Greenbelt, MD, United States

Vecna Technologies Inc.

www.vecna.com
Greenbelt, MD, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2016

Vecna proposes the CASEVAC litter assist winch (CLAW) to allow a combat medic or CLS to single- handedly load a casualty-laden litter onto the S-MET. This semi-autonomous system will, on command, deploy a robotic crane near the litter that can be rapidly attached with an extensive arm reach, CLAW can reach litters positioned up to 10 feet away. The CLS only has to issue a lift command for the crane to automatically provide all the lifting effort needed to move the litter onto the S-MET. The litter is secured via a quick-locking and suspension system that protects the casualty from bumps in transit. Additionally, a lightweight, yet strong ballistic protection surrounds the casualty protecting them from artillery fire. Vecna's CLAW is self-contained (drawing power from the S-MET) and can be rapidly utilized in the field, taking a single person under 10 minutes to configure it for CASEVAC.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.75M | Year: 2013

The development of actuators for the next generation of robots must not only address the engineering obstacles of power density and efficiency packaged into a lightweight form factor; they must surmount these obstacles using technology that is affordable for commercial users. To meet and exceed these challenges Vecna Robotics proposes the Bundle of McKibbens Actuators (BoMA), a novel approach that relies on groups of hydraulically-powered McKibbens bladder actuators to provide robots with continuous variable force output using highly power-dense and efficient robot muscles at the cost of only cents per actuator. For this Phase II project, Vecna will improve upon the Phase I static models for force-length relations to account for dynamic conditions and provide biomimetic, agonist/antagonist control for adjustable passive and active compliance using multiple actuators as a variable transmission; investigate new materials for each BoMA muscle fiber design to optimize performance and overall system robustness; evaluate valving approaches; and validate the models and their performance in real and simulated testbeds.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

When a dismounted squad, separated from MEDEVAC assets, suffers casualties, the squad executes manual CASEVAC to a Casualty Collection Point (CCP). This endangers both casualty and evacuator. In this scenario, using the Squad-Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET) unmanned ground vehicle to support CASEVAC can save lives. To make this possible, the S-MET will need to be equipped for this secondary function.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2015

Warfighters, unmanned systems, and weapons platforms need to rapidly and accurately assess wide regions of the battle space. Accomplishing this task with a single, high-definition, hemispherical imaging system can increase a soldier's survivability and lethality. There is a considerable need to develop an imaging system that can yield low distortion imagery while achieving low size, weight, and power criteria. Vecna proposes OmniEye, a camera for acquiring high-definition imagery for omnidirectional situational awareness. OmniEye achieves a hemispherical field-of-view by digitally compositing, in real-time, multiple images acquired from 17 calibrated image sensors. At the size of a quarter coin, OmniEye delivers 5 megapixel color spherical images at 30 frames per second. OmniEye corrects image distortion and aberrations in software by leveraging mobile GPUs. OmniEye features an intelligent frame grabbing mechanism that selects individual sensors in the array based on the viewing region. This capability significantly reduces the data transfer rate and processing requirements. When coupled with a VR display, this mechanism enables fast, responsive digital pan-tilt-zoom capabilities determined by the user's gaze direction. Also, OmniEye features a saliency detection module cues a user's attention to areas of interest in the view sphere using state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms for object detection and tracking.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Health Program | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

Large medical centers can overwhelm patients - for example, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center covers over 2.4 million square feet of clinical space - yet the primary objective for these facilities is to provide patient satisfaction with the healthcare services. A Virtual Concierge application is being proposed to help guide the patients throughout their entire visit at the medical facility. The proposed effort will provide an Application Program Interface (API) platform to interact with the DoD scheduling system, along with a Virtual Concierge mobile app to utilize the appointment information to provide a customized itinerary for the patient. Interfaces will also be established to interact with commercially available technologies that can support Virtual Concierge services, such as digital signage, indoor positioning, and service robots. The Convenient Care Model will be used for designing and developing the application to achieve meaningful and sustainable success.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 860.00K | Year: 2013

Understanding task performance and crew behavioral health is crucial to mission success and to the optimal design, development, and operation of next-generation spacecraft. Onboard resources, like a conventional 2D video camera, can capture crew motion and interaction; however, there is a critical need for a software tool that achieves unobtrusive, non-invasive, automatic analysis of crew activity from this footage. The proposed automatic video-based motion analysis software (AVIMA) supports this R&D effort by automatically processing and analyzing complex human motions in conventional 2D video without the use of specialized markers. Unlike many video analytics solutions, AVIMA goes beyond simple blob-based video analysis by tracking the geometric configuration of human body parts like the trunk, head, and limbs. This tracking enables human motion understanding algorithms to model and recognize complex human actions and interactions. The resulting system will represent a substantial breakthrough providing benefits to an array of applications in video surveillance, human-computer interaction, human factors engineering, and robotics.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2013

Most mobile robots today cannot perform significant physical work due to their limited strength and power density. One practical approach to achieving sufficient mechanical strength is through the use of hydraulics. However, the low energy efficiency of current, conventional approaches to mobile hydraulic power systems poses a significant limitation to the development of strong, dexterous mobile robots. Vecna proposes to solve this issue of efficiency through a system- and component-level analysis of hydraulic systems. In contrast to other approaches which consider either software or hardware designs, this analysis will examine the intersection of intelligent control policies and novel hardware design and configurations to determine their advantages for energy efficiency and recovery. Phase II work will build on Phase I designs and test results in actuator development, valving strategies, and novel compliant control policies.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2013

Human operators must closely monitor video for simultaneous situational awareness and threat assessment. For instance, urban environments in a state of constant activity generate numerous visual cues, each of which must be examined so that potential security breaches do not go unnoticed. The need for constant vigilance places a significant burden on the human operator, invariably leading to fatigue and lapses in attention span. Vecna proposes a video event detection software tool, known as AESOP, that automatically detects time critical events in real-time. AESOP learns new events using a programming by example. With this technique, the analyst teaches the software tool new events by demonstrating actions on concrete examples. Once trained, AESOP processes incoming video and proactively identifies user-defined events in real-time while also indexing the video to simplify forensic analysis. Using state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms, the system identifies and tracks all targets in the scene. Characteristic features for each target are extracted over time yielding feature trajectories which are then efficiently matched to the trained event trajectories. An easy-to-use user interface allows the analyst to visualize and confirm detected events quickly. Furthermore, AESOP's accuracy can improve by incorporating the confirmed detected events into the training set.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2012

A pneumatic hammer chisel end effector will be developed that uses a simple yet novel fluid routing system. The lightweight device is easily attached to existing MTRS arms and can generate the impact forces required to fracture concrete and packed soil. The end effector requires no modification to the operator control unit and only two connections to the MTRS: a mechanical interface to hold the tool and a pneumatic air supply which is carried on the MTRS chassis. Vibrations are damped using passive mechanical components to absorb energy that would otherwise be transmitted to the MTRS. The goal of the proposed effort is the optimization and fabrication of the innovative shuttling technology and the creation of a complete tool system. This work will include subsystem proof-of-concept testing using hardware that can be adjusted and optimized, and a series of increasingly complete versions, culminating in a fully production ready set of hardware. The option period will expand upon the results of Phase II testing and manufacture a small production batch of hammer chisel end effectors that will be used for extensive user training and testing. These versions will be TRL7 and ready for large scale production, enabling commercialization of the device.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2012

Most mobile robots today cannot perform significant physical work due to their limited strength and power density. One practical approach to achieving sufficient mechanical strength is through the use of hydraulics. However, the low energy efficiency of current, conventional approaches to mobile hydraulic power systems poses a significant limitation to the development of strong, dexterous mobile robots. Vecna proposes to solve this issue of efficiency through a system- and component-level analysis of hydraulic systems. In contrast to other approaches which consider either software or hardware designs, this analysis will examine the intersection of intelligent control policies and novel hardware design and configurations to determine their advantages for energy efficiency and recovery. Phase II work will build on Phase I designs and test results in actuator development, valving strategies, and novel compliant control policies.

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