Advanced Development and Integration of a 3D ZipperMast for Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle Communication and Surveillance

Period of Performance: 09/02/2010 - 09/01/2012


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

GEO Systems, Inc.
210 S. Washington Ave.
Titusville, FL 32796
Principal Investigator


A low-profile, high elevation, retractable mast can enhance communications and situational awareness in small UGVs by overcoming line-of-sight and height limitations. Phase I developed a small mast, 5-inches high, 7 inches diameter, extending 8-feet with a six pound sensor. The ZipperMast knits together three bands of steel forming a ridged 3-D structure with an internal cable that simultaneously extends and retracts with the mast. The cable has external connectors at the base for UGV integration and the mast top for the sensor payload integration. The cable transmits power, data, video and radio antenna signals. Phase II will extend the mast to reach 14 feet allowing operators to look in second story windows, over walls and on top of semi-trailers and trucks. The ZipperMast will be ruggedized for field use by improving the electro-mechanical quick release for sensor payloads, refining the band design, increasing band strength, sealing the electronics and motors against water and dust, upgrading the motors to lift heavier loads. The ZipperMast will be integrated with a Man Transportable Robotic System platform for test and evaluation, elevating a pan-tilt-zoom camera and communications antennas, with electronic stabilization for surveillance on the move.