Modular Advanced Networked Telerobotic Interface System (MANTIS)

Period of Performance: 06/10/2016 - 12/09/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Array
Bothell, WA 98011
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


With the goal to reduce astronaut time required to maintain experiments on the ISS and aid advances in vision processing and robotic arm control technology, TUI proposes to collaborate with NanoRacks to develop a "Modular Advanced Networked Telerobotic Interface System" (MANTIS) that will integrate an existing robotic arm in a NanoLabs payload on the ISS. The MANTIS system will reducing crew member burden for performing NanoLab experiments by enabling automated and/or supervised teleoperated operation of the Plate Reader, MixStix, and other systems in the NanoRacks instruments. The MANTIS development effort will leverage an existing KRAKEN robotic arm, integrate existing hardware and develop open source software to perform experiments on the NanoRacks platform. To aid design and integration in a Model Based Design (MBD) framework this SBIR will also develop an open simulation framework and tools, leveraging the Robot Operating System (ROS) environment. MANTIS will also enable advances in vision processing and arm control algorithms for the ISS by giving researchers an open software framework to develop on MANTIS. The Phase I effort will develop a detailed design for MANTIS. The Phase II effort will build MANTIS and mature it to TRL-6 through integrated testing with the KRAKEN arm and NanoRacks hardware aboard the ISS. NanoRacks has agreed to collaborate with us in these efforts to enable integration of MANTIS with their experiment platform, and will be our transition partner for Phase III commercialization.