The Intelligent Systems Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) experimented with a variety of applications for the NIST RoboCrane. The RoboCrane design utilizes the basic idea of the Stewart Platform parallel link manipulator. The unique feature of the NIST approach is the use of cables as the parallel links and the use of winches as the actuators. Depending on what is suspended from its work platform, the RoboCrane has land, air, water, and space applications. A 2-meter version, 6-meter version, ship-hull access version (Flying Carpet) and other versions of the RoboCrane have been built and critical performance characteristics analyzed. Through these and other conceptual models, example applications for RoboCrane are: flexible-structure mobility, heavy material handling, and flexible fixturing on land; rescue and personnel/equipment maneuverability in air; subsea pipe-laying/removal, lifting, and salvage from stable or unstable references on water; drydock ship-hull access, and lightweight, long distance lunar rover capabilities in space. All applications of RoboCrane include a large work volume, six degree-of-freedom control, precision maneuverability, and enhanced crane capabilities. Many partners collaborated on this project over approximately 15 years.
The RoboCrane design utilizes the basic idea of the Stewart Platform parallel link manipulator. The unique feature of the NIST approach is the use of cables as the parallel links and the use of winches as the actuators.
Additional Technical Details
Roger Bostelman, Project Leader
Advanced Technology and Research Corp.
Intelligent Automation, Inc.
John J. McMullen, Associates
Newport News Shipbuilders
Atlantic Marine Shipbuilders
Defense Advanced Research Project Agency
Department of Energy
Department of Transportation
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
US Air Force
US Marine Corp
Brigham Young University
Carnegie Mellon University