DoD 2012.3 SBIR Solicitation
NOTE: The Solicitations and topics listed on this site are copies from the various SBIR agency solicitations and are not necessarily the latest and most up-to-date. For this reason, you should use the agency link listed below which will take you directly to the appropriate agency server where you can read the official version of this solicitation and download the appropriate forms and rules.
The official link for this solicitation is: http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir/solicitations/index.shtml
Application Due Date:
Available Funding Topics
Adhesive Bond Strength of Bonded Structures in Confined Locations
OBJECTIVE: Develop an inspection system to measure the adhesive bond strength for bonded composite structures that are contained near edges or in confined spaces. DESCRIPTION: Bonded composite materials offer considerable opportunity to reduce manufacturing cost, improve structural performance, and improve fuel efficiency of aircraft. However, bonded composite aircraft structures continue to be a challenge to manufacture due to the certification requirement to determine the strength of the bonds in the structures - before they are placed into service. Current testing techniques involve statically loading the bonded structure to some specified load level to place the bond line under load. If the bond does not fail, it is determined to be acceptable and the structure is placed into service. This test method is costly and time consuming to undertake. There is a need to be able to"proof"test these bonds to quantify their strength with an efficient nondestructive method. A reliable and repeatable system for inspecting bonds would eliminate the need for full scale load testing resulting in a savings of $20 million in the aerospace industry alone. Recent developments with the use of well controlled stress waves have been demonstrated to be able to locally proof test the bond line. This bond inspection method has been matured for the inspection of non-confined structures. Non-confined bonded structures include wing skins bonded to the main spar or other internal structures. Challenges to implementation of an inspection process include the identification of data and inspection criteria/requirements (to address confined bonded structures and to define the system requirements for the inspection of these confined structures). The laser bond inspection process may provide verification of a successful bond and obviate the need for expensive global proof load tests. Discussions with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)/Tier 1 designers and nondestructive inspection (NDI) personnel have yielded insufficient definition of these inspection requirements, as the designers often make design choices based on available NDI capability. NDI personnel would like the design community to provide requirements on what NDI resolution is needed for the structure. This leaves NDI equipment providers at a disadvantage and impedes further development of technology needed for the equipment/method to inspect primary bonded structures. The nondestructive inspection method shall be capable of proof testing the strength of confined adhesively-bonded composite structures. The identification of the confined structures with an OEM is to be used to determine the equipment requirements for the system to inspect confined structures. The research should identify approaches for measuring the strength and then demonstrating the ability to actually quantify the strength of a confined structure. PHASE I: Define the requirements for inspection system hardware that can quantify the strength of adhesive bond joints in composite structures, such as Pi joints that are contained within confined spaces. Define the dimensions of confined space with a vehicle OEM and then identify and evaluate hardware concepts with the potential to inspect bonds located in realistic vehicle confined spaces. PHASE II: Design the inspection hardware based upon one of the concepts defined in Phase I that addresses the inspection needs of bonded composite structures. Construct a functional breadboard inspection head and demonstrate its ability to conduct inspections within a confined space structure. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The compact inspection head would apply to inspection of commercial aircraft and automotive bondments, as well as high end recreational marine structures. DoD applications consist of bonded manned and unmanned vehicle systems to include air, ground, and sea platforms. REFERENCES: 1) R. Bossi, K. Housen, and C. Walters, and D Sokol,"Laser Bond Testing"Materials Evaluation July 2009 pp 819-827. 2) Baker A.A., Jones R. Bonded Repair of Aircraft Structures, Martinus Nijhoff 1988. 3) Tenney, Darrel R.; Davis, John G., Jr.; Pipes, R. Byron; Johnston, Norman,"NASA Composite Materials Development: Lessons Learned and Future Challenges,"NATO RTO AVT-164 Workshop on Support of Composite Systems; 19-22 Oct. 2009; Bonn; Germany.
Indexing large scientific data
OBJECTIVE: Develop new indexing schemes for large heterogeneous data that operate within a cloud-computing framework in order to enable rapid search and analytics. DESCRIPTION: Data continue to be generated and digitally archived at increasing rates, resulting in large volumes available for search and analysis. Access to these volumes has generated new insights through data-driven methods in commerce, science, and computing sectors. Processing data at the requisite scale now requires specialized databases or clusters of computers, necessitating distributed computing paradigms for data ingestion, transformation, and loading for distributed computation. Therefore it is critical to develop fast, scalable, and efficient indexing schemes for data that not only support data ingestion and transformation but also enable fast search and analytics. Bulk data processing models like MapReduce enable users to leverage the power of thousands of commodity machines with little programming effort within easy-to-use software stacks . Its open source implementation Hadoop has been primarily used to index large collections of text documents for search by exact match string comparison [2-4]. However, little progress has been made in indexing heterogeneous scientific data: semi-structured documents with meta-data and free-text, schema-less structured files, spatial measurements from sensors, categorical data with possibly missing values, noisy measurements, video, speech, graphical/networked information, as well as other data types coming from scientific measurements by instruments. In this solicitation, we seek new indexing schemes for large heterogeneous scientific data that operate within a cloud-computing framework. As most existing implementations of MapReduce do not provide underlying data indexing, new indexing schemes are sought to improve performance for jobs that join data across distinct inputs as well for jobs requiring more descriptive classes of search criteria. Schemes are also sought that support iterative algorithms and successive search refinement, which arise in applications such as mining, ranking, traversal, and parameter estimation. A technical challenge to building indices is to address uncertainty in data that has the potential to bias resultant analysis and lead to erroneous conclusions. For example, it is infeasible for a sensor database to contain the exact value of each sensor at all points in time. This uncertainty is inherent from measurement and sampling errors as well as from resource limitations. In categorical data, a correct value of an attribute is often unknown but may be selected from a number of alternatives. Current research and technology does not incorporate a rigorous method for representing, propagating, or manipulating this type of uncertainty. We seek index structures for efficiently searching uncertain categorical data as well as index structures that intentionally approximate values for speed and efficient implementation, along with corresponding performance guarantees from the probabilistic queries they enable. Another challenge is indexing scientific data using both foreground and background information. The effectiveness of text indices for reliable web search can partly be attributed to the inverted index, where both term frequency and inverse document frequency contribute to the match between document and query. There are not well developed analogues to this combination for scientific data, and therefore we seek novel approaches for indexing scientific data that include similar foreground and background information toward a relevant match. Finally, efficient indexing methods for streaming data are lacking. Existing cloud-computing methods primarily focus on storage and query techniques for sets of static data. We also seek indexing schemes designed to operate on data that appear as continuous and rapid streams. The effort should also develop data annotations to provide an effective means to link data from diverse archives to a domain conceptualization, e.g., a formal vocabulary or grammar, which then provides users with an integrated view for querying the data. PHASE I: Task 1: Develop an approach for scientific data with foreground and background information. Task 2: Develop an approach for indexing data with uncertainty. Task 3: Develop indexing methods for streaming data. Task 4: Extend methods to indexing heterogeneous data sets. Task 5: Implement a minimal proof-of-concept system with sample scientific datasets. Phase I deliverables should include a Final Phase I report that includes: (1) a detailed description of the approach (or algorithms), and benefits of the selected approach over other alternatives; (2) an implementation architecture that integrates tasks 1-4; (3) a demonstration of the approach using the proof-of-concept system on a small cloud. PHASE II: Develop a scalable implementation of the methods. Validate and demonstrate on a heterogeneous dataset in a significant cloud-computing environment. The required deliverable for Phase II will include: the full prototype system, demonstration and testing of the prototype system on users, quantification of performance metrics including number of simultaneous queries per server, number of records indexed, latency, etc., and a Final Report. The Final Report will include (1) a detailed design of the system, documentation, and technical and user manuals, and (2) a plan for Phase III. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Being able to efficiently and effectively index large scientifically collected data would impact many DARPA efforts to build and deploy instruments such as sensors. Also, it would enable new classes of problem solving in the information processing domain relevant to several on-going efforts at DARPA. The Department of Defense has many applications where scientifically collected information is unable to be stored and used in later stages of information processing and decision making because of size and inherent format. Unlike text documents and reports, where indexing and processing have been standard, scientific data such as sensor measurements have not been effectively incorporated into the process. REFERENCES: 1) Dean, J. and Ghemawat, S., MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters, Communications of the ACM, 2008. 2) Olson, M. HADOOP: Scalable, Flexible Data Storage and Analysis. IQT Quarterly, pp. 14-18. Spring 2010. 3) Lin, J. and Dyer, C., Data-Intensive Text Processing with MapReduce. Morgan and Claypool. 2010. 4) Tamer Elsayed, Ferhan Ture, and Jimmy Lin, Brute-Force Approaches to Batch Retrieval: Scalable Indexing with MapReduce, or Why Bother? Technical Report HCIL-2010-23, University of Maryland, College Park, October 2010.
Rapid, Low-Cost, and High-Fidelity DNA Synthesis and Assembly Techniques
OBJECTIVE: Develop a platform based on novel DNA synthesis and assembly techniques that can produce sequence-verified, dsDNA constructs of at least 20,000 bp in length (including A/T- and G/C- rich sequences), at a cost of less than $0.05/bp, and with a turn time of less than one week. DESCRIPTION: Current approaches to engineering biology rely on an ad hoc, laborious, trial-and-error process, wherein one successful project often does not translate to enabling subsequent new designs. As a result, the state of the art development cycle for engineering new biologically based products and capabilities often takes 7+ years and costs tens to hundreds of millions of dollars (e.g. microbial production of artemisinic acid for the treatment of malaria and the non-petroleum-based production 1,3-propanediol). The impact of current approaches is two-fold. First, the number of new entrants and innovators into both the commercial and research space is immediately limited few have the expertise, capital and/or time necessary to develop and engineer a new product. Second, combined with the inherent complexity of biology, an ad hoc approach often results in one-off efforts that are limited to modifying only a small set of genes and constructing simple, isolated systems and devices. Consequently, while progress has been made, we are constrained to producing only a tiny fraction of the vast number of possible chemicals, materials, diagnostics, therapeutics, and fuels that would be enabled by the ability to truly engineer biology. A new approach is needed. Engineering biology with useful complexity requires new approaches for synthesizing, assembling, and manipulating genetic designs rapidly, cheaply, and accurately. The goal is to shift the designers"mindset towards design and experimentation and to facilitate more complex, previously unattainable system designs and architectures. Unlike computer programming, where writing and producing variants of new code is essentially free, the synthesis and assembly of large DNA constructs (the writing of"biological code") is expensive ($0.40 $0.80 per bp), slow (2wks 2mos turn time), error prone (~10-2 10-3), and limited in length and complexity (typically<5 kbp; A/T and G/C rich sequences are challenging or impossible to construct). These limitations restrict biological designers to constructing conservative, evolutionary designs, with little room for multiple design refinements, variants or new ideas. The ability to synthesize, modify and test many new designs (up to the genome scale) with little overhead will help to inform and create the biological design rules and tools that are necessary for the complex design and development of new biologically-based products and devices. This solicitation is focused on development of a platform, based on novel DNA synthesis and assembly techniques, that can produce error-free, 20 kbp lengths of DNA at scale with a reduced cost per base pair (<$0.05/bp) and rapid turn time (<1wk) compared to the state of the art. A successful platform could be readily transitioned to academic, government, and commercial researchers, all of whom are dependent on DNA synthesis for the evaluation of new biological designs. PHASE I: Determine the technical feasibility and projected cost at scale of the new approach for DNA construction. This includes determining the appropriate component processes for oligonucleotide synthesis, error correction, DNA assembly and verification methods, among others. Establish the performance goals of the new approach for cost per base pair, error rate, turn time, and maximum construct length. Perform appropriate analyses (e.g. modeling) to determine the limits to base pair length, error rate, cost, and turn time as well as limitations on A/T and G/C rich sequences for this approach. Develop an initial concept design and model key elements to transition this approach from benchtop to production at scale. Phase I deliverables will include: a technical report of experiments supporting the feasibility of this approach; defined milestones and metrics for cost per base pair, error rate as a function of base pair length, maximum construct length, and turn time; and a detailed design of proposed manufacturing system with estimated production rate. Also included with the Phase I deliverables is a Phase II proposal that outlines plans for the development, fabrication, and validation of a DNA synthesis and assembly platform. This proposal should include a detailed assessment of the potential path to commercialization, barriers to market entry, and collaborators or partners identified as early adopters for the new system. PHASE II: Finalize the design from Phase I and initiate construction of and production from the new DNA synthesis and assembly platform. Establish performance parameters through experimentation to determine: sequence fidelity of oligonucleotides, assemblies and final constructs; cost per base pair of final assemblies; maximum feasible construct length; turn time and production rate of the DNA synthesis platform; and limitations on sequence complexity. Develop, demonstrate, and validate a DNA synthesis and assembly platform that meets the key performance goals and metrics of sequence verified, dsDNA constructs of at least 20,000 bp in length (including A/T- and G/C- rich sequences), at a cost of less than $0.05/bp, and a turn time of less than one week. Deliverables include a prototype device and valid test data, appropriate for a commercial production path. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The industrial biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors are deeply reliant on synthetic DNA constructs to produce novel and high value products. A successful DNA synthesis platform that achieves the key metrics stated for Phase II has significant potential to rapidly transition to commercial use, enabling the biologically-based production of new chemicals, enzymes, fuels, diagnostics, therapeutics, and industrial products. A successful DNA synthesis platform will enable the rapid programming of biologically-based manufacturing platforms through synthesis and assembly of DNA"code"for the production of previously unattainable technologies and products. Such technologies may support a number of current DoD challenges in the areas of novel materials production, diagnostics and vaccine development, as well as enabling new manufacturing capabilities and paradigms. For example, the capability to program systems to rapidly and dynamically prevent, seek out, identify, and repair corrosion/materials degradation in situa challenge which costs the DoD $23B/yr and has no near term solution in sight. REFERENCES: 1) M. Baker."Microarrays, megasynthesis,"Nature Methods, 8(6), p. 457-460, 2011. 2) D.G. Gibson, L. Young, R.-Y. Chuang, J.C. Venter, C.A. Hutchison, and H.O. Smith."Enzymatic assembly of DNA molecules up to several hundred kilobases,"Nature Methods, 6(5), p. 343-345, 2009. 3) J. Quan, I. Saaem, N. Tang, S. Ma, N. Negre, H. Gong, K.P. White, and J. Tian."Parallel on-chip gene synthesis and application to optimization of protein expression,"Nature Biotechnology, 29(5), p. 449-452, 2011. 4) C.-C. Lee, T.M. Synder, and S.R. Quake."A microfluidic oligonucleotide synthesizer,"Nucleic Acids Res., 38(8), p. 2514-2521, 2010. 5) M. Matzas, P.F. Sthler, N. Kefer, N. Siebelt, V. Boisguerin, J.T. Leonard, A. Keller, C.F. Sthler, P. Hberle, B. Gharizadeh, F. Babrzadeh, and G.M. Church."High-fidelity gene synthesis by retrieval of sequence-verified DNA identified using high-throughput pyrosequencing,"Nature Biotechnology, 28(12), p. 1291-1294, 2010. 6) S. Kosuri, N. Eroshenko, E.M. LeProust, M. Super, J. Way, J.B. Li, and G.M. Church."Scalable gene synthesis by selective amplification of DNA pools from high-fidelity microchips,"Nature Biotechnology, 28(12), p. 1295-1299, 2010. 7) M. Algire, R. Krishnakumar, and C. Merryman."Megabases for kilodollars,"Nature Biotechnology, 28(12), p. 1272-1273, 2010. 8) P. Carr."DNA construction: homemade or ordered out?"Nature Methods, 7(11), p. 887-889, 2011.
Realtime interlinked software for distributed Non-latent N-DOF operations
OBJECTIVE: Create and link a nationally distributed network of very low cost space-simulated N-degree of freedom (DOF) test beds using a common open source set of real-time software. DESCRIPTION: The US has more independent multi-DOF test beds that support various robotic or free-flying demonstration spaces for space systems than anywhere in the world. However, they are each independent and geographically disparate, and each location develops its own methodology to simulate the space environment based on the numbers of degree of freedom"s the facility has at its disposal. The problem to solve is a common set of simulation software that is able to link each of these various N-DOF"s together into a real-time 6-DOF simulation that could run concurrent test operations at a fraction of the cost of flying similar systems in space. Goal is to develop a nationally linked test and operations methodology that can train, increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and demonstrate low cost space technology using the high number of separated multi-DOF test beds around the nation. The objectives is to link in 3-D visualization technology with test beds for full scale DOF flight operations and methodologies, demonstrated using various N-DOF geographically distributed test beds that concentrate on robotic dynamics, orbital contact dynamics and 1-G contact dynamics. Relevance to DoD/DARPA will include a never before demonstrated methodology to train multiple personnel (from students to professional engineers) on upcoming techniques for rendezvous proximity operations in space, and to develop a methodology to test both hardware and techniques in terrestrial test beds at a cost point that has here-to-fore never been achieved except by going into space. Terrestrial laboratories and hardware can be tested, modified, re-tested in the course of hours or days, whereas a space test, even on the International Space Station (ISS), takes years of planning and then has no capacity to be modified to re-test. PHASE I: Investigate and develop the basic concept behind a common architecture set of simulation software that would interlink multiple DOF test beds. This would include identifying a basic set of inertial matrices that could be used no matter the DOF"s available at each location; identify methodology for latency compensation due to internet communication breaks that would affect real-time operations; and identify appropriate and realistic DOF fusion that could occur to address various disparate test facility differences in X, Y and Z axes such that combinations of 2 or more could provide full real-time 6DOF simulations. PHASE II: Deliver an open source based set of software standards and algorithms that can be used by various test facilities around the country that can integrated multiple DOF"s. An actual demonstration of fusion into 6 DOF will be shown by selecting at least two facilities and implementing the software into the test facilities robotic platforms. The software deliverable at the end of Phase 2 should be fully realizable in an open source language, and have the ability to interconnect various simulation systems specific to DOF test facilities through internet accessible languages and protocols. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The vision for Phase III is a full complement of software and modules that can be used by the DoD laboratories associated with space applications, and civilian research and organizations worldwide that support space systems development through N-DOF tests. This would potentially apply to any and all spacecraft hardware that to-date has not been able to be tested in full 6-DOF capability without going to space, and expanded to new hardware and systems concepts for upcoming activities in spacecraft servicing and advanced rendezvous and proximity maneuvering operations for on-orbit assembly, salvage, repair and maintenance of satellite and space based platforms. REFERENCES: 1)"Development and Operation of a Micro-satellite Dynamic Test Facility for Distributed Flight Operations", D. Barnhart, J. Tim Barrett, J. Sachs, and P. Will, USC, for AIAA Space 2009, Pasadena CA. 2)"Demonstration of Technologies for Autonomous Micro-Satellite Assembly", W. Bezouska, M. Aherne, J.Tim Barrett, and S. Schultz, USC, for AIAA Space 2009, Pasadena CA. 3)"Flat-Floor facilities in support of configurable space structures", Z. Pronk, P.Th.L.M. van Woerkom, National Aerospace Laboratory NLR, Space Division, P.O. Box 90502, 1006 BM, Amsterdam The Netherlands, Acta Astronautica, Volume 38, Issues 4-8, Feburary-April 1996, Pages 277-288. 4)"ZERO-Robotics: A Student Competition aboard the International Space Station", A. Saenz-Otero, J. Katz, S. Mohan and D. Miller, MIT Space Systems Lab; G. Chamitoff, NASA JSC, for IEEE Paper 2009.