SOURCE: Barrett Technology, Inc.  Barrett Technology WAM robotic arm BarrettHand Ubot Puck Servoamplifier

June 09, 2010 10:06 ET

NSF Awards Barrett Technology Grant to Develop Advanced Robotic Hand

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - June 9, 2010) -  The National Science Foundation's SBIR (small business innovation research) program is one of the most selective of its kind, accepting only a small fraction of the high-quality proposals it receives. The process is formal and involves thorough critical review for technical innovation and likelihood of commercial success. CEO Bill Townsend states: "It is a great program to develop technologies that might otherwise be too risky to do completely on our own. And, we have a great track record of converting novel ideas into products that sell. In terms of Barrett's success with NSF's program, our philosophy is to leverage the program smartly; when we target an application, we align it carefully with our business focus. As a result we have been awarded grants for each of our proposals for several years, which I believe is quite unusual. The award is also consistent with DARPA's selection of Barrett to supply the systems for its ARM-S program."

Barrett is internationally renowned for its development of robotic graspers, a class of multi-fingered, multi-jointed robotic hand pioneered by Barrett to be more than a simple gripper (or pincer), but without the full complexity of a human hand. The goal is to have one piece of hardware on the end of a robotic arm that can accomplish the widest possible variety of tasks instead of only one task, as most grippers do. Most assembly or pick-and-place robots, required to pick up parts of different shape, size, orientation, or texture, generally rely on tool changers and a rack of grippers with specialty gripper jaws machined specially for a given part in a fixed orientation. The world of manufacturing is moving towards mass customization, which demands this higher level of flexibility. Moreover, there is an entirely new segment of robotics -- mobile service robots -- that absolutely requires flexibility and versatility because variations in part shape, orientation, and texture are limitless. Barrett plans to have new grasper solutions as these applications continue to come on line.

For the grant just awarded, Barrett will pair its latest Puck™ servoamplifier technology with technology (patent pending) licensed exclusively from Harvard University.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli at

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