Torque sensing technology
ATI Industrial Automation
Apex, NC

ATI Industrial Automation is developing multi-axis, force/torque sensing technology to be used in space exploration, including future Mars missions. Currently under development, the new technology will enable fabrication of a force/torque sensor for the Mars rover’s robotic arm. Sensor feedback allows the arm to guide its coring tool into rocks, and then safely place the rock samples in the rover’s canisters.

The sensor will provide valuable force feedback to a tele-operated robotic arm on the International Space Station, as well as loading feedback for limbs in a humanoid robot application.

The technology being developed also improves ATI’s products for use in extreme environments, including industrial applications with extreme heat, cold, high acceleration, ultrahigh vacuum, vibration, and magnetism.

ATI’s Force/Torque Sensor System measures six components of force and torque (Fx, Fy, Fz, Tx, Ty, Tz) and features a compact design, hardened stainless steel construction, high-speed output, overload protection, span-temperature compensation options, and high signal-to-noise ratio.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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