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Biologically Inspired Reconfigurable Computer for High-speed Object Avoidance in Small UAVs

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-08-M-0200
Agency Tracking Number: N081-079-1337
Amount: $69,931.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N08-079
Solicitation Number: 2008.1
Solicitation Year: 2008
Award Year: 2008
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2008-05-12
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2009-03-12
Small Business Information
51 East Main Street, Suite 203, Newark, DE, 19711
DUNS: 071744143
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Fernando Ortiz
 Project Manager
 (302) 456-9003
Business Contact
 Eric Kelmelis
Title: CEO
Phone: (302) 456-9003
Research Institution
For this project, we plan to collaborate with researchers in the neuroscience department at the University of Delaware to develop an FPGA-based embedded computer, inspired in the brains small vertebrates (fish). The mechanisms of object detection and avoidance in fish have been extensively studied by our Delaware collaborators. The midbrain optic tectum is a biological multimodal navigation controller capable of receiving input from all senses that convey spatial information, including vision, audition, touch, and lateral-line (water current sensing in fish). Unfortunately, the complexity of these models makes them too slow for real-time implementation. These simulations are run offline in state-of-the-art desktop computers, presenting a gap between the application and the target platform: a low-power embedded device. EM Photonics has expertise in development of high-performance computers based on commodity platforms such as graphic cards (GPUs) and FPGAs. FPGAs offer (1) high computational power, low power consumption and small footprint (in line with typical UAV constraints), and (2) the ability to implement massively-parallel computational architectures, which can be leveraged to closely emulate biological systems. Combining UD’s brain modeling algorithms and the power of FPGAs this computer will enable navigation in complex environments, and further types of UAV onboard processing in future applications.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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