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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:ESTAT ACTUATION, INC.
  • Stuart Diller
  • (540) 557-7609
Award Date:12/13/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 225,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 225,000
  • FY 2020=$225,000
Start Date:12/15/2019
End Date:11/30/2020
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:SBIR Phase I: Rotary Electroadhesive Clutch for Lightweight and Energy-Efficient Actuators in Next-Generation Robots
Federal Award ID Number:1941405
DUNS ID:117083877
Program:SBIR Phase I
Program Officer:
  • Muralidharan Nair
  • (703) 292-7059

Awardee Location

Street:5540 HOBART ST
Awardee Cong. District:18

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Carnegie Mellon University
Street:5000 Forbes Ave.
Cong. District:18

Abstract at Time of Award

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research project will be to enable new robotics systems with actuator hardware that is substantially lighter and less expensive than the current state-of-the-art. The high cost and limited performance of actuators are the greatest problems for engineers developing products for mobile applications, such as package delivery, security, disaster recovery, and wearable assistive devices, causing the market to bifurcate into low-cost robots with extremely limited functionality or versatile robots costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Clutches are an important way to reduce actuator requirements and costs, but conventional clutches are large, heavy, and power-hungry, ultimately negating potential improvements. In this project, we will develop an electro-adhesive clutch that is 10x lighter and uses 1000x less power than conventional clutches. This hardware innovation allows robotics engineers to use clutches with almost no mass or power consumption penalties. Removing this constraint will have a substantial impact on the commercial viability of robots that are both capable and affordable. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will consist of the design and characterization of a compact rotary electro-adhesive clutch. This work will build on recent accomplishments in creating and characterizing the linear electro-adhesive clutch design to move toward a rotary design integrating with existing robotic joints with minimal required hardware changes. The objectives of this work are to experimentally optimize the effect of materials and design choices on the performance of the rotary electro-adhesive clutch, and to establish performance metrics to evaluate the feasibility of commercial use. Design work will include simulation, mass optimization, and exploration of fabrication techniques. The experimental work will characterize the system in terms of maximum torque, power, and speed testing, response time and dissipation testing, and preliminary fatigue and wear experiments. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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