SMART Start

The SMART Start program is focused on funding innovative, interdisciplinary projects with community-related themes.

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Launched by the Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotics Technology Community of Excellence (SMART CoE), SMART Start will support interdisciplinary collaboration. This aligns with the mission of SMART: to research and develop the next generation of technologies, products, processes and expertise for achieving global leadership in economic and ecological sustainability for design and manufacturing across scales of time, size, and complexity.

SMART START Phase I

Towards Greater Sustainability and Autonomy: Human-Robot Collaboration for Disassembly in Future Manufacturing

The SMART Start Phase I theme is the Human-Technology Frontier.

This includes how artificial intelligence, rapid prototyping, and materials design are transforming the relationship between people and technology, whether in creating innovative partnerships between robots and people, creating customized materials, and generating insight into complex system outcomes. White papers in this broad area of interest are welcome.  

Project Details

Project Overview

  • Projects must make use of SMART equipment and/or facilities (e.g., Motion Lab - Vicon motion tracking system; Automation Sandbox – UR3 robot arm, Baxster robot, pneumatic controls, conveyors, and vision system; Fabrication Factory – OMAX water jet cutter, laser cutter, and kiln)
  • Projects with industrial partners and/or those leading to large scale proposals will receive higher priority.
  • Phase I: Teams can initially request funding up to $25,000 from SMART. Phase I requests are due by 5pm, May 7, 2018.
  • Phase II: Additional funding can be requested by those selected in Phase I or funded in earlier SMART Exploratory project calls. Phase II requests (including receipt of industrial contribution, if applicable) are due by 5pm, September 28, 2018.
  • Projects with an industrial partner that contributes resources can request additional funds to match (1:1) the cash component of the contribution (up to $25,000).  
  • Projects with no industry involvement can request up to an additional $25,000 to cover some of the costs of grant preparation for large scale proposals. The amount provided will be commensurate with the size and scope of the proposal. The funds can be used to support any aspect of the proposal development phase (but not to replicate the support provided by the Office of Research Advancement). Funds will be disbursed after a letter of intent is submitted and/or full details of the proposal are provided (i.e., copy of the RFP, proposal due date, PI team, partnering institutions, size of the proposal, budget). 

Considerations

  • The SMART Start is open to teams of scholars in all disciplines. Teams shall include at least 3 investigators, one of whom can be from industry.
  • The funds cannot be used for extending existing, externally funded projects, or for projects with sufficient preliminary results for funding by external agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF).  
  • Teams requesting Phase II funds to support large proposal development should submit their external proposal through SPS within 12 months of funding disbursement.
  • The review of the white papers will be streamlined by ad hoc panels of faculty who will make a recommendation to the Director of SMART, who will then make the final recommendation to the OVPRED.
  • Any questions can be sent to smart-coe@buffalo.edu.
  • All white papers must be submitted via email as a single PDF by 5pm, May 7, 2018 to smart-coe@buffalo.edu

Submission Requirements

Submissions (single spaced using 12 point font and 1-inch margins) shall include:

  • 3-page white paper (maximum) plus references describing the topic of interest, intellectual contributions, and relevance to SMART themes. The paper must include sufficient detail to convince reviewers of the project's merit, and written in language understandable to non-specialists. The white paper should stress the merit of the project and potential impact, including the following:
    • A clear research question that defines the purpose of the project and background/rationale that addresses the significance and relationship to the theme of the Human-Technology Frontier.
    • Describe the research/scholarly methods that will be used to conduct the project and how SMART equipment and/or facilities are expected to be used in the execution of the project.
    • If the project includes industrial partners and/or is expected to lead to large scale proposals, provide a description of the plan for collaboration and envisioned outcomes for the project. 
    • If there is an intention to submit a Phase II request, include a brief description of the intended outcomes. Phase II will be a separate process, but this is an opportunity to convey the intent of the longer term effort.
    • Include a brief line item budget and justification including a description of other resources or cost-sharing that will be applied to the project. The budget justification is important since budget reasonableness will be considered. 
  • Key Personnel: Attach a 2-page biographical sketch/vitae summary for each investigator participating in the project

Faculty Involved:

The overall goal of the effort is to combine disassembly sequence planning with deep learning based human behavior (and tool type/ usage) prediction, and iterative learning based real-time control.  The disassembly and disposal of products at end of life is not well-structured like in product production. 

More Details

Variation results from uneven mixes of different brands, physical uncertainties resulting from component defects or damage during usage, incomplete product and internal configuration information. As a result, disassembly is currently a labor-intensive process, which often is manually executed with very limited automation.  The current approach has great potential to be automated through human-robot collaboration both in planning and execution of disassembly operation.

Overall, the objectives of this project is interesting and has the potential to have important impact in the future (as well as open up opportunities for larger externally funded projects), and the overall framework (if not the details) presented exhibits clarity. The PIs may need to reduce the scope of project and instead focus on 1-2 of the objectives (e.g., focus on developing and integrating short-term control and predicting tool type and position; the task that the worker is performing can be prescribed, and long term planned can assumed) and have more clarity on how they will exactly deal with the complexities of the problem, leaving the later objectives to a Phase II effort that leads to greater industrial involvement or large scale proposal development.

AMLENS: Interpretable and Interactive Human-Technology Partnership for Additive Manufacturing Quality Excellence

The objective of this project is to create a human-technology collaborative environment for Additive Manufacturing (AM) quality excellence by: 1) making the additive manufacturing process data human interpretable, and 2) integrating human interactions into AM process control technologies. The project will test the hypothesis that additive manufacturing quality excellence can be better achieved in an interpretable and interactive human-technology partnership. An AMLens is proposed: just as a human can adjust a lens to observe a system, a human can interact with technology for adaptive learning.

SMART START Phase II

SMART Start Phase II seeks to build on previous community efforts by catalyzing industry collaborations and/or large scale proposal development. Teams selected in Phase I or funded in earlier SMART Exploratory project calls will receive higher priority.

Project Details

Project Overview

Phase II requests are due by 5pm, November 9, 2018.

  • Projects must make use of SMART equipment and/or facilities (e.g., Motion Lab - Vicon motion tracking system; Automation Sandbox –UR3 robot arm, Baxter robot, pneumatic controls, conveyors, and vision system; Fabrication Factory – OMAX water jet cutter, laser cutter, and kiln)
  • Projects with an industrial partner that contributes resources can request funds to match (1:1) the cash component of the contribution (up to $25,000).
  • Projects with an industrial contribution component must have that contribution received at the University by December 31, 2018 and prior to receiving SMART funding.
  • Projects with no industry involvement can request up to an $25,000 to cover some of the costs of grant preparation for large scale proposals. The amount provided will be commensurate with the size and scope of the proposal. The funds can be used to support any aspect of the proposal development phase (but not to replicate the support provided by the Office of Research Advancement). Funds will be disbursed after a letter of intent is submitted and/or full details of the proposal are provided (i.e., copy of the RFP, proposal due date, PI team, partnering institutions, size of the proposal, budget).

Considerations

The SMART Start is open to teams of scholars in all disciplines. Teams shall include at least 3 investigators, one of whom can be from industry.

  • The funds cannot be used for extending existing, externally funded projects, or for projects with sufficient preliminary results for funding by external agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF).
  • Teams requesting Phase II funds to support large proposal development should submit their external proposal through SPS within 12 months of funding disbursement.
  • The review of the white papers will be streamlined by ad hoc panels of faculty who will make a recommendation to the Director of SMART, who will then make the final recommendation to the OVPRED.

Any questions can be sent to smart-coe@buffalo.edu.

All white papers must be submitted via email as a single PDF by 5pm, November 9, 2018 to smart-coe@buffalo.edu.

Submission Requirements

Submissions (single spaced using 12 point font and 1-inch margins) shall include:

1) 3-page white paper (maximum not including references ) describing the topic of interest, intellectual contributions, and relevance to SMART themes. The white paper must include sufficient detail to convince reviewers of the project's merit, and written in language understandable to non-specialists. The white paper should stress the merit of the project and potential impact, including the following:

a) A clear research question that defines the purpose of the project and background/rationale that addresses the significance and relationship to the SMART community.

b) Describe the research/scholarly methods that will be used to conduct the project and how SMART equipment and/or facilities are expected to be used in the execution of the project.

c) Provide a description of the industry collaboration plan and/or the large scale proposal development plan, including envisioned outcomes and impact of the project.

d) Include a brief line item budget and justification including a description of other resources or cost-sharing that will be applied to the project. The budget justification is important since budget reasonableness will be considered.

2) Key Personnel: Attach a 2-page biographical sketch/vitae summary for each investigator participating in the project