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Force Servo

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Force Servo (Force Servo)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-06-30

Servo drives are small devices that have an output shaft, which can be positioned to specific angular positions by sending the servo a coded signal. Majority of modern servo drives maintain a controlled position of the arm or are responsible for cyclic rotation with variable speed. This principle of operation limits their functionalities and performance capabilities. Development of self-driving cars, autonomous vehicles, drones, advanced robotic manipulators, video camera stabilizers and other devices require servo drives that are able to react and imitate the force of a living being. Absence of such solution creates a market gap in these industries and stagnates revolution of autonomous devices.

My Research, a Lithuanian SME, developed a new type of a servo drive for remotely controlled devices to expand and improve servo drive application capabilities. The solution is called Force Servo – an innovative servo drive, which value of the force is proportional to control signal and does not depend on the position of the arm, while the force is controlled with a force sensor. Unique patented design of Force Servo is more powerful, compact and energy efficient than other servo drives, allows simplifying mechanism and is able to replicate outside force. Force Servo will support robotics, bionics, and video production industries enabling development of state-of-the-art technologies that will contribute to solving important societal and economic issues, such as ageing societies and unemployment.

The main objective of the application for the SME Instrument Phase 1 was to develop a feasibility study for the commercialization of My Research Force servo drive. To reach this goal, a set of sub-objectives has been developed, which are as follows: 1) to perform servo drives and camera stabilizers market research; 2) to conduct user needs analysis; 3) to develop a plan for product redesign; 4) to perform IPR strategy; 5) to develop and elaborate business model including detailed business plan.
During the project My Research performed market research on servo drives and camera stabilizers market. The company analysed worldwide trends with special focus on its target market – the US. As a result, My Research decided to focus more on standalone camera stabilizers with integrated Force Servo drives, rather than Force Servo as a component. The global competitor analysis revealed that most popular producer of stabilizers is DJI. My Research decided not to go to direct competition with DJI and position itself in higher price range and another segment.
My research also conducted user needs analysis during the exhibitions and industry conferences, product testing in TV studios and discussions with industry players. Feedback on camera stabilizers with integrated Force servo drive were positive, highlighting the energy efficiency, compatibility with different camera size and lens length. Based on user feedback, the plan for redesign includes more of complementary rather than essential changes. My Research will simplify mount of batteries and balancing procedure, will upgrade the control of stabilizer to make it more user friendly and will create the plastic case to hide wires. The noise caused by Force Servo drive will also be reduced.

During the project My Research, in collaboration with specialized patenting firm AAA Law, performed Freedom to operate analysis which showed that there are no such patents and camera stabilizers with incorporated Force Servo drives can be patented and commercialized without infringing anybody’s intellectual property rights. Four patent applications related to Force Servo solution have already been submitted and confirmed in Lithuania. Three patent applications are submitted and still in application process in the US.

My Research have also made decision on their business model – they plan to expand in other markets by selling the production via web shop. In order to scale-up and to increase brand awareness globally, My Research plans to establish a partnership with electronics distributors in USA. The distributors will be responsible for establishing the partnerships with various web-shops in the area that could potentially sell the solution through their network. During the project, My Research also evaluated potential risks and established measures to mitigate it.

Overall, the tasks performed during the SME – instrument Phase 1 project showed that camera stabilizers with incorporated Force Servo drives can be commercialized successfully due to the favourable business environment for camera stabilizers producers. After confirmation of patents, My Research will be ready for production and commercialization.
Force Servo drive, developed by My Research, can be standardized and provided to all relevant market segments – video stabilization, robotics, bionics, remote controlled vehicles, interactive interface and others. This will enable development of state-of-the-art technologies that will contribute to solving important societal and economic issues, such as ageing societies and national security. Moreover, global demand for video camera stabilization is growing, driven by the emergence of new video camera segments (high-end camcorders and unmanned aerial vehicles). My Research offers camera stabilizers, which are more compact, energy efficient and better performing than other camera stabilizers in the market.