Rugged Automated Training System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W911NF-13-C-0026
Agency Tracking Number: A2-5067
Amount: $419,388.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: A11a-T019
Solicitation Number: 2011.A
Small Business Information
Barron Associates, Inc.
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202, Charlottesville, VA, -
DUNS: 120839477
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Gressick
 Research Engineer
 (434) 973-1215
Business Contact
 Connie Hoover
Title: General Manager
Phone: (434) 973-1215
Research Institution
 University of Virginia
 Robert R Merhige, IV
 PO Box 400195
Charlottesville, VA, 22904-4270
 (434) 924-4270
 Nonprofit college or university
Barron Associates, Inc.~proposes to develop the Rugged Automated Training (RAT) system, a cost-effective, rugged, automated environment to train and deploy small animals to detect landmines and other compounds of interest, and to evaluate their performance. The RAT system will train animals to recognize odorants using standard Pavlovian conditioning procedures in specialized, automated operant chambers controlled by custom software. It is well-documented that animals experience an involuntary physiologic response when exposed to compounds that they have been trained to recognize, a phenomenon that will be exploited in the present effort to automate the training of animals to detect mines. A novel, wireless, non-invasive, body-worn sensor backpack will collect and relay data, in real time, from the animal to a PC that will employ specialized algorithms to automatically determine when the animal has discovered a substance that it has been trained to recognize. An acoustic local positioning system will be used to accurately and automatically determine the location of the animals and any detected mines within the search grid. The RAT system will also train the animals to respond to cue beacons that will guide their movements within the search field with minimal human interaction.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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