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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Liquid Cooled Viscoelastic Actuation for Robust Legged Robot Locomotion, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The work proposed here seeks to significantly improve actuation technology for mission-capable articulated robots and exoskeletons such as NASA's Robonaut 2, Valkyrie, and ATHLETE systems. The goal is enabled by a new type of robotic actuation technology, Viscoelastic Liquid Cooled Actuation (VLCA), which offers improved energy efficiency, power density, and mechanical robustness over conventional actuators for space applications. The scope of the proposed work encompasses the construction and experimental evaluation of a VLCA prototype for Phase I, including the mechanical structures, avionics, and embedded control software. Additional work in Phase I will include studies on liquid cooled brushless DC motor architectures and space-compatible elastomers that will reduce risk for a detailed VLCA design and build in Phase II. More »

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