Hands-Free Electromyographic Control of a UGV

Period of Performance: 02/14/2006 - 02/14/2008

$730K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Quasar Federal Systems, Inc.
5754 Pacific Center Blvd. Ste. 204
San Diego, CA 92121
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The tremendous increase in demand for the use of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) in DoD agencies has created a need for advanced man-machine interfaces. However, the U.S. Army currently lacks a method to control robotic vehicles that does not require soldiers to give up their weapons in exchange for a control device. A new and effective method of electromyographic (EMG) control has been developed by NASA over the last five years and made possible in a practical setting by significant sensor advances made by QUASAR. Shown to be feasible in Phase I, the technique uses a combination of forearm and sub-vocal commands. The forearm EMG system, which consists of a miniature wireless sensor harness on each of the operator s forearms, gives operator precise analog control of vehicle direction or camera aim. Subvocal speech, which is measured by sensors on the throat and processed by a small body-worn unit, allows for an extensive and intuitive command set. Combining these two modalities, QUASAR will build and demonstrate a wearable prototype system that is minimally intrusive to the operator and is robust in a real-world battlefield environment. Drs. Charles Jorgensen and Kevin Wheeler of NASA will serve as consultants to the project.