Reusable Software Components for Materiel Handling

Period of Performance: 12/22/1998 - 06/30/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Real-time Innovations
232 East Java Drive Array
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Materiel handling is critical to many enterprises, from military operations to shipboard loading. However, materiel handling is time-consuming and expensive, primarily because it requires extensive human labor. When working with hazardous environments or materials, the expense increases dramatically. Today's automated handling systems must be teleoperated-painstakingly controlled remotely by an active human operator. Teleoperated systems are slow, clumsy, and fundamentally expensive. The technology exists to build handling systems that can operate more automatically. Vision systems, robotics, motor control, force sensing, user interfaces, and even grasping are reasonably well understood and available components. However, integration remains an intractible problem. We propose to develop a materiel handling software system that will allow seamless integration of these diverse technologies. Our immediate goal will be to create a reusable framework and components for materiel handling that can be: Operated robustly and efficiently, Applied to many systems with differing hardware, and Utilized to complete many different tasks. The system will share control between the computer and the operator, allowing each to contribute to the operation. We will thus exploit the strengths of each member of the team: the human, s reasoning, and the computer's accuracy and automation of small motions. BENEFITS: If successful, this work will greatly accelerate the development of automated materiel handling. It will also be applicable to many other types of control systems, from industrial automation to remote equipment maintenance. RTI has the males and industry experience to successfully commercialize the product.