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Manipulation

PARA - Patient Assist Robotic Arm

RE2 is conducting NIH-funded research to engineer a practical solution to allow people with severe disabilities who require assistance (human or mechanical) to transfer to and from a wheelchair in their homes, homes of friends/family, and in the community (e.g., hotels, restaurants, shopping malls) in a safe, comfortable, efficient, and convenient manner.  The intent of this project is to conduct further research and development of the University of Pittsburgh’s wheelchair mounted mobile robotic assisted transfer system to determine its feasibility and potential for marketability. RE2 is partnering with the University of Pittsburgh and the Veterans Administration to conduct this research at their Human Engineering Research Laboratories.


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AEODRS – Advanced EOD Robotic System

RE2 is developing the Dismounted Manipulator Capability Module (CM-MAN) for the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) program of record, which is currently in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase. The Dismounted CM-MAN weighs approximately 4 pounds but can lift almost 8 pounds at its maximum extension of 24 inches. The CM-MAN contains four independently actuated degrees of freedom, including shoulder yaw and pitch, elbow pitch, and a continuous wrist roll. The CM-MAN is designed to be part of a fully modular system. Using well-defined mechanical and electrical connections, the CM-MAN will connect and communicate with any compliant mobility platform, visual sensor, and end-effector. The CM-MAN can be removed from one platform and attached to another using four standard mounting bolts and an electrical umbilical. Similarly, interfaces to the camera mounts and end-effector mounts are also standardized to allow full-system modularity to respond to mission needs. The CM-MAN complies with the AEODRS architecture, using communications based on the Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS) over gigabit Ethernet.


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DMS – Dexterous Manipulation System 

The main objective of the Dexterous Manipulation System (DMS) is to design and build a practical prototype of a highly dexterous, 8 degree-of-freedom manipulator capable of performing precise manipulation tasks such as extracting a blasting cap from an explosive or picking a wire up from the floor. Secondary objectives include using the DMS to investigate intelligent control strategies to effectively command the manipulator, the utility of force feedback for complex manipulation tasks, and the effectiveness of different methods of video feedback and visualization in performing dexterous tasks.  DMS is a Phase II SBIR for the Navy, with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and NAVEODTECHDIV.


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HDMS – Highly Dexterous Manipulation System

The Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) project is developing a small, yet strong, dual-arm manipulation system for current and next-generation mobile robotic platforms. This Phase II SBIR program with the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) is developing a 30-pound, dual-arm system that possesses a total of 11-16 degrees of freedom, depending on the desired operator configuration. The primary mission of the HDMS is for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) or similar applications where operators may need to gain access to bags or containers which cannot be easily done with a single-arm robotic system.


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SRT – Small Robot Toolkit

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.


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RECON – Reconnaissance Manipulator

The RECON manipulator is being developed under a BAA program with the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) to deploy the automatic tool change capability that was initially developed under the SRT and AUTOMATIC programs to currently fielded Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) robots. RE2 is partnered with Northrup Grumman Remotec, the leader in robots deployed domestically for EOD defeat, to adapt this technology to their next generation robot arm, providing downrange automatic tool change and enhanced lifting capacity to the F6 Andros. An additional goal includes developing a set of tools to help with Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) defeat by providing access and inspection capabilities that were previously unavailable.


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MTA – Motion Test Apparatus

The goal of this program is to develop a 6 degree-of-feedom Motion Test Apparatus to support experimental wind tunnel testing of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The final solution will feature a large, fast robotic arm which can precisely and repeatably move an MAV through a trajectory while providing accurate position feedback for analysis. Because flight test data for MAVs are sparse, and the numerical modeling of the unsteady-state aerodynamics of these small aircraft is not mature, a solution like this is required to allow for controlled, realistic testing of MAV motions, and to enable the design of both MAVs and their control systems. MTA is a Phase II SBIR with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Eglin Air Force Base.


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RNA – Robotic Nurse Assistant

The Robotic Nurse Assistant (RNA) project is a Phase II SBIR award with the U.S. Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) that aims to help nurses move and maneuver patients in a hospital setting. These maneuvers may include assisting a patient from a lying to a sitting position, from a sitting to a standing position, or from a bed to a chair. Back injuries are the most common type of injury in the nursing field. Additionally, nurses are working longer hours and patients are getting heavier, compounding the problem. The RNA is intended to act as the “muscle” for the nurse to prevent these types of injuries, while still giving the nurse complete control over the motion and interaction with the patient.


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ARM – Autonomous Robotic Manipulation

The DARPA Autonomous Robotic Manipulation – Software (ARM-S) program seeks to advance the state of the art in autonomous dual-arm manipulation. RE2 is the primary integrator and maintainer of the multiple robot platforms that were provided to various research teams around the country. The highly sophisticated robotic platforms consist of two off-the-shelf 7-DOF arms and 3-fingered hands with wrist-mounted force/torque sensors along with pressure sensors in the palm and finger-tips, a high-resolution color camera, stereo cameras, flash lidar 3D camera, two head-mounted microphones, and an innovative 4-DOF neck to allow the software to position and orient the sensor package as desired. Along with integrating the hardware components, RE2 developed a ROS-compatible software interface, operator control unit, and data logging capabilities. Additionally, RE2 has developed higher-level software to have the robot platform perform various manipulation tasks for trade shows and museum exhibits.


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BS5 Manipulator for Sandia National Laboratory

The goal of the Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) BS-5 Manipulator program is to design, manufacture and integrate a large robotic manipulator for use on HazMat response vehicles. These large arms have a reach of more than 9 feet, lift over 100 pounds, and are modified to interface with sampling equipment used by Sandia. This design is based on and commercializes the design of the manipulator developed for the MTA program.