Retractable Robotic Anchor for Hard Rock and Granular Soils

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


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ProtoInnovations, LLC
5453 Albemarle Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


ProtoInnovations proposes to research, develop, and validate an innovative retractable robotic anchoring mechanism that works both in hard rock and granular soils permitting anchoring and subsequent repositioning of a lander, rover or other equipment. Our goal is to support a number of mission targets to Mars, the Moon, and asteroids. The technology proposed here is of special value to planetary missions involving extreme terrain mobility, small body/microgravity mobility, and missions that involve forceful interaction with the environment (e.g. drilling, digging, etc.) These missions are all ranked as High Priorities in NASA's Robotics, Tele-robotics, and Autonomous Systems Roadmap Technology Area 04 (April 2012). The use of retractable anchors could also benefit missions involving multi-rover exploration, instrument employment, infrastructure emplacement, etc. In Phase 1 we will: 1- Research the mechanics of robotic anchoring in hard rock and soft soils; 2- Design and prototype a working robotic anchoring mechanism; 3- Conduct proof-of-concept and performance characterization testing; 4- Demonstrate the weight holding capacity of the prototype anchoring mechanism on a vertical and inverted surface.