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Air Force Funded Opportunity Provides Unique Environment For Small Business Data Collection and Testing

By Timothy R. Anderl, Contractor, Air Force SBIR/STTR Program | Nov. 7, 2018

FAIRBORN, Ohio – In late October, Intelligent Automation, a woman owned small business located in Rockville, Maryland, conducted several days of testing and validation on their HumanView tool, a software with benefits to both military and private sectors.

Conducting research as part of an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase II contract at Wright State Research Institute’s National Center for Medical Readiness, the software allows the military to generate realistic and physically sound sensor imagery data from virtual 3-D scenes to expand military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications. This type of development benefits first responders conducting search and rescue operations and can be useful in homeland security applications.

HumanView leverages existing tools, integrating commercial and proprietary simulation tools and material properties databases. The HumV Models module is a data store that will contain 3-D human models, geometric models of environment, and platform models such as unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft on which sensors reside. The tool’s editor module allows researchers to leverage the models against specific activities and associated mathematical models where appropriate.

HumanView also has commercial applications, particularly in the robotics field where it can be used by developers of self-driving cars and other artificial intelligence or robotics systems that interact with humans and use algorithms for navigating human activities and environments.

During Phase I of their project, the company surveyed initial mathematical models to simulate sensor and environmental effects. The goal was discovery of the best technical development path, to make component technology choices, and to discover potential risks or pitfalls. Conducting a preliminary proof of concept using a limited set of sensor and environment configurations allowed both the Air Force and the small business to plan out a future course of action.

During Phase II, which was awarded in September of 2017, Intelligent automation began developing a functional prototype software tool with multimodal capability and an emphasis on human effect and implementing all of the components to create a user-friendly system. Currently, the company is validating the software’s accuracy by collecting sensor data and conducting experiments.

“Access to the National Center For Medical Readiness site has been an enabler for our experiment,” Dr. Huaining Cheng, the project’s technical point of contact from 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, said. “It allows us to conduct high-quality measurements on many outdoor environmental parameters needed in our model validation.”

The National Center for Medical Readiness, also known as NCMR or Calamityville, includes a 52-acre tactical training site used for training both civilian and military personnel, and demonstrating, testing and validating technologies and systems used by military operators. Tech Warrior CONNECT events, like the one Intelligent Automation participated in, are customized experience to include an opportunity to run test plans, to solicit operator feedback, to demonstrate technologies during a training exercise, etc.

Any small businesses with a Department of Defense research and development contract, especially those involved in the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program, can participate in the Tech Warrior CONNECT opportunity by working with its government contact or by contacting twenterprise@wright.edu.

Participation in Tech Warrior events is free for companies, which only pay for travel expenses.

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