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SBIR/STTR

Photonic Robots, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Photonic Robots, Phase I
To operate complicated tools and perform intricate repairs requires a manipulator of great precision and excellent coordination. An instrument such as the human hand is a perfect example; it is an organ for the reception of and reaction to tactile stimuli, a perception that guides the repertoire of manual functions. However, the integration of an analogous sensing suite into a robotic platform poses a major technological challenge. The "smart skin" solution IFOS proposes is 2-D sensor based on the integration of high-sensitivity embedded Fiber Bragg grating (FBG), a custom engineered composite material - Nano Particle Material (NPM) ? and data interpretation and on-board decision-making. This sensor will support multi-point strain sensing to control the force exerted by robot end-effectors or manipulators on an object, required by such operations as assembly, surface-machining and cutting. Our goal is design and control of an anthropomorphic manipulation prototype based on high-resolution artificial taction. Optical sensors promise particular advantages for a robot that can achieve high-fidelity force control and that can operate safely in contact with astronauts. FBG sensors are robust, highly accurate, and immune to electromagnetic interference. A network of such sensors can be integrated directly into the structure or skin of an anthropomorphic robot. More »

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