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NASA Selects Advanced Robotics Projects for Development



WASHINGTON
-- NASA has selected eight advanced robotics projects that will enable
the agency's future missions while supporting the Obama administration's
National Robotics Initiative.

The projects, ranging from
technologies for improving robotic planetary rovers to humanoid robotic
systems, will support the development and use of robots for space
exploration, as well as by manufacturers and businesses in the United
States.

Robots can work beside, or cooperatively, with people
to enhance individual human capabilities, performance and safety in
space as well as here on Earth. Co-robotics, where robots work
cooperatively with people to enhance their individual human
capabilities, performance and safety, is a valuable tool for maintaining
American leadership in aerospace technology and advanced manufacturing.


"Robonaut, NASA's robotic crewmember aboard the
International Space Station, is being tested to perform tasks to assist
our astronauts and free them up to do the important scientific research
and complex engineering taking place each day on our orbiting national
lab," said NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. "Selected through our participation in the National Robotics
Initiative, these new projects will support NASA as we plan for our
asteroid mission in 2025 and the human exploration of Mars around 2035."


The proposals NASA has selected for development are:
--
"Toward Human Avatar Robots for Co-Exploration of Hazardous
Environments," J. Pratt, principal investigator, Florida Institute of
Human Machine Cognition, Pensacola
-- "A Novel Powered Leg
Prosthesis Simulator for Sensing and Control Development," H. Herr,
principal investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

-- "Long-range Prediction of Non-Geometric Terrain Hazards for
Reliable Planetary Rover Traverse," R. Whittaker, principal
investigator, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
-- "Active
Skins for Simplified Tactile Feedback in Robotics," S. Bergbreiter,
principal investigator, University of Maryland, College Park
-- "Actuators for Safe, Strong and Efficient Humanoid Robots," S. Pekarek, principal investigator, Purdue University

-- "Whole-body Telemanipulation of the Dreamer Humanoid Robot on Rough
Terrains Using Hand Exoskeleton (EXODREAM)," L. Sentis, principal
investigator, University of Texas at Austin
-- "Long, Thin Continuum Robots for Space Applications," I. Walker, principal investigator, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.

-- "Manipulating Flexible Materials Using Sparse Coding," R. Platt,
principal investigator, State University of New York, Buffalo


The National Science Foundation (NSF) managed the solicitation and peer
review selection process for these NASA awards. Awards range from
$150,000 to $1 million, with a total NASA investment of $2.7 million.


NASA has a long history of developing cutting-edge robotic systems for
use in space exploration. NASA also partners with American businesses,
universities and other federal agencies to transfer those technologies
back into the nation's industrial base, improving manufacturing
capabilities and economic competitiveness.

Recently,
tremendous advances in robotics technology have enabled a new generation
of assistive systems and devices in industries as diverse as
manufacturing, logistics, medicine, health care, military, agriculture,
and consumer products.

As part of the National Robotics
Initiative, NSF, NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture have managed a joint solicitation, seeking to
engage our next generation of roboticists for the new global technology
economy. All participating federal agencies are working with partners to
foster the exchange of ideas and technologies that will directly
benefit American today and well into the future.

The purpose
of the initiative is to encourage innovative collaborative research that
combines computer and systems science with mechanical, electrical and
materials engineering and social, behavioral and economic sciences. The
resulting research will tackle the most important and challenging
problems in producing this class of human-assisting co-robotics.


NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist and the Space Technology
Program lead the agency's participation in the National Robotics
Initiative. NASA's Space Technology Program is dedicated to innovating,
developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA's future
science and exploration missions. NASA's technology investments provide
cutting-edge solutions for our nation's future.

For more information about NASA's participation in the National Robotics Initiative, visit:

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