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A Portable Hardware Solution for Real-Time DNA and RNA Sequencing


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Biotechnology The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. OBJECTIVE: DTRA seeks to develop a US-based, portable, open-architecture tablet designed for SOCOM ATAK users that is capable of visualizing and conducting real-time DNA or RNA sequencing in a tactical environment. Further commercialization is envisioned to provide benefit to other government users of the ATAK situational awareness environment by providing real-time, presumptive DNA or RNA sequencing with field awareness to decision makers. DESCRIPTION: Biological Warfare Agent (BWA) detection and identification options for SOCOM users are limited in both available technologies and library size. Lab-based theater confirmatory DNA and RNA sequencing are possible, but not technically or tactically feasible for SOCOM operators at this time. Additionally, the methods employed by operators, Hereditary Hemolytic Anemia (HHA) and Polymerase Chain Reaction-based (PCR) tools, are definitively limited by their BWA library sizes. Sequencing, however, is capable of having a BWA library that is only limited by available processing power and hard drive space. The specific need for SOCOM users is a stand-alone tablet capable of targeting low complexity, high biomass BWA samples in a time-constrained tactical environment. When combined with the ATAK CBRN Plug-in (CBRNPI), on-target sequencing results will be viewable in real-time by CONUS/OCONUS laboratories, and decision-makers at the Joint Operations Center (JOC). Applying ATAK to this sequencing effort prevents potential sampling errors by employed operators, and also drastically reduces the decision-making timeline by providing near real-time results. Requirements for this development are as follows: • Tablet SWaP: o Utilizes Nanopore Technology 512 Channel MinION Flow Cell and Flongle o LED touch screen, approximate dimensions 6” x 4” o Approximate overall dimensions, 6.5” x 6” x 1” o Weight = <2.0 lbs o 1 x GB Ethernet LAN port o 1 x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C connection o Powered by Mil Spec-2590 lithium battery or 120/240 VAC o Micro SD Card slot with 1TB support o Tablet is Static IP and DHCP Configurable o Capable of emitting Wifi 6 to make a wireless connection to an android phone • Minimum Computational Requirements o Quad Core I7, 8th Gen or newer o 32 GB DDR4 RAM o x86 capable of running Linux-based OS o 1 TB SSD o No additional cooling required o Hot-swappable server blade • ATAK Integration o Integration into the ATAK CBRNPI utilizing ProtoBuff programming language partnered with a DTRA-approved ATAK CBRNPI Developer PHASE I: Begin with a market research study of potential COTS hardware solutions that meet SWaP requirements. Start development of the sequencing software GUI utilizing the identified small form factor computer for processing but visualized using a separate computer. Integrate and confirm the compatibility of the stand-alone Nanopore Technologies MinIon. Integrate the DTRA OI-CO BWA library into the sequencer’s computer. Conduct successful benchtop functionality test consisting of a standalone computer for visualization, sequencing computer, MinIon reader, and pre-prepared reagent sample. Culminate Phase 1 with a digital rendering of a tablet prototype that is physically capable of integrating either the NPT MinION or Flongle flow cells utilizing respective COTS hardware component that meets the outlined requirements. PHASE II: Focus on building, testing, and refining the 3D-printed prototype. After full functionality is achieved with the prototype, begin integration of the sequencer into the ATAK CBRNPI. Post ATAK integration, the prototype sequencer will need to conduct a successful benchtop test while also being remotely viewable within ATAK. Pending a successful functionality test, a minimum of two fully functional sequencers will need to be created with a final packaging of either machined aluminum or injection-molded polymer that meets all final SWaP requirements. The remaining portion of Phase II should focus on designing and creating two fully equipped sequencing kits that can be utilized for additional user testing. The culmination of this phase should include identifying a future manufacturer and cost for sequencing kits. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: No entry REFERENCES: 1. Nanopore Technologies, MinION -; 2. Handheld Genomic Sequencer Shows Promise in Field Demo -; 3. Sequencer for soldiers: battlefield genomics -; 4. Arnhouse Digital Devices Corporation, BioDigital PC12X -; KEYWORDS: Biosequencing; Portable Genomic Sequencing; ATAK Situational Awareness; Edge Computing
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