Stony Brook startup awarded competitive grant from NSF
Mechanismic Inc., a Stony Brook University startup, has received a $224,959 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR/STTR) award from the National Science Foundation to conduct research and development (R&D) work on SnappyXO, a DIY robotics education platform that pushes students to think outside the box while simultaneously teaching them many of the engineering principles they will need to succeed in the STEM workforce.
SnappyXO enables students in elementary school through college to create robots using a set of hardware along with a motion design app. The platform merges an innovative design metaphor with a fast manufacturing process to enable mass customization. This capability, which sets SnappyXO apart from other platforms, allows students to not only build robots, but to design and prototype their own robot kits.
“The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Barry Johnson, director of the NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”
Robotics Launchpad may be the first product of its kind that would enable schools and colleges to provide an authentic robotics education to its students covering diverse disciplines in science and engineering in the context of engineering design,” said Dr. Anurag Purwar, the CEO at Mechanismic Inc and the primary inventor of SnappyXO. He added that the technology used in creating robotics products for students is scalable and application agnostic to enable industry practitioners to create functional prototypes and help individuals design and build their own highly customized devices, such as in Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
“The Stony Brook Manufacturing Technology Research Consortium (MTRC) is proud to support Mechanismic as a manufacturer on Long Island,” said MTRC Executive Director Dr. Imin Kao. “We have been collaborating with Mechanismic on successfully delivering our Robotics Camp using their innovative SnappyXO robot kit for STEM education and workforce development. The MTRC is looking forward to continuing working with Mechanismic in the future.”
Mechanismic previously received funding through the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF). The investment will enable the manufacture of several dozen prototypes for delivery to summer camps and programs to further validate the demand and excitement for a simple, easy-to-use, and low-cost robotics kit. This project is additionally being supported by the NY-state SPIR and SensorCAT programs on the Stony Brook University campus.
Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.
NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.
America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.8 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: http://seedfund.nsf.gov
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