RE2, Inc., a developer of modular manipulation systems, announced today it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to research and design a Modular Intelligent Manipulation system with Intuitive Control (MIMIC) for the U.S. Army’s Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
RE2’s proposed innovative design is expected to significantly increase the effectiveness of robotic manipulators on unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) by giving the robot operator the sensation that his or her arm is actually manipulating an object. As the operator moves his or her hand, the robot arm will mimic the operator’s arm/hand movements. As resistance is experienced at the end-effector, the operator will “feel” that resistance on his or her own hand. MIMIC’s intuitive control system, coupled with RE2’s dexterous end-effector solutions, will enable more advanced manipulation capabilities, such as using common hand tools or cutting wires.
“The comprehensive approach that we’ve proposed for MIMIC is well-suited for integration onto next-generation robotic systems. Additionally, the modularity and interoperability of MIMIC allow it to be integrated onto currently fielded UGVs as an upgrade kit, providing a low-cost, improved teleoperation solution for the existing fleet of fielded robots,” stated Jorgen Pedersen, president and CEO of RE2, Inc.
During the six-month Phase I SBIR, RE2 will conduct research to determine viable and intuitive control methods and devices to manipulate robotic arms. RE2 will also design a dexterous end-effector with force feedback and conduct a camera study to ensure that the system will have improved visual feedback over existing manipulation systems.