This program was initially a Phase II SBIR project with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), focused on developing a precisely controllable modular manipulator for mobile robotic platforms, including the ability to hot swap end-effectors using a manual quick-release mechanism. The modular design enabled the arm to be easily integrated for different applications, and the tool change capability enabled new tools to be deployed rapidly to meet operational needs. The smooth, precise control, combined with the Cartesian space control modes and use of off-the-shelf game controllers, combined to make the manipulator extremely usable.
SRT was competitively selected for additional funding through the Commercialization Pilot Program. The goals of that phase of the program included: improving the capabilities of the End-Effector Retrofit Kit (E2RK) which enabled the tool change capability of SRT to be retrofitted to a QinetiQ TALON robot and matured for field use; advancing and integrating the plug-n-play end-effector technology onto the Remotec HD-2 manipulator; to investigate the feasibility of adapting the E2RK onto an iRobot Packbot manipulator; and to advance the base SRT technology and integrate the SRT manipulator onto a robot platform.
SRT was further selected for additional commercialization funding through the Extended Support Program. The goals of this program are to miniaturize and deploy the SRT technology on the smaller, dismounted class of robots, and to harden the automatic version of the SRT to handle more challenging environmental conditions. As part of this work, RE2 partially developed the single degree of freedom DS1-MA manipulator, which is deployed on the Macro USA Armadillo robot, and the four degree of freedom DS4-MS manipulator prototype, which is integrated on the Macro USA Scorpion robot.