Elegant, biologically-inspired walking machines have been created that can address various technical challenges, but these robots are generally fraught with daunting complexities and depend on more energy efficient platforms to deploy them. In an effort to improve robotic adaptability, a new approach to robotics and mobility platforms is proposed. The strategy is predicated on a deformable "motion cell" with a unique icosahedral geometry. This motion cell can move via rolling, walking or climbing. It senses its surroundings and chooses the most effective mode of locomotion to traverse adjacent terrain. A program of applied research will determine cell morphologies needed for each mobility mode, monitor the mass distribution properties required, identify practical actuator configurations consistent with these morphologies and numerically evaluate the behavior of the resulting mechanism. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will enhance the field of robotics through an academic design approach developing a commercially viable product. Although the inherent design philosophy will allow the technology to morph with the market in years to come, specific commercial applications are already of note. Advanced sensory deployment via survey and reconnaissance missions will comprise the principle commercial market based upon versatile motion capabilities and the design's inherent scalability. The fully realized technology will be applicable to numerous fields including search and rescue, disaster relief, planetary exploration, academic sciences, and military reconnaissance. Specifically, technologies are actively sought by the military that transcend traditional wheeled/tracked mobility and are capable of overcoming obstacles and traversing technical terrain. Although large contractors as well as small private companies are developing competitive technologies, none possess the combined skill set of the proposed system. With the aid of strategic partnerships, the robotic platform will be poised to deploy sensors in unprecedented ways to previously inaccessible locals.

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

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