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BI-FLEX: Soft Elastomeric Technology for Rapidly Deployable Manipulation Capability

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-15-P-1129
Agency Tracking Number: N151-066-0292
Amount: $79,997.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N151-066
Solicitation Number: 2015.1
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-07-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-05-06
Small Business Information
300 Bear Hill Rd
Waltham, MA 02451
United States
DUNS: 005313494
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Michael Rufo
 (781) 466-8010
Business Contact
 Thomas McKenna
Title: Technical Point of Contact
Phone: (703) 696-4503
Research Institution

The US Navy?s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) objectives include keeping divers and sailors out of minefields while neutralizing underwater mines and water borne improvised explosive devices (WBIED). Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) with specially designed and fabricated manipulator arms can meet this objective. Boston Engineering and our partner Worcester Polytechnic Institute propose to develop bio-inspired soft robotic manipulators and grippers for use with UUV platforms, providing a remotely operated EOD system. In Phase I we will conduct engineering trade studies to select the best materials, finalize component designs, and predict overall system designs to neutralize EOD and WBIED threats. Specific manipulator designs will address multiple task demands and coordination. The arms will interact with a hovering platform and specially designed interfaces between the platform and the manipulators. Designs for end grippers will be developed, leveraging the same elastomeric actuation technology. In Phase II Boston Engineering will design, fabricate, test, and refine prototype manipulators and grippers in a complete UUV system that demonstrates the ability to conduct EOD tasks to allow robotic neutralization of mines and WBIED, keeping divers and operators at a safe distance. Boston Engineering will develop a path to commercialization and transition to the fleet.

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

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