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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Robotic Arm for Assistive Free-Flyers

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Robotic Arm for Assistive Free-Flyers, Phase I
Energid Technologies proposes a lightweight kinematically redundant robot arm and software toolkit to extend the capabilities of Assistive Free-Flyers (AFFs). The arm will leverage Energid's existing design actuated with modified smart servos to reduce cost and weight and improve performance. A unique feature of the arm is universal end-of-arm-tooling interface that provides extensibility through standard mechanical, data, and power connectors. This interface will allow the arm to host a variety of sensors and tools for broad application. Energid's Actin software toolkit will be extended for control and simulation of AFFs with attached manipulators. Control techniques will be developed to enable novel modes of acrobatic maneuvering and whole-body manipulation. This control and simulation capability will apply to one or multiple arms attached to an AFF. The new control modes will enable use of the arms in perching and momentum conserving acrobatics, where the arm and thrusters are simultaneously actuated to reach a goal. The Actin simulation engine, which supports articulated dynamics, contact dynamics, and sensors, will be extended to include aerodynamics and thruster models for AFF design validation, mission planning, and testing. The new arm and toolkit will seamlessly transition between simulating terrestrial mobile robots and fielded AFFs in microgravity. More »

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