: Footnote to model-based control

[From Richard Thurman (970109.1610)]

Bill Powers (970108.1600 MST)

Referring to the SBIR approach to getting the forward dynamics issue
moving:

I'm going to try to get something going.
Unless there's someone on the net who would like to join in. We need, of
course, an established Small Business which would actually make the
application and oversee the project.

Yes it helps to have a small business which has already won some SBIR
grants (or who can point to previous research grants).

I've had some preliminary contact with Marc Raibert, who runs Boston
Dynamics, Inc. He's the guy who wrote the book _Legged Robots that

Balance_

and whose work at MIT was featured in a Discovery video that Dag Forssell
sent me. He is now in business for himself.

Boston Dynamics would be a great choice to partner with. Would you try to
get them to submit the SBIR proposal under their name with you as the
principal investigator?

Would you like to be involved? Any suggestions? I'm really excited about
this --

I already feel kinda involved -- Over the course of the last 12 months I
have given the little man demo to a few corporations. I have described to
other companies how the little man demo performs with 20 lines of code
what it takes other simulations thousands of lines. I have also given
them the proposal you originally wrote for doing the research. I have
been looking at Government (mostly Air Force) resources to see if I can
find the data you need (moments of inertia, etc.) So far very little has
happened except a few companies (who see me as a potential customer and
therefore have to be nice) say how interesting the idea is and they will
get back to me.

I would like to be more involved but my AF job precludes me from getting
federal money (I'm pretty sure). I will be happy to work the sideline
issues and give help where I can. But because I evaluate and monitor
SBIR's for the AF I do not think I can work the contractor side of the
project directly.

Rich

[From Bill Powers (970110.1235 MST)]

Richard Thurman (970109.1610)--

Boston Dynamics would be a great choice to partner with. Would you try to
get them to submit the SBIR proposal under their name with you as the
principal investigator?

Yes, that's the idea. I've sent Marc Raibert (CEO) a letter outlining the
project. The Phase I part would consist of writing the forward dynamic
equations for the whole human (or quadruped) body, and Phase II would
consist of generating a simulation program that can be used as a test bed
for anyone's model of motor behavior. I'd just be a consultant, not PI.

I would like to be more involved but my AF job precludes me from getting

federal money (I'm pretty sure). I will be happy to work the sideline
issues and give help where I can. But because I evaluate and monitor
SBIR's for the AF I do not think I can work the contractor side of the
project directly.

Right. I was thinking of a DOD application, but I noticed that NASA also has
SBIR programs and I've love to get hooked up with them. However, I'm sure
you can offer informal advice without compromising your position. I haven't
heard back from Raibert yet, so it's still just a dream.

Best,

Bill P.