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Ross-Hime Designs
Ross-Hime Designs

Technology: Robotic joint
Location: Minneapolis
Amount of grant: $730,000 (February 2008)
From: U.S. Army
Employees:> 6
Revenues: $1 million

Mark Rosheim has been building robotic joints since he was 17, when he secured his first patent. Now he's developing the Omni-Wrist III, a dexterous robotic wrist that rotates a heat sensor. The joint will be used on U.S. Army missiles, which would allow the nose cone to hold larger sensors to increase accuracy. "It's really exciting because it's kind of adding a human level of flexibility to machining and it will greatly increase productivity," Rosheim says.

Rosheim started his business in 1989 with a SBIR grant from NASA for $50,000. As an undergrad at the University of Minnesota, he snuck into a graduate course in engineering and built a model of his "dream machine." After its success, he dropped out and pursued a life of invention, and has since won seven SBIR awards.

PaR Systems Inc., a Shoreville, Minn.-based robotics company, pledged $100,000 to Ross-Hime to help develop the dexterous machining head. The two companies plan to work together on the commercialization of the technology. - Diana Rosenthal

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Last updated April 11 2008: 4:34 PM ET