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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.

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

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.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.96K | Year: 2016

During a piloted forced landing in which the aircraft can no longer maintain level flight and is therefore forced to make an emergency off-airport landing, the human pilot continuously reassesses and updates the plan to minimize on-ground and onboard injury and damage. In the case of an unmanned air vehicle, this level of intelligent risk minimization is unavailable. Moreover, low-weight and low-cost design objectives for unmanned aircraft have resulted in a lack of propulsion and control redundancy, as well as unreliable communication links and an associated increase in incidents due to engine failure, control failure, and lost link. Safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) will require an onboard capability for unmanned aircraft to accomplish the complex observation, understanding, and decision making that is required without assistance from a human operator. An advanced system capable of perception, cognition, and decision making is necessary to replace the need for a dedicated expert operator to ensure safety to persons, vehicles, and structures on the ground during UAS forced landings. Deployment of such a system would enable multiple UAS to be supervised by a single operator without compromising safety. The Self-Directed and Informed Forced Landing system emulates the continuous decision making process of a human pilot by assimilating available information and constantly reevaluating the plan. Robust, onboard guidance and control maximize the capability of the impaired aircraft while executing the current plan. The system considers current vehicle capability, wind estimates, landing site and route risk, as well as the uncertainty associated with these factors. Also, system design decisions have been, and will continue to be, weighed against current and near-future verification, validation, and certification requirements.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.96K | Year: 2016

UAS have the potential to offer great economic and operational advantages, but realizing this potential will require greater operational flexibility for UAS in the National Airspace. New technologies that enable beyond visual line of sight operations and that allow one operator to control multiple vehicles will expand the range of missions that can be accomplished and reduce operating costs. Automated upset recovery technology will reduce reliance on a human operator to mitigate hazards posed by Loss of Control (LOC) due to upset, leading to greater operational freedom. This technology is critical because LOC due to upset is one of the main causes of accidents in manned aircraft and is already emerging as an important causal factor in UAS accidents. LOC of an UAS operated at low altitude poses a hazard to people and property on the ground and is a barrier to relaxing operational restrictions. The Phase I research has developed a recovery system that replaces the perception, cognition, and decision making of a skilled operator with a two-stage automated recovery architecture and an innovative upset detection system. The decision about when to activate each stage of a recovery is difficult to make at design-time, so the upset detection system employs a novel statistical testing framework that combines at run-time numerous pieces of data including vehicle attitude, rotational rate, and controller performance to answer the question: Has an upset occurred? During Phase I, the recovery system was evaluated in a high quality simulation of a small fixed-wing vehicle. All hardware needed for flight testing was obtained, and systems integration work was performed. The proposed Phase II effort will focus on flight testing of the recovery system, including tests with multiple vehicle designs. The Phase II team includes a flight testing and commercialization partner with a track record of safe, legal, and effective UAS inspection operations in support of commercial customers.

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