- Solicitation Details
DoD 2013.1 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
- SB131-001: Single Crystal Self-Assembly
- SB131-002: Portable Brain Recording Device & App
- SB131-003: Automatic Detection and Patching of Vulnerabilities in Embedded Systems
- SB131-004: Integrated Microsystems to Sense and Control Warfighter Physiology for Military Diver Operations
- SB131-005: Biodegradable Electronic Materials for Biomedical Applications
- SB131-006: High Spectrum Efficiency Technologies
- SB131-007: Remote Sensing for Electric and Gravity Fields
- SB131-008: Fractionated Picosats
- SB131-009: Satellite Hypervisor
Single Crystal Self-Assembly
OBJECTIVE: Produce and characterize uniform barium titanate seed crystals suitable for templated grain growth. Develop and demonstrate a fabrication method to array the seeds in a matrix with orientational control of two crystal axes. Demonstrate the consolidation of the seeded matrix into a single crystal in the solid state. DESCRIPTION: Single crystals are conventionally produced by directional solidification from the melt. They are difficult to scale up and usually require extensive machining to form near net shaped components. Significant cost reductions could be achieved by combining powder metallurgy with single crystal growth in the solid state. Advances in templated grain growth suggest the possibility for production of true single crystals in the solid state. A key need to make this a reality is the production of uniform, faceted seed crystals that can be oriented (with 2 crystal axes) in a powder matrix and consolidated via sintering followed by secondary grain growth to form single crystals. Barium titanate (BaTiO3) is proposed as a model material because of its desirable ferroelectric and photorefractive properties. Processes with potential for chemical synthesis of seed crystals include hydrothermal, sol-gel, or other methods that allow control of the particle surface. Success in this endeavor may be transitioned to other single crystal materials with additional functional (i.e., electronic, magnetic, acoustic or optical) properties. The BaTiO3 seed crystals should be uniform in size and shape, with a nominal diameter of 50 microns and a narrow size distribution. The growth of uniform size and shaped seed crystals will be facilitated by development of synthesis methods with fine control of nucleation and growth processes. Precipitating crystals in polymer gels for example, has been used by Henish to suppress nucleation rates (7). Reactor design may also be important in achieving the topic goals. Plug flow reactors for example provide a uniform time temperature profile for the product. Fluidic Self Assembly technology (8) of chips provides an example of how seed crystals might be placed in ordered arrays. Processes that use surface tension to orient the crystal may also be feasible. Pick and place methods would be challenging at small size scales. Successful development of processes to grow single crystals via self-assembly would enable growth of shaped crystals not easily made by conventional melt processes. PHASE I: Develop a reliable and reproducible process to produce uniform sized faceted barium titanate single crystals, with a narrow size distribution centered around 50 micron diameter. Characterize the crystal facet and polar orientation of the seed crystals. Design a method to capture and array the seed crystals for characterization and for oriented placement in further fabrication steps. PHASE II: Scale-up the process for growing seed crystals and demonstrate the reproducibility of the process by producing 3 identical batches of seed crystals. Determine a suitable process to place the seed crystals in ordered and crystalographically oriented arrays within powder preforms. They may be surrounded by structured or unstructured BaTiO3 material. Required Phase II deliverables will include: (1) adequate seed crystals for fabrication of a large (millimeter-scale) single crystal; (2) a reproducible method to place and orient seed crystals, and (3) a model for consolidation of the array into a dense solid. PHASE III: Commercial and military/DoD applications include lead free sonar transducers and electro-optical modulators. Barium titanate single crystals have applications as lead free ultrasonic actuators useful in medical imaging. The manufacturing technology can be extended to single crystal turbine blades, crystal textured magnets and semiconductor suitable for gamma ray scintillators. REFERENCES: 1) PK Gallagher. Chemical Synthesis, in Engineered Materials Handbook Volume 4: Ceramics and Glasses, ASM International, 1991, pp. 52-64. 2) A Jana, S. Ram, and TK Kundu. BaTiO3 nanoparticles of orthorhombic structure following a polymer precursor. Phil. Mag., 2007, 87 (35), pp 5485-5504. 3) T Sato and T Kimura. Preparation of 111-textured BaTiO3 ceramics by templated grain growth method using novel template particles. Ceramics International, 2008, 34(4) pp. 757-760. 4) Y Chen, B Yu, J Wang, R Cochran and J Shyue. Template-based fabrication of SrTiO3 and BaTiO3 nanotubes. Inorg. Chem., 2009, 48 (2), pp 681686. 5) DB Hovis and KT Faber. Textured microstructures in barium hexaferrite by magnetic field assisted gelcasting and templated grain growth. Scripta Met., 2000, 44, pp. 2525-2529. 6) I Soten, H Miguez, SM Yang, S Petrov, N Coombs, N Tetreault, N Matsuura, HE Ruda, and GA Ozin. Barium titanate inverted opals3/4Synthesis, characterization, and optical properties. Advanced Functional Materials, 2002, 12 (1), pp. 71-77. 7) H. K. Henish, Crystal Growth in Gels, Pennsylvania University Press, Pennsylvania (1970). 8) Microfluidic self-assembly; see US Patents 5824186 and 6281038. 9) GM Whitesides and B Grzybowski. Self-assembly at all scales. Science, 2002, 295, pp. 2418-2421. 10) M Bunzendahl, P Lee-Van Schaick, JFT Conroy, CE Daith and PM Norris, Convective self-assembly of Stoeber sphere arrays. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2001, 182, pp 275-283.
Portable Brain Recording Device & App
OBJECTIVE: Develop a portable, inexpensive, and easy-to-use electroencephalography (EEG) device and corresponding mobile application (app) for use by nontraditional audiences. The product will provide real-time, quantitative assessments of neural activity, utilizing display and analyses platforms people already own. DESCRIPTION: EEG technologies provide recordings of electrical brain activity with millisecond scale temporal resolution. These devices are used extensively in research and medical communities, including triaging for traumatic brain injury (TBI; Naunheim et al., 2010), because of their unparalleled temporal fidelity and non-invasive nature, using electrodes placed on the scalp. More recently EEG has been used in neuromarketing and to provide neurofeedback with brain computer interfaces to allow people to move objects or play computer games with their mind. Despite these advantages and applications of EEG, the devices and analysis software are too expensive to promote use by a wide audience. Current EEG devices are also unappealing for the general population, with gel-based electrodes and cumbersome software programs, and unwieldy for military operational use, with many recording electrodes and wires. Industry has recognized the need for a portable, easy-to-use EEG and a number of companies have developed prototypes. Many of these devices are plagued by high artifact in recordings and do not provide the fidelity of data needed for valid research and operational use. Portable EEG systems that do provide research quality data are prohibitively costly for use by a wide audience, costing over $25k per EEG system (Neuroscan). There is a great need for inexpensive and easy to use neural recording devices. Having EEGs in every classroom in America would stimulate the imagination of youth and promote science in technology. Teachers could design lesson plans in biology about the brain and sensory systems, and use hands-on demonstrations to engage students. Students could record their own brain activity and download the data to their iPad. Including EEGs in basic military first aid kits would also help with both medical diagnostics and clinical care for deployed soldiers. Portable EEGs could be used in the field with data sent to a corresponding app on a smartphone for near- instantaneous analysis. By funding a small business with expertise in developing a portable EEG, DARPA stands to make unprecedented strides in this technology. Focusing on reducing the cost and increasing the operational ease of use for both EEG recordings and analyses will revolutionize public- and military-based access to brain science. With public-access to brain recording devices and apps, the field of cognitive neuroscience will be able to take advantage of crowd-sourcing to solve complex neuroscience problems. What challenges one laboratory of neuroscientists or even a field of scientists cannot answer, people everywhere will be able to solve collectively (Ekins and Williams 2010, Howe 2008). PHASE I: Develop an initial concept design and model key elements for a low-cost, portable EEG system. Design a concept for an app for mobile devices that could wirelessly download EEG recordings and graphically display data. Phase I deliverables will include a technical report and brief describing the plan of approach and key technological milestones for the development of a prototype system. PHASE II: Develop, demonstrate, and validate the concept design created in Phase I for the low-cost EEG device. Construct and demonstrate the operation of a prototype for this device in a laboratory environment. In parallel to this EEG development, develop, test, and demonstrate validity of an EEG-compatible app for mobile devices. Required Phase II deliverables will include the prototype EEG sensor and compatible application, and a technical report and brief describing 1) the system design and test results for the EEG device, 2) the mobile device app, 3) and feasibility of use in future commercial and/or military applications. PHASE III: Many commercial entities would have interest in a low-cost, portable, and easy-to-use EEG. Potential marketplace applications exist in neuro-marketing, gaming, politics, and many other fields. In addition to Army medics, civilian doctors will also use this device for triaging TBI patients in hospitals. A great opportunity exists in the education field as well. Placing these devices in every school would provide an invaluable resource to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers in America and would provide an unprecedented opportunity for crowd-sourcing in the general population. A portable, low-cost EEG device and handheld app for analysis would aid all branches of the US military, with particular applicability to the US Army. Soldier medics with access to EEG on the battlefield would have improved diagnostic capabilities, essential to effective treatment. EEG has been shown effective as a quick triage method for TBI, and will have incredible application as such for the Army. REFERENCES: 1) Ekins S and Williams AJ. 2010. Reaching out to collaborators: crowdsourcing for pharmaceutical research. Pharm Res. 27(3):393-5. 2) Howe J. 2008. Crowdsourcing: why the power of the crowd is driving the future of business, New York, Crown Publishing Group. 3) Naunheim RS, Treaster M, English J, Casner T, Chabot R. 2010. Use of brain electrical activity to quantify traumatic brain injury in the emergency department. Brain Inj. 24(11):1324-
Automatic Detection and Patching of Vulnerabilities in Embedded Systems
OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative techniques to automatically detect and automatically patch vulnerabilities in networked, embedded systems. DESCRIPTION: Embedded systems form a ubiquitous, networked, computing substrate that underlies much of modern technological society. Examples include: supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, medical devices, computer peripherals, communication devices, and vehicles. Networking these embedded systems enables remote retrieval of diagnostic information, permits software updates, and provides access to innovative features, but it also introduces vulnerabilities to the system via remote attack. A study by Cui and Stolfo  showed that there exist an extensive number of unsecured, embedded, networked devices that are trivially vulnerable to exploitation by remote attackers. Furthermore, a recent report by McAfee Labs  predicted that in 2012, industrial threats to SCADA systems and industrial controller systems (ICS) will mature and segment and that embedded hardware attacks will widen and deepen. The state of the practice of security for traditional IT systems is anti-virus scanning, intrusion detection systems, and a patching infrastructure. This approach does not work well in the IT space for a variety of reasons, including its focus on known vulnerabilities and the fact that security code can itself introduce new vulnerabilities. Attempts to port these approaches to embedded systems are unlikely to be any more successful because embedded systems impose additional difficulties, such as, strict resource constraints, hard real-time performance requirements, reliability over long periods of time, and the need for extensive verification and validation before patches can be installed . Currently, only a small amount of research has been dedicated to developing techniques for detecting and patching vulnerabilities in embedded systems . DARPA seeks to develop novel technology for automatically detecting and automatically patching vulnerabilities in networked, embedded systems. The technology should represent practical and effective techniques that can be applied to a wide-range of embedded system platforms. In addition, the techniques should be versatile such that it can be implemented on systems externally networked by various mechanisms, including, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, radios, etc. In the defense sector, this technology will lead to more secure military systems ranging from unmanned ground, air and underwater vehicles, to weapons systems, satellites, and command and control devices. Manual techniques for detecting and patching vulnerabilities are not within the scope of this topic and should not be submitted for consideration. PHASE I: Develop novel techniques for automatic detection and automatic patching of vulnerabilities in networked, embedded systems. Required Phase I deliverable includes a final report that details the proposed techniques, the level of vulnerability expected to be achieved by the techniques, and the anticipated amount of software development required. PHASE II: Demonstrate that the techniques from Phase I can be practically and effectively applied to any general networked, embedded system connected by any external means, such as, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, radios, etc. Required Phase II deliverables include all documentation and software for the techniques and a demonstration of the techniques on multiple networked, embedded system platforms. PHASE III: It is envisioned that this technology can be applied to both defense (e.g., unmanned ground, air and underwater vehicles, weapons systems, satellites, and command and control devices) and commercial (e.g., SCADA systems, medical devices, computer peripherals, communication devices, and vehicles) sectors. Develop a commercial service or product of this technology that can be commercialized into the private sector. For example, this technology can be integrated into a larger security software product suite (i.e., McAfee, Symantec, etc.) and would represent a specialized tool that can be applied specifically on networked, embedded systems, as opposed to current security tools designed specifically for traditional IT systems. REFERENCES: 1) A. Cui and S. Stolfo,"A Quantitative Analysis of the Insecurity of Embedded Network Devices: Results of a Wide-Area Scan", ACSAC, pages 97-106, 2010. 2) McAfee Labs, 2012 Threats Predictions, http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-threat-predictions-2012.pdf. 3) C. Ebert and C. Jones,"Embedded Software: Facts, Figures, and Software", IEEE Computer Society, pages 42-52, April 2009. 4) A. Cui and S. Stolfo,"Defending Legacy Embedded Systems with Software Symbiotes", The 14th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Intrusion Detection (RAID), September 2011.
Integrated Microsystems to Sense and Control Warfighter Physiology for Military Diver Operations
OBJECTIVE: Develop an integrated microsystems platform that dynamically senses and controls warfighter physiology to enable safe and robust military dive and flight operations. DESCRIPTION: Consequences of inhaling gases at high pressure were originally encountered during undersea salvage and construction over a century ago. Empiric depth and time limits were found to reduce gas bubble formation in tissues that caused the"bends". We continue to limit adverse physiology now expanded to include decompression sickness (DCS), oxygen toxicity, inert gas narcosis, high pressure nervous syndrome (HPNS), hypoxia and high altitude illness primarily by breathing static gas mixtures at prescribed pressures and durations. Longstanding US Navy dive regulations and technologies mandate use of standard gas mixtures, rate of descent, rate of ascent, depth, and bottom time. While dive technology has changed little in the last two decades, recent advances in applied physiology and microsystems technology could coalesce into revolutionary capability. Although trace gases such as nitric oxide (NO) were traditionally considered"poisons", they are now known as naturally occurring biomolecules that play a critical role in cellular signaling and metabolism. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved NO to treat pulmonary disease, and NO donors such as nitroglycerin have been shown to decrease incidence of DCS through various putative mechanisms. An example within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is inhaled NO to augment operations in hypoxic environments as part of the Rapid Altitude and Hypoxia Acclimatization (RAHA) program. Combining the therapeutic capabilities of trace gases such as NO with in vivo monitoring of pre-symptomatic risk factors such as microbubble formation could reduce the risk of adverse events such as DCS, but requires novel algorithms for dynamic control of pressure-related physiologic conditions, constant physiological feedback, and precise gas administration. Component technologies of interest include but are not limited to: dynamic mixed gas models and control algorithms; physiologic sensors; gas sensors; and gas regulators. Models and algorithms produced under this solicitation should permit increased operation capabilities while minimizing the risk of the following: DCSgas expansion injuries and bubble formation in blood and tissue caused by rapid ascent; oxygen toxicityincreased partial pressure of oxygen (PO2>1.6 ATA) resulting in seizures; inert gas narcosiseuphoria and decrement in intellectual and psychomotor performance related to the lipid solubility of the gas; and hypoxiadecrement in cognition and performance related to low partial pressure of oxygen. The dynamic sensing and control could include but is not limited to such gases as O2, CO2, COx, NO, NOx, H2S, and inert gas diluent. Advanced microsystems technology including chip-scale gas chromatograph / mass spectrometer (to actively and rapidly monitor inspired and expired gases/agents); capacitive micro-machined ultrasonic transducer arrays (for in vivo bubble detection and environmental monitoring); and gas/vapor control elements such as MEMS gas pumps, valves and nebulizers offer new components that could be integrated into a physiologic control system for extreme environments. The therapeutic effects of inhaled pharmaceutical agents on physiology could also be considered. Component technologies could support military open circuit, semi-closed circuit or closed circuit rebreather systems. Military flight operations are also limited by the physiologic effect of breathing gas mixtures across an extreme range of atmospheric pressure. For example, breathing suboptimal gas mixtures has been implicated as the etiology of impaired pilot cognition and unsafe flying conditions in military aircraft equipped with the On Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS). Unlike current methods that rely on post-flight diagnostics, continuous assessment of breathing gas and physiology could help determine the etiology and mitigate the operational impact of abnormal pilot physiology within multiple fighter aircraft including the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The continuous gas and physiologic monitoring technology developed within this topic could also support pilots within military high-performance jet aircraft. The platform should enable safe operation in this representative profile: (1) insertion via military free fall from 35,000 feet flight level; (2) a brief surface interval; (3) combat dive down to 200 feet sea water (FSW) for at least 120 minutes duration, surface and immediately begin a second dive of variable, increasing depth with minima at 100 FSW (for at least 10 minutes), 150 FSW (for at least 10 minutes), and 200 FSW (for at least 20 minutes) without decompression obligation; (4) brief surface interval; and (5) extraction in an unpressurized aircraft below 14,000 feet mean sea level. PHASE I: Define the gas mixtures suitable for the representative dive and flight profile. Explore and develop requirements for the dynamic mixed gas model and control algorithm. Develop a high level model and control algorithm, to be informed by Phase II in vivo experimentation and data collection. Select representative component microsystem technologies for proof of concept and development. Design a breadboard mixed gas platform for use in simulated dive and flight profile(s) within a chamber. Develop the military and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulatory approval plan for the component technologies and integrated device. Phase I deliverables: A report defining (1) Opportunities and limitations of selected gases; (2) current state-of-the-art and limitations of component technologies including model/algorithm, physiologic sensors, gas sensors, and gas control components; (3) high level model and control algorithm; (4) detailed design of breadboard system; and (5) proposed animal chamber testing and regulatory approval plan. PHASE II: Develop, demonstrate, and validate a dynamic model and control algorithm using a small animal model. Build a breadboard mixed gas system that includes the necessary control algorithm, physiologic sensors, gas sensors, and gas control components for use in chamber experiments. The breadboard system shall be demonstrated using the defined profile. At the conclusion of Phase II the performer shall provide a detailed plan for algorithm optimization, hardware miniaturization and integration into a prototype device, and transition of a man-portable prototype device into operationally relevant environments. As such, full and traceable documentation of in vivo testing that meets regulatory requirements must be provided in order to move to Phase III. Phase II deliverables: (1) Dynamic mixed gas model and control algorithm that enables extreme combat diving and high altitude flight with limited risk of complications; (2) breadboard system that includes the necessary algorithm, physiologic sensors, gas sensors, and gas control components; (3) prototype integrated microsystem device design; and (4) detailed regulatory approval, transition, and commercialization plan. PHASE III: Phase III commercial application will focus on exploration and extraction of undersea oil, gas, and minerals. Improved deep water site access, operations, and safety should limit cost and environmental impact of production of natural resource necessary for US economic and military viability. Phase III military application will focus on robust military diving and flight operations. Specific applications include expanded special operations and EOD capabilities. REFERENCES: 1) Bennett and Elliott's physiology and medicine of diving (5th ed.). Bennett, P; Rostain, J. United States: Saunders Ltd (2003). 2) The future of diving: 100 years of Haldane and beyond. Lang, M. Brubakk, A. ed.; Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2009. (ISBN: 9780978846053). 3) DARPA Rapid Altitude and Hypoxia Acclimatization (RAHA) and Surviving Blood Loss (SBL) programs: http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/DSO/Programs/Rapid_Altitude_and_Hypoxia_Acclimatization_(RAHA).aspx; 4) Inhaled NO as a therapeutic agent. Bloch KD, Ichinose F, Roberts Jr. JD, Zapol WM. Cardiovascular Research 2007. 75:339-48. 5) Exogenous nitric oxide and bubble formation in divers. Dujic Z, Palada I, Valic Z, Duplancic D, Obad A, Wisloff U, Brubakk AO. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006. Aug;38(8):1432-5. 6) Hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide are mutually dependent in the regulation of angiogenesis and endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. Coletta C, Papapetropoulos A, Erdelyi K, Olah G, Mdis K, Panopoulos P, Asimakopoulou A, Ger D, Sharina I, Martin M, Szabo C. PNAS. 2012. Jun; 109 (23): 91619166. 7) Assessment of extravascular lung water and cardiac function in trimix SCUBA diving. Marinovic J, Ljubkovic M, Obad A, Breskovic T, Salamunic I, Denoble PJ, Dujic Z. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010. Jun;42(6):1054-61. 8) Representative chip-scale gas chromatograph developed within DARPA Micro Gas Analyzer (MGA) program: http://depts.washington.edu/cpac/Activities/Meetings/Fall/2010/documents/SimonsonCPACv3.pdf. 9) Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers for Therapeutic Ultrasound applications. Wong SH, Kupnik M, Watkins RD, Butts-Pauly K, Khuri-Yakub BT. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering 2010. Jan;57(1):114-23.
Biodegradable Electronic Materials for Biomedical Applications
OBJECTIVE: Identify and develop a set of biodegradable materials and industry-compatible fabrication processes for demonstrating fully biodegradable, biomedical sensor/actuator systems with electronic performance comparable to SOI-based systems. Demonstrate ability to spatio-temporally control electrical function for therapeutic applications such as surgical site infection (SSI) mitigation and nerve stimulation for chronic pain relief. DESCRIPTION: Electronically active biomedical systems that can harmlessly and controllably resorb into the body open new avenues to therapeutic applications that are currently unfeasible. Those of specific interest to DARPA and the DoD include continuous in vivo monitoring with external, wireless power and receivers (e.g. for prosthetic fit or bone fractures), appliques that combat broad-spectrum surgical site infections (SSI) without antibiotics (e.g. for wound healing or medical implants), electrical stimulation-based modalities to combat chronic pain without opioids, or electrical simulation for regenerative applications. Furthermore, in limited resource areas such as DoD deployment locations, remote or impoverished geographic areas, or emergency response locations where clinical care is limited, biodegradable biomedical devices would enable remote patient monitoring, compliance, and treatment and would negate the need for device extraction. However, these applications are currently untenable because the materials space fails to resolve key technical challenges to implementation. Current approaches to biodegradable, biocompatible sensor/actuator systems for medical therapeutics and monitoring provide limited utility and poor performance for two key technological reasons. 1. Demonstrations that utilize biodegradable organic/polymer-based active regions to produce the electrical function, lack the electronic performance (e.g. carrier mobility, , typically ~0.1-1 cm2/V-s) to be of significant utility beyond low power transistors. 2. Other examples segregate the biodegradable function to the non-electronically active components while leaving behind non-degradable elements (where biocompatibility is an issue) that require future extraction. The extraction costs related to patient care, morbidity, and mortality, and additional risks associated with surgical site infections and antibiotic-resistant strains (and their combined danger) make additional device extraction undesirable; however allowing the device to persist inflicts unnecessary burden on the patient and potential future complications. Potential avenues to successful development of the aforementioned applications all require the identification, development, and optimization of electronic materials with performance amenable to simple low power systems with onboard processing (e.g semiconductor active regions with electron mobility, n, ~102 cm2/V-s). Critically, all materials under development must be biocompatible and bioresorbable. Devices developed under this SBIR must demonstrate stable functionality over medically-relevant timescales (e.g. 15 days for an SSI treatment applique) and controllable bioresorption over medically-appropriate timescales (e.g. hours to weeks, depending on the material constituents). Devices developed must operate with electronic performance applicable to the purported treatment (e.g. blood pH monitoring with data transfer to external receiver at 10 minute intervals). This topic is focused on the development of a class of biodegradable materials capable of electronic functionality comparable to traditional electronics used in low power, low cost systems. The biocompatible materials used in these systems should be optimized for functionality, performance, and tunable bioresorption timescales. Proposers should develop the materials, device designs, and manufacturing approaches. Mechanisms for power and data extraction should be described, as well as a plan for developing a fabrication process compatible with the good manufacturing practice (GMP) platform. Although the (ultimately) necessary animal model testing is not specifically funded under this solicitation, proposers should also develop and present a regulatory approval plan for successful materials classes. PHASE I: Briefly describes expectations and desired results/end product for Phase I, 6-month feasibility study, $100K (max) effort. Demonstrate through analysis and proof-of-concept experiments the feasibility of a fully biodegradable, biocompatible electronic sensor and actuator technology for a DoD-relevant biomedical application (as discussed above). The solution should provide not only functionality in this application context, but with a set of components that are sufficiently general in their operation that they can be re-purposed for other related applications in biomedical electronics. The deliverable will be a paper study with detailed material and device analysis, together with experiments to illustrate high performance capabilities (i.e. comparable to SOI-based systems) in the key components. Mechanisms for power and data extraction should be described. Additionally, the study should include an overview and analysis of a strategy for scalable and industry-compatible fabrication processes for device production. The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at the end of Phase I should be between 3 and 4. PHASE II: Briefly describes expectations and minimum required deliverable for Phase II, 2-year major R & D effort, culminating in a well-defined deliverable prototype, $1M (max) effort. Develop, test, and demonstrate a set of biodegradable, biocompatible materials that exhibit controllable degradation rates and electronic functionality comparable to traditional electronics used in low power, low cost devices. Construct and demonstrate the operation of an integrated prototype device capable of achieving the objective goals as described above. Demonstrate stable functionality over medically-relevant timescales (e.g. 15 days for an SSI treatment applique) and controllable bioresorption over medically-safe timescales (e.g. days to months, depending on the application). Devices developed must demonstrate electronic performance applicable to the purported treatment, along with mechanisms for onboard power, processing, and data transmission. Assess the properties of the electronics and the actuators, with quantitative comparison to computational models. Deliverables of a prototype device and valid test data appropriate for a commercial production path are expected, as well as a demonstration of functionality in vitro. Experiments should be conducted using biospecimens and/or models appropriate for the application. Provide a detailed plan of the animal model experiments to be completed during Phase III (e.g. adsorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of the resorbed components, toxicity) required for regulatory approval. Establish roadmaps to commercial products, including manufacturing and regulatory considerations. The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at the end of Phase II should be 5. PHASE III: The technology to be developed is applicable to numerous biomedical devices for the DoD and military: enhanced wound healing and monitoring (including prosthetic fit and bone fractures), appliques that combat broad-spectrum surgical site infections (SSI) without antibiotics for wound healing or medical implants, electrical stimulation-based modalities to combat chronic pain without opioids, and electrical stimulation for regenerative applications. Potential transition customers include Military Health System Defense Medical Research and Development Program (MHS DMRDP), United States Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR), Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM), Military Infectious Diseases Research Program (MIDRP), and Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The technology to be developed is applicable to biomedical devices and active scaffolds for therapeutic treatment applications as well as monitoring, diagnosis and performance measurements. There is a significant commercial market for biodegradable, medical devices and active scaffolds, particularly those currently involved in the development of technologies capable of enhancing and monitoring wound and bone fracture healing, pain relief without opioids, drug delivery, performance monitoring, and the continuous monitoring of glucose and other metabolites. The developed technology would allow improvement of existing medical devices and expansion of devices and modalities for therapeutic treatment and monitoring of additional health conditions. REFERENCES: 1) A microfabricated wireless RF pressure sensor made completely of biodegradable materials, Solid-State Sensors, Actuators, and Microsystems Workshop, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, June 3-7, 2012. 2) Dissolvable films of silk fibroin for ultrathin conformal bio-integrated electronics, Nature Materials 9, 511517 (2010). 3) Biomaterials-based organic electronic devices, Polymer International 59, 563-267 (2010). 4) Manufacturing and commercialization issues in organic electronics, Journal of Materials Research 19, 1974-1989 (2004). 5) Organic thin film transistors fabricated on resorbable biomaterial substrates, Advanced Materials 22, 651-655 (2010). 6) Silicon electronics on silk as a path to bioresorbable, implantable devices, Applied Physics Letters 95, 133701 (2009). 7) Biodegradable electronics, A desirable solution, The Economist, http://www.economist.com/node/16837947, 17 August 2010.8) Brief electrical stimulation promotes the speed and accuracy of motor axonal regeneration, The Journal of Neuroscience 20, 2602-2608 (2000).
High Spectrum Efficiency Technologies
OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative technologies, tools and related infrastructure that can demonstrate>25X impact to spectrum efficiency of wireless communications networks over current SISO QPSK technology for defense communication applications and platforms. DESCRIPTION: Techniques and tools are sought that change spectrum efficiency from the typical principles of one waveform on one frequency at one time within a large communication interference footprint, to the ability of large numbers of communication networks simultaneously operating in the same amount of frequency in the same area. Spectrum efficiency is measured as bits/s/hz or alternatively as bits/s/hz/sqKm for all nodes of a network. This effort seeks to find economical and practical means to increase efficiency metrics by factors greater than 25X relative to current SISO QPSK rate 1/2 TDMA system examples. Particular attention should be paid to innovative methods to use the same spectrum with other heterogeneous legacy systems while minimizing cross network interference. Many new technologies have been proposed at every layer of communication network protocol that can have important impact on spectrum efficiency. Proposed techniques at the physical layer include MIMO, Collaborative MIMO, MUD, Polarimetrics, DSA, OSA, Smart Antennas, Interference Alignment and overlay/underlay [1-8]. Header compression, adaptive scheduling, adaptive FEC, adaptive power control, and prioritized queuing are common additional efficiency considerations [9-10]. Techniques have also been proposed to enhance efficiency of modulation, MAC, Link, network and application layers. Awareness techniques such as local capacity analysis have been proposed enabling optimization for current spectrum activity and network traffic requirements. Database structures and other tools have also been proposed as supporting infrastructure to enhance spectrum efficiency, including: trunking, pooling, and radio environment maps. In addition, circuit techniques have been proposed to enhance linearity and dynamic range to enable previously impractical methods for simultaneous transmission and reception (STAR) . The focus of this SBIR topic is to create demonstration quality combinations of techniques leading to much higher systems levels of spectrum efficiency than any single technique would be able to achieve. Design adaptively should locally optimize current spectrum activity and traffic load conditions. It is desirable that system designs consider cost effectiveness, network performance, and practical deployment for various platforms. Deployment platforms of interest range in scale, power and performance over the range of ships, aircraft, vehicles, robots, soldiers, and sensors. Performers must clearly demonstrate the achievable level of spectrum efficiency of their completed architecture with real world implementation considerations of channel impairments, platform motion, interference sources, non-linearity of circuit elements, antenna properties, dense deployment fields of radio networks, and variation in traffic load, resulting in useful communication networks. PHASE I: Study, simulate, analyze and fully validate proposed performance levels. Results of the Phase 1 study must be quantitative for all layers of the integrated communication network protocols, referencing a standard communication network as a baseline performance of spectrum efficiency, showing system level spectrum efficiency improvement factors (TRL3-4). PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate all essential elements of the proposed architecture to an integrated system level capable of demonstrating achieved network spectrum efficiency adapting to current spectrum and network traffic. This phase has a target Transition Readiness Level (TRL) of 5 while demonstrating the potential of progressing to TRL 6 during a possible Phase III. PHASE III: Commercial telecommunication, public safety, and broadcast systems can all benefit from enhanced spectrum efficiency techniques by reducing cost of spectrum access to maintain the grade of service for their business. This phase should support transition to production ready deployment level for defense communication systems. REFERENCES: 1) Chen, B, Gans,M.,"MIMO communications in ad hoc networks", IEEE Trans Signal Processing, July 2006 2) Yoon, Y.C.,Kohno, R.,"Optimum multi-user detection in ultra-wideband (UWB) multiple-access communication systems", IEEE Intnl Conf on Communications, 2002 3) Pratt, T., Tapse, H., Fette, B., Baxley, R., Walkenhorst, B., Acosta-Marum, G.,"Polarization-based zero forcing suppression with multiple degrees of freedom", IEEE Military Communications Conference 2011 4) Marshall, P.,"Dynamic Spectrum Access as a m\Mechanism for Transition to Interference Tolerant Systems", IEEE Symposium on New Frontiers in Dynamic Spectrum", 6-9 April 2010. 5) Zhao, Q.,"Decentralized cognitive MAC for Opportunisitic Spectrum Access in ad hoc networks: A POMDP framework", IEEE J on Selected Areas in Comm, April 2007. 6) Godara, L.C., Smart Antennas, CRC Press, 2004. 7) Peters, S.W., Heath, R.W.,"Interference alignment via alternating minimization", IEEE Intnl Conf on ASSP, 2009. 8) Chakravarthy, V.D., Wu, Z., Shaw, A., Temple, M.A., Kannan, R., Garber, F.,"A general overlay / underlay analytic expression representing cognitive radio waveform", IEEE Intnl Waveform diversity and Design Conf, 2007. 9) Hoang,A.T., Liang,Y.C.,"Adaptive Scheduling of Spectrum Sensing Periods in Cognitive Radio Networks", IEEE Globecom Nov 2007. 10) Youping, Z., Reed, J.H., Mao, S. Bae, K.K.,"Overhead Analysis for Radio Environment Map enabled Cognitive Radio Networks", IEEE Workshop on Networking technologies for Software Defined Radio Networks, Sept 2006. 11) 11) Bliss, D.,Parker, P.A., Margetts, A.R.,"Simultaneous Transmission and Reception for Improved Wireless Network Performance", IEEE Workshop on Statistical Signal Processing, 2007.
Remote Sensing for Electric and Gravity Fields
OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate the technology to remotely measure electric and gravity/gravity gradiometry fields. DESCRIPTION: Electromagnetic and gravity intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) signatures are useful for revealing and characterizing adversaries"operations but these signatures decay rapidly with distance. Electric field signatures are from electrical power generators and power distribution systems. Gravity signatures are from the presence or absence of mass (in the case of an underground tunnel or facility). Current electric field and gravity field measurement methods require close-access sensor emplacement or low-flying airborne platforms. These are operationally unsuitable because of their difficult access requirements and low coverage rates. The goal of this effort is to replace those traditional point sensing technologies requiring sampling near a facility and providing limited spatial extent with remote sensing methods that decouple the sensor hardware from the measurement point and enable operationally attractive stand-offs and fast search rates. Such a system would operate from an aerial system, be able to scan from a distance of 10 kilometers, and have sufficient sensitivity to detect the operation of generator, the operational status of a power line (on/off), and the presence of an underground facility. DARPA is not interested in improved point sensors where the field measurement point and the sensor hardware are at the same location, tomographic based solutions whereby a remote field is calculated from an array of local point measurements, or clutter rejection techniques to improve local measurements of remote fields. Science and technologies may exist to achieve this goal. The commercial Electrical Single Particle Aerodynamic Relaxation Time (E-SPART) analyzer measures the secondary effect of a particle deflection in an AC electric field to determine the particle size and charge. The Stark effect perturbs emissions from atomic and molecular species in the presence of an electric field. Particles motion is influenced in the presence of a gravitational field. PHASE I: Propose a system that can achieve the measurement of an electric or gravity field at a distance of 10 kilometers. Demonstrate the sensitivity that the system could achieve through analysis. Experimentally demonstrate a key technology needed to achieve the realization of the system. PHASE II: Experimentally demonstrate the system at increasing distances and level of sensitivity. Ideally, achieve a standoff of 10 kilometers against the target sets identified above. Propose an operational configuration of the system to meet the requirements for an airborne system which is able to rapidly scan a large area. PHASE III: Potential benefit to the military/DoD; provides a capability to locate hidden underground facilities by detecting their electric and gravity signatures. Underground facilities are often concealed to prevent visual observation, but electric and gravity signatures are difficult to obscure. Remote detection of these signatures enables detection of facilities in denied access areas. Potential commercial benefit: Provides a capability to rapidly survey powerlines and power grids to determine breaks in power service. This is especially important after natural disasters when extensive power outages require expeditious location of broken powerlines to facilitate restoration of power service. REFERENCES: 1) AC Stark Effect, http://budker.berkeley.edu/Physics208/beals_stark.pdf Gravitational settling, http://www.epa.gov/apti/bces/module3/collect/collect.h
OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate a fractionated picosat (100 g - 1 kg) platform capable of participating in an existing System F6 fractionated satellite cluster and leveraging cluster resources to command, manage, package, and deliver Earth imagery data to the ground. DESCRIPTION: Picosatellites (100 g - 1 kg) have been considered as a responsive and low-cost spacecraft platform; however, their utility is limited. The usefulness of picosats may be dramatically increased if they are able to coordinate with each other and participate in a System F6 satellite cluster. Such coordination would enable resources such as communication, computation, and navigation to be shared, minimizing the component complexity of any single spacecraft. Further, given the availability of an existing cluster, the marginal cost and complexity of space missions that traditionally require a conventional spacecraft (e.g., imager payloads) can be reduced to a level that is readily accommodated by a picosat. DARPA"s System F6 program will launch an on-orbit testbed in 2015 to demonstrate the key enabling technologies of fractionation. The program will provide the enabling standards, software, and four satellite platforms to host shared resources that may be leveraged by additional space missions. These resources include 1) a 24/7 persistent communication link between the cluster and any Internet-connected node on the ground, 2) a high-speed space-to-ground downlink, 3) a high-speed computing element, and 4) high-capacity memory storage devices. The intent of this SBIR is development of innovative picosats capable of hosting an Earth-imaging payload and leveraging the F6 demonstration cluster and architecture to command, manage, package, and deliver Earth imagery data to the ground. The picosat should be capable of communicating with the demonstration cluster and participating in cluster flight navigation. All standards and software necessary to interface with the on-orbit cluster will be provided by DARPA. This includes the Layer 1 and 2 standards and software for inter-module communications (either 802.11g or Ka-Band TDMA), an application development kit needed to develop the picosat mission payload application that is executed on the cluster, and the cluster flight behaviors, algorithms, and reference implementation software. (The picosat platform should be capable of exchanging cluster flight navigation data, but is not required to participate in station-keeping and scatter/re-gather maneuvers). The picosat should maximize mission utility while minimizing size, weight, and power requirements by substituting components, subsystems, and functions traditionally needed to support a spacecraft mission payload (e.g., command and data handling, attitude control, telemetry). These capabilities should be delivered by leveraging resources in the cluster and managed through a mission payload application on the cluster. The picosat should deliver at least one image of the Earth with recognizable features (e.g., coastlines) within the expected 6-month duration of the mission. No ground station support will be provided solutions should utilize the space-to-ground links and computational resources to process and deliver the image to a specified Internet-connected computing node on the ground. Space access will be provided, but as a variety of rideshare opportunities are still being considered, the exact orbit and launch configuration are not currently available. Altitude is expected to be between 300 and 1500 km. PHASE I: Develop a conceptual design and prototype breadboard of a fractionated Earth-imaging picosat. Phase 1 deliverables include: Preliminary Design Review with documentation of all design decisions, performance analyses, schematics, size, weight, and power estimates, interface specifications, software architecture Software development plan Verification and validation plan Demonstration of functional capabilities on breadboards Description of the operational concept including how the picosat will interface with the System F6 on-orbit demonstration cluster, and how the Earth-imaging mission will be conducted a CONOPS. Identification of major components in the flight system including hardware components, software functions, verification and validation plans, ground support, and operational procedures PHASE II: In Phase II, the SBIR performer will develop, demonstrate, and validate a flight-ready picosat and associated ground support systems and procedures. Phase II deliverables include: Critical Design Review with detailed documentation of the final design and test results Updated CONOPS Demonstration of all functional objectives on the flight platform in simulated but representative orbital configurations The Phase II product should fulfill Transition Readiness Level 6 (TRL6) objectives. PHASE III: Fractionated picosats are expected to have a number of relevant scientific, military, and commercial applications including space environment monitoring, space and Earth imaging, communications, and surveillance. Inexpensive fractionated picosats will provide scientific and commercial stakeholders with enhanced system adaptability and survivability, while shortening development timelines and reducing the barrier-to-entry for participation in the space industry. These picosats are expected to further extend the applicability of spacecraft fractionation, enabling development of enhanced cluster components, resources, and applications. REFERENCES: 1) Hinkley, D. and Janson, S.,"Building Miniature Spacecraft at The Aerospace Corporation,"Crosslink, Summer 2009, http://www.aerospace.org/wp-content/uploads/crosslink/V10N1.pdf. 2)"Picosat."Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 18 June. 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PicoSat.
OBJECTIVE: Develop a space qualified hypervisor to support the virtualization of satellite payloads. DESCRIPTION: Defense and Intelligence community payload development for on-board processing has been traditionally hardware based. Hardware payloads, even reprogrammable solutions, tend to limit the utility of the space vehicle and require increased algorithm development effort, since hardware-related programming is required in order to benefit from the available processing speed. New mission demands and changes in spacecraft bus and sensor technologies drive up space acquisition costs and lengthen space system acquisition times. Virtualized payloads have the potential to increase the beneficial mission utility and life of space platforms while decreasing acquisition time and cost. In addition, a space qualified hypervisor or virtual machine monitor (VMM) has the potential to reduce the cost-to-entry barrier to space thereby expanding the space industrial base while providing an environment for commercially developed plug-and-play applications. PHASE I: Conduct feasibility studies, technical analysis and simulation, and conduct small scale proof of concept demonstrations of the proposed satellite hypervisor. Develop an initial conceptual approach to using a hypervisor to host a satellite"s virtualized mission payload(s) and include system estimates for mass, volume, power requirements, and duty cycles. Deliverables should include monthly status reports, feasibility demonstration reports and any hardware or software produced. PHASE II: Implement technology assessed in Phase I effort. The Phase II effort should include initial space qualified hypervisor designs, code, and breadboard validation in a laboratory environment. Initial technical feasibility shall be demonstrated, including a demonstration of hosting virtual payloads. Deliverables should include quarterly status reports, design documentation and any software or hardware produced. PHASE III: There is a perceived potential for commercialization of this technology. The primary customer for the proposed technology will initially be the Department of Defense, but there could also be other applications in the areas of commercial satellite communications. Also, commercial versions of the hypervisor could be produced for civilian and scientific applications. Commercial satellite manufacturers could incorporate them into a variety of commercial satellite systems for sale to various interested customers. Commercial companies could also provide competitively priced space hypervisor hosted applications, communications or remote sensing services to paying customers, including the national security community. The contractor shall finalize technology development of the proposed space hypervisor and begin commercialization of the product. In addition to military communications or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, commercial civilian applications for a space qualified hypervisor could include space-based satellite communications. Phase III should solidly validate the notion of a space qualified hypervisor with a low level of technological risk. The goal for full commercialization should ideally be Technology Readiness Level 9, with the actual system proven through successful mission operations. Specifically, Phase III should ultimately produce a hypervisor suitable for hosting space system payloads. The contractor must also consider manufacturing processes in accordance with the president"s Executive Order on"Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing"to insure that the innovations developed under this SBIR can be readily manufactured and packaged for transportation and deployment. During Phase III, this capability could conceivably transition or expand to the appropriate division of Air Force Space Command upon full rate production and deployment. REFERENCES: 1) MCGLOUGHIN, I., BRENTSCHNIDER, T. 2010. Reliability Through Redundant Parallelism for Micro-Satellite Computing in ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems, Vol. 9, No. 3, Article 26, Publication date: February 2010