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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, United States

Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.95K | Year: 2015

Both vehicle automation systems and human pilots rely heavily on sensor feedback to safely control aircraft. The loss of reliable information for even a single state feedback signal can initiate a chain of events that leads to an accident. On small aircraft, hardware redundancy is often impractical and the failure of a single physical sensor could be the triggering event that leads to an accident. On commercial transport aircraft sensor hardware redundancy is common, but the potential for common-mode failures means sensor failures are still an important consideration. In many cases, there is adequate information available to accurately estimate the true value of a parameter even if the sensor or sensors that directly measure the parameter have failed. In the best case, a human pilot can exploit the available information to successfully fly the vehicle after a sensor failure, but it is a high workload task. In many cases, lack of situational awareness and poor manual piloting skills create a situation in which the human pilot cannot safely handle the failure. Similarly, many automation systems are unable to safely cope with failures. The proposed research will build on the successful phase one proof-of-concept demonstration to develop a virtual sensor redundancy system that identifies and isolates faulted sensors, and fuses information from healthy sensors and vehicle dynamics models (including arbitrary nonlinear models) to estimate correct outputs for faulted sensors. The research will also develop the Virtual Sensor Toolkit, a software tool that supports the entire lifecycle of virtual sensor development and deployment from requirements development to testing and design updates. Barron Associates has partnered with commercial unmanned air system producers to advance the TRL of the technology through an aggressive Phase II development and testing effort that prepares the team for flight tests immediately following Phase II.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2015

Barron Associates proposes to develop, validate, and demonstrate a cohesive set of probabilistic extensions for the model-based programming environment Simulink, developed by The MathWorks, Inc. These extensions will allow developers to model random variables, vectors, and matrices, as well as both discrete and continuous random processes as first-class objects within the Simulink language. Barron Associates will also develop extensions that developers can use to process those random quantities within standard machine learning, signal processing, and feedback control algorithms. These capabilities will be demonstrated in the context of autonomous sensor processing and UAS control. They will be commercialized in the form of a Simulink block library that brings probabilistic programming constructs to a large and commercially active model-based development community.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.40M | Year: 2015

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Recent advances in the size and performance of micro electromechanical systems MEMS based inertial instruments enable the development of a novel balance prosthesis to provide feedback via a substitute sensory channel regarding head orientation to patients with chronic balance dysfunction There is a need for balance prostheses to assist patients with chronic balance disorders as well as for devices to facilitate rehabilitaton of such disorders through training and physical therapy The noninvasive discreet turnkey BALCAP prosthesis proposed herein offers the potential to satisfy both requirements in a practicable and ergonomic fashion The BALCAP prosthesis uses six degrees of freedom DOF sensing to detect postural imbalance and actuate low amplitude vibrotactile cues directly to the head via hatband tactors that provide the wearer with feedback concerning head tilt in the pitch and roll planes and combinations thereof The BALCAP is designed to function correctly whether or not the participant is stationary or moving The Phase I effort demonstrated initial feasibility for both the assistive and rehabilitative benefits of the BALCAP prosthesis As part of the proposed research the utility of an improved BALCAP balance prosthesis will be further evaluated in an expanded study on individuals with chronic balance dysfunction spanning a range of etiologies Participants will undergo postural stability and gait assessments to evaluate two distinct hypotheses that performance scores improve significantly while wearing the BALCAP balance prosthesis andquot assistive benefitandquot and that performance scores improve after a period of BALCAP assisted therapy vs standard therapy even when the BALCAP is not being worn andquot rehabilitative benefitandquot A head mounted vibrotactile prosthesis such as the proposed BALCAP will provide immediate benefit to a large number of patients with chronic postural instability Additionally the device has the potential to open new areas of research such as determining the optimal training protocol to maximize residual retention of balance improvements The availability of a practical one piece noninvasive discreet and low cost balance prosthesis will enhance the quality of life for balance disordered patients and could lead to further advancements in this area PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Products resulting from this research will provide significant benefit to patients with chronic postural instability improving their balance for both static and dynamic activities and allowing them to function more normally during activities of daily living ADLs The use of such a device as an aid both inside and outside of the home will yield both immediate assistive and longer term rehabilitative benefits The BALCAP prosthesis also has the potential to allow patients to \trainandquot while performing ADLs in contrast to structured exercises which will substantially reduce patient burden The BALCAP balance prosthesis could lead to further advancements in this area such as optimization of rehabilitation training to maximize residual retention of balance improvements


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 226.82K | Year: 2016

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Hospitalization and prolonged immobilization often lead to the functional decline of vulnerable older persons Bed rest and inactivity have been shown to accelerate the functional changes that are part of normal aging This link between inactivity and adverse outcomes is increasingly appreciated by medical professionals and the mobilization of critically ill patients is an important aspect of patient care Monitoring and documenting patient activity levels in acute care settings is generally nonexistent as is assurance of adequate levels of mobilization Staff reports from nurses physical therapists physicians and aides where extant often lack agreement and documentation consistency This is particularly true in the context of competing priorities in busy hospital wards and varying levels of staff knowledge and motivation Manual patient documentation requirements already place a significant burden on health care professionals and limit the time spent with patients Patient self reports of activity levels have questionable validity and reliability especially in settings where delirium and decreased consciousness are common These factors all manifest a need for automated monitoring of patient activity levels to provide a safety net and to ensure that prophylactic and therapeutic mobilization of patients is performed Fortunately noninvasive and affordable technology is available that can obviate the need for health care professionals to manually document patient mobility levels freeing their time for patient care and education tasks The proposed wireless Patient Resident Mobility Tracker PREEMPT will provide an effective accurate and practicable method for automatically documenting patient mobility providing the desired activity posture information that is relevant in both hospital and senior car settings In particular the Phase I PREEMPT will be used to track and provide hourly summaries of the following sedentary time time spent lying or sitting upright time time spent standing or walking walking time step count step cadence steps per minute gait speed m s or mi hr and number of sit to stand transitions number of posture changes from sedentary to upright Collected data will be transmitted wirelessly to a touch screen tablet computer in near real time where the information will be readily accessible by health care professionals for use in patient management The PREEMPT will not interfere with other patient monitoring or therapeutic treatments including chest monitors arm and neck intravenous lines Foley catheters back braces etc Using swappable monitors and disposable recyclable cotton bands the PREEMPT will require minimal maintenance e g cleaning etc as a key objective of this technology is to decrease clinical staff burden The PREEMPT can also be used to track patient resident turning in bed to prevent decubitus ulcers and to provide an alternative to bed chair alarms for patients at risk for falls to alert nurses when a patient transitions from bed lying to sitting or from chair sitting to standing Further the PREEMPT can be used in research settings its advantages include its provisions for expanded posture coverage gait analysis near real time wireless data uploads and lower cost PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE There are currently acute care hospital beds in the United States and million nursing home beds Tracking and documenting the activity levels of critically ill patients will provide health care professionals and family members with valuable information that can be used to ensure patient mobilization and mitigate iatrogenic outcomes The proposed system will provide an effective practicable and affordable method for meeting the challenges of monitoring the mobility of hospital patients and residents of elder care facilities where excessive immobility is commonplace and documentation is generally lacking


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.94K | Year: 2016

Barron Associates proposes to develop a runtime assurance (RTA) system that provides in-flight protection to research aircraft that are flight testing advanced or experimental controllers. The RTA system monitors key critical parameters to determine if errors in the experimental controller are potentially driving the vehicle to unsafe flight conditions. If such conditions are ensuing, the RTA system activates mitigation strategies to bring the aircraft back to a safe state. The main efforts in Phase I are: (1) develop the RTA system in a desktop simulation environment using a challenge problem with a specific advanced control system applied to a specific flight test vehicle that is of interest to NASA Armstrong, (2) integrate the RTA system into a NASA flight test experiment processing environment, (3) generalize the RTA design approach, and (4) prepare for SUAS Phase II flight tests by designing a flight test article and flight test experiment plan. The unmanned, small scale Phase II flight test will lay the groundwork for larger scale Phase III flight test in manned aircraft at NASA or other test facilities.

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