Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Open

Actuator Control Technology to Reduce Impact

Request Number
Due Date
Feb 15
Program Manager

Joint/contract development, technology licensing, consulting, product supply


Phase 1: Prototype production within half a year
Phase 2: Commercialization of product in 2023


Necessary development expense will be covered
(Details to be discussed)


How to  Apply
  • Click "Respond", complete the form to the extent possible, and submit along with other attachment files available. 
  • After creating your account for NineSights, your draft will be automatically saved and you can resume later from "Control Center". Please note you do not submit confidential information at this process.
  • This request for proposals in PDF format is available here.


If you have any questions or request, please feel free to contact us at: 

RFP Title


Actuator Control Technology to Reduce Impact
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a control parts manufacturer with sales of several billion dollar (“Client”), seeks technologies for soft movement by controlling actuator operation in response to approach of objects or external force.

They are assumed to be used in robot joints that can reduce or absorb impact when it is difficult to avoid contact with external objects. Technology that realizes the following motions are required:

  • The axis rotates in response to tiny external force
  • Flexible motion like spring
  • Smooth motion in response to external force (sudden movement may cause another risk)
  • Control technology that detects contact with an object and promptly stops and reverses the motor
Key Success Criteria

Specific technological requirements

Specifically, actuator control technology that meets the following requirements is expected:

  • Latency from detection to control: <20 ms
  • Input parameters available for control
    • Electric current/voltage
    • Position, velocity, and torque
    • Signals from a sensor (proximity, torque, etc.)
  • The actuator type is not particularly limited. Actuators with special specifications are acceptable. Also, actuators produced by the Client are available for the project.
  • Should have past verification record with prototyping
  • A reference drawing is shown below. Anticipated technology will enable soft movement by actuator control in the system shown in the drawing. However, the client will not stick to such a system and we welcome various proposals including component technology that doesn’t cover the whole system.

Possible Approaches

Possible Approaches

The Client expects technological approaches based on combination of shock-absorbing or reduction technologies such as the following, but is open to others

  • Actuator control prior to the impact that are expected from sensing proximity of objects
  • Actuator control or mechanism that instantly releases torque in response to contact with objects
  • Actuator control technology that appropriately absorbs or reduces impact in response to external force at contact
  • (Back drive) control to reduce friction
  • Approach using actuator control and physical mechanisms such as clutch
Approaches not of Interest

Approaches Not of Interest

The following technologies are not of interest:

  • Approach using soft material for a chassis
  • Approach using only physical mechanism such as clutch
  • Actuator control or sensing technology that is designed only for avoiding impact.
  • Concept-level proposal at the present stage with no data showing effects
Items to be Submitted


The Client has been involved in the development of driving unit (i.e. a unit containing actuator, controller, sensor, other mechanical components etc.) for next-generation robots or other applications. The mechanism to avoid impact or alleviate unavoidable contact is important for the long-life, safety of the robot, and robot-human collaboration. Next generation robots are required to have ability to ensure both of high operation speed and safety, and cope with various and complicated tasks. To meet this requirement, control and mechanism that allows contact with other objects and human.

In this context, the Client desires to complete the development of a competitive product by collaborating with a partner company with excellent technology related to this mechanism.


Therefore, the Client decided to recruit proposals to accelerate the research and development.


Notes on Response

Proposal shall have clear points and should not include confidential information. Supplemental files may be submitted in addition to the proposal.



Response Evaluation

The client will evaluate all responses with the following criteria.

  • Overall scientific and technical merit
  • Approach to proof of concept or performance
  • Economic potential of concept
  • Realism of the proposed plan (action items, timeline, roles, deliverables, cost estimation)
  • Potential for proprietary position
  • Respondents’ capability and related experiences


Anticipated Project Process

After the submission due date, the client will review all submitted proposals. NineSigma will send the review results to each proposer 6-8 weeks after the due date. The client possibly asks clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for collaboration. The client will select best candidates through evaluations. During the selection process, the client may execute NDA with selected respondents, seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific development targets or potential opportunities.

The client will execute necessary agreements with the selected respondents and move to the advanced development phase. Specifics of any collaboration will be determined through consultation with the concerned parties.

Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest