DoD SBIR LogoDoD OSBP Logo

AIR FORCE

15.1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Proposal Submission Instructions

 

Revised Closing Date: February 25, 2015 at 6:00 a.m. ET

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The Air Force (AF) proposal submission instructions are intended to clarify the Department of Defense (DoD) instructions as they apply to AF requirements.

 

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is responsible for the implementation and management of the AF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

 

The AF Program Manager is Mr. David Sikora, 1-800-222-0336.  For general inquiries or problems with the electronic submission, contact the DoD SBIR/STTR Help Desk at [1-800-348-0787] or Help Desk email at [sbirhelp@bytecubed.com]  (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday).  For technical questions about the topics during the pre-solicitation period (12 December 2014 through 14 January 2015), contact the Topic Authors listed for each topic on the Web site.  For information on obtaining answers to your technical questions during the formal solicitation period (15 January through 25 February 2015), go to http://www.dodsbir.net/sitis/.

 

General information related to the AF Small Business Program can be found at the AF Small Business website, http://www.airforcesmallbiz.org.  The site contains information related to contracting opportunities within the AF, as well as business information, and upcoming outreach/conference events.  Other informative sites include those for the Small Business Administration (SBA), www.sba.gov, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, www.aptacus.org/new/Govt_Contracting/index.php.  These centers provide Government contracting assistance and guidance to small businesses, generally at no cost.

 

The AF SBIR Program is a mission-oriented program that integrates the needs and requirements of the AF through R&D topics that have military and/or commercial potential.

 

Efforts under the SBIR program fall within the scope of fundamental research. The Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics) defines fundamental research as "basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community,” which is distinguished from proprietary research and from industrial development, design, production, and product utilization, the results of which ordinarily are restricted for proprietary or national security reasons.  See DFARS 252.227-7018 for a description of your SBIR/STTR rights.

 

PHASE I PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

 

Read the DoD program solicitation at www.dodsbir.net/solicitation for program requirements.  When you prepare your proposal, keep in mind that Phase I should address the feasibility of a solution to the topic.  For the AF, the contract period of performance for Phase I shall be nine (9) months, and the award shall not exceed $150,000.  We will accept only one Cost Volume per Topic Proposal and it must address the entire nine-month contract period of performance.

 

The Phase I award winners must accomplish the majority of their primary research during the first six months of the contract.  Each AF organization may request Phase II proposals prior to the completion of the first six months of the contract based upon an evaluation of the contractor’s technical progress and review by the AF technical point of contact utilizing the criteria in section 6.0 of the DoD solicitation.    The last three months of the nine-month Phase I contract will provide project continuity for all Phase II award winners so no modification to the Phase I contract should be necessary.

 

The Phase I Technical Volume has a 20-page-limit (excluding the Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), and Company Commercialization Report).

 

Limitations on Length of Proposal

 

The Technical Volume must be no more than 20 pages (no type smaller than 10-point on standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper with one (1) inch margins.  The Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), and Company Commercialization Report are excluded from the 20 page limit.  Only the Technical Volume and any enclosures or attachments count toward the 20-page limit.  In the interest of equity, pages in excess of the 20-page limitation (including attachments, appendices, or references, but excluding the Cover Sheet, Cost Volume, Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j), and Company Commercialization Report, will not be considered for review or award.

 

Phase I Proposal Format

 

Proposal Cover Sheet: The Cover Sheet does NOT count toward the 20 page total limit.  If your proposal is selected for award, the technical abstract and discussion of anticipated benefits will be publicly released on the Internet; therefore, do not include proprietary information in these sections.

 

Technical Volume:  The Technical Volume should include all graphics and attachments but should not include the Cover Sheet or Company Commercialization Report (as these items are completed separately).  Most proposals will be printed out on black and white printers so make sure all graphics are distinguishable in black and white.  It is strongly encouraged that you perform a virus check on each submission to avoid complications or delays in submitting your Technical Volume.  To verify that your proposal has been received, click on the “Check Upload” icon to view your proposal.  Typically, your uploaded file will be virus checked.  However, if your proposal does not appear after an hour, please contact the DoD SBIR/STTR Help Desk at [1-800-348-0787] or Help Desk email at [sbirhelp@bytecubed.com]  (8:00 am to 5:00 pm ET Monday through Friday).

 

Key Personnel: Identify in the Technical Volume all key personnel who will be involved in this project; include information on directly related education, experience, and citizenship.  A technical resume of the principle investigator, including a list of publications, if any, must be part of that information.  Concise technical resumes for subcontractors and consultants, if any, are also useful.   You must identify all U.S. permanent residents to be involved in the project as direct employees, subcontractors, or consultants.  You must also identify all non-U.S. citizens expected to be involved in the project as direct employees, subcontractors, or consultants.  For all non-U.S. citizens, in addition to technical resumes, please provide countries of origin, the type of visa or work permit under which they are performing and an explanation of their anticipated level of involvement on this project, as appropriate.  You may be asked to provide additional information during negotiations in order to verify the foreign citizen’s eligibility to participate on a contract issued as a result of this solicitation.

 

Voluntary Protection Program (VPP):  VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system.  Approval into the VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.  An “Applicable Contractor” under the VPP is defined as a construction or services contractor with employees working at least 1,000 hours at the site in any calendar quarter within the last 12 months that is NOT directly supervised by the applicant (installation).  The definition flows down to affected subcontractors.  Applicable contractors will be required to submit Days Away, Restricted, and Transfer (DART) and Total Case Incident (TCIR) rates for the past three years as part of the proposal.  Pages associated with this information will NOT contribute to the overall Technical Volume page count.  NOTE: If award of your firm’s proposal does NOT create a situation wherein performance on one Government installation will exceed 1,000 hours in one calendar quarter, SUBMISSION OF TCIR/DART DATA IS NOT REQUIRED.

 

Phase I Work Plan Outline

 

 

NOTE:   THE AF USES THE WORK PLAN OUTLINE AS THE INITIAL DRAFT OF THE PHASE I STATEMENT OF WORK (SOW).  THEREFORE, DO NOT INCLUDE PROPRIETARY INFORMATION IN THE WORK PLAN OUTLINE.  TO DO SO WILL NECESSITATE A REQUEST FOR REVISION AND MAY DELAY CONTRACT AWARD.

 

At the beginning of your proposal work plan section, include an outline of the work plan in the following format:

1)      Scope

List the major requirements and specifications of the effort.

2)      Task Outline

Provide a brief outline of the work to be accomplished over the span of the Phase I effort.

3)      Milestone Schedule

4)      Deliverables

a.       Kickoff meeting within 30 days of contract start

b.      Progress reports

c.       Technical review within 6 months

d.      Final report with SF 298

 

Cost Volume

 

Cost Volume information should be provided by completing the on-line Cost Volume form and including the Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j) specified below.  The Cost Volume detail must be adequate to enable Air Force personnel to determine the purpose, necessity and reasonability of each cost element.  Provide sufficient information (a-j below) on how funds will be used if the contract is awarded. The on-line Cost Volume and Itemized Cost Volume Information (a-j) will not count against the 20-page limit.  The itemized listing may be placed in the “Explanatory Material” section of the on-line Cost Volume form (if enough room), or as the last page(s) of the Technical Volume Upload.  (Note:  Only one file can be uploaded to the DoD Submission Site).  Ensure that this file includes your complete Technical Volume and the Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-j) information.

 

a. Special Tooling and Test Equipment and Material:  The inclusion of equipment and materials will be carefully reviewed relative to need and appropriateness of the work proposed. The purchase of special tooling and test equipment must, in the opinion of the Contracting Officer, be advantageous to the Government and relate directly to the specific effort. They may include such items as innovative instrumentation and/or automatic test equipment.

 

b. Direct Cost Materials: Justify costs for materials, parts, and supplies with an itemized list containing types, quantities, and price and where appropriate, purposes.

 

c. Other Direct Costs: This category of costs includes specialized services such as machining or milling, special testing or analysis, costs incurred in obtaining temporary use of specialized equipment. Proposals, which include leased hardware, must provide an adequate lease vs. purchase justification or rational.

 

d. Direct Labor: Identify key personnel by name if possible or by labor category if specific names are not available. The number of hours, labor overhead and/or fringe benefits and actual hourly rates for each individual are also necessary.

 

e. Travel: Travel costs must relate to the needs of the project. Break out travel cost by trip, with the number of travelers, airfare, per diem, lodging, etc. The number of trips required, as well as the destination and purpose of each trip should be reflected. Recommend budgeting at least one (1) trip to the Air Force location managing the contract.

 

f. Cost Sharing: Cost sharing is permitted. However, cost sharing is not required nor will it be an evaluation factor in the consideration of a proposal. Please note that cost share contracts do not allow fees. NOTE: Subcontract arrangements involving provision of Independent Research and Development (IR&D) support are prohibited in accordance with Under Secretary of Defense (USD) memorandum “Contractor Cost Share”, dated 16 May 2001, as implemented by SAF/AQ memorandum, same title, dated 11 Jul 2001.

 

g. Subcontracts: Involvement of university or other consultants in the planning and/or research stages of the project may be appropriate. If the offeror intends such involvement, describe in detail and include information in the Cost Volume. The proposed total of all consultant fees, facility leases or usage fees, and other subcontract or purchase agreements may not exceed one-third of the total contract price or cost, unless otherwise approved in writing by the Contracting Officer. Support subcontract costs with copies of the subcontract agreements. The supporting agreement documents must adequately describe the work to be performed (i.e., Cost Volume). At a minimum, an offeror must include a Statement of Work (SOW) with a corresponding detailed Cost Volume for each planned subcontract.

 

h. Consultants: Provide a separate agreement letter for each consultant. The letter should briefly state what service or assistance will be provided, the number of hours required and hourly rate.

 

i. Any exceptions to the model Phase I purchase order (P.O.) found at https://www.afsbirsttr.com/Proposals/Default.aspx (see “NOTE” below)

 

NOTE: If no exceptions are taken to an offeror’s proposal, the Government may award a contract without discussions (except clarifications as described in FAR 15.306(a)). Therefore, the offeror’s initial proposal should contain the offeror’s best terms from a cost or price and technical standpoint. In addition, please review the model Phase I P.O. found at https://www.afsbirsttr.com/Proposals/Default.aspx and provide any exception to the clauses found therein with your cost proposal Full text for the clauses included in the P.O. may be found at http://farsite.hill.af.mil. If selected for award, the award contract or P.O. document received by your firm may vary in format/content from the model P.O. reviewed. If there are questions regarding the award document, contact the Phase I Contracting Officer listed on the selection notification.  (See item g under the “Cost Volume” section, p. AF-4.)  The Government reserves the right to conduct discussions if the Contracting Officer later determines them to be necessary.

 

j. DD Form 2345: For proposals submitted under export-controlled topics (either International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) or Export Administration Regulations (EAR)), a copy of the certified DD Form 2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, or evidence of application submission must be included. The form, instructions, and FAQs may be found at the United States/Canada Joint Certification Program website, http://www.dlis.dla.mil/jcp/.  Approval of the DD Form 2345 will be verified if proposal is chosen for award.

 

NOTE: Only Government employees and technical personnel from Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) Mitre and Aerospace Corporations, working under contract to provide technical support to AF Life Cycle Management Center and Space and Missiles Centers may evaluate proposals.  All FFRDC employees have executed non-disclosure agreement (NDAs) as a requirement of their contracts.  Additionally, AF support contractors may be used to administratively or technically support the Government’s SBIR Program execution.  DFARS 252.227-7025, Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive Legends (Mar 2011), allows Government support contractors to do so without company-to-company NDAs only AFTER the support contractor notifies the SBIR firm of its access to the SBIR data AND the SBIR firm agrees in writing no NDA is necessary.  If the SBIR firm does not agree, a company-to-company NDA is required. The attached “NDA Requirements Form” (page 9) must be completed, signed, and included in the Phase I proposal, indicating your firm’s determination regarding company-to-company NDAs for access to SBIR data by AF support contractors.  This form will not count against the 20-page limitation.

 

PHASE I PROPOSAL SUBMISSION CHECKLIST

 

Failure to meet any of the criteria will result in your proposal being REJECTED and the Air Force will not evaluate your proposal.

 

1) The Air Force Phase I proposal shall be a nine-month effort and the cost shall not exceed $150,000.

 

2) The Air Force will accept only those proposals submitted electronically via the DoD SBIR Web site (www.dodsbir.net/submission).

 

3) You must submit your Company Commercialization Report electronically via the DoD SBIR Web site (www.dodsbir.net/submission).

 

It is mandatory that the complete proposal submission -- DoD Proposal Cover Sheet, Technical Volume with any appendices, Cost Volume, Itemized Cost Volume Information, and the Company Commercialization Report -- be submitted electronically through the DoD SBIR Web site at http://www.dodsbir.net/submission. Each of these documents is to be submitted separately through the Web site. Your complete proposal must be submitted via the submissions site on or before the 6:00 am ET, 25 February 2015 deadline.  A hardcopy will not be accepted.

 

The AF recommends that you complete your submission early, as computer traffic gets heavy near the solicitation closing and could slow down the system.  Do not wait until the last minute.  The AF will not be responsible for proposals being denied due to servers being “down” or inaccessible.  Please assure that your e-mail address listed in your proposal is current and accurate.  By late February, you will receive an e-mail serving as our acknowledgement that we have received your proposal. The AF is not responsible for ensuring notifications are received by firms changing mailing address/e-mail address/company points of contact after proposal submission without proper notification to the AF.  Changes of this nature that occur after proposal submission or award (if selected) for Phase I and II shall be sent to the Air Force SBIR/STTR site address, afprogram@afsbirsttr.net.

 

 

AIR FORCE SBIR/STTR SITE

 

As a means of drawing greater attention to SBIR accomplishments, the AF has developed a SBIR/STTR site at http://www.afsbirsttr.com.  Along with being an information resource concerning SBIR policies and procedures, the SBIR/STTR site is designed to help facilitate the Phase III transition process. To this end, the SBIR/STTR site contains SBIR/STTR Success Stories written by the Air Force and Phase II summary reports written and submitted by SBIR companies. Since summary reports are intended for public viewing via the Internet, they should not contain classified, sensitive, or proprietary information.

 

AIR FORCE PROPOSAL EVALUATIONS

 

The AF will utilize the Phase I proposal evaluation criteria in section 6.0 of the DoD solicitation in descending order of importance with technical merit being most important, followed by the qualifications of the principal investigator (and team), and followed by Commercialization Plan.    The AF will utilize Phase II evaluation criteria in section 8.0 of the DoD solicitation; however, the order of importance will differ.  The AF will evaluate proposals in descending order of importance with technical merit being most important, followed by the Commercialization Plan, and then qualifications of the principal investigator (and team). Please note that where technical evaluations are essentially equal in merit, and as cost and/or price is a substantial factor, cost to the Government will be considered in determining the successful offeror.  The next tie-breaker on essentially equal proposals will be the inclusion of manufacturing technology considerations.

 

The proposer's record of commercializing its prior SBIR and STTR projects, as shown in its Company Commercialization Report, will be used as a portion of the Commercialization Plan evaluation.  If the "Commercialization Achievement Index (CAI)”, shown on the first page of the report, is at the 20th percentile or below, the proposer will receive no more than half of the evaluation points available under evaluation criterion (c) in Section 6 of the DoD 14.1 SBIR instructions.  This information supersedes Paragraph 4, Section 5.4e, of the DoD 15.1 SBIR instructions.

 

A Company Commercialization Report showing the proposing firm has no prior Phase II awards will not affect the firm's ability to win an award.  Such a firm's proposal will be evaluated for commercial potential based on its commercialization strategy.

 

On-Line Proposal Status and Debriefings

 

The AF has implemented on-line proposal status updates for small businesses submitting proposals against AF topics. At the close of the Phase I Solicitation – and following the submission of a Phase II via the DoD SBIR/STTR Submission Site (https://www.dodsbir.net/submission) – small business can track the progress of their proposal submission by logging into the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site (http://www.afsbirstr.com). The Small Business Area (http://www.afsbirsttr.com/Firm/login.aspx) is password protected and firms can view their information only.

 

To receive a status update of a proposal submission, click the “Proposal Status” link at the top of the page in the Small Business Area (after logging in). A listing of proposal submissions to the AF within the last 12 months is displayed. Status update intervals are: Proposal Received, Evaluation Started, Evaluation Completed, Selection Started, and Selection Completed. A date will be displayed in the appropriate column indicating when this stage has been completed. If no date is present, the proposal submission has not completed this stage. Small businesses are encouraged to check this site often as it is updated in real-time and provides the most up-to-date information available for all proposal submissions. Once the “Selection Completed” date is visible, it could still be a few weeks (or more) before you are contacted by the AF with a notification of selection or non-selection.  The AF receives thousands of proposals during each solicitation and the notification process requires specific steps to be completed prior to a Contracting Officer distributing this information to small business.

 

The Principal Investigator (PI) and Corporate Official (CO) indicated on the Proposal Cover Sheet will be notified by e-mail regarding proposal selection or non-selection.  The e-mail will include a link to a secure Internet page containing specific selection/non-selection information.   Small Businesses will receive a notification for each proposal submitted. Please read each notification carefully and note the Proposal Number and Topic Number referenced.  Again, if changes occur to the company mail or email address(es) or company points of contact afte proposal submission, the information shall be provided to the AF at afprogram@afsbirsttr.net.

 

A debriefing may be received by written request.  As is consistent with the DoD SBIR/STTR solicitation, the request must be received within 30 days after receipt of notification of non-selection.  Written requests for debrief must be uploaded to the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site (http://www.afsbirsttr.com).  Requests for debrief should include the company name and the telephone number/e-mail address for a specific point of contract, as well as an alternate.  Also include the topic number under which the proposal(s) was submitted, and the proposal number(s). Further instructions regarding debrief request preparation/submission will be provided within the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site.  Debrief requests received more than 30 days after receipt of notification of non-selection will be fulfilled at the Contracting Officers' discretion.  Unsuccessful offerors are entitled to no more than one debriefing for each proposal.

 

IMPORTANT: Proposals submitted to the AF are received and evaluated by different offices within the Air Force and handled on a Topic-by-Topic basis. Each office operates within their own schedule for proposal evaluation and selection. Updates and notification timeframes will vary by office and Topic. If your company is contacted regarding a proposal submission, it is not necessary to contact the AF to inquire about additional submissions.  Check the Small Business Area of the AF SBIR/STTR site for a current update. Additional notifications regarding your other submissions will be forthcoming.

 

We anticipate having all the proposals evaluated and our Phase I contract decisions within approximately three months of proposal receipt.  All questions concerning the status of a proposal, or debriefing, should be directed to the local awarding organization SBIR Program Manager.  Organizations and their Topic Numbers are listed later in this section (before the Air Force Topic descriptions).

 

PHASE II PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS

 

Phase II is the demonstration of the technology that was found feasible in Phase I.  Only Phase I awardees are eligible to submit a Phase II proposal.  All Phase I awardees will be sent a notification with the Phase II proposal submittal date and a link to detailed Phase II proposal preparation instructions.   If the mail or email address(es) or firm points of contact havechanged since submission of the Phase I proposal, correct information shall be sent to the AF at afprogram@afsbirsttr.net.  Please note that it is solely the responsibility of the Phase I awardee to contact this individual. Phase II efforts are typically two (2) years in duration with an initial value not to exceed $750,000.

 

NOTE: All Phase II awardees must have a Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) approved accounting system. It is strongly urged that an approved accounting system be in place prior to the AF Phase II award timeframe. If you do not have a DCAA approved accounting system, this will delay / prevent Phase II contract award. If you have questions regarding this matter, please discuss with your Phase I Contracting Officer.

 

All proposals must be submitted electronically at www.dodsbir.net/submission.  The complete proposal – Department of Defense (DoD) Cover Sheet, entire Technical Volume with appendices, Cost Volume and the Company Commercialization Report – must be submitted by the date indicated in the invitation.  The Technical Volume is limited to 50 pages (unless a different number is specified in the invitation).  The Commercialization Report, any advocacy letters, SBIR Environment Safety and Occupational Health (ESOH) Questionnaire, and Cost Volume Itemized Listing (a-i) will not count against the 50 page limitation and should be placed as the last pages of the Technical Volume file that is uploaded.  (Note:  Only one file can be uploaded to the DoD Submission Site.  Ensure that this single file includes your complete Technical Volume and the additional Cost Volume information.)  The preferred format for submission of proposals is Portable Document Format (.pdf).  Graphics must be distinguishable in black and white.  Please virus-check your submissions.

 

AIR FORCE PHASE II ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM

 

On active Phase II awards, the Air Force may request a Phase II enhancement application package from a limited number of Phase II awardees. In the Air Force program, the outside investment funding must be from a Government source, usually the Air Force or other military service. The selected enhancements will extend the existing Phase II contract awards for up to one year.  The Air Force will provide matching SBIR funds, up to a maximum of $750,000, to non-SBIR Government funds. If requested to submit a Phase II enhancement application package, it must be submitted through the DoD Submission Web site at www.dodsbir.net/submission. Contact the local awarding organization SBIR Program Manager (see Air Force SBIR Organization Listing) for more information.

 

AIR FORCE SBIR PROGRAM MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENTS

 

The AF reserves the right to modify the Phase II submission requirements.  Should the requirements change, all Phase I awardees will be notified.  The AF also reserves the right to change any administrative procedures at any time that will improve management of the AF SBIR Program.

 

AIR FORCE SUBMISSION OF FINAL REPORTS

 

All Final Reports will be submitted to the awarding AF organization in accordance with the Contract.  Companies will not submit Final Reports directly to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).


AIR FORCE

15.1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Requirements

 

 

DFARS 252.227-7018(b)(8), Rights in Noncommercial Technical Data and Computer Software – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program (May 2013), allows Government support contractors access to SBIR data without company-to-company NDAs only AFTER the support contractor notifies the SBIR firm of its access to the SBIR data AND the SBIR firm agrees in writing no NDA is necessary.  If the SBIR firm does not agree, a company-to-company NDA is required.

 

“Covered Government support contractor” is defined in 252.227-7018(a)(6) as “a contractor under a contract, the primary purpose of which is to furnish independent and impartial advice or technical assistance directly to the Government in support of the Government’s management and oversight of a program or effort (rather than to directly furnish an end item or service to accomplish a program or effort), provided that the contractor—

 

(i) Is not affiliated with the prime contractor or a first-tier subcontractor on the program or effort, or with any direct competitor of such prime contractor or any such first-tier subcontractor in furnishing end items or services of the type developed or produced on the program or effort; and

 

(ii) Receives access to the technical data or computer software for performance of a Government contract that contains the clause at 252.227-7025, Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Government-Furnished Information Marked with Restrictive Legends.”

 

USE OF SUPPORT CONTRACTORS:

 

Support contractors may be used to administratively process SBIR documentation or provide technical support related to SBIR contractual efforts to Government Program Offices.

 

Below, please provide your firm’s determination regarding the requirement for company-to-company NDAs to enable access to SBIR documentation by Air Force support contractors. This agreement must be signed and included in your Phase I/II proposal package

 

o YES

o NO

Non-Disclosure Agreement Required
(If Yes,  include your firm’s NDA requirements in your proposal)

             

Company:

 

Proposal Number:

 

Address:

 

City/State/Zip:

 

Proposal Title: 

 

 

 

Name

 

Date:  _____________________

Title/Position

 

 

 


Air Force SBIR 15.1 Topic Index

 

 

AF151-001                           Real Time Computer Vision

AF151-002                           Electrically-Small Superconducting Wide-Bandwidth Receiver Based on Series Arrays of

Nano-Josephson Junctions

AF151-003                           Transparent High Reflective Index IR Polymers

AF151-004                           Scaled Hypersonic Test Bed

AF151-005                           Integrated Photonics

AF151-008                           Automated Assessment of Damage to Infrastructure

AF151-009                           Compact, low-cost, energy-efficient detector for gamma rays and neutrons

AF151-010                           Tool to Assess State of Digital System after Electromagnetic Disruption

AF151-011                           Tool for Assessing the Recuperation Time from an Electromagnetic Disruption for a

Digital System

AF151-012                           Airborne Fuel Cell Prime Power for Weapons Systems

AF151-013                           Materials and Designs for Compact High-Voltage Vacuum Insulator Interfaces

AF151-014                           Breakdown Resistant Materials for HPM Sources

AF151-015                           Transforming Cyber Data into Human-Centered Visualizations

AF151-016                           Improved Version of Solid State Night Vision Sensor

AF151-017                           Cockpit Passive Optical Helmet Tracker (CPOHT)

AF151-018                           1360 Digital Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (DPNVG)

AF151-019                           Optimized Information Display for Tactical Air Control Party

AF151-020                           F-35 Display Improvement

AF151-021                           Full-Scale Near-Field Acoustic Holography for Reduction of Annoyance and Disturbance

AF151-022                           Realistic Micro-structured Devices to Mimic Organs for In Vitro Aerospace Toxicology

AF151-023                           Breathing Air Quality Sensor (BAQS) for High Performance Aircraft

AF151-024                           Advanced Learning Management System (LMS) for State-of-the-Art for Personalized

Training

AF151-025                           Multi-Channel, High Resolution, High Dynamic Range, Broadband RF Mapping System

AF151-026                           Phantom Head for Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Current Model Validation

AF151-028                           Semantic Technology for Logistics Systems Interoperability and Modernization

AF151-029                           Infrastructure Agnostic Solutions for Anti-Reconnaissance and Cyber Deception

AF151-030                           Cyber Hardening and Agility Technologies for Tactical IP Networks (CHATTIN)

AF151-031                           Malicious Behavior Detection for High Risk Data Types (DetChambr)

AF151-032                           MIMO functionality for Legacy Radios

AF151-033                           Virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM)

AF151-034                           Target Based Data Compression Settings Broker

AF151-035                           Miniature Link-16 Communications Device

AF151-036                           Adaptive Agentless Host Security

AF151-037                           Special Operations Forces Multi-function Radio

AF151-038                           Host-Based Solutions for Anti-Reconnaissance and Cyber Deception

AF151-039                           Mediated Mobile Access (MMA)

AF151-040                           On-Aircraft Cloud-Based App to Provide Enhanced EO/IR/SAR/Radar Sensor

Exploitation

AF151-041                           Decision Support Tool Using Gridded Weather Data

AF151-042                           Hierarchical Dynamic Exploitation of FMV (HiDEF)

AF151-045                           Safety Critical Implementations of Real-Time Data Distribution Middleware

AF151-047                           Electronic Warfare Battle Manager Situation Awareness (EWBM-SA)

AF151-048                           Cognitive Augmentation for Distributed Command and Control

AF151-049                           Normality Modeling and Change Detection for Space Situational Awareness (SSA)

AF151-050                           Advanced Detectors for Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) Communications

AF151-051                           Built in Test (BIT) Capability for Multi-Mode (MM) Fiber Data Networks

AF151-054                           Airfoil Sustainment Through Automated Inspection and Repair

AF151-056                           Next-Generation All-Electric Aircraft Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)

AF151-058                           Calculated Air Release Point (CARP) Navigation Update Due to Ground Effects

(NUDGE)

AF151-059                           Advanced Component Cooling Design and Evaluation for Gas Turbine Engines

AF151-060                           Common Embedded Vehicle Network Diagnostics Interface Hardware

AF151-061                           Fuel-Property-Independent Injection Technology

AF151-062                           Low-Weight, High-Temperature Passive Damping System for Afterburners

AF151-063                           High-Speed, Two-Dimensional Sensor Suite for Fuel-Air Ratio and Heat-Release Rate

for Combustor/Augmentor Stability

AF151-065                           Reduced-Order Model for the Prediction of Supersonic Aircraft Jet Noise

AF151-066                           Monopropellant Thrusters for Cubesats

AF151-067                           Advanced Electrochemical Power Sources and Lithium-Ion Batteries for Space-Launch

Vehicles

AF151-068                           Solar Electric Propulsion for Agile Space Capabilities

AF151-069                           Noncontacting Full-Field Real-Time Strain Measurement System for Air Platforms in

Combined Extreme Environments

AF151-070                           Modular Motor Drive with Programming and Configuration Tools for the Development

of Small Aircraft Electric Power and Propulsion Systems

AF151-071                           Compact High Channel Count, High Frequency, Rotating Data Acquisition and

Transmission

AF151-072                           Ultralightweight Airframe Concepts for Air-launched Intelligence, Surveillance, and

Reconnaissance (ISR) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

AF151-073                           Predicting the Flow Interactions of Modular Liquid Rocket Engine Thrust Chambers

AF151-074                           Narrow Width Line of Detection

AF151-075                           Strategic Hardening of Cold Atom Based Inertial Measurement Units (IMU)

AF151-076                           Advanced Solar Array for Dual Launch GPS

AF151-077                           Reconfigurable RF Front-end for Multi-GNSS/Communication SDR Receiver

AF151-078                           Ephemeral Security Overlay for GPS

AF151-079                           Automated Terrestrial EMI Emitter Locator for AFSCN Ground Stations

AF151-080                           Long Term Ultrastable Laser System for Space Based Atomic PNT

AF151-081                           Novel, Collaborative Tipping and Cueing Methods to Exploit Multiple OPIR Sensors

AF151-082                           Environmental Intelligence

AF151-083                           Post Processing of Satellite Catalog Data for Event

AF151-084                           High-Temperature, Radiation-Hard and High-Efficiency DC-DC Converters for Space

AF151-085                           Advanced High Specific Energy Storage Devices Capable of long life and >300 Whr/kg

AF151-086                           A Practical Incoherent Scatter Radar

AF151-087                           Optimal SSN Tasking to Enhance Real-time Space Situational Awareness

AF151-088                           Development of Ultracapacitors with High Specific Energy and Specific Power

AF151-089                           Radiation Hardened Digital to Analog Converter

AF151-094                           High Power Density Structural Heat Spreader

AF151-095                           40 Percent Air Mass Zero Efficiency Solar Cells for Space Applications

AF151-096                           Selecting Appropriate Protective Courses of Action when Information-Starved

AF151-097                           Space Based Multi-Sensor Data Fusion to Quantify and Assess the Behavior of Earth-

                                                Orbiting Artificial Space Object Population

AF151-098                           Automated Scaling Software for Oblique Incidence Ionograms

AF151-101                           Hardware-in-the-loop Celestial Navigation Test Bed

AF151-102                           Novel Penetrator Cases for Explosive and Fuze Survivability

AF151-103                           Shock Hardened Laser Targeting System

AF151-104                           Rigid-body Off-axis Ordnance Shock/Tail-slap Environment Replicator (ROOSTER)

AF151-105                           RF Seeker Performance Improvement in Difficult Environments through Circular

Polarization

AF151-106                           Develop Advanced Cumulative Damage Models for Multi-Strike RC Bunkers

AF151-107                           Long-Range Adaptive Active Sensor

AF151-108                           Advanced Multisensor Concepts for Theater Ballistic Missile (TBM) Interceptors

AF151-109                           Hostile Fire Detection and Neutralization

AF151-110                           Combined Multiple Classification Methods Using Machine Learning Techniques to

Develop VIS-N-IR Spectral Processing

AF151-111                           Campaign-Level Optimized Strike Planner

AF151-112                           Next-Generation Semi-Active Laser (Next Gen SAL)

AF151-113                           Miniaturization of RF Seekers

AF151-114                           Dynamic Characterization Methods for Composite Materials Systems

AF151-118                           Physics-Based Modeling for Specialty Materials at High Temperatures

AF151-119                           Development of Flaws in Complex Geometry Coated Turbine Engine Components for

Vibrothermography NDE

AF151-120                           Linking Coupon to Component Behavior of CMCs in Relevant Service Environment

AF151-121                           Improved Life Cycle Management of Airborne Systems Tools

AF151-122                           NDI Tool for Corrosion Detection in Sub-Structure

AF151-123                           Structural Health Monitoring Methods for Aircraft Structural Integrity

AF151-125                           Automated ‘Tier 0’ Defect Inspection for Low Observable Aircraft

AF151-126                           Uncertainty Propagation to Modal Parameters and Metrics

AF151-127                           Man-Portable Fire Suppression and Rapid Insulating/Cooling Agent

AF151-128                           Robust Titanium Surface Preparation for Structural Adhesive Bonding

AF151-129                           Nondestructive Method and Data Analysis for Organic Matrix Composite Leading Edges

AF151-130                           High-frequency Applications for Carbon Nanotube-based Wires

AF151-132                           Defect Mitigation Processes for III-V-based Infrared Detectors

AF151-133                           Optical Materials Processing for High Linearity Electro-optic Modulators

AF151-134                           Data Management Tools for Metallic Additive Manufacturing

AF151-135                           Research Tool to Support Hybridized Additive Manufacturing

AF151-136                           Modeling Tools for the Machining of Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs)

AF151-139                           Robust Light-Weight Doppler Weather Radar

AF151-140                           (This topic has been removed from the solicitation.)

AF151-141                           LWIR Narrow-Band Spectral Filters

AF151-142                           Avionics Access Points and Connection Protection

AF151-143                           High Speed Non-mechanical Beam Steering for Coherent LIDAR/LADAR

AF151-144                           Electronic Warfare Circumvent and Recover

AF151-145                           Waveform Agile, Low-cost Multi-function Radio Frequency ISR in Contested

Environment

AF151-146                           Robust and Reliable Exploitation for Ground Moving Target Detection, Geolocation and

Tracking Using Synthetic Aperture Radar

AF151-147                           Multiple-Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Compatible with Military Global

Positioning System (GPS) User Equipment (MGUE)

AF151-148                           Space Qualifiable Radiation Hardened Compound Semiconductor Microelectronic

Device Technology

AF151-149                           Ka-Band and Q-Band Low Noise Amplifiers

AF151-150                           Ka-Band Efficient, Linear Power Amplifiers for SATCOM Ground Terminals

AF151-151                           Integrated Photonic Optical Circulator

AF151-152                           Compact, High Stability Master Oscillators for Airborne Coherent Laser Radar

AF151-154                           Influence of Long-range Ionospheric and Atmospheric Effects on Surveillance and

Communication Systems 

AF151-155                           Diffractive Optical Elements for Efficient Laser Cavities

AF151-156                           Overhead Persistent Infrared Tracking

AF151-158                           Very Large Multi-Modal NDI

AF151-159                           Multi-Layer Deep Structure NDI

AF151-160                           Alternative Materials to Cu-Be for Landing Gear Bushing/Bearing Applications

AF151-161                           Innovative Technologies for Automated Capacity Assessment and Planning for

Manufacturing

AF151-162                           Non-Destructive Inspection Data Capture

AF151-163                           Landing Gear Bushing Installation

AF151-166                           Thermal Spray Dashboard/Knowledge Management System

AF151-167                           Prognostic Scheduling

AF151-168                           Strip Solutions to Optimize the Stripping of Plating and Thermal Spray Coatings

AF151-169                           Visual Tire Pressure Indication

AF151-173                           Advanced Experimental Design and Modeling and Simulation for Testing Large Format

Sensor Arrays

AF151-174                           Background-Oriented Schlieren 3D (BOS-3D)

AF151-175                           Gigapixel High-Speed Optical Sensor Tracking (GHOST)

AF151-176                           Temperature/Heat Flux Imaging of an Aerodynamic Model in High-Temperature,

                                                Continuous-Flow Wind Tunnels

AF151-177                           Low Power High-Emissivity IR Spatial Uniformity Calibration Source

AF151-178                           Infrared Target Collection System (ITCS)

AF151-179                           Ground Station Antenna Efficiency Improvements

AF151-180                           Recovery Method for Unmanned Hypersonic Test Vehicles

AF151-181                           High Accuracy Moving Platform Surveying/Metrology

AF151-182                           Computer Assisted Tomography for Three-Dimensional Flow Visualization in Transonic

Wind Tunnels

AF151-187                           Physics-Based Damage Modeling of Composites for High-Speed Structures

AF151-188                           Parametric Inlet Bleed

AF151-189                           Reduced-Order Fluid-Thermal-Structural Interactions Model for Control System Design

and Assessment

AF151-190                           Environmental Sensors for High Speed Airframes

AF151-191                           Hypersonic Materials Selection and Integration Tools

AF151-192                           Innovative Materials Concepts for Hypersonic Systems

AF151-193                           Innovative Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) for

Hypersonic Air Vehicles

AF151-194                           Cognitive Computing Application for Defense Contracting

 

 


Air Force SBIR 15.1 Topic Descriptions

 

 

AF151-001                           TITLE: Real Time Computer Vision

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

OBJECTIVE:  The objective is to conceive algorithms that confer the ability to separate video frames into background and foreground components in real time on mobile computing platforms and other limited computational resource devices.

 

DESCRIPTION:  New algorithms based on state-of-the-art machine learning methods are enabling a broad range of transformative technologies. Computer vision applications are no exception. At the forefront of this field is the ability to separate video frames into background and foreground components in real time on mobile computing platforms and other limited computational resource devices. With the growing demand for accurate and real time video surveillance techniques and/or interactive gaming technologies, computationally efficient methods for removing background variations in a video stream (which are generally highly correlated between frames) in order to highlight foreground objects of potential interest are critical in enabling applications at the forefront of modern data analysis research.  Background/foreground separation is typically an integral step in detecting, identifying, tracking, and recognizing objects in video sequences. Most modern computer vision applications demand algorithms that can be implemented in real time, and that are robust enough to handle diverse, complicated, and cluttered backgrounds. Competitive methods often need to be flexible enough to accommodate changes in a scene due to, for instance, illumination changes that can occur throughout the day, or location changes where the application is being implemented. Given the importance of this task, a variety of iterative techniques and methods have already been developed in order to perform background/foreground separation. However, they often rely on optimization routines that are computationally expensive, thus compromising their ability to do real time computations with limited resources.  New methods being developed must circumvent this prohibitively expensive computation to produce an exceptionally robust, efficient, and potentially game changing technologically, providing a foreground/background separation solution that is two- to three-orders faster than current methods. At such speeds, the algorithm can be very easily implemented on mobile platforms such as smartphones, thus making for a portable field device that can execute such tasks on a mobile phone application type of computing structure. Additionally, a number of technological innovations that can further increase efficiency by determining a small number of pixel locations that are maximally informative about the foreground actions in video streams would make identification and processing of information (for surveillance or gaming applications) even more efficient.

 

PHASE I:  A clear and detailed mathematical framework and implementation strategy is to be developed and test-bedded to demonstrate not only feasibility but the significant reduction in computational expense in comparison with current optimization-based methods. Robustness of the method to a wide variety of video streams needs to be demonstrated with potential weaknesses ascertained.

 

PHASE II:  A user friendly, menu-driven software implementation is sought which can be inserted on a variety of platforms.

 

PHASE III:  In this phase, the uses of the Phase II product by the military, Homeland Security, law enforcement, and by commercial entities are substantially the same.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  L. Li, W. Huang, I. Gu, and Q. Tian, “Statistical Modeling of Complex Backgrounds for Foreground Object Detection,” IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, 13(11):1459–1472, 2004.

 

2.  Y. Tian, M. Lu, and A. Hampapur, “Robust and Efficient Foreground Analysis for Real-Time Video Surveillance,” IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, 2005, volume 1, pages 1182–1187, 2005.

 

3.  L. Maddalena and A. Petrosino, “A Self-Organizing Approach to Background Subtraction for Visual Surveillance Applications,” IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, 17(7): 1168–1177, 2008.

 

4.  J. Grosek and J. Kutz, “Dynamic Mode Decomposition for Real-time Background/Foreground Separation in Video,” IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.7592.

 

KEYWORDS: computer vision, background/foreground separation

 

 

 

AF151-002                           TITLE: Electrically-Small Superconducting Wide-Bandwidth Receiver Based on Series

Arrays of Nano-Josephson Junctions

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Electronics

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop a wide-bandwidth receiver utilizing series arrays of high-transition-temperature superconducting (HTS) nano Josephson junctions.

 

DESCRIPTION:  There is an ever increasing need for wide bandwidth receivers that are compact in physical size and have high data throughput. An ideal system would have bandwidth large enough to replace multiple systems covering different frequency ranges and would reduce the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements for operation on mobile platforms. Sensors built from high temperature superconducting (HTS) electronics may be able to fill both of these requirements for realization of this need. A Josephson junction is the active element of superconducting electronics formed by two superconducting electrodes separated by a thin normal metal or insulating barrier. When a phase difference exists across the barrier, a super current will flow in the absence of a voltage where the critical current is the maximum super current sustainable by the barrier. The critical current of a Josephson junction is a function of magnetic field IC(B)= IC |Sinc BA/f0| where A is the area of the junction and f0 is the flux quantum. This effect may be used to detect magnetic field by DC biasing the junction above the critical current and by measuring the resulting voltage. A sensor using a single junction was demonstrated with a voltage to magnetic field response of 50 V/T over a range of about 10 µT. 50 V/T is very modest in comparison to interferometers built from two junctions connected in parallel called SQUIDs (superconducting quantum interference devices). SQUIDs typically achieve 105 V/T [2] and therefore have traditionally been assumed to be the magnetic field detector of choice. However the dynamic range of the SQUID is limited to about 10 nT in comparison to 10 µT for single junctions. Furthermore, the SQUID transfer function is very non-linear so to utilize it as a detector it is typically connected to feedback electronics that limit the bandwidth to a few MHz [2]. Using arrays of very large numbers of nano Josephson junctions will increase the output voltage and therefore sensitivity. The best Josephson junctions for this are nano Josepshon junctions fabricated with ion beam damage [3] because unlike other HTS junction technologies they can be very closely spaced (~150 nm) [4,5], positioned anywhere on a substrate and have excellent temporal stability [6]. Consider a 1 cm chip consisting of a series array of nano Josephson junctions in a meander line. Modestly estimating 400 meanders (25 micron periodicity) with an inter-junction spacing of 0.5 microns yields a total of 8 x 106 Junctions. Assuming a typical single junction ICR product of 10 µV and 50 percent modulation of the critical current to zero this yields 40 V! If only 25 percent of this signal had a usable linear range it would still yield 10 V/10 µT or equivalently 106 V/T which is an order of magnitude better than a SQUID with the added benefits of a large dynamic range, high-linearity and wide-bandwidth.

 

PHASE I:  Perform simulations of devices and investigate the effects of non-uniformity and dimensions on linearity, dynamic range and sensitivity. Build test junction arrays with different design criteria to investigate linearity and voltage response.

 

PHASE II:  Fabricate prototype arrays using the designs developed in Phase I. Characterize devices to determine linearity, bandwidth and gain. Incorporate on-chip bias lines. Measure the noise properties and capabilities of the devices. Test array operation on compact cryocoolers to determine size and weight requirements. Develop support circuitry and develop a prototype wide-band receiver.

 

PHASE III:  Market superconducting circuits and receivers to defense contractors and communication companies.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  V. Martin et al. IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 7, p3079, 1997.

 

2.  J. Clarke, “The SQUID Handbook”, Wiley, 2006.

 

3.  K. Chen, S. A. Cybart, and R. C. Dynes, Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, p2863, 2004.

 

4.  K. Chen, S. A. Cybart, and R. C. Dynes, IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 15, p149, 2005.

 

5.  S. A. Cybart, K. Chen and R. C. Dynes, IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 15, p241, 2005.

 

6.  S. A. Cybart et al. IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 23, p 1100103, 2013.

 

KEYWORDS: HTS Josephson junctions, wide-bandwidth receiver, superconducting electronics

 

 

 

AF151-003                           TITLE: Transparent High Reflective Index IR Polymers

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop high refractive index (>2.0) IR transparent polymers in the 3-5 micron range that are readily melt of solution processible to form optical components such as lens and windows.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Chalcogenide glasses and semiconductor crystals are currently the only materials utilized for 3-5 micron IR optics.  Polymers, due to the presence of carbon hydrogen (C-H), or other carbon-heteroatom (C-X) vibrational modes that are strongly IR absorbing in this regime, are traditionally not considered for these applications even though they are widely utilized and proven to be a low cost, lightweight, and mechanically robust material in the visible range. The proposed polymeric materials development would enable a transformative and revolutionary technological advance in IR imaging science.

 

Recent research demonstrated that sulfur containing co-polymers can provide a wide window of transparency in the IR range.  The glass transition temperature can be adjusted to enable melt processing into optical quality components.  The solubility can also be adjusted to render the polymers processible with appropriate solvents.  The S-S bonds in these polymers can also render them with self-healing characteristics.  This topic will exploit these advances to develop a polymeric platform to provide low cost, lightweight, mechanically robust components for IR optics and imaging.

 

PHASE I:  Demonstrate synthesis of polymeric materials with properties that meet the figures of merits as the following: (1) high refractive index values (n > 2.0); (2) low loss, high transparency (alpha< 0.25 cm-1) in 3-5 micron windows; (3) melt and solution processible into thin films, free standing lenses, or optical fibers; (4) with chemistry that are amenable to self-healing upon mechanical damage.

 

PHASE II:  Demonstrate fabrication of optical components such as lens and windows with low cost processing techniques and assess the optical imaging characteristics of these components in the 3-5 micron range.  Comparison in performance and cost with traditional IR components will be conducted.  Conditions and capability of self-healing characteristics upon damage will be assessed.

 

PHASE III:  Integrate low cost, lightweight, mechanically robust IR optical components into equipment platforms to improve on cost, weight-saving and performance of these platforms.

 

REFERENCES:

1."The Use of Elemental Sulfur as an Alternative Feedstock for Polymeric Materials," Chung, W.-J.; Griebel, J.J.; Kim, E.-T.;  Yoon, H. -S.; Simmonds, A.G.; Jon, H.-J.; Dirlam, P.T.; Wie, J.J.; Nguyen, N.A.; Guralnick, B.W.; Park, J.-J.; Somogyi, A.; Theato, P.; Mackay, M.E.; Glass, R.S.; Char, K.-C.; Pyun, J. Nature Chemistry 2013, 5, 518-524.

 

2."New Infrared Transmitting Material via Inverse Vulcanization of Elemental Sulfur to Prepare High Refractive Index Polymers," Griebel, J.J.; Namnabat, S.; Kim, E.-T,.; Himmbelhuber, R.; Moronta, D.H.; Chung, W.J.; Simmonds, A.G.; Ngyugen, N.; Mackay, M.E.; Char, K. Glass, R.S.; Norwood, R.A;  Pyun, J. Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 3014-3018.

 

3."Sulfur Copolymers for Infrared Optical Imaging," Namnabat, S.; Griebel, J.J.; Pyun, J.; Norwood, R.A.; Dereniak, E.L.; Laan, J. Proc. SPIE 2014, 9070, 90702H-1.

 

KEYWORDS: IR polymers, transparent from 3-5 micron, self-healing optical polymers, melt and solution processible polymers

 

 

 

AF151-004                           TITLE: Scaled Hypersonic Test Bed

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop techniques to integrate new sensing technologies into hypersonic vehicle test article. Collect test article wind tunnel, high speed test track, and other performance data and demonstrate utility for CSE tool application and CFD validation.

 

DESCRIPTION:  The purpose of this topic is to facilitate integration of new sensor technology in a scaled representative hypersonic test article vehicle or cone or wedge and reduce effective model production costs. Basic incorporation of new sensors will facilitate integration of new sensing solutions on relevant hypersonic problems. Physical understanding and modeling of real world hypersonic regimes is required in order to provide invaluable insight into aerodynamics, boundary layer transition, thermal protection systems performance, ablative properties, material effects, scramjet engine operation, and hypersonic instrumentation requirements/optimal locations.  Improvements in testing could be realized if new sensing techniques (i.e., modular, transferable to free air test articles, wireless, high density pressure or temperature sensors. etc.) are implemented, potentially resolving issues and reducing uncertainty. The full value hypersonic modeling and simulation requires appropriate validation data for vehicle aerodynamic design, thermal protection systems, scramjet operation, and/or performance. Due to the limited flight testing that has been accomplished on legacy unmanned hypersonic vehicles (X-43, X-51, HTV-2 and HIFiRE) better test data and modeling data is desired. Data collection should be sufficient to the address systematic variations of key parameters needed for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model validation. In order to assist the acquisition cycle as a whole, high fidelity data sets must be utilized in conjunction with multi-physics computational science and engineering (CSE) tools as applied to these systems. Ultimately these data sets will improve physical understanding and build confidence in the predictive capabilities of CSE tools.

 

We seek to address this problem through the construction of physical models suitable for high speed test track and wind tunnel testing and capable of providing relevant validation data to assist in CFD model and CSE tool development. We seek to enable state of the art data collection improvements that will advance new testing capabilities and/or reduce risk to programs steps by providing better decision making data. During Phase I, the contractor shall develop one or more representative hypersonic vehicle or hypersonic research cone, wedge, etc., test article designs and assess merits and deficiencies of each with respect to expected performance, fabrication, and testing. Detailed designs and design specifications for each model must be made available in the public domain in electronic format during Phase I and detailed plans to address this requirement must be included in proposals. Phase I proposals must also document the team's ability to fabricate and safely test articles. During Phase II, the contractor shall fabricate one or more of the designed test articles. The new technology must minimize vehicle integration requirements (i.e., weight, size, power, asymmetry). Advanced model construction processes, such as 3D printing, additive manufacturing, or rapid prototyping should be employed, if feasible. Updated public domain designs with actual build specifications for each test article will be provided. Sufficient test data should be collected during Phase II to demonstrate the utility of test article design and fabrication and the ability of test articles to provide relevant validation data. Provisions for public domain access to test data must also be provided. The contractor will also corroborate data and physical characteristics of applicable fluid, structural and/or thermal components through the use of CSE tools. At the end of Phase II, all test articles, designs, design specifications, and performance data shall be delivered to an Air Force facility for additional testing and assessment.

 

PHASE I:  Develop test article design and fabrication techniques. Assess merits and deficiencies of each with respect to expected performance, fabrication, and testing. Designs capable of advancing hypersonic vehicle research are of particular interest, but designs that facilitate hypersonic research article testing are also desired. Develop plans for wind tunnel and high speed test track experiments.

 

PHASE II:  Produce one or more test articles and provide the Air Force design and build specification data. Collect test article wind tunnel, high speed test track and other performance data and demonstrate utility for CSE tool application and CFD modeling and simulation validation. Detailed documentation to be provided at end of Phase II, including all design and test data in electronic form. Test articles, software (source code) and supporting materials delivered and demonstrated at Air Force facility.

 

PHASE III:  Produce new and more complex test article on demand. Demonstrate repeatability of modular sensing solutions, miniaturized transmitters, article measurement, and simulation objectives. Potential customers include Air Force, Navy, NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and others.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Voland, R. T., Huebner, L. D., McClinton, C.R.,  “X-43 Hypersonic Vehicle Technology Development,” 10.2514/6.IAC-05-D2.6.01, International Astronautical Congress, Fukuoka, Japan, 2005.

 

2. Hank, J., Murphy, J., Mutzman, R., “The X-51A Scramjet Engine Flight Demonstration Program,” 15th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, 2008, 10.2514/6.2008-2540.

 

3. Schneider SP. 2004. “Hypersonic Laminar-Turbulent Transition on Circular Cones and Scramjet Forebodies,” Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Vol. 40, pp. 1-50.

 

4. Whitehead A. 1989. “NASP Aerodynamics,” National Aerosp. Plane Conf., AIAA Paper 89–5013, Dayton,OH.

 

5. Bertin JJ, Cummings RM. 2003. Fifty Years of Hypersonic, Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going. Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Vol. 39, pp. 511–536.

 

KEYWORDS: hypersonic, flight test, vehicle recovery method, unmanned, technology demonstration, low power, low weight, small size, test effectiveness, wind tunnel, high speed test track, validation data

 

 

 

AF151-005                           TITLE: Integrated Photonics

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop an Integrated Photonic Design platform for enhancing the performance of analog and mixed signal processing modules for military applications.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Efficient electrical-to-optical (E/O) conversion, optical-to-electrical (O/E) conversion, and low loss optical interconnects are imperative for photonic solutions to be competitive with conventional military RF components. E/O and O/E conversion losses coupled with high insertion loss integrated optics have traditionally impaired short-haul RF link performance. Recent progress in optical signal generation, modulation, routing and distribution along with detector technologies are beginning to remove this impairment and create new integrated photonics insertion opportunities for military applications, including but not limited to; ultra wide band receiver for Electronic Warfare (EW), True Time Delay (TDD), photonic switched/controlled solid state antenna, coherent THz Source, Antenna Beam Forming (ABF) and Beam Steering (ABS). The realization and deployment of such applications will highly rely on the ability to overcome the challenge of monolithic integration of analog and mixed RF signal processing modules on a single die. Current state of the art design and development SDKs and fabrication foundries, efficiently address digital integrated photonic designs; however to date, very limited efforts have been aimed towards development of SDK design tools for analog integrated photonic applications. Hence, there is an urgent need for a detailed investigation among available fabrication foundries and material platforms for their suitability in the development of analog integrated photonics for military applications.

 

Integrated photonics has the potential to meet military needs for decades to come by enhancing the performance of broadband analog and digital signal processing modules like modulators, photodetectors, switches and wavelength division multiplexing and demultiplexing. With recent military/industrial breakthroughs in the integration of photonics in RF systems, the operational bandwidth of military RF systems has increased by orders of magnitude (tens of GHz instead of GHz). In addition, it enabled a significant decrease of the size and a reduction in the power dissipation of military RF systems (i.e., EW, RADAR systems) - far beyond the possibilities of the current electronic RF systems. RF signal pre-processing, filtering and channelization are additional technology areas where photonics can bring value to military RF systems. The performance of the optical link is critical for successful utilization of photonics for military RF systems.

 

This effort seeks to address the development of an integrated photonic link and further cost and performance improvements as necessary for widespread deployment in military applications. Achieving low noise figure at frequencies to 100 GHz and beyond is highly favorable, along with efficient broadband modulation, compact, high power, low noise laser is also an important area of further integrated photonic device development. Improved link dynamic range is equally important. Broadband photonic link linearizers are needed to push the Spur-Free Dynamic Rang (SFDR) over the 130 dB-Hz2/3 levels.

 

PHASE I:  Develop broadband analog and/or mixed signal optical links. Examine electrical-to-optical (E/O) conversion efficiency, optical-to-electrical (O/E) conversion, efficiency, and low loss optical interconnects to evaluate proposed link designs. Preliminary fabrication processes will be identified for the fabrication of prototypes during Phase II effort.

 

PHASE II:  Develop a standardized design and fabrication platform for the fabrication of integrated analog photonic solutions for military applications. Fabricate and characterize prototypes to validate proposed designs performance. Develop packaging solutions compatible with military platforms including both optical and RF signal I/O signal interface.

 

PHASE III:  Analog/digital integrated photonic solutions for Air Force systems: high-speed photonic enabled A/D, optical signal routing and distribution modules. RF-Photonic links incorporating optical analog processing modules, electrical and RF interconnects.

 

REFERENCES:

1. R. Nagarajan, M. Kato, J. Pleumeekers, P. Evans, S. Corzine, S. Hurtt, A. Dentai, S. Murthy, M. Missey, R. Muthiah, R. A. Salvatore, C. Joyner, R. Schneider, Jr., M. Ziari, F. Kish, and D. Welch, “InP Photonic Integrated Circuits,” IEEE Journal of selected topics in QE, (16), (2010).

 

2. M. Zablocki, M. Roman, D. Prather, A. Sharkawy, “Chip-scale photonic routing fabrics for avionic and satellite applications”, IEEE Avionics, Fiber-Optics and Photonics Technology Conference (AVFOP), (2011).

 

3. W. Green, S. Assefa, A. Rylyakov, C. Schow, F. Horst, and Y. Valsov, “CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics: An Enabling Technology for Exascale Computing,” Integrated Photonics Research, Silicon and Nanophotonics, (2011).

 

4. R. Soref, “Silicon photonics technology: past, present, and future,” SPIE 5730, Optoelectronic Integration on Silicon II, 19 (2005).

 

5. Harish Subbaraman, Maggie Yihong Chen, and Ray. T. Chen, Photonic Crystal Fiber Based True-Time-Delay Beamformer for Multiple RF Beam Transmission and Reception of an X-Band Phased Array Antenna, IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology, Vol. 26, No. 15, pp. 2803-2809 (2008).

 

KEYWORDS: integrated RF photonic links, RF photonics, analog integrated photonics, InP integrated photonics, silicon photonics, Silicon RF-Photonic

 

 

 

AF151-008                           TITLE: Automated Assessment of Damage to Infrastructure

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

OBJECTIVE:  Consistent infrastructure damage assessment (vertical or horizontal) by autonomously quantifying, in limited time, parameters that express structural capability of affected infrastructure and capacity for use within contingent mission requirements.

 

DESCRIPTION:  As new technologies advance technological capabilities, there remain areas in which human reasoning continues to be a needed element to complete the overall assessment of the condition of infrastructure. Past experience, deductive reasoning, and metadata have been used to support conclusions about structural capability or performance of infrastructure elements that have been subjected to extreme life events or overloads.  In this view, there is an evident imbalance between the remotely operated-to-autonomous recovery capabilities following the infrastructure assessment and the infrastructure assessment itself, which is heavily dependent on human reasoning. Advanced technologies, e.g., sensors and other monitoring devices, provide signals from which metadata can be extracted and utilized in an automatic assessment of infrastructure integrity. Sensors like micro-electromechanical sensors and systems (MEMS) can be embedded or added after an event to critical elements of an infrastructure to allow monitoring the performance. External monitoring modalities like cameras and radar afford an additional category of information. The successful technology will combine judicious choices of sensing devices and automated reasoning in conjunction with retrieved metadata to decrease the dependence on human involvement in the infrastructure assessment process.

 

In the most-desirable eventual embodiment, the technology would attach to and interact with a robot that is one of a robot team directed by the technology, first to conduct the assessment by a process of iterative refinement; then to direct the performance of repairs by the robot team, including emplacement of additional sensors to replace or improve diagnostic capacity; then to conduct a brief second assessment to verify the competence of the repairs and the emplaced sensors. As an installed array, the additional sensors should integrate into a global network that supports different activities from infrastructure assessment to continuous monitoring of conditions at any of the identified critical network nodes or parameters. The sensor technology should have a small footprint, ideally with dimensions allowing monitoring and interaction to the level of a few particles, to match the spatial resolution of a discrete element model---a self-sufficient organic element that can interpret the environment and act consequently. The technology should aim to minimize human intervention and be a self-sufficient partner to other activities that have associated human elements. The combination of advanced reasoning and technology should produce a set of completely independent entities that can monitor, decides, and act without any input from the Command and Control Center, after the "start" decision.

 

PHASE I:  Identify advanced technology(ies) that can provide useful and reliable metadata in support of an automated reasoning and recognition process; identify the reasoning approach and estimate the level of uncertainty and reliability in its output. (Specify performance thresholds for an experimental demonstration of feasibility in several possible scenarios of application).

 

PHASE II:  Develop a prototype of the package designed in Phase I; demonstrate its performance when applied to real-case scenarios (specific scenarios but with variable descriptive parameters). Agreement within 50 percent of human-generated values will be considered successful.

 

PHASE III:  Refine sensor inputs & algorithms to bring agreement with human-generated estimates within 20 percent, configure interfaces for rapid infrastructure assessment to support timely recovery of military infrastructure and for periodic infrastructure assessment in support of generic maintenance planning.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Annamdas, V.G.M., Soh, C.K. (2010). Application of Electromechanical Impedance Technique for Engineering Structures: Review and Future Issues, J. Intelligent Material Systems Structures 21[1]: 41-59.

 

2. Brownjohn, J.M.W., De Stefano, A., Xu, Y.L., Wenzel, H., Aktan, A.E. (2011). Vibration-based monitoring of civil infrastructure: challenges and successes, J Civil Structural Health Monitoring, 1[3-4]: 79-95.

 

3. German, S., Brilakis, I., DesRoches, R. (2012). Rapid entropy-based detection and properties measurement of concrete spalling with machine vision for post-earthquake safety assessments, Advanced Engineering Informatics, 26[4]: 846-858.

 

4. Jahanshahi, M., Jazizadeh, F., Masri, S., and Becerik-Gerber, B. (2013). Unsupervised Approach for Autonomous Pavement-Defect Detection and Quantification Using an Inexpensive Depth Sensor, J Computing Civil Engineering, 27[6]: 743–754.

 

5. Tarussov, A., Vandry, M., De La Haza, A. (2013). Condition assessment of concrete structures using a new analysis method: Ground-penetrating radar computer-assisted visual interpretation, Construction Building Materials, 38[1], 1246-1254.

 

KEYWORDS: architecture, assessment, autonomous, damage, metadata

 

 

 

AF151-009                           TITLE: Compact, low-cost, energy-efficient detector for gamma rays and neutrons

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Sensors

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop an expendable, hand-held or smaller detector system that draws little or no power, quantitatively measures gamma and neutron emissions from radioactive materials and communicates the results wirelessly.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Theft or improper disposal of radioactive isotopes, both as events to be dealt with by first responders and cleanup crews and as potential payloads for environmental weapons dispersing radioactive isotopes (“dirty bombs”),  pose a threat to health and safety. Traditional methods for hot-atom detection amplify and detect electrons dislodged from an air or gas sample by alpha or beta emissions; however, as alpha- and beta-emitting isotopes also emit energetic photons (gamma rays), a capability to detect and characterize gamma and neutron emissions should be sufficient to sense and identify hot isotopes in environmental settings. Troops in the field and civilian first responders need a gamma-and-neutron sensor that that is small and rugged enough for hand use in the field to assess post event contamination, guide and monitor the remediation response, and verify at the conclusion of the remediation process that the area is again habitable. A second, highly desirable application for the same sensing technology—broadcast distribution in a state of protracted deployment, reporting electronically to an action center—places a premium on efficiency of energy consumption and independence from external sources of power. Both devices must be inexpensive enough that they can be expendable, responsive within no more than a few minutes of exposure, and at least 99% accurate in detecting emissions; ability to remain in use for extended periods of time without support or maintenance will be useful in the handheld and necessary for the emplaced unit. To provide a useful level of sensitivity and breadth of surface coverage the device should include a durable portal or other aperture that supports detection across a large solid angle, and its sensitivity to materials of interest and capacity to discriminate among them should be equal to or greater than that of existing technology but at lower life-cycle cost and consuming less or, ideally, no externally supplied power.

 

Desirable features include that the detecting element be small or transparent and colorless (so the user’s view of the area being interrogated is not obscured) and flexible (to conform to different objects and geometries). The ideal embodiment of the broadcast device would perform an initial screening of results and down select to responses exceeding a set threshold, which would be stored as a readable record of results reported, date, time and GPS location, and which could be transmitted wirelessly, on demand, to a central information management unit to be integrated to generate a map of contamination. It is expected that no government materials, data, equipment or facilities will be provided as part of this contract.

 

PHASE I:  Develop a breadboard prototype detector and demonstrate proof of concept through small-scale testing. Target is to detect and discriminate among seven different radioactive isotopes at two emission rates differing by a factor of 10 or more.

 

PHASE II:  Develop a full-scale prototype and test it in the field against an “authentic” detector. For each of 10 different isotopes and 3 controls agreement between the two systems’ measurements must be within 20%. Deliverables include a 50% design for a manufacturable prototype and a cost analysis for its production.

 

PHASE III:  Design and produce detectors as part of an outer garment or compatible with operation by minimally trained personnel deployed in rugged environments in full-body protective gear & bulky gloves for use in cargo portals & containers, initial screening for contamination, including under salt water.

 

REFERENCES:

1. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/fs-dirty-bombs.html.

 

2. Leo, W.R. (1994) Techniques for nuclear and particle physics experiments. 2nd Ed. Springer–Verlag. ISBN 0-387-57280-5.

 

3. Knoll, G.F., (2010) Radiation Detection and Measurement, 4th Ed., John Wiley & Sons.

 

KEYWORDS: detection, dirty bomb, gamma ray, neutron, radiation, radioactive

 

 

 

AF151-010                           TITLE: Tool to Assess State of Digital System after Electromagnetic Disruption

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Electronics

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  The goal of this effort is to build a diagnostic tool that can be used to assess the operational state of each component of a networked computer system after an electromagnetic disruption with relatively fast turn-around time.

 

DESCRIPTION:  The Air Force is moving towards the use of networked commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics for many of its functions, including military operations. This trend is the result of evolving capabilities in COTS electronics; however, it results in new vulnerability for these networked systems. Since many of the networked computer systems are required to operate in a high electromagnetic field environment, it is critical to understand the potential for electromagnetically triggered disruption (upset) of the components of such a system.

 

Exactly what comprises disruption is only partially known; readily available information is limited to what can be obtained through observation or attempts to interact with a computer in the networked system through, for example, a mouse or keyboard or through specially designed software. This type of assessment simply establishes that the system has been upset and does not provide any information on which is the most vulnerable component in the system or how this upset manifests in this component.

 

To aid in further developing this understanding of system upset, it would be useful to be able to assess the operating state of each component in a networked system (such as a PC, server, router, switch) after an electromagnetic disruption in order to identify the most vulnerable component(s) in such a networked system and to evaluate how electromagnetically triggered upset manifests in these vulnerable components. It is desirable that this diagnostic tool have fast turnaround time, on the order of minutes.

 

This SBIR topic is focused on the design and construction of an integrated diagnostic toolset consisting of some combination of the following: remote sensors, hardware attached to the digital device, and software running either at the kernel level or at the application level that monitors the state of the system and provides information that assists in diagnosing the nature of the upset state. The successful respondent will be able to develop a diagnostic tool that assesses the operational state of each component of a networked system of varying complexity and redundancy following electromagnetic disruption.

 

The Air Force can provide test facilities (such as an anechoic chamber, GTEM cell, or laboratory space) and a wide range of test and diagnostic equipment (including but not limited to: oscilloscopes, sensors, antennas, network and spectrum analyzers) to the contractor.

 

PHASE I:  Develop a concept and architecture for the diagnostic tool.

 

PHASE II:  Build the diagnostic tool, and demonstrate it for at least two components of a computer system of interest, such as a generic PC and an Ethernet switch.

 

PHASE III:  Phase III efforts would focus on technology transition for dual use in commercial systems as well as specific DoD systems.

 

REFERENCES:

1. T. M. Firestone, J. Rodgers, and V. L. Granatstein, "Investigation of the Radio Frequency Characteristics of CMOS Electrostatic Discharge Protection Devices."

 

2. Agis Iliadis and Kyechong Kim, "Effects of Microwave Interference on MOSFETs, Inverters, and Timer Circuits" (2006).

 

3. Kyechong Kim, Agis A. Iliadis, and Victor L. Granatstein, "Effects of Microwave Interference on the Operational Parameters of n-Channel Enhancement Mode MOSFET Devices in CMOS Integrated Circuits," Solid-State Electronics 48 [10-11], 1795-1799 (2004).

 

KEYWORDS: effects, electromagnetic disruption, digital system

 

 

 

AF151-011                           TITLE: Tool for Assessing the Recuperation Time from an Electromagnetic Disruption

for a Digital System

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Electronics

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  To produce a tool set that can be used to assess the operator response to an electromagnetically triggered disruption of a digital system, to help determine the recovery time to a basic recovery state and full functionality of the system.

 

DESCRIPTION:  The Air Force is moving towards the use of networked commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics for many of its functions, including military operations. Since many of these systems are required to operate in a high electromagnetic field environment, it is critical to understand the potential for electromagnetically triggered disruption (upset) of the system, and to develop an understanding of how long such a disruption might last.   Currently there are no good tools to predict the recuperation time leading to a basic or fully functional digital system after a disruption.

 

The recuperation time for a complex networked digital system involves a number of factors, some technical and some human. An example of the former would be software self-diagnostic and subsequent application restart, the time required to rebuild a corrupted database, or reboot time for a server, while an example of the latter might be the human intervention and time to troubleshoot the system after a problem has been identified. The focus of this effort is specifically on the human aspects of the problem, with a goal to determine bounds on the time required to restore a disrupted system to basic and full functionality.   In this context, it will constrain the predicted recuperation time based on system components, complexity, architecture, operator expertise. The concept involves attaching the tool to a running network, with realistic software running and users performing representative tasks, and using it to measure and bound the recuperation time associated with specific system disruptions. The final product includes software, hardware, and other tools and resources to accomplish this goal for which no current solution exits.   In coordination with and approval of the Air Force technical point of contact (TPOC), the final product will be demonstrated on a network system, in a suitable environment, using High Power Electromagnetic (HPEM) sources, to disrupt or disable the system.  The technical description, utility, and operational details of the deliverables are to be completely documented.

 

PHASE I:  Develop concept and architecture for assessment tool. The tool may consist of multiple hardware modules that can be attached to components of the networked system together with a master control module that monitors the recovery process and records data pertaining to a bounded system recuperation time based on system and operator constraints. Technical description shall be completely documented.

 

PHASE II:  Build and demonstrate assessment tool on a network representative of a command and control system selected in coordination with the TPOC. The system shall include components such as servers, clients, switches, routers, and configured to run representative software applications. An appropriate HPEM source and test environment approved by the TPOC shall be used to disrupt or disable the system under test. Technical and operational details shall be completely documented.

 

PHASE III:  Refine and advance the tool set developed in Phase II and focus on technology transition for dual-use domestic applications to commercial and DoD systems.  The technical utility and operational details of the refined assessment tool and its dual use shall be completely documented.

 

REFERENCES:

1. "Understanding Network Failures in Data Centers: Measurement, Analysis, and Implications," A. Gill, N. Jain & N. Naggapan, 2011, http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/navendu/papers/sigcomm11netwiser.pdf.

 

2. http://www.empcommission.org/docs/A2473-EMP_Commission-7MB.pdf.

 

3. http://www.futurescience.com/emp.html.

 

KEYWORDS: effects, time out of action, recuperation time

 

 

 

AF151-012                           TITLE: Airborne Fuel Cell Prime Power for Weapons Systems

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Weapons

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop innovative, airworthy, power systems based on fuel cell prime power that are scaleable to levels for directed energy systems with maximum achievable energy densities.

 

DESCRIPTION:  The existing fuel cell state of the art now provides an advantageous source of prime power for most vehicular applications, both laser and microwave, under development at the Air Force Research Laboratory [1]. These efforts should advance the state of the art compared to turbo-generator power generation units, via SWAP and fuel consumption. There are several types of fuel cells; however, the hydrogen fueled PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) type is probably the most suitable at this time. The DOE has several programs working the development of fuel cells for automotive and other applications. These programs include the logistics of hydrogen fuel production and storage as well as the cells themselves. Based on this work, the time is now for AFRL to get involved and start planning the integration of fuel cell technology to provide the prime power for present and future advanced weapons systems, such as typical GA MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and up to combat aircraft, such as the JSF F-35. Projected burst mode power requirements range from 100kW to1MW average power. The projected energy capability should be traceable to more than 25MJ per mission. The optimum use of fuel cells for pulsed power systems uses the fuel cell to deliver a relatively constant power direct current that is stored in a Li-ion or Li-polymer battery, in combination with power electronics, to provide the high peak pulsed power to the load. An interesting advanced commercial PEM fuel cell rated at 110kW available from Nuvera [1]. Hydrogen storage and logistics problems are also being addressed in terms of existing components and technologies [2,3]. Fuel cells are ideal for typical AFRL pulsed power weapons applications. PEM fuel cells have no start-up time compared to turbo-generator prime power sources. The fuel cell approach advances the state of the arr by the fact that there is essentially no mechanical inertial or electrical inductance that seriously degrades the conventional appraoch of turbo-generators.  In missions that require a long stand-by mode a turbo-generator has to be running, no load, at rated speed in order to provide fire power on demand. Typically, a turbine consumes about 70 percent of the full power fuel when running at rated speed and no-load. This obviously results in very high fuel consumption for missions requiring extended ready mode duration. PEM cells in addition to having a higher efficiency, do not consume fuel at no-load, provide fire power on demand from a cold stand-by, and converts the fuel directly into direct current. The SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) [4] is also a possible candidate for prime power. The SOFC fuel requirement consists has a wide range of acceptable fuel, including JP-8, ethanol, propane, and most hydrocarbons. However, the SOFC operates at a temperature of approximately 800 degrees C and therefore does not have an instantaneous start up time. In some applications the flexible fuel type logistics may be advantageous.

 

PHASE I:  Develop a conceptual design to the PDR level that consists of:

1.  Fuel cell prime power, including fuel for one mission

2.  Pulsed power energy store with charging interface connecting the fuel cell

3.  Thermal management concept for an airborne implementation, not including the thermal management of the pulsed power load

 

PHASE II:  Refine the Phase I conceptual design to the CDR level. Select and procure the basic fuel cell part of the design and interface the control system to operate into a resistive load and verify the performance.  Submit a test plan for approval before implementation of the verification testing. The implementation of the design for the pulsed power energy store and modulator is not required for this effort.

 

PHASE III:  Complete the fabrication of the Phase II design to include the pulsed power energy store and modulator and verify operation by test.  The modulator is to be designed to interface an application, if such application is available that is consistent with the design.

 

REFERENCES:

1. http://www.ballard.com/files/pdf/media/dod-fuel-cell_10-19-11.pdf.

 

2. http://www.nuvera.com/index.php/markets/aerospace.

 

3. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/storage/current_technology.html

 

4. http://www.nuvera.com/index.php/markets/on-site-hydrogen-generation.

 

5. https://technology.grc.nasa.gov/documents/auto/Solid-Oxide-Fuel-Cells.pdf.

 

KEYWORDS: fuel cell prime power, fuel cell APU, air platform prime power, pulse power weapons systems, energy storage, electronic warfare

 

 

 

AF151-013                           TITLE: Materials and Designs for Compact High-Voltage Vacuum Insulator Interfaces

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Weapons

 

OBJECTIVE:  The goal of this effort is to develop a compact and robust high voltage insulator design that could be used at the vacuum interface between the coaxial output of a pulsed power driver and its vacuum load.

 

DESCRIPTION:  As directed energy systems have advanced in capability, development teams have also worked to reduce the size of these systems in order to make them deployable on various-sized platforms.  For a variety of reasons, the pulsed power driver is often one of the largest components in a directed energy system, and so there have been a number of efforts in recent years devoted to shrinking their size.  A key component of the driver with which to contend is the insulating structure, or bushing, around its output terminal, which also serves as an interface between the driver environment and that of the load it is driving (e.g., the driver may be immersed in oil or a high-pressure insulating gas, while in most cases the load is under vacuum).  Such loads may include high power microwave (HPM) sources, particle accelerators, or other vacuum electronic devices.

 

High voltage vacuum insulators in general have been a topic of research for many decades, as they are used in many scientific and engineering applications.  The design of such insulators is complicated by the fact that electrical breakdown can be induced across the insulator surface by more than one mechanism [1, 2], each of which must be mitigated to allow the voltage capabilities of the insulator to be increased.  Increasing insulator size to enable greater electrode separation reduces the field stresses on the insulator and most often mitigates the breakdown problem, however doing so runs counter to efforts aimed at reducing overall system size.  It therefore is necessary to engineer the geometry of the insulator, including positions of triple points, and to carefully choose the insulator material composition so as to both maintain compact size and suppress the growth of breakdown mechanisms that are present with high electric field stresses.

 

To remain on the forefront of compact pulsed power driver development, the Air Force Research Laboratory desires to push the state of the art of high voltage insulators such that greater field stresses can be placed across smaller coaxial insulators for longer pulse durations.  Recent publications describing the state of the art for insulator development report field stresses of ~300 kV/cm being sustained for 100 nanoseconds across small samples (0.5–1.0 cm) of high gradient layered insulators [3]; these field stresses are several times the threshold for surface breakdown across conventionally designed insulators (50 kV/cm [4]).  We have an interest in exploring the feasibility of further increasing sustained field stresses by at least 50 percent (to 450 kV/cm) above these reported values, across insulators having operationally relevant sizes (several cm), for this same time scale and/or of increasing the duration of the applied fields by 1 or 2 orders of magnitude (to microseconds or 10s of microseconds) while still avoiding breakdown.

 

To accommodate the coaxial electrode arrangement, the insulator may be either radially or axially oriented, or some variant in between.  The first provides the most compact arrangement but has the highest field stresses (located where the center electrode passes through the insulator); the second can can provide a more uniform field distribution across the insulator with possibly greater distances between the high voltage and ground than in the radial orientation but at the cost of an increased volume required for the insulator.  The last configuration seeks a compromise between the two.

 

PHASE I:  Develop a design for a compact coaxial vacuum interface insulator using state-of-the-art insulator materials suitable for vacuum. Through modeling, examine field stresses predicted on the insulator and iterate the design so as to maximize applied center conductor voltage. A Preliminary Design Review will be held at the completion of the Phase I work to discuss the design and the modeling results

 

PHASE II:  Using the dimensions and other relevant design specifications for a pulsed power driver and vacuum test load provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory, develop a finalized (full-scale) coaxial vacuum insulator design.  Voltages on the center conductor will be 600 ~ 750 kV.  Following a Critical Design Review, fabricate the proposed coaxial insulator and characterize its voltage hold-off capabilities using the previously-identified pulsed power driver and vacuum test load.

 

PHASE III:  Perform characterization tests with the interface insulator in a relevant operating environment, i.e., with the vacuum test load replaced with an HPM source, the electron gun of a particle accelerator, or other relevant vacuum electronic device.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  A. A. Avdienko and M. D. Malev, “Flashover in Vacuum,” Vacuum 27, pp 643-651, (1977).

 

2.  H. C. Miller, “Flashover of Insulators in Vacuum,” IEEE Trans. Electr. Insul. 28, pp. 512-527, (1993).

 

3.  J. R. Harris, D. Blackfield, G. J. Caporaso, Y. –J. Chen, S. Hawkins, M. Kendig, B. Poole, D. M. Sanders, M. Krogh, and J. E. Managan, “Vacuum Insulator Development for the Dielectric Wall Accelerator,” J. Appl. Phys. 104, 023301, (2008).

 

4.  S. E. Sampayan, G. J Caporaso, D. M. Sanders, R. D. Stoddard, D. O. Trimble, J. Elizondo, M. L. Krogh, and T. F. Wieskamp, “High-Performance Insulator Structures for Accelerator Applications,” Proc. 1997 Particle Accelerator Conference, 12-16 May 1997, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, pp 1308-1310.

 

KEYWORDS: insulator surface tracking, surface flashover of insulators, vacuum insulator materials, high voltage insulators

 

 

 

AF151-014                           TITLE: Breakdown Resistant Materials for HPM Sources

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes

 

OBJECTIVE:  Design, via ab initio numerical modeling, breakdown resistant materials with high field emission (FE) and desorption thresholds (E field >10^-2 V/Å) at L-band and low emission threshold cathode materials with high current for lower voltages (~300kV).

 

DESCRIPTION:  Air Force High Power Microwave (HPM) system performance is limited by material degradation in the presence of high electromagnetic stress environments. The next generation of HPM sources will require the input and generation of tens of Giga-Watts of electromagnetic power within a space that is small enough to be placed on an airborne platform or other compact platform. Current HPM systems are incapable of producing or withstanding the high electrical current densities that such future systems would require. Additionally vacuum breakdown within the compact source itself limits the output power that the system can produce. Advancing to the next generation of HPM sources will require novel materials that are capable of conducting high current without collapsing under Joule heating and without suffering breakdown. Novel materials designed to maximize (for HPM source cathodes) or minimize (for breakdown mitigation) emission where necessary may mitigate these obstacles and provide a means to obtain higher HPM power for compact sources.

 

Innovative design of cathode materials capable of withstanding high electrical current density emission are necessary to meet the demands that future HPM systems would require. Such a cathode would be capable of conducting over 200 µA per fiber with cathode current densities of 3000 A/cm2 for 600 ns pulse or 1000 A/cm2 DC as a final goal, without degradation or destruction due to Joule heating. Moreover the cathode material and the HPM system material must be capable of producing high currents as well as mitigate neutral outgassing and secondary electron emission while under high electromagnetic stress. The HPM material must have a higher threshold for breakdown where appropriate.

 

Numerically derived candidate materials are sought to meet the demands of next-generation HPM sources, Ab Initio numerical modeling of candidate materials in a high electromagnetic stress environment is now possible due to advances in atomistic modeling and the availability of large multi-core parallel computing architecture. Time Dependent-Density Functional Theory (TD-DFT) and standard Density Functional Theory (DFT) based algorithms represent the state of the art for numerical solutions of the quantum many body problem. These methods will allow for a detailed understanding of the emission process in HPM sources. The Fowler-Nordheim relation, derived in 1927, for planar geometry, non-interacting electrons, and no accounting for electronic structure, represents our best understanding of field emission however with TD-DFT and DFT we can now move beyond this. Where field emission is desired (cathode in an HPM source) we seek materials and/or material configurations that will lower the voltage threshold for field emission and increase field emission current magnitude. Where emission is unwanted (an anode for an HPM source) we seek materials with high thresholds for electron stimulated desorption (ESD), field emission, secondary electron emission (SEE). These emission processes yield a plasma in the HPM source resulting in pulse shortening and thus degradation of HPM source operation.

 

TD-DFT has recently been used to examine the phenomena of field emission from Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) resulting in the identification of adsorbates that significantly enhance field emission current. Potential Energy Surfaces (PES) used to describe the interaction between a surface and a molecule may be derived using DFT. The PES may then be used to determine forces acting on a molecule and thus describe the desorption process. The goal here is the virtual prototyping of materials with desired properties for next-generation HPM sources.

 

PHASE I:  Utilize numerical materials design for cathodes to identify novel materials with low field emission thresholds and high field emission current. Perform analysis of materials (CNTs for example) to identify variants that may extend field emission enhancement or lower emission threshold.  Focus is on field emission current enhancement.

 

PHASE II:  Identify materials with high thresholds for ESD, and SEE via DFT or other Ab Initio technique using PES approach or alternative. Focus is on emission mitigation. Extend above research to detail interaction effects among elements of the material in bulk as well as surface effects. Identify the effects of variation in the material on field, ESD SEE emission properties.

 

PHASE III:  Military Use: Enables compact high power electronic systems for electronic attack. Commercial Use: Broad use for electronics.  For example, FE degrades electronic device operation. Voltage leakage yields energy loss and short battery life. Emission control advances mitigate this issue.

 

REFERENCES:

1. "First Principles study of H adsorption on and absorption in Cu(1 1 1) Surface," J.L. Nie, H. Y. Xiao, X.T. Zu Chemical physics 321 (2006) 48-54.

 

2. "Dissociative and diffractive scattering of H2 from Pt„111…: A four-dimensional quantum dynamics study," E. Pijper, G.J. Kroes, R.A. Olsen, E. J. Baerends, Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol. 116, No. 21.

 

3. "Reactive scattering of H2 from Cu„100…: Six-dimensional quantum dynamics results for reaction and scattering obtained with a new, accurately fitted potential-energy surface," M. F. Somers and R. A. Olsen, H.F. Busnengo, E.J. Baerends, G.J. Kroes, Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol. 121, No. 22.

 

4. “Time-dependent density functional study of field emission from nanotubes composed of C, BN, SiC, Si, and GaN,” J.A. Driscoll, S Bubin, W.R. French,  K. Varga, Nanotechnology, 22 (2011).

 

KEYWORDS: density functional theory calculations, time-dependent density functional theory, field emission current, Fowler-Nordheim current, electron stimulated desorption, neutral outgassing, potential energy surface, pulse shortening, dissociative scattering

 

 

 

AF151-015                           TITLE: Transforming Cyber Data into Human-Centered Visualizations

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Determine innovative ways to transform cyber data into visual representations based on the cognitive needs of cyber operators; design and evaluate visual representations to determine operator effectiveness in performing cyber tasks.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Effective cyber operations, both on the offensive and defensive sides, are essential for conducting Air Force missions.  Cyber operators, who may be new to this domain because of the high demand this need has placed on the Air Force workforce, find themselves challenged on two fronts.  First, they must try to make sense of the vast amounts of data which are being presented to them, often in raw format.  Cyber operators are drowning in data that they cannot effectively understand, manage, and use to make sound decisions.  Second, they are constantly trying to learn new tools that are being offered to them, each independent from one another with unique features, rules, syntax, interfaces, interaction techniques, etc.  The Air Force Cyber Vision 2025 (Maybury, 2012) enumerates four “Focused, Enabling S&T Areas,” one of which is “Optimize Human-Machine Systems,” and the near-term goal is summarized as providing “Advanced Situational Awareness for Cyber Operators.”  Similarly, Air Force Space Command's Cyber Superiority S&T Guidance states that “for effective knowledge operations, technologies are needed to vastly improve man-machine interfaces to speed the assimilation of data and the development of actionable information and courses of action for cyber operators.”  Based on these stated needs, the goal of this topic is to find innovative ways to optimize the assimilation, transformation, and visual presentation of cyber data in ways that support the operators’ cognitive capabilities so they can effectively do their job.

 

The cyber domain has the unique characteristic that the resources necessary for superiority in the domain are not aircraft and airfields as in the air domain, but highly trained and competent personnel (Bryant, 2013).  This statement boldly places the success or failure of cyber superiority on the human factor - in the hands of the cyber operator.  Therefore, it is imperative that the information displays with which these operators interact are designed for effective human use.

 

Specifically, this process must begin with a thorough understanding of the cyber analysts’ job (goals, tasks, objectives, information needed, decision processes, etc.), so the design team can determine the cognitive processes that need to be supported when these operators are performing their tasks.  The design team will use this knowledge to transform data and design visualizations accordingly.  Some visualization techniques that may be considered are parallel coordinates, tree maps, recurrence plots, theme rivers, and/or any new or innovatively used existing graphical techniques.  Visualizations can be static or interactive to provide multiple levels of information - overview, zoom/filter, details on demand (Shneiderman, 1996).  Visualizations may also include innovative ways to apply visualization techniques from other domains to the cyber data problem (i.e., determining how to apply text visualization techniques such as tag clouds to network data).  Iterative prototyping and user feedback should be part of the design process to ensure the visualizations meet the user’s needs.  A multi-disciplinary team will be necessary to perform the tasks in this effort.

 

PHASE I:  Investigate various ways to mathematically and/or statistically transform raw cyber data to create visualizations that support specific cyber analysts’ tasks.  The products from this phase should include description of specific tasks, raw data necessary to perform the tasks, transformations of the data, the visualizations created as a result of the transformations.

 

PHASE II:  This phase includes the integration of the visualizations in an operator interface and human-in-the-loop testing of the effectiveness of the visualizations compared to a baseline representation of the data with cyber operators.  Deliverables include visualization/interface software, use cases/tasks for data collection, test plans of experimental design and metrics, data, data analysis, and documentation of the results of the studies.

 

PHASE III:  Potential Air Force Transition:  Air Force cyber mission platforms. 

Potential Commercial Transitions:  Financial institutions, power and electric companies, big box companies, and third-party Cyber Network Defense Service Providers.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Bryant, W. D.  (2013).  Cyberspace Superiority A Conceptual Model.  Air & Space Power Journal, 27(6), 25-44.

 

2.  Maybury, M. T.  (2012).  Air Force Cyber Vision 2025.  http://www.ndia.org/Divisions/Divisions/ScienceAndEngineeringTechnology/Documents/SET%20Breakfast%20Presentation.pdf.

 

3.  Shneiderman, B. (1996, September). The eyes have it: A task by data type taxonomy for information visualizations. In Visual Languages, 1996. Proceedings., IEEE Symposium on (pp. 336-343). IEEE.

 

KEYWORDS: user-centered visualization design, human factors engineering design process, visualization techniques, cyber security, cyber defense, cyber analysts

 

 

 

AF151-016                           TITLE: Improved Version of Solid State Night Vision Sensor

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop an improved version of a compact, high performance and solid state night vision sensor that will replace the image intensifier tube in the current night vision goggles (NVGs). It should have digital output and cover a wider spectral range.

 

DESCRIPTION:  To support night combat missions throughout the world and meet the requirements for warfighter readiness and mission performance, a new generation of head-mounted digital night-vision technology is envisioned. The critical, limiting factor of this technology is the sensor. Current sensor technology for head-mounted systems cannot provide the same performance, particularly at the lowest light levels, as compared to the latest image intensification technology. A high performance sensor could be integrated into a head-mounted night-vision optical system to truly provide a digital capability.

 

The limitations of the present analog approach (i.e., image-intensifier-based night-vision goggles) are the: size and weight, cost of the image intensifier tube, lack of processing capability, limited image transmission capability for sharing the visual image, limited imagery/symbology insertion capability, limited ways to obtain a polychromatic display, and limited spectrum.

 

Specific requirements for this effort are: light sensitivity, noise resolution (sensor element size), format size, total number of sensor elements, size, weight, power consumption, and cost shall be equivalent to or better than the current generation of image intensifier tube. Desired spectral sensitivity range should be visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared (up to 2 microns).

 

Recent efforts to develop such a sensor have in general been successful using different approaches. However, some limitations still exist such as resolution, dark current and spectral range. The optimum resolution should be 2048 x 1536 and threshold resolution should be 1024 x 768.  The optimum value of dark current should be 1 electron/sec/pixel and the threshold value should be 10 electron/sec./pixel. The spectral range is expected to be 04 to 2 micron.

 

PHASE I:  This phase shall require the vendor to design and demonstrate the technical feasibility of an innovative approach to the solid state digital night vision sensor technology that will cover the spectral range from 0.4 to 2.0 microns while reducing the size, weight, and overall power requirements of the NVGs.

 

PHASE II:  Four prototypes of the optimized design shall be fabricated, demonstrated, and delivered for incorporation into Gen III type head-mounted digital night-vision system for both laboratory testing and field demonstrations.

 

PHASE III:  Military applications: Pilots, loadmasters, special operation ground personnel, base security. Commercial application: Law enforcement, border patrol, fire-fighting, security, and crop dusting. Under certain conditions, the commercial pilots may also benefit from implementation of such technology.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Craig, J.L. (2000). Integrated panoramic night vision goggle. Proceedings of the 38th Annual Symposium SAFE Association, http://www.safeassociation.com.

 

2. Task, H.L. (2000). Integrated panoramic night vision goggles fixed-focus eyepieces: selecting a diopter setting. Proceedings of the 38th SAFE Association, http://www.safeassociation.com.

 

3. J.W. Landry and N.B. Stetson (1997). Infrared imaging systems: Design, analysis, modeling, and testing VIII;  Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE Proceedings. Vol. 3063), Orlando, FL, APR. 23-24, 1997, (A97-34579 09-35), p. 257-268.

 

4. B.P. Butler and N.M. Allen (1997). Long-Duration Exposure Criteria for Head-Supported Mass; Army Aeromedical Research Lab., Fort Rucker, AL. (AD-A329484).

 

5. D. Kent and J. Jewell (1995). Lightweight helmet mounted night vision and FLIR imagery display systems. Helmet- and head-mounted displays and symbology design requirements II;  Bellingham, WA, Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE Proceedings. Vol. 2465), Orlando, FL, Apr 18-19, 1995, (A95-33965 08-54), p. 68-80.

 

KEYWORDS: night vision, image intensification, solid state sensor, near infrared, short wave infrared, spectral range, high performance

 

 

 

AF151-017                           TITLE: Cockpit Passive Optical Helmet Tracker (CPOHT)

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop cockpit helmet tracker based on passive sensors together with optical feature recognition and image processing algorithms usable for all helmets/aircraft.  Approach should not use magnetic sensors, cockpit mapping, or active helmet emitters.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Fighter pilot head-mounted avionics systems currently employ helmet trackers based on magnetic or active optical sensing techniques to detect the instantaneous helmet orientation with the cockpit.  This detection enables symbology or synthetic imagery to be mapped from the aircraft coordinate system to the helmet coordinate system for presentation on the helmet mounted display (HMD) so that it is perceived by the pilot to register accurately to the real-world outside the aircraft.  The threshold (objective) latency for this entire detection and coordinate transform process is <16 ms (<5 ms), with <3.3 ms (< 1 ms) available to the tracker update step.  Magnetic trackers currently fielded in e.g. the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) require each cockpit to be mapped separately in a time-intensive procedure with special equipment, and then re-mapped frequently whenever any change is made to that particular cockpit.  Active optical trackers as used in the Eurofighter Typhon HMD system require a flashing infrared light-emitting diode array (IRLEDA) to be integrated into the outside layer of the helmet together with multiple cockpit-mounted sensors to detect their emissions for processing.  Integration of active optical tracker components (OATC) into the helmet ties the tracker technology development to other digital HMD components maturing on separate timelines, prevents easy implementation for other helmet shell designs from other manufacturers, and impedes affordable retrofit to all air fleets.  Both the IRLEDA and OATC approaches add head supported weight to the HMD system.  Multiple imaging and processing techniques have recently evolved that enable a cockpit passive optical helmet tracker (CPOHT) technology to be developed to determine helmet position and orientation with threshold accuracy of 0.1-deg (17 mrad) forward and 0.25-deg (44 mrad) elsewhere.  Potential advanced, passive optical cockpit helmet tracking system include, but are not limited to, (a) an array of unique Quick Response Code (QR code) stickers applied to any helmet and interrogated via a cockpit-mounted camera(s) and (b) video image processing based on pre-processed outputs from cameras mounted on the helmet and/or in the cockpit.  The CPOHT design must (a) consider tactical cockpit space-weight-ergonomics-power-performance-integration (SWEPPI) constraints, (b) accommodate HMD night vision goggles and laser protection eyewear, and (c) enable installation with minimal aircraft modification.  The CPOHT design must also have minimal impact on the helmet mass properties (total weight and net moment arm).  Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) and government facilities are not required.   Standard aviation helments (e.g., HGU-55/P or HGU-56/P) are available for purchase.

 

PHASE I:  Design CPOHT system that can be affordably implemented in any cockpit and on all helmet types.  Approach should work for standard aviation helmets (e.g., HGU-55/P, HGU-56/P) without the addition of any electronics, optics, or emitters. Approach may involve stickers (such as QR codes) placed on the shell along with a cockpit-mounted video capture/recognition/processing system.

 

PHASE II:  Fabricate an engineering prototype CPOHT. Develop a test plan. Perform threshold (objective) test and evaluation of the engineering prototype in an avionics systems integration laboratory (flying testbed aircraft). Demonstrate the prototype meets the key requirements for a combat aircraft head tracker system. Develop roadmap to mature the technology for evaluation in a tactical aircraft flight test and for Phase III commercial uses. Develop a bill of materials for a pre-production CPOHT kit.

 

PHASE III:  Develop CPOHT pre-production product and conduct tactical aircraft flight testing. Address potential application to dismounts and command center operators.  Develop commercial CPOHT product for an application such as commercial aviation, training, wearable information systems, and entertainment.

 

REFERENCES:

1. D. N. Jarrett, Cockpit Engineering, 410 pp (2005); (b) Fred F. Mulholland, "Helmet-mounted display accuracy in the aircraft cockpit," Proc. SPIE 4711, pp 145- (2002).

 

2. Review of Quick Response Code (QR code) research, technologies, and applications is available at “QR code,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code (accessed 20 Mar 2014).

 

3. Review of computer vision research, technologies, and applications is available at “Computer vision,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_vision (accessed 20 Mar 2014).

 

4. Don S. Odel and Vlad Kogan, “Next generation, high-accuracy optical tracker for target acquisition and cueing,” “phasorBIRD” Proc. SPIE. 6224, Helmet- and Head-Mounted Displays XI: Technologies and Applications, 62240C. (May 05, 2006).

 

5. Typhoon Helmet, (accessed 20 Mar 2014) uses an array of flashing infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) detected by 3 sensors in the cockpit.

 

KEYWORDS: Cockpit Passive Optical Helmet Tracker, CPOHT, alternative night/day imaging technology, ANIT, quick response code, QRC, optical metrology, image processing, avionics, systems integration laboratory

 

 

 

AF151-018                           TITLE: 1360 Digital Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (DPNVG)

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop clip-on, helmet-mounted digital panoramic wide field-of-view (WFOV) night vision goggle (NVG) having cueing functionality and demonstrate its safety and effectiveness in an avionics system integration laboratory or flight testbed aircraft.

 

DESCRIPTION:  A WFOV NVG with integrated symbol overlay capability with acceptable mass properties (total head-born weight and moment of inertia) is sought.  Cueing is a core requirement for the symbology.  Currently fielded night vision systems perform imaging (sensing, processing, display) in an analog device comprising a low work function phosphor, microchannel plate, fiber-optic bundle, and visible (green) phosphor. Examples include AN/AVS-9 and AN/AVS-10.  These current systems, based on third Generation III (Gen-III) near-infrared (NIR) vacuum tube technology, are not digital. Digital sensors are beginning to appear that may match the scene image resolution provided by a Gen-III analog NIR tube, which is about 5 Mpx in a 40-degree conical field-of-view (FOV). Furthermore, these digital sensors can be sensitive to multiple bands: visible (VIS 0.4-0.7 µm), near infrared (NIR, 0.7-0.9µm), and shortwave infrared (SWIR, 0.9-1.8 µm), or to all three. Digital image sensors, processors, and algorithms are now available that can handle up to 1600x1200 pixels at 60 Hz, with a near-term path to 2000x2000 pixels at 60 Hz. Digital sensor technology candidates for DPNVG include the Intevac Silicon Imagine Engine (ISIE) devices (e.g., the post-ManTech 1600x1200 ISIE 11 and developmental ISIE4000), the UTC Aerospace Systems SWIR and NIR-SWIR cameras (e.g., 1280x1024 GA1280JSX-12.5-60 ENC), and commercial CMOS cameras with NIR filter removed to provide color VIS plus NIR performance.  The in-helmet portion of the processing load can be based current and emerging computer graphics and processor chips.  Digital microdisplays have appeared in multiple technologies--reflective liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS), transmissive active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD), active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED), and digital micromirro devices (DMD)--with pixel formats up to so-called ultra high definition television 1 (UHDTV1) standard 3840x2160 at 60 Hz (8 Mpx, aka 4K).  UDHTV2 microdisplays with pixel resolution of 7680x4320 (32 Mpx, aka 8K) are in development.  Higher frame rates of 96 to 192 Hz may be required from the digital device train (sensor-processor-display) to match, from a perceptual perspective, a sufficient part of the currently fielded temporal performance of Gen-III tubes, whos effective frame rate is about 1600 Hz.  Similarly, current sensor outputs are typically 14b but available displays handle just 8b, so that improved dynamic range display devices are desired to avoid loosing sensor-captured scene contrast information.  The maturity of the digital imaging components for sensing, processing, and display is now sufficient, however, to initiate innovation towards a purely digital near-eye visualization system to replace the analog vacuum tube technology now used in fielded paranomic night vision equipment. These digital devices enable capabilities not available to the currently fielded analog technologies, such as image processing, fusion, recording, communication to/from the helmet system. Space, weight, ergonomics, power, performance, and integration (SWEPPI) must all be addressed in the helmet mounted design. The DPNVG must be designed to meet all safety-of-flight criteria including maximum head borne weight, center-of-gravity, and ejection wind-blast. Tiling of multiple devices (sensors, processors, displays) and partitioning of processing between the helmet and cockpit-interface box should permit design and fabrication of a DPNVG with threshold (objective) performance of near 20x20 acuity with WFOV 60x30-deg (120x50-deg), frame rate 60 Hz (96 Hz), dynamic range 8b (14b) and night-only (day/night) operation.

 

PHASE I:  Design tactical helmet-mounted DPNVG with acceptable mass properties that integrates cueing and night vision. Threshold (objective) frame rate of 60 Hz (96 Hz) and horizontal x vertical field-of-view of 60x30-deg (110x40-deg) with resolution equivalent AN/AVS-10 or better are sought.  Design should address day/night operation potential and all-source fusion of on/off helmet data and video inputs.

 

PHASE II:  Fabricate, test, demonstrate and deliver one DPNVG prototype.  Perform test and evaluation experiments in a threshold (objective) environment comprising an avionics system integration laboratory (testbed aircraft in flight). Demonstrate DPNVG night vision capabilities compared to current analog in-line night vision equipment based on Gen-III tubes and current weapon cueing capabilities in current day-only systems. Develop reference design for affordable production and provide bill of materials.

 

PHASE III:  Fabricate flight-worthy pre-production DPNVG. Demonstrate safety and effectiveness in tactical aircraft operations.  Develop plan for similar helmet-integrated visualization systems for dismounted special operators, ground vehicle driver, and applications for homeland security and law enforcement.

 

REFERENCES:

1. UTC Aerospace Systems, NIR-SWIR and SWIR sensors. http://www.sensorsinc.com/.

 

2. High Resolution Night Vision System (HRNVS), http://www.saphotonics.com/vision-systems/wide-field-of-view-digital-night-vision/.

 

3. Intevac Silicon Imaging Engine (ISIE). http://www.intevac.com/intevacphotonics/vision-systems/.

 

4. (a) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), http://www.rockwellcollins.com/sitecore/content/Data/Products/Displays/Soldier_Displays/Joint_Helmet_Mounted_Cueing_System.aspx;

(b) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JHMCS#Joint_Helmet_Mounted_Cueing_System_.28JHMCS.29..

 

5. MacMillan, R. T., Brown, R. W., Wiley, L. L., Safety-of-Flight Testing for Advanced Fighter Helmets, Helmet and Head-Mounted Displays and Symbology Design Requirements II, Proceedings SPIE 2465, pp 122-129 (1995).

 

KEYWORDS: Digital Panoramic Night Vision System, DPNVG, night vision goggles, AN/AVS-9, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System, JHMCS, near-eye visualization system, digital replacements for analog sensor and display tubes, tactical cockpit, day/night operations

 

 

 

AF151-019                           TITLE: Optimized Information Display for Tactical Air Control Party

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

OBJECTIVE:  The technologies deployed with TACPs need to optimize ergonomics and functionality and minimize physiological effects.  A new TACP information display configuration is needed to ensure Air Force weapons are optimally employed in the battlespace.

 

DESCRIPTION:  U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) members deploy with U.S. Army Rangers, Special Forces, U.S. Navy SEALs, and Army maneuver units as joint terminal air controllers (JTACs) to provide a command and control (C2) link for close air support (CAS), airlift, surveillance/reconnaissance missions. The actions performed by TACPs reduce the kill chain decision time and the potential for fratricide and collateral damage in civilian-occupied areas.  Display and information processing technologies are progressing rapidly, creating new opportunities in wearable displays.   This effort will focus on developing a combined, optimized visual information display environment for TACP operations.  It is intended to develop configurations that improve ergonomics, minimize short and long term physiological effects (eye strain, radiation bioeffects, etc.) and the overall weight and power requirement.

 

The purpose of the TACP-modernization (TACP-M) program is to provide net-centric data communications, battlespace awareness, and targeting capabilities to TACPs operating in operations centers, vehicles, and while conducting dismounted operations. Data communications, including streaming video, reduce reliance on voice transmissions and enable machine-to-machine data exchange between TACPs, JTACs and command and control (C2) nodes, close air support (CAS) aircraft, Army units and other TACP, JTAC units. Current displays, including, hand-held, chest and head mounted have significant limitations including poor daylight readability, poor nighttime light discipline, occluded vision, reduced situational awareness, induced fatigue due to constant near-far visual focus transitions and suboptimal posture.

 

This effort will determine what physical effects may be caused by long periods of exposure to small (5”-7”) display devices worn in a chest mounted configuration while in combat conditions. Factors that should be considered include, but not limited to, day/night time viewing, screen resolution, focal points, screen brightness, and electromagnetic radiation exposure. Additionally the same effects should be analyzed utilizing a helmet mounted heads-up display (HUD) (for example, Google-Glass, wrist-mounted, flexible displays), fixed, or detachable displays in lieu of or in conjunction with the chest mounted display. Issues will include the operational issues such as directed attention, visual accommodation, mobility (speed), perspiration, various body posture physical maneuvers and the effects of intense heat, bright sunlight, rain, water immersion, mud, and sand.

 

A philosophy of display information format will be developed based on the types and priority of information to be conveyed, responded to, and interacted with. This is based on what you need to do, discussion (what are you doing, what do I need to do), search for the information, calculate, interpret, comprehend, and communicate perspective and actions. As a result of the analysis to determine the information interpretation, manipulation, and conveyance requirements; the physiological impacts, of both short- and long-term use of potential technologies; an optimal information display configuration will be created.

 

PHASE I:  Review TACP, JTAC information requirements, current display deficiencies and equipment integration constraints. Review ergonomic principals for portable displays and survey current state of the art display technologies.  Conduct a comprehensive analysis of display technology trade space and design an optimal TACP, JTAC visual display.

 

PHASE II:  Build, evaluate, demonstrate and deliver rapid prototype of the design from Phase I.

 

PHASE III:  Rugged, high performance, wearable information systems are widely used by the law enforcement, agriculture, environmental science, construction and shipping workforce.

 

REFERENCES:

1. TACP-M Configuration Steering Board (CSB).

 

2. Blehm C, Vishnu S, Khattak A, Mitra S, Yee R.  Computer Vision Syndrome: A Review. Survey of Ophthalmology. 2005 May–June 50(3): 253-262.

 

3. International Organization for Standardization, Requirements for electronic visual displays. ISO 9241-303:2011(E).

 

4. Jaschinski W, Heuer H, Kylian H. Preferred position of visual displays relative to the eyes: a field study of visual strain and individual differences. Ergonomics. 1998 Jul;41(7):1034-49.

 

5. Bellieni CV, Pinto I, Bogi A, Zoppetti N, Andreuccetti D, Buonocore G. Exposure to electromagnetic fields from laptop use of "laptop" computers Arch Environ Occup Health. 2012;67(1):31-6.

 

KEYWORDS: TACP, JTAC, display, physiology

 

 

 

AF151-020                           TITLE: F-35 Display Improvement

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop displays for F-35 that have higher refresh rate, resolution, and brightness, with improved touch screens, optimized power/thermal management, and lower weight.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Cockpit displays for fighters have performance requirements far beyond the commercial-state-of-the-art. Full sunlight readability and night vision compatibility are mandatory but not found in commercial offerings. Drive electronics to achieve a minimum 40:000:1 dimming range and ultra-high reliability under extreme environmental conditions are needed but unavailable in mass production products. The technical challenges include leveraging on-going revolutions in high-efficiency lighting and additive manufacturing to meet this combat cockpit need.

 

The goal of this F-35 Display Technology Improvement program is identify, develop, and integrate technologies to achieve a threshold (objective) 84 Hz (108 Hz) update rate, 8 Mpx (32 Mpx) image resolution, 600 fL (1200 fL) sustained day luminance, 0.01 fL (0.001 fL) night luminance with electro-optical emissions compatible with digital and analog helmet/cockpit-mounted cameras, advanced touch screens compatible with flight-gloved hands, 2X (4X) less net power via higher efficiency materials and energy re-cycling, advanced heat transfer and storage materials, lower weight substrates and structural housings. The main focus is on improvements for the 20x8-in. primary multifunction display that can demonstrate life-cycle cost (LCC) or warfighter effectiveness improvements the would justify switching the from the current circa 2004 AMLCD designs to incorporate manufacturing technology improvements available in circa 2016 components.

 

Teaming with prime contractors for transition analysis and support is encouraged.  Affordability and availability should continue to be addressed by using commercial fabrication facilities to fabricate military-unique designs.

 

Flat panel technologies revolutionized cockpits during the 1990s and were the basis for an epochal shift from electromechanical and cathode-ray tube flight instruments to the avionics-grade sunlight-readable, reliable, active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs) that now dominate crew station design. Large-area AMLCDs have enabled the realization, in the F-35 cockpit, of the combat advantage demonstrated in the 1988-1992 AFRL ATD entitled Panoramic Cockpit Controls and Displays (PCCADS).  PCCADS demonstrated that a large area, integrated main instrument panel display and a digital day/night vision/cueing system would increase combat effectiveness by 45 percent.

 

Current displays have limitations that have been accepted to affordably achieve threshold levels of pilot-vehicle interfaces. Technology obsolescence problems and improved performance opportunities require new innovations.

 

Improvements in power-hungry AMLCD technologies are possible for both the main panel (currently dominated by a 20x8-in. AMLCD driven as two 1280x1024 pixel windows) and the helmet system. The see-through helmet-mounted display (HMD) design uses miniature AMLCDs reflected off the visor using classical optics. Significant advances have been made, since the time of F-35 cockpit design freeze, for both the large-area direct-view 20x8-in. display and the miniature flat panels in the HMD.The 20x8-in display and the HMD are now both over 4X less resolution compared to the current state of the art. Higher pixel densities with the same or less power are possible to provide more detailed situational awareness displays. Substrates are lighter yet stronger. And new flat panel technologies, such as active matrix organic emitting diode (AMOLED) and electrophoretic, are on the verge of becoming competitive with AMLCD for avionics cockpit applications.  Other HMD component technology improvements are emerging from DoD programs like the AFRL Alternative Night/Day Imaging Technologies (ANIT) program.

 

PHASE I:  Design displays in form-factors for F-35 that weigh less, incorporate improved touch/gesture control interface, optimize power/thermal management, and have higher refresh rate, resolution, luminance.  Perform LCC and pilot-effectiveness analyses to determine value of improvements.  Develop roadmap for feature introduction and initial technology transition plan.

 

PHASE II:  Fabricate and test prototype displays in the form-factor required by F-35 that weighs less, incorporates a improved touch/gesture control interface, optimizes power/thermal management, and has higher refresh rate, resolution, and luminance.  Assess production and reliable sourcing issues throughout the vendor chain involved (AMLCD fabs, system integration facilities, labs for testing to combat avionics performance requirements).  Update transition plan and life cycle cost analysis.

 

PHASE III:  Assess DoD market for F-35 new/replacement displays and for other aircraft. Develop a detailed Air Force Human System Integration Plan. Refine design from Phase II prototype into a production design. Establish reliable supply chain and supply chain management system. Fabricate production displays.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Darrel G. Hopper, "Display science and technology for defense and security," SPIE 5214, 1-10 (2004) 10p.

 

2. Darrel G. Hopper, "The 1000X difference between current displays and the capability of the human visual system," SPIE 4022, 378-389 (2000) 12p.

 

3. Daniel D. Desjardins and Darrel G. Hopper, “Military display market segment: avionics,” SPIE Vol. 5801, 161-172 (2005).

 

4. L-3 Wins F-35 JSF Panoramic Cockpit Display Contract Worth up to 200M, Defense Industry Daily, Nov. 22, 2005.

 

KEYWORDS: avionics displays, panoramic cockpit, tablets, wearables, flat panels, AMLCD, AMOLED, advanced substrates, LED backlight

 

 

 

AF151-021                           TITLE: Full-Scale Near-Field Acoustic Holography for Reduction of Annoyance and

Disturbance

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

OBJECTIVE:  Measure the characteristics of jet noise sources from full-scale military aircraft, such as strength, distribution, and noise radiation properties; how they relate to annoyance/disturbance; and possible methods for the reduction of those parameters.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Near-field Acoustic Holography (NAH) and/or beam forming techniques can be used to measure and describe the acoustic field emitted by a source.  For example, the jet plume of the F-35 is a large, hot, distributed noise source with high sound pressure levels.  The measurement, analysis, and description of the noise sources, their relative intensities, frequency content, spatial location, shock characteristics, shock levels, and the associated acoustic radiation properties are important parameters in describing the factors associated with potential community annoyance.  This effort will combine physical acoustics and objective measures of noise emissions with the subjective responses of human listeners to the radiated/propagated noise.  The effort will require extensive analysis of measured noise data bases, collection and analysis of realized noise in communities during aircraft operations, and collection and analysis of human responses both in community and laboratory settings.  New noise metrics may be developed and proposed which correlate the noise characteristics with the human responses.  A limited data package will be provided by the government to award winners.

 

PHASE I:  The initial effort will focus on a review of current noise metrics, existing aircraft noise databases in both the time and frequency domains, and define any requirements for additional noise measurements, both in test and community settings.  Additionally, an analysis of the cost-benefit of using near-field acoustic holography and acoustic beam-forming shall be conducted and reported.

 

PHASE II:  The Phase II effort will execute the detailed analysis of the aircraft noise, identifying at least, but not limited to, the temporal and spectral characteristics of the noise in both the near-field and far-field, i.e., community. Noise samples shall be prepared isolating each characteristic. The human listening studies will be conducted to identify the specific characteristics of the noise. A metric shall be proposed and validated which correlates the noise parameters with human responses.

 

PHASE III:  Analysis for jet noise reduction shall be conducted to identify potential target areas for reducing annoyance and disturbance.  A cost/benefit analysis of the application of this noise reduction shall be conducted relative to sales and operations of aircraft domestically and internationally.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Near-field noise measurements of a high-performance military jet aircraft, Alan T.Wall, Kent L. Gee, Michael M. James, Kevin A. Bradley, Sally A. McInerny and Tracianne B. Neilsen, Noise Control Engr. J. 60 (4), July-August 2012.

 

2.  On the evolution of crackle in jet noise from high performance engines, Kent L. Gee, Tracianne B. Neilsen, Michael B. Muhlestein, Alan T. Wall, J. Micah Downing, Michael M. James, and Richard L. McKinley, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014.

 

KEYWORDS: aircraft noise, NAH, beam-forming, noise metrics, community noise, near-field acoustic holography

 

 

 

AF151-022                           TITLE: Realistic Micro-structured Devices to Mimic Organs for In Vitro Aerospace

Toxicology

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  The objective of this work is to develop unique approaches for fabricating micro-structures

incorporating shear flow and mechanical flexure simulating whole organs for in vitro toxicology.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Man-made nanomaterials (NMs) are being applied in many aerospace technologies, and the health risks associated with unintentional exposure remain a foremost concern of their pervasive use [1]. Further, particulate matter (PM) and chemicals are released during various aerospace processes, such as jet fuel combustion and practices where materials are burned or detonated. The toxicity of individual NMs, incidental PM and chemical species, in addition to particulate/chemical mixtures are critical to understand for both protecting military personnel and advancing aerospace technologies. Currently, standard in vitro models do not represent the complexity of in vivo conditions [2,3]. Due to the requirement to replace in vivo models to address high cost and ethical concerns, dynamic in vitro models incorporating shear flow and mechanical flexure simulating whole organs are critical. Progress has been made towards this end, such as the development of the lung-on-a-chip model [4]. Advantages of this model is that the chip is optically transparent, allowing for cellular imaging-based endpoints, and has a high elasticity, allowing for mechanical flexure to simulate breathing. There are also drawbacks to the current organ-on-a-chip models. They are limited by traditional fabrication approaches and polymer properties. The polymer commonly used to fabricate the chips, polydimethylsiloxane, suffers from chemical incompatibility. For example, it swells when exposed to chemicals of key concern in aerospace applications, such as hexane and toluene [5]. Therefore, further developments are required in order to improve the complexity of in vitro investigations to support aerospace toxicology. The membrane thickness using traditional organ-on-a-chip approaches does not closely mimic many in vivo membranes. One models of top interest for aerospace toxicology is the blood air barrier in the pulmonary region of the lung. The membrane thickness of the basement membrane in the blood gas barrier is on the order of 0.05 microns, and the thickness of the blood gas barrier in the human lung is 0.2 microns [6]. However, elastic membranes demonstrated in published organ-on-a-chip models are limited to about 10 microns [4]. In addition to thickness, the surface area of the membrane should also be sufficient to allow for enough cells to be grown while remaining within the limits for typical biochemical assays (= 0.2 cm2). The key phases of the project will include (1) design a novel fabrication approach and prototype for a micro-structure device incorporating shear flow and mechanical manipulation, (2) validate the prototype to reproduce whole organ responses to insult or toxic exposures, and (3) incorporate the device into an instrument for producing cyclic mechanical stimulation media perfusion and controlled cell culture conditions. Convenience and aesthetics should be considered at all phases for proper and proficient use. The impact of this technology is to reduce the use of animal models for toxicity testing, thus reducing cost and ethical concerns and increasing throughput.

 

PHASE I:  Design novel fabrication approach and prototype for a micro-structure device incorporating shear flow mechanical flexure and aerosol exposure. Materials should be compatible with standard sterilization techniques, living cells and a range of chemicals. Membranes for growing cells must be porous, elastic and thickness must represent physiological conditions. Be robust for repeated use or low cost.

 

PHASE II:  Following prototype development, the device will be validated for the ability to generate reproducible in vitro data that are representative of in vivo conditions. Examples: any known biological response including acute stress responses and early indicators for chronic conditions to NMs, PM or chemical exposure. Demonstrate biological response of each of the following in aerosol form: PM in the range of 10-1000 nm and chemicals including volatile, semivolatile, particulates/chemical mixture.

 

PHASE III:  Advanced features will be incorporated into the design such as ability to be used for highthroughput. Deliverable will be an instrument where microstructure devices are tested. The instrument should incorporate the ability for mechanical flexure, aerosol, shear flow, standard cell culture condition.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council. Strategy for Nanotechnology-related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research. February 2008. Available at: http://.nano.gov.

 

2. Hussain S.M., Braydich-Stolle L.K., Schrand A.M., Murdock R.C., Yu K.O., Mattie D.M., Schlager J.J., and Terrones M. (2009). Toxicity Evaluation for Safe Use of Nanomaterials: Recent Achievements and Technical Challenges. Advanced Materials 21: p.p. 1549.

 

3. Carlson C, Hussain S.M., Schrand A., Braydich-Stolle L., Hess K., Jones R. and Schlager J. (2008). Unique cellular interaction of silver nanoparticles: size dependent generation of reactive oxygen species. J Phys Chem B 112, 13608.

 

4. Huh D., Matthews B.D., Mammoto A., Montoya-Zavala M., Hsin H.Y. and Ingber D.E. (2010). Reconstituting organ-level functions on a chip. Science 328, 1662.

 

5. Lee J.N., Park C. and Whitesides G.M. (2003). Solvent compatibility of poly(dimethylsiloxane)-based microfluidic devices. Analytical Chemistry 75, 6544.

 

6. West J.B. (2003). Thoughts on the pulmonary blood-gas barrier. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 285, L501.

 

KEYWORDS: nanomaterials, NMs, micro-structure devices, organ on chip, aerospace toxicology

 

 

 

AF151-023                           TITLE: Breathing Air Quality Sensor (BAQS) for High Performance Aircraft

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop a miniaturized, orthogonal (i.e., multi-modal) sensor system to detect aircraft breathing air contaminants in flight.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Knowledge gaps exist in the molecular characterization of the operational environments faced by today’s airmen.  As an example, in 2011, the entire F-22 fleet was grounded for nearly five months due to a series of incidents where pilots had experienced symptoms such as shortness of breath, disorientation, confusion, and headache with no clear cause identified. This led to a series of formal investigations that identified the need to improve our analytical toolset and understanding of the environments encountered in the F22A Raptor and other high performance aircraft, and their effects on the humans operating them.

 

Modern high performance aircraft, such as the F22A, utilize engine bleed air filtered through an onboard oxygen generating systems to provide the oxygen supply for air crew.  The OBOGS (On-Board Oxygen Generating System) uses a molecular sieve to concentrate oxygen in pressurized air from the turbine engine compressor on a schedule associated with aircraft altitude in order to compensate for the decrease in oxygen partial pressure and to protect the pilot against rapid decompression.  Investigations conducted by the Air Force of in-flight, physiological incidents did not identify contaminants as a root cause in any reported cases; however, a gap exists in the ability for real-time monitoring of the pilot air supply. Development of an orthogonal sensor suite for use in flight will enable continuous assessment of pilot air quality and will prove invaluable in the evaluation of OBOGS efficiency and pilot safety.  Finally, real-time detection of potential contaminants would allow investigators to determine if those compounds may contribute to future incidents and, if so, what the source is, thus enabling engineers to eliminate or mitigate the problem and ensure protection of the pilots and their full capability to operate the aircraft.

 

Monitoring the OBOGS product air in-flight presents many technical challenges not faced by ground based air quality analysis [1-5]. As high-performance aircraft are extremely limited in terms of space and weight, any fielded sensor packages must be minimal in terms of their space footprint and weight. The device must function in a high oxygen, low humidity environment which may experience rapid altitude (pressure) changes as dictated by the mission [6].  Additionally, as the developed sensor platform would be used for both determination of atmospheric gas make-up as well as broad screening of potential volatile contaminants, a variety of sensor technologies (i.e., utilizing techniques such as ion mobility spectrometry) may be required for detection of volatile compounds at thresholds below physiological relevance [7-8]. Design considerations will also have to be made for a platform which performs non-obstructive sample collection in the pilot air stream, does not introduce potential leaks in the air supply, and contains all required electronics and algorithms necessary for signal processing, compound identification and quantitation, display, and data logging.  The ability to post-process data to identify contaminants not present in the pre-programmed library is desirable as well as is the collection of samples onto media suitable for removal and analysis in a laboratory setting (for purposes of verification and unknown compound identification).

 

PHASE I:  Successful completion of Phase I will require development of a sensor suite with ability to detect the atmospheric components of breathing air, as well as a broad range of volatile organic compounds. A list of specific target compounds and chemical classes will be provided. The Phase I prototype will not require completion of the sample collection, signal processing and display modules.

 

PHASE II:  Phase II will focus on end-to-end implementation of the sampling, sensing, and electronics necessary for real-time, air quality sensing in a form factor compatible with in-flight testing. The developed sensor package will not be required to be self-powered, but should be capable of sustaining operation in flight conditions on-board a high performance aircraft (i.e., high G, variable pressure, high vibration environment). Interface, power, and form factor specifications will be provided.

 

PHASE III:  Follow-on activities to be pursued by the offeror, including government and civilian use, i.e., aerospace industry. Benefits include revolutionary capability for monitoring and early mitigation of cabin air contaminants. Core technology basis for hand-held and fixed site air quality sensing.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Guan, J., Gao, K., Wang, C., Yang, X., Lin, C. H., Lu, C., & Gao, P. (2014). Measurements of volatile organic compounds in aircraft cabins. Part I: Methodology and detected VOC species in 107 commercial flights. Building and Environment, 72, 154-161.

 

2.  Maule, A. L., Heaton, K. J., Rodrigues, E., Smith, K. W., McClean, M. D., & Proctor, S. P. (2013). Postural Sway and Exposure to Jet Propulsion Fuel 8 Among US Air Force Personnel. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 55(4), 446-453.

 

3.  Muir, H., Walton, C., & McKeown, R. (2008). Cabin Air Sampling Study Functionality Test.

 

4.  Winder, C. (2006). Air monitoring studies for aircraft cabin contamination. Curr Topics Toxicol, 3, 33-48.

 

5.  Zhou, J., & Smith, S. (1997). Measurement of ozone concentrations in ambient air using a badge-type passive monitor. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association , 47, 697-703.

 

6. Padilla, M., Perera, A., Montoliu, I., Chaudry, A., Persaud, K., & Marco, S. (2010). Drift compensation of gas sensor array data by orthogonal signal correction. Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, 100(1), 28-35.

 

7.  Li, F., et al. (2002) Ion mobility spectrometer for online monitoring of trace compounds. Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy. 57(10): p. 1563-1574.

 

8.  Márquez-Sillero, I., et al. (2011) Ion-mobility spectrometry for environmental analysis. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry. 30(5): p. 677-690.

 

9. Breathing Air Quality Sensor (BAQS) for High Performance Aircraft, AFRL SBIR Topic Collider Webinar, Dec. 12, 2014 (uploaded in SITIS 12/15/14).

 

KEYWORDS: air quality, orthogonal sensing, cockpit sampling, electronic nose, ion mobility spectrometer, particle ionization detector, selective gas sensing

 

 

 

AF151-024                           TITLE: Advanced Learning Management System (LMS) for State-of-the-Art for

Personalized Training

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Development of a learning management system that can be used by instructors and researchers to advance the state-of-the-art in personalized training. 

 

DESCRIPTION:  The Department of Defense is preparing for substantial cuts over the next decade to military budgets. Despite commanders stating that personnel are the most valuable asset, when budgets decrease, training is often the first thing cut. It is imperative that, as we move to even more complex operational environments, we are leveraging developing technologies to ensure our airmen are developing and maintaining competency.

 

Currently, Air Force training is based on a one-size-fits-all approach that involves instructor-led classroom-based training and document reading-based certification. The degree to which a particular student develops competency from these approaches is rarely assessed. The state-of the-art in Air Force training research is the development of adaptive, personalized competency-based training technology which emphasizes the development of proficiency instead of simply tracking completion.

 

To accomplish this goal will require the development of an advanced learning management system that allows for position-specific personalization (at the job duty level), captures individual differences in training efficiency and retention by training type (e.g., classroom-based, computer-based, scenario-based), and provides personalized recommendations using advanced biostatistical analysis techniques adapted from personalized medicine.

 

The current-state-of-the-art learning managements systems are largely focused on identifying training requirements by position. One issue with this level of personalization is that two people can hold the same position title within an organization, but their day-to-day job may involve supporting very different mission sets with distinct software and tasking. This means that a person might have to accomplish substantial training in areas that are not relevant to their position. The first objective of this topic is to develop a Learning Management System (LMS) that is personalized by mission and position. The system would have the capability to identify the software on a desktop and use this as one input to determine the optimal training pathway that is relevant for the position. This would enable a much finer level of granularity and an initially more narrowly focused training plan, leading acceleration of the acquisition of initial competencies required for their job. As an individual develops expertise, the training plan would increase the breadth. Throughout an individual’s career, the LMS would track the development of knowledge, skills, and experiences.

 

Current learning management systems being developed will track an individual’s knowledge, skills, and experiences across their career and recommend additional training based on gaps. One gap with existing systems is that they fail to account for individual differences in learning efficacy and retention with different types of training. Future training will be a combination of classroom, computer, and scenario-based training. Research indicates that there are often substantial individual differences in training outcomes (e.g., Allen, Hays & Huffardi, 1986; Gully et al., 2002). Currently, if a competency is not met after a training session is completed, the LMS will recommend the student take the same training again, with minor differences, if any, to the training mode. While additional repetition alone can sometimes compensate for learning challenges in a particular area, changing the mode of training can offer larger training gains. Current systems do not offer this level of tracking or flexibility to provide prescriptive training recommendations taking into account individual learner propensities.

 

The challenge of providing personalized recommendations to address individual differences has been addressed in other fields, such as personalized medicine. In the area of personalized medicine, the concept is that the collection of metadata regarding an individual’s profile, along with treatment outcomes, can not only improve the ability to make future treatment choices for that individual but can also improve the ability of doctors to identify which treatment options will be the most effective for similar patients. Researchers are using advanced statistical techniques to interpret the vast amounts of health data from genetic profiles to side effects experienced in order to provide recommendations. This kind of personalized care has already made significant gains in patient health.

 

The LMS to be developed here should leverage similar methodologies to identify the optimal training pathways based on the vast amount of data contained in military learning management systems (e.g., deployments, position data, prior training data) and provide training recommendations. It would contain data such as recency, organization, position, where the knowledge, skill, or experience (KSE) was acquired, and the category of KSE. The LMS would allow researchers and instructors to analyze the data to look at training questions such as skill decay for different training types (e.g., by comparing at recency of training versus competency level at refresh). This would eventually allow trainers and researchers to identify optimal training modes that maximize retention and allow for the development of personalized refresher training requirements. This would provide the data the Air Force needs to push past the standard annual training requirement and provide training that maximally supports developing our force.

 

Finally, the system should track data in a way to allow for a cross-organizational analysis of knowledge, skills, and experiences. The system would aggregate training data and provide a repository which contains knowledge, skills, and experiences for positions across the Air Force. The repository would be flexible (i.e., allowing more fields to be added) and searchable. The database would give instructors the ability to perform cross-organizational analyses of experiences that would allow for the understanding of ways to apply existing training environments to new domains to facilitate the development of expertise in our warfighters. It would also aid the prioritization of funding for the development of new training environments to maximize the cross-domain utility.

 

The Phase I work should be focused on Command and Control, Computers, Communication and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) domains. The C4ISR domain includes a diverse array of training opportunities and career fields. Optimizing training efficiency for these domains would have a significant impact in maximizing Air Force capabilities for C4ISR.

 

PHASE I:  Define the system requirements. Identify appropriate components to create a system design. Analyze the software necessary to enable the system to work. Propose a design to be built and demonstrated during Phase II. Demonstration of laboratory prototype hardware during Phase I is highly desired, but not required.

 

PHASE II:  Build and demonstrate the training system in a relevant environment. The system must meet requirements as stated in description above. Additionally, design should show significant consideration for human factors, including, but not limited to: flexibility, modularity of design, adaptive to changing environments, tailorablility and inclusion of cognitive science advancements. Level of the system by the end of Phase II is Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6, and preferably TRL 7.

 

PHASE III:  A personalized training system will need to be able to be leveraged across multiple domains. Phase III development should increase cross-domain interoperability and stability of the system. The goal of the Phase III would be a multi-domain demonstration and integration testing.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Global Horizons 2013.

http://www.defenseinnovationmarketplace.mil/resources/GlobalHorizonsFINALREPORT6-26-13.pdf.

 

2.  Gully, S. M., Payne, S. C., Koles, K., & Whiteman, J. A. K. (2002). The impact of error training and individual differences on training outcomes: an attribute-treatment interaction perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(1), 143.

 

3.  Allen, J. A., Hays, R. T., & Buffardi, L. C. (1986). Maintenance training simulator fidelity and individual differences in transfer of training. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 28(5), 497-509.

 

KEYWORDS: learning management, personalized learning, biostatistical analysis, competency-based training, Mission Essential Competencies, LMS, cross-organizational analysis

 

 

 

AF151-025                           TITLE: Multi-Channel, High Resolution, High Dynamic Range, Broadband RF Mapping

System

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop a system to characterize electromagnetic field maps in the near field of RF emitters. The system should be capable of measuring magnitude and phase of electric and magnetic field and shot to shot variation at an array of locations.

 

DESCRIPTION:  The DoD has the need to map electromagnetic fields in the near field of RF emitters in order to predict bioeffects of accidental exposures and improve the performance of antennas.  The system should be capable of measuring magnitude and phase of electric and magnetic fields, and characterizing shot to shot variation at an array of locations across the aperture of an emitter ranging in size from a few square centimeters to approximately 3 square meters.  The developed technology should be capable of fully characterizing the field at multiple locations (16 to 64), simultaneously.  If measurements are to be made with in-field probes, the measuring probes should be made of materials that minimize field perturbation and allow measurements with high spatial resolution. The system should be capable of measuring pulsed and continuous fields from 1/10th the DODI 6055.11 controlled area maximum permissible exposure limit up to air breakdown.  The system should measure fields with frequencies of 10 MHz to 300 GHz and pulse widths from continuous (or very long) to a few nanoseconds. The system should be shippable by commercial means (e.g., Fedex or UPS), transportable to field locations, weigh less than 70 lbs, and be operable off batteries or generator power.  Multiple pieces of equipment to cover the range of field strengths and frequencies are acceptable.

 

State of the art RF mapping systems generally use optoelectronic sensors to map electric fields.  Due to their limited dynamic range and noise background, collection of numerous pulses with coherent averaging are required to detect pulses of moderate energy.  As a result, it is often not possible to characterize shot-to-shot variation in pulsed electric fields.  Magnetic field detectors are available, but generally have not been incorporated into field mapping systems.  Alternative approaches using antennas do not allow the measurement of field strengths near air breakdown with high fidelity.

 

The measurements made by this system will be used to populate models of RF interaction with biological materials, perform accurate dosimetry for scientific studies of RF bioeffects, predict biological effects from RF overexposures, and characterize RF emitters for engineering design studies.

 

PHASE I:  Design a system to meet the specifications.  Demonstrate through laboratory testing, modeling and simulation, or comparison to existing technologies, that the system design will meet specifications.  Identify areas where the specifications cannot be met within the state-of-the-art.  Identify promising technology development pathways that will allow improvements beyond the scope of the SBIR effort.

 

PHASE II:  Develop a prototype system that implements the system as designed in Phase I.  Collaborate with government personnel to test the prototype at a range of frequencies and pulse widths.

 

PHASE III:  Develop a commercial system that can be used by a variety of industries to make improved field maps for product development/research. Other potential users beyond the sponsoring organization include antenna and RF system developers, biomedical application companies and the semiconductor industry.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Wang, W.C., et al., All-dielectric miniature wideband rf receive antenna. Optical Engineering, 2004. 43(3): p. 673-677.

 

2.  DoD, Instruction 6055.11, “Protection of DoD Personnel from Exposure to Radiofrequency Radiation". 2009.

 

KEYWORDS: RF, field mapping, array, high field

 

 

 

AF151-026                           TITLE: Phantom Head for Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Current Model

Validation

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Human Systems

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop a phantom head and skull capable of measuring direct currents applied transcranially within the brain and extracortical tissues.

 

DESCRIPTION:  This effort aims to develop a phantom skull capable of measuring and recording electric currents delivered by a non-invasive brain stimulation technique known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).  The phantom will then be used by the government customer to validate existing model predictions of electric current flow inside the human head.  This validation will allow modeling to be used to optimize tDCS electrode design, scalp placement, intensity and electrode montage to enhance cognitive performance or efficacy of therapeutic treatments for a variety of neurological ailments.

 

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to improve cognitive functions in healthy people such as attention, memory and learning (e.g., Reis et al., 2009; Grosbras & Paus, 2003; Ohn et al., 2008; Flöel et al., 2008), and several reports within the Department of Defense have speculated about the possibility of using noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) for troop enhancement (Russell, Bulkley, & Grafton 2005; Nelson, 2007). Additionally, NIBS techniques have applications to the treatment of a variety of neurologic conditions such as major depressive disorder, stroke rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, etc.  The tDCS technique modulates the neurons’ resting membrane potential by passing a small electrical current (= 2 mA) between two electrodes placed on the scalp.  This passage of current then creates a net increase or decrease in excitability in targeted areas (Paulus, 2004; Priori, 2003).  This altered excitability leads to an increase or decrease in local brain activity which can alter human performance/behavior.  To be effective, tDCS must target the task-specific brain areas or networks.  Because the current pass through a variety of tissues to reach the cortex such as skin, skull, cerebral spinal fluid, and fat the electrical resulting current flow can be non-intuitive and often is dependent on regional tissue conductivity and anatomical features/structure.  Effectively, it is insufficient to select scalp locations directly over the brain region of interest due to the fact the current may flow in an unexpected manner.  In an effort to optimize electrode placement for targeting of specific brain areas and optimizing human performance or therapeutic treatment effects, tDCS current flow models have been developed (e.g., Datta, et al., 2009; McKinley, et al., 2013).  Unfortunately, there is currently no methodology of device to empirically validate these models due to the fact it would require measurement within the human brain.  Additionally, holes or cracks in the skull change the passage of current into the brain due to the fact that the skull has low conductivity.  By validating these models with a phantom skull, they could be used to identify optimal scalp locations, intensity, design, and montage for electrode placement for a variety of human performance enhancement and therapeutic treatment applications.

 

It is anticipated the measured current range in the brain tissue is on the order of a few nano-amps up to 100 milli-amps, therefore, the phantom much be able to have suitable gain to measure in this range.  In addition, the phantom much be able to measure other electrical properties including resistance/impedance and voltage.  It is desired that the phantom have a measurement resolution of at least 1 cm2.  Finally, the measurement system within the phantom must also be capable of taking measurement from electrodes in-vitro (e.g. animal subject living tissue) environment and implanted electrodes placed in a human post-mortem skull.

 

PHASE I:  Select a promising phantom skull (i.e., in tact with no unnatural cracks, holes or cuts) and determine realistic materials/tissues to mimic brain, skin, cerebral spinal fluid and other extracranial tissues.  Perform preliminary investigations to determine optimal sensors and placements for measuring electrical properties and direct currents within the phantom tissues.

 

PHASE II:  Construct, demonstrate, and optimize the phantom head.  Conduct tests of the phantom using traditional and newly developed tDCS electrodes.  The newly developed tDCS electrodes will be provided on loan by the government to conduct the testing.

 

PHASE III:  Use the phantom to validate models of transcranial direct current stimulation current flow within the brain published in the open literature. This will allow for optimization of the electrode placement to enhance cognitive skills such as attention for military tasks such as image analysis.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Datta, A., Baker, J. M., Bikson, M., & Fridriksson, J. (2011). Individualized model predicts brain current flow during transcranial direct-current stimulation treatment in responsive stroke patient. Brain stimulation, 4(3), 169-174.

 

2.  Flöel, A., Rösser, N., et al. (2008). Noninvasive brain stimulation improves language learning. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(8), 1415-1422.

 

3.  Grosbras MH, Paus T (2003). “Transcranial magnetic stimulation of the human frontal eye field facilitates visual awareness.” European Journal of Neuroscience, 18, 3121-3126.

 

4.  McKinley RA, Weisend MP, McIntire LK, Bridges N, Walters CM (2013). Acceleration of Image Analysts Training with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. Behavioral Neuroscience, 127(6): 936-946.

 

5.  Nelson JT (2007). “Enhancing warfighter cognitive abilities with transcranial magnetic stimulation: a feasibility analysis.” Air Force Research Laboratory Technical Report AFRL-HE-WP-TR-2007-0095.

 

6.  Ohn SH, Park C, Yoo WK, Ko MH, Choi KP, Kim GM, Lee YT, Kim YH (2008). “Time-dependent effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on the enhancement of working memory.” NeuroReport, 19 (1), 43-47.

 

7.  Reis J, Schambra HM, Cohen LG, Buch ER, Fritsch B, Zarahn E, Celnik PA, Krakauer JW (2009). “Noninvasive cortical stimulation enhances motor skill acquisition over multiple days through an effect on consolidation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106 (5) 1590-1595.

 

8.  Russell A, Bulkley B, Grafton C (2005). Human Performance Optimization and Military Missions, Report for the Director, Office of Net Assessment, GS-10F-O297K, McLean, VA: Science Applications International Corporation.

 

KEYWORDS: transcranial direct current stimulation, non-invasive brain stimulation, NIBS, human augmentation, modeling, phantom

 

 

 

AF151-028                           TITLE: Semantic Technology for Logistics Systems Interoperability and Modernization

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop/demonstrate foundational elements of a semantic technology solution for Air Force and commercial logistics systems interoperability and modernization to achieve Agile Combat Support, the rapid deployment & sustainment for military operations.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Air Force logistics information technology modernization efforts require an understanding of current business and process rules, interfaces, data, data relationships and data dependencies within the application environment. Interoperability of modern and legacy systems requires foundational understanding of the data syntax and semantics within and exchanged by legacy systems. This is particularly critical if an existing system is going to be modified or subsumed, either partially or wholly by modernization. Semantic technologies have demonstrated successes in achieving system interoperability and modernization in the intelligence, medical, biological and pharmaceutical domains.

 

The logistics community needs a semi-automated approach to quickly analyze the syntax and semantics of the current data environment from structured and unstructured information and evolve it for system interoperability and modernization. The solution should drive a common view of data formally capturing the logistic domain knowledge using an ontology and a shared vocabulary of concepts, types, properties, concepts relationships and rules.  The solution must produce machine and human understandable information for federation between information systems to enable machine computable logic, inferencing and knowledge discovery.

 

Proposals should address the technical solutions that will be explored for delivering the necessary capabilities described above as well as the transformations to enable interoperability. Semantic technology achieves most of the goals of the DoD net-centric data strategy where data must be visible, accessible, usable, discoverable, trustable and interoperable.  The net-centric policy relies heavily on metadata for understanding, discovery, provenance and security.

 

This product must address the following objectives:

•  The proposed solution should use World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) semantic recommendations (e.g., Web Ontology Language and Resource Description Framework), as well as semantic technology best practices including rules of linked data and ontology reuse. 

  Foundational logistic ontologies should be the basis to evolve systems interoperability and modernization and support logistic strategic, operational and tactical points of view. 

  Provide the ability to visualize and categorize the information created by the systems so that users can better understand the information relationships and context.

  Use of open-source software use is encouraged where possible.

Be able to operate with diverse application programming languages, databases/data storage, operating systems, infrastructures, hardware, and supporting application.

 

PHASE I:  Develop a prototype for semantically linked logistic data and foundational vocabularies/ontologies. Explore approaches to semantic logistics interoperability/modernization and advanced queries with AF chosen systems.  Explore approaches to ensure restricted access to sensitive data and computational techniques to process sensitive data at unclassified sites, e.g., commercial and university.

 

PHASE II:  Further mature the foundational midlevel logistics ontology for initial prototype use that supports DoD crowd sourcing of the ontology.  Explore more sophisticated lower-level ontologies for the logistics domain.

 

PHASE III:  Extend and transition the prototype to operational use.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Defense Logistics Agency Data Management: http://www2.dla.mil/j-6/dlmso/Programs/Committees/Data/data.asp.

 

2. World Wide Web Consortium Semantic Website: http://www.w3.org/standards/semanticweb/.

 

3. DoD and the Semantic Enterprise “Heading, Altitude, and Airspeed” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkhj2sTPlbk.

 

KEYWORDS: agile combat support, logistics, semantic technology, ontology, legacy systems, system modernization

 

 

 

AF151-029                           TITLE: Infrastructure Agnostic Solutions for Anti-Reconnaissance and Cyber Deception

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  This topic seeks to provide new and novel approaches to delaying, disrupting and deceiving adversaries engaged in active network reconnaissance.

 

DESCRIPTION:  The collective stages used to infiltrate a system can be applied to perform a broad range of attacks. However, the most successful assailants rely heavily on the reconnaissance stages, which are primarily divided as passive or active approaches [1]. Passive reconnaissance is a mere collection of information using search engines or various other methods in obtaining publicly available information. This form of information gathering requires entities to practice discretionary posting of information and is often a disregarded tactic used by sophisticated criminals today. The active reconnaissance approach generally results in the act of probing and scanning hosts or servers to determine IP addresses, database information, operating systems used, passwords, usernames, etc. While defensive tactics such as monitoring traffic flow with intrusion detection systems (IDS) or stateful firewalls can help detect active reconnaissance practices, attackers are still able to administer stealthier techniques, such as sending smaller amounts of packets to avoid detection. Since reconnaissance is generally the preceding stage in an attempt to compromise a system, attackers can successfully perform a multitude of attacks on target systems using the gathered information.   As such, increasing the effort required on the part of the adversary to obtain actionable intelligence, or providing inaccurate information altogether can enhance the overall security posture of a system or network [2].

 

There is a need for secure, infrastructure agnostic, solutions designed for cyber agility and anti-reconnaissance.  Such solutions must effectively prevent traffic analysis, and must implement evasive and deceptive techniques such as misreporting source and destination IP and/or MAC addresses, and intermittently changing those addresses.  The technology must be capable of preventing an adversary from accurately determining the direction or volume of information moving within the network, or the size or topology of the network itself, and must be capable of taking measures to prevent, detect, and cease communication with non-compliant or rogue clients within the environment.

 

Consideration will be given to solutions that 1) have little to no impact to network performance or the availability of services, 2) those that do not require customized, or otherwise "non-commodity" hardware, 3) those that provide for flexible infrastructure or enclaves that can be set up, re-segmented, and/or taken down quickly, and 4) those that are capable of supporting a PKI or other robust cryptosystem.  The performer should not assume that solely providing a large address space, in which it is difficult for the attacker to predict the next address, provides a sufficient level of assurance.

 

PHASE I:  Research, and design the overall architecture to address the requirements. Define the types of data that can be collected for metrics and concepts for adaptive remediation. Ideally at the end of Phase I performers will be able to provide a proof-of-concept demonstration.

 

PHASE II:  Develop an enclave with this capability and test against representative enterprise networks and environments.

 

PHASE III:  Work with the DoD to demonstrate that the prototype developed during Phase II can also be applied to DoD systems and software. Further demonstrate and deploy the capability within diverse environments.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  U.S. Naval Academy. Phases of a Cyber-Attack / Cyber-Recon. US Naval Academy. [Online] http://www.usna.edu/CS/si110arch/si110AY13F/lec/l32/lec.html.

 

2.  Thwarting cyber-attack reconnaissance with inconsistency and deception. Rowe, N and Goh, HC, Information Assurance and Security Workshop, 2007. IEEE SMC, 2007.

 

KEYWORDS: agility, deception, reconnaissance, avoid attack, cyber situation awareness, moving target defense

 

 

 

AF151-030                           TITLE: Cyber Hardening and Agility Technologies for Tactical IP Networks

(CHATTIN)

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Demonstrate computer network defense that will enable tactical IP networks to eliminate vulnerabilities that may be exploited to launch an attack, and implementing cyber agility techniques to thwart attack planning/execution.

 

DESCRIPTION:  IP-based aerial layer networks must be protected against cyber attacks for assured mission operations. Traditional reactive computer network defense techniques have to constantly play “catch-up” to an ever increasing array of cyber attacks being designed by our adversaries.  Currently, the extent and fixed nature of the attack surface presented by tactical IP networks provides our adversaries with the opportunity to carefully plan their attacks over time and to launch them at a time and place of their choice.

 

The Air Force is seeking new computer network defense technologies which can reverse this asymmetry that favors our adversaries.  Of specific interest are cyber hardening and cyber agility techniques for avoiding cyber attacks which provide a strategic cyber advantage by reducing or eliminating the need to fight, increasing the cost, time, and difficulty to launch an attack, and reducing the probability of a successful attack.

 

Cyber hardening techniques reduce the extent of the exposed attack surface by eliminating vulnerabilities in networking protocols and services that may be exploited by adversaries to launch attacks. For instance, a network routing protocol that lacks authentication is vulnerable to spoofing attacks that can subvert the operation of the network. For this case, cyber hardening would involve incorporating the necessary protocol message authentication techniques.  Approaches for cyber hardening aerial IP networks that preserve existing investments in network infrastructure, e.g., tactical IP radios, are desirable to ones that require replacement of network equipment.

 

Cyber agility techniques avoid network attacks by performing evasive defensive maneuvers that present a “moving target” to the adversary making it extremely difficult for the adversary to obtain a fix on the target for launching a successful attack.  Such real time network agility may be accomplished using a variety of synthetic redundancy and polymorphic techniques within the network architecture.  For instance, IP address and port hopping between communicating end points on a network may be used to obviate attempts by an adversary to track and target critical systems. Similarly, cyber agility techniques can be used to dynamically reconfigure the posture of a system upon the onset of an attack to enable the system to fight through the attack and provide continued uninterrupted operations. The key challenge here is to develop network agility techniques that are transparent to authorized users of the network and that introduce minimal steady state overhead.

 

PHASE I:  For Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4, develop multi-threaded means to reduce attack surfaces in the tactical networking environment.  Consider manned and unmanned aerial and mobile surface environments, plus the access to the GIG at forward-deployed locations.

 

PHASE II:  For TRL 5, provide demonstration of dynamic network configuration while under attack in a simulated/emulated laboratory environment.

 

PHASE III:  For TRL 5/6, provide and execute a transition plan to FAA airborne IP network hardening and protection.  Mature the prototype at TRL 6/7 and demonstrate its capability under representative airborne network operational scenarios.

 

REFERENCES:

1. Kamaal Jabbour and Paul Ratazzi, “Does the United States Need a New Model For Cyber Deterrence?”, in Deterrence: Rising Powers, Rogue Regimes, and Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century,  edited by Adam Lowther, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

 

2. The Connectivity Challenge:  Protecting Critical Assets in a Networked World, a Framework for Aviation Cybersecurity, AIAA, Aug 2013.

 

KEYWORDS: cyber, hardening, aviation network, critical assets, attack surface, robust RF assets

 

 

 

AF151-031                           TITLE: Malicious Behavior Detection for High Risk Data Types (DetChambr)

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Create a technical capability/hardware for the Air Force that is able to detect malicious executable content based upon detection of adversarial malicious behaviors (as compared to malicious code signatures).

 

DESCRIPTION:  Commercial virus scanners rely upon signatures of code segments in order to identify malicious code. These solutions are unable to address custom crafted malicious payloads until they are exposed to the broader community, nor do they adequately address the challenges presented by tools that can obfuscate malicious binaries by hiding/changing these code signatures. Detecting malicious behaviors in a representative environment (e.g., attempting to create alternate data channels beyond those normally used by the application).

 

The intent of this capability is to both support detection of polymorphic transformations of existing malicious code and either signature or anomaly-based detection of potential zero day attacks. Solution should also include an approach for self-protection against malware escape attempts (e.g., hypervisor introspection).

 

PHASE I:  Build a malicious/anomalous behavior-based data type inspection tool. Show a proof of concept that can detect and report any anomalous unexpected behaviors initiated by opening/executing a fiel in a representative computing environment.

 

PHASE II:  Further harden and instrument the infrastructure developed in Phase I. Develop approaches to rapidly support baseline “normal” data type behaviors and integrate them into the detonation chamber. Test the prototype against new, complex data types (e.g., Analyst Notebook), including custom attacks that are not currently covered by a commercial virus scan.

 

PHASE III:  Commercialize the product and provide it for sale or via open source license to DoD, IC and commercial purchasers. Additional business opportunities in training, subject matter expertise etc. also exist.

 

REFERENCES:

1. http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2012/06/the_failure_of_3.html.

 

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization.

 

3. https://tails.boum.org The Amnesic Incognito Live System (TAILS), using a two-layer virtualization system for confidentiality rather than integrity.

 

4. http://sourceforge.net/p/whonix/wiki/Home/ Another confidentiality-based project using two-layered virtualization.

 

KEYWORDS: virtualization, detonation chamber, malware detection, blue pill/red pill malware, hypervisor introspection

 

 

 

AF151-032                           TITLE: MIMO functionality for Legacy Radios

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Electronics

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Achieve multi-path and multiple-input/output (MIMO) performance from legacy software-defined radios without modification of the radio, itself, or the waveform(s).

 

DESCRIPTION:  Multi-Antenna, MIMO, techniques have been proven to significantly improve the throughput, reliability and range of wireless communication systems. Subject to environmental conditions, the work in the literature touts as much as 20 dB improvement in the link margin, up to 10x reduction in the TX power for the same throughput, up to 30 dB of interference mitigation, and several factors improvement in the achievable throughput.

 

To achieve these gains current MIMO systems require that the antenna processor be embedded deep inside the Physical Layer processor. They also require changes to packet structure to allow MIMO channel estimation. Unfortunately due to the large installed based of legacy radios and the time frame needed for the introduction of new waveforms and hardware into airborne platforms, such an embedded approach will take decades to deliver any substantial benefits to airborne communication systems.

 

It is desired to bring most, if not all, the benefits of an embedded MIMO wireless system to as many airborne links as possible. The MIMO benefits should be delivered in a separate bolt-on appliqué module and should in no way modify the legacy over the air waveform (a must for backward compatibility with non-MIMO enabled legacy radios).

 

The proposed appliqué solution should  require little if any modifications to the legacy radio. It should act as a standalone fully self-contained solution that delivers MIMO gains this may include one or more of the following advantages, such as TX and RX generalized beam forming, Space Time coding, spatial multiplexing and interference mitigation.

 

PHASE I:  Provide a simulation demonstrating the benefits of a separate MIMO applique capability without modifying the radio or the waveform.

 

PHASE II:  Using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) transceivers, demonstrate MIMO capability in a laboratory. Deliver software development kit. Demonstrate radios in a suitable multipath environment.

 

PHASE III:  Select a number of specific tactical transceivers for follow-on work. Demonstrate using the software development kit. High potential for commercial use with ability to extend capability of MIMO to commercial, Homeland Defense, and first responder systems.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Pucker, L. et al., Finding MIMO: A proposed model for incorporating multiple input, multiple output technology into software defined radios, Spectrum Signal Processing, Inc.

 

2.  Gardellin, V. et al., The MIMONet Software Defined Radio Testbed, Institute for Informatics and Telematics.

 

3.  Mizutani, K. et al., Dev MIMO-SDR and Application to RT Channel Measurements, SDR Radio Technology.

 

KEYWORDS: MIMO, multiple input, multiple output, SDR, software defined radio, multipath

 

 

 

AF151-033                           TITLE: Virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM)

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  This SBIR topic seeks to investigate techniques for providing vTPM support in the Quick Emulator (QEMU), such that software executing in virtual/emulated environment can leverage TPM technologies.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Recently, virtualization has been used on client end-point devices to increase security through isolation, and increase availability through multiple access [1]. Even mobile devices have started leveraging virtualization [2].

 

In addition to the increased use of virtualization, almost all business class workstations and laptops comes standard with an on-board TPM. Some tablets already have support for TPMs, and the Trusted Computing Group has created a mobile version of the TPM specification [3, 4]. TPMs today are used in numerous technologies including measuring software like Microsoft’s BitLocker, securely storing user and Virtual Private Network (VPN) credentials, as well as providing static and dynamic roots of trust such as Intel’s Trusted Execution Technology [5, 6].

 

The above technologies, however, do not function in virtualized environments. It is possible for the virtualization technology itself to take advantage of the TPM (e.g., Citrix XenClient), but there is little to no support for virtualized guest operating systems to leverage the same TPM technologies [1]. The vTPMs are not, however, a new concept. Both IBM and the NSA have created prototype implementations of a vTPM. These prototypes however have not been included in QEMU, which is responsible for the virtual hardware found in most virtualization products today. Since QEMU is so widely used, providing QEMU with vTPM support would enable the use of TPM technologies in a large number of virtualized environments today, as well as bring new forms of security to mobile and workstation environments.

 

The goal of this SBIR topic is to investigate and develop a vTPM that leverages QEMU to provide guest OSs with a virtual hardware interface capable of supporting existing TPM based technologies. Specifically this SIBR will:

• Provide virtualized guests with a vTPM hardware interface. 

• Provide QEMU with vTPM support, such that existing virtualization technologies can impart guest OSs with TPM support. 

• Provide a common vTPM API for QEMU capable of supporting existing vTPM technologies

 

PHASE I:  Develop a design for a vTPM hardware interface for QEMU. Develop a design for a common vTPM API for QEMU to communicate with existing vTPM technologies. Prototype the vTPM hardware interface, and demonstrate the common API with a comprehensive test harness.

 

PHASE II:  Develop a complete vTPM solution for QEMU that utilizes the design and prototype developed under Phase I. Integrate the modified QEMU into an existing virtualization technology as well as integrate an existing vTPM technology with the QEMU hardware interface. Test the vTPM solution with the test harness developed in Phase I, as well as existing technologies that leverage a hardware TPM such as Microsoft’s BitLocker.

 

PHASE III:  Military: Integrate vTPM into existing DoD/IC networks. Commercial: Integrate vTPM utilized by organizations with sensitive information that are subject to outside attacks, such as financial institutions, defense contractors, and security agencies.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Citrix XenClient, http://www.citrix.com/products/xenclient/overview.html.

 

2.  Samsung’s ARM support for Xen, http://www.xenproject.org/developers/teams/arm-hypervisor.html.

 

3.  TPM Mobile,  https://www.trustedcomputinggroup.org/resources/tpm_mobile_with_trusted_execution_environment_for_comprehensive_mobile_device_security.

 

4.  Microsoft’s BitLocker, http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/bitlocker.

 

5.  Intel’s Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/intel-trusted-execution-technology.

 

6.  IBM Virtual TPM, http://researcher.watson.ibm.com/researcher/view_project.php?id=2850.

 

7.  NSA Virtual TPM, http://xenbits.xen.org/docs/4.3-testing/misc/vtpm.txt.

 

KEYWORDS: virtualization, TPM, vTPM, attack detection, attack prevention, CND, CNA, CNO, BitLocker

 

 

 

AF151-034                           TITLE: Target Based Data Compression Settings Broker

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop an application to weigh the environmental and geospatial impacts on image formation and recommend the optimal target based compression algorithm settings based on image quality required to address essential elements of information (EEI).

 

DESCRIPTION:  With the emergence of powerful and tunable compression algorithms [1], there is a need for reliable and consistent settings for data quantity (compression) and data quality (exploitation) by mission planners to insure operational imperatives are satisfied.  Compression methods should be developed in consideration of other factors such as transmission bandwidth [2], exploitation needs [3], and requirements. Compression can be achieved pre-processing or post-processing of sensor collection using various methods such as in hardware and software [4].  Various compression choices effect target classification, multiple-target tracking, and activity based intelligence.

 

Sensor phenomenologies (Synthetic Aperture Radar, Hyperspectral, LIght Detection and Ranging, Electro-optical/Infrared) impose specific, sometimes unique, considerations on sensor collection attributes and must be tailored to specific targets and mission parameters in order to optimize image quality such as the National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS) needed for EEI satisfaction [5]. Settings to control compression in order to optimize bandwidth transmission and maximize data collection must be weighed against the data fidelity essential for exploitation and analysis. Additionally, considerations such as target location/orientation with respect to the geospatial positioning of the sensor and environmental conditions compound the mission planning and data/scene collection equations. Each of these considerations taken as a holistic set of variables has the potential of influencing the data fidelity required to answer specific operational imperatives. Operational needs can be achieved from single or multiple source sensor fusion techniques that are dependent on image quality.  Therefore the ability to precisely balance compression to accommodate mission expectations for bandwidth optimization with the data fidelity required for exploitation during the mission planning stage is critical and could be mitigated by a broker to optimize compression settings. A successful offeror can work with the technical point of contact (TPOC) to define relevant data, scenarios, and operational scenarios of interest to the DoD to evaluate target-based data compression settings tradeoffs.

 

Multi-phase development should incorporate an adaptive trust metric with feedback to monitor and reinforce appropriateness of compression algorithm settings to satisfy the mission requirements for data throughput (bandwidth optimization) and data quality. Developments should include and assessment of metrics such as quality of service and information quality measures of performance and measures of effectiveness (e.g., reliability, trust level, exploitation accuracy, timelines) for selecting the most appropriate compression setting for operational success (EEI satisfaction). Metrics for EEI satisfaction based on the Data Fusion Information Group model should be developed for operational readiness. The metrics should account for the variables imposed in the collection problem set and assist mission planners to optimize compression settings (e.g., Level 0 fusion) based on operational results and feedback (e.g., Level 5 fusion).

 

PHASE I:  Phase I is intended to identify sensor collection variables that affect target EEI satisfaction. Prototype examples using available data and compression techniques with the EEI variables should afford feedback from exploitation verification and data collection validation. Methods of exploitation quality should be demonstrated in a multi-modal fusion system performance results.

 

PHASE II:  The intent of Phase II is to implement and select design parameters experienced in Phase I. EEI satisfaction likelihood is understood based on the sensitivity to the sensor characteristics, environment, and needs for target detection to identification impacting mission needs. Compression, exploitation, and fusion results should be demonstrated in a system’s tool that integrates standards, mission requirements, and suggestion optimal performance parameters.

 

PHASE III:  Phase III is intended to utilize the developed tool in Phase II as a settings broker component within an imagery intelligence pipeline. Methods developed can support EEI satisfaction for on-the-fly parameter adjustments at the sensor or at the image receiving and exploitation center.

 

REFERENCES:

1. G. Motta, F. Rizzo, J. A. Storer, Hyperspectral data Compression, Springer, 2006.

 

2. J. Patrick, R. Brant, and E. Blasch, “Hyperspectral Imagery Throughput and Fusion Evaluation over Compression and Interpolation,” Int. Conf. on Info Fusion, 2008.

 

3. B. Kahler and E. Blasch, “Predicted Radar/Optical Feature Fusion Gains for Target Identification,” Proc. IEEE Nat. Aerospace Electronics Conf. (NAECON), 2010.

 

4. V. M. Patel, G. R. Easley, D. M. Healy Jr, R. Chellappa, “Compressed Synthetic Aperture Radar,” IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing, Vol. 4, 2, 244-254, April 2010.

 

5. MISB ST 0901.2, “Video-National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale,” 27 Feb. 2014.

 

KEYWORDS: compression, adaptive, hyperspectral, Wide area motion imagery, synthetic ap radar, trust metrIc, EEI, DFIG, level 5 fusion

 

 

 

AF151-035                           TITLE: Miniature Link-16 Communications Device

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop and demonstrate a prototype miniature Link-16 communications device.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Tactical Data Links (TDL) provide essential communication channels between forces to support interoperability.  The most common TDL for U.S., NATO and Coalition forces is Link-16.  Link-16 provides near real time exchange of tactical data among military units and is the global standard for modern command and control (C2) architectures.

 

Unfortunately, size, weight, and power (SWaP) constraints of current Link-16 components prevent the dismounted operator from directly utilizing the Link-16 network.  The objective of this SBIR is to develop a miniature device design that minimizes SWaP to enable the dismounted operators to fully implement the Link 16 capability to enhance situational awareness (SA) and C2.  Market research suggests that a handheld Link-16 device, comparable to the Harris Corporation’s AN/PRC-152 radio, will be available by FY 2016.  This effort will focus on continued reduction of SWaP of miniature Link-16 devices.

 

PHASE I:  Design a miniature Link-16 communications device and perform analyses to establish operational (voice/data/networking) capabilities with reduced SWaP requirements. Develop a System Implementation/Test plan for evaluating device operating performance and which adresses all NSA, FCC, and other applicable certifications required to operate in both non-secure (Threshold) and secure (Objective) modes.

 

PHASE II:  Produce a "breadboard" Link-16 communications device for evaluating and demonstrating operational performance and which addresses: Link-16 waveform (voice/data/networking) functionality, planning for Information Assurance (IA) and security certifications, receive sensitivity, transmit power, RFI and EMI,  SWaP, thermal and prime-power management, and configuration/control/data interfaces.  Develop a design for a prototype Link-16 device, with a miniature form-factor, suitable for field testing.

 

PHASE III:  Assemble a prototype miniature Link-16 communications device and conduct field tests to verify (voice/data/networking) operational performance, in a secure manner, and demonstrate functional capabilities with reduced SWaP.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  DoD 4650.1-R1, Link 16 Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Feature Certification Process and Requirements, April 26, 2005, http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/465001r1p.pdf.

 

2.  TADIL J, Introduction to Tactical Digital Information Link J and Quick Reference Guide, June 2000, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/6-24-8/tadilj.pdf.

 

KEYWORDS: tactical data link, TDL, communication, handheld, Link 16, Special Operations Forces, SOF, dismounted, command and control, C2

 

 

 

AF151-036                           TITLE: Adaptive Agentless Host Security

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  This topic seeks to provide new and novel approaches to protect, fight-through, and recover from compromises at enterprise scale networks without (or very limited) agents on endpoint systems.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Enterprise networks are under constant attack and the techniques being used the adversary routinely evade existing host and network based security applications. Current defensive technologies commonly utilize a persistent defensive agent(s) on the each network system or workstation. The continued proliferation of attacks suggests that the current agent-based approaches to enterprise resiliency have limited effectiveness in protecting systems from compromises. The deployed agents add a significant overhead, drastically reduce performance [1], increase vulnerable attack surface, and act as a single point of failure that is the first target in any attack. If the agent is incapacitated, the system is in a state with limited defensive, monitoring, and remediation options available. In the end, current solutions are reducing operator efficiency while not providing resilient and adaptive host-based security.

 

To provide a resilient enterprise host and network defense capability, new techniques must be developed that move beyond the current approaches failing the network defenders. Existing techniques that have limited effectiveness for identifying and countering new attacks include system baseline, artifact signatures, and file type guards [2]. This topic seeks to take a proactive and adaptive approach to protecting, and defending the enterprise infrastructure by developing methods that support network resiliency, fight-through, and survivability [3]. The proposed techniques for protecting, defending, and remediating compromised hosts must demonstrate evidence to achieve enterprise scale (i.e., solutions should be able to scale beyond 10,000 hosts). Preferably, the solution should minimally invasive and ideally not include the requirement for significant new hardware on the network such as a centralized server. It is expected that proposed solutions will be agentless and not significantly rely on baselines or signatures. The live capture of information from systems will have minimal effect on system performance and will seek to first utilize common interfaces for integrating an endpoint. It is assumed that collected data will support the development of information assurance metrics that can be utilized for remediating and adapting defenses to recover to a state of reduced vulnerability. The proposed system must use open or existing protocols, file formats, and/or interfaces to provide extensible design, integration opportunity, and technology transfer. The system shall be able to adapt to new attack methods without immediate direction from a centralized server.

 

PHASE I:  Research, and design the overall architecture to address the requirements. Define the types of data that can be collected for metrics and concepts for adaptive remediation. Ideally at the end of Phase I performers will be able to provide a proof-of-concept demonstration.

 

PHASE II:  Develop the adaptive agentless system and test against representative enterprise networks and environments.

 

PHASE III:  Work with the DoD to demonstrate that the prototype developed during Phase II can also be applied to DoD systems and software. Further demonstrate and deploy the capability within diverse environments.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  IT Web. Cloud Needs Agentless Security., [Online] May 17, 2013. http://www.itweb.co.za/?id=64168:Cloud-needs-agentless-security.

 

2.  MacDonald, Neil. This Just In: Signature-based Protection Ineffective Against Targeted Attacks. Gartner. [Online] January 31, 2013. http://blogs.gartner.com/neil_macdonald/2013/01/31/this-just-in-signature-based-protection-ineffective-against-targeted-attacks/.

 

3.  Cyber Resilience for Mission Assurance. Goldman, Harriet, McQuaid, Rosalie and Picciotto, Jeffrey. s.l. : Technologies for Homeland Security (HST), 2011 IEEE Internation Conference, 2011.

 

KEYWORDS: adaptive, agents, networks, resiliency, security, proactive defense

 

 

 

AF151-037                           TITLE: Special Operations Forces Multi-function Radio

 

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems

 

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 section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation and within the AF Component-specific instructions. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. Please direct questions to the AF SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer, Ms. Gail Nyikon, gail.nyikon@us.af.mil.

 

OBJECTIVE:  Develop and Integrate voice, video & data into a lightweight dismounted system.

 

DESCRIPTION:  Special Operations Forces operators currently carry separate radios for two-way voice communication and video data (to include metadata and command and control or C2). By merging these systems, a weight savings for the load carried by the operator can be achieved without reducing capability; reducing the weight of equipment carried by the warfighter is Air Force Special Operations Command''s number one priority for battlefield airmen. This multi-channel radio shall be able to transmit and receive multiple inputs/signals simultaneously in a meshed IP network. The radio shall require commercial grade encryption (AES) and NSA Type-1 encryption. The new system shall be compatible with existing equipment and capabilities to include: currently fielded radios and applicable voice/video waveforms, cryptographic key loaders, and batteries. The radio shall be ruggedized, using durable materials similar to other currently fielded dismounted systems. The radio should be able to form a mesh network of up to 100 nodes that is self-healing with less than 5 second connect and disconnect times. At 100 nodes the network should see minimal network degradation on throughput. The radio should minimally support 5Mbps data links per channel. This radio system must be easily configurable on the fly in the field by a typical operator with minimal training.

 

PHASE I:  Define the proposed concept and develop key component technological milestones of a multi-channel handheld radio. Additional Phase I deliverables shall include a feasibility study and analysis of predicted performance.

 

PHASE II:  Construct a test unit design, and test plan based on Phase I work. Analyze how the unit will operate in real-world scenarios to include interoperability with other communication devices

 

PHASE III:  Build and test a prototype system. Field testing and validation of interoperability shall be conducted in accordance with previously documented test plans. Minimizing size, weight, and power of handheld radios directly benefits the operator.

 

REFERENCES:

1.  Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver Capabilities Brief, Dec 6, 2011. http://www.slideshare.net/robbinlaird/the-rover-system.

 

2.  AN/PRC-152a Features and Data Sheet, http://rf.harris.com/media/AN-PRC-152A_DataSheet_web_tcm26-18518.pdf.

 

3.  AN/PRC-117G Features and Data Sheet, http://rf.harris.com/media/AN-PRC-117G_WEB_tcm26-9017.pdf.

 

4.  RT-1922C MicroLight Radio Overview http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/microlight/.