QUASAR Federal Systems, Inc. | Date: 2013-10-30
A system for measuring very low electrical potentials in a medium comprises an electrode (550) having a low electrical impedance to the medium, a connecting element (552,553) made of a conducting material attached to the electrode (550), and an amplifier (520) including a low noise preamplifier attached to the connecting element (553). The amplifier (520) contains an input bias circuit that minimizes the current drawn from the electrode (550) through the amplifier inputs in order to minimize electrochemical reactions at the electrode (550).
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Special Operations Command | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2011
The proposed Phase II SBIR Program aims to develop and test a compact, integrated system suitable for conducting RF direction finding (DF) and geolocation in near-real time from a small airborne platform. QUASAR Federal Systems will produce a system suitable for integration into Unmanned Aircraft Systems as small as a MEUAS (e.g., Boeing ScanEagle) or an aerostat and provide both signal interception and geolocation of multiple signals in the 30 MHz 500 MHz range in near real time. The proposed technology has several advantages over traditional DF approaches. Primarily, it offers the capability to provide geolocation from a single position, using antenna elements that are much smaller, less obvious, and potentially better camouflaged as compared with the multiple antenna elements used by traditional DF techniques. The program is divided into Base and Option Phases. The culmination of the base program will be a balloon or tower-mounted demonstration. The program end goal is a successful demonstration of a system mounted on a customer-selected UAV or aerostat at the completion of the Option Phase.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 509.10K | Year: 2013
Soldiers and Marines manning the Objective Gunner Protection Kit (OGPK) need an accurate, real-time notification system to detect small-arms threat locations even in complex firefight environments involving multiple shooters, different weapons (single fire to full automatic, silenced guns, subsonic bullets), background detonations and explosions, and man-made noise/interference. Existing first-shot detection systems based on acoustic sensing may lose effectiveness because of reverberation and multipath propagation, multiple threat scenarios, and high levels of acoustic noise. Gun-fired bullets and projectiles passing through open-air regions carry electric charges which can be sensed by an electric field (E-field) sensor to determine the direction of travel. QUASAR Federal Systems (QFS) has demonstrated a new class of E-field sensor with significantly reduced size and adequate sensitivity for detection of gun-fired bullets. In this Phase II SBIR project, QFS proposes to develop and test an E-field Gunshot Detection System prototype optimized for mounting on the OGPK, but with the potential to be extended to dismounted and human-wearable applications. The technical feasibility (sensor and detection algorithm) of this project was established in Phase I. In Phase II, we will develop an integrated scientific prototype, mount it on an OGPK, and demonstrate its performance through gunshot tests in real-time.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.93K | Year: 2011
Sonobuoys are used in marine surveillance to provide information regarding detection and classification of marine vessels by employing acoustic sensors. However, there are situations, particularly in littoral environments, in which the efficacy of acoustic sensors can be significantly compromised. In these instances, some level of performance enhancement may be possible by using supplementary sensing techniques such as electromagnetic sensing. Current electric-field sensors, used for detection and classification of marine vessels, collect only horizontal electric-field measurements. A sonobuoy capable of also collecting vertical electric field measurements would enable exploitation of all electric-field signals emanating from a submerged vessel. These signals may be particularly useful in environments in which the quality of acoustic data from traditional sonobuoys is compromised. QUASAR Federal Systems proposes to develop an innovative underwater E-field sensor appropriate for collecting vertical E-field measurements over a large effective aperture that can be integrated with sensors that measure the horizontal E-field components. The vertical E-field sensor will be a low-cost design suitable for scale-up to mass production. The E-field sensors developed in the present program will be integrated into a standard sonobuoy in collaboration with Ultra Electronics Undersea Sensor Systems Inc (USSI) and validated and tested in an open ocean environment.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.97K | Year: 2013
ABSTRACT: In this program, QFS proposes to develop and demonstrate a miniature VHF direction finding (DF) system integrated on a small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) platform. This DF system will feature an antenna developed under our Phase I program that is suitable for signal reception in the VHF frequency band. We will integrate this antenna along with receiver and communications hardware on a representative SUAS vehicle. In addition, we will develop software running on a ground-based laptop to perform DF and geolocation of the collected signals. This analysis software will be based on the algorithms we developed under our Phase I program. The system will be demonstrated using RF transmitters operated by personnel on the ground. This demonstration will illustrate the DF and geolocation accuracy of the developed system. BENEFIT: For DoD applications, a compact RF direction finding/geolocation system mountable on a SUAS. Commercial applications exist in Homeland Security (mainly border surveillance), First Response, and Search and Rescue.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.99K | Year: 2012
ABSTRACT: The US Air Force has a continuing need for a VHF-band direction finding system suitable for deployment onboard Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) such as the RQ-7 Shadow. However, traditional direction finding techniques used in this band present a significant challenge for the SUAS class of platforms due to the large antennas required. Over the past six years, QUASAR Federal Systems (QFS) has pioneered a new approach to radio frequency direction finding. We have previously demonstrated compact DF antennas that perform accurate direction finding with a fraction of the size required by traditional antennas. QFS has extensive experience integrating its custom systems into a variety of airborne platforms, including a small UAS. Phase I of this program will consist of evaluating prototype antenna design concepts to demonstrate the feasibility of this technique, while in Phase II a complete prototype system will be built and demonstrated BENEFIT: The proposed system will offer the DoD a UAV-mountable, accurate direction finding antenna systems. Commercial applications exist in Homeland Security, Law Enforcement and First Response, while the general understanding of UAV mounted systems will contribute to technology QFS is developing for the resource exploration industry.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2014
Lightning discharges within or near critical facilities can disrupt activities or result in damage. Although existing lightning locating systems can geolocate breakdown processes with accuracies of 10s of meters at heights above 1.5-2 km, they do not accurately report ground strike locations or provide estimates of current and charge transfer. In addition, conventional VLF/LF LLS networks do not currently report lightning channels descending towards or contacting ground with enough accuracy to address this problem. There is a need for a system that can improve location accuracy and detection efficiency. Under this NASA STTR program, QUASAR Federal Systems proposes to team with Professor Ken Cummins of the University of Arizona to develop a lightning detection sensor based on an SoA 6-axis EB vector sensor and unique location and characterization algorithm. In Phase I, we will perform a feasibility study of using a 6-axis EB sensor to address NASA "total lightning detection" needs in location accuracy and detection efficiency. This will include both analysis and limited field measurements. We will also identify a system architecture and key components for the Phase II prototype. In Phase II of the project, we will develop a scientific prototype to demonstrate the technology with field data.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 741.53K | Year: 2010
There has been little use of low frequency electric (E-) field sensing in DoD applications to date. E-field sensors can provide detection and characterization information about surface and underwater targets, but are limited in their detection range compared to other methods such as sonar or radar. However the results of our Phase I program confirmed that it is feasible to effectively address DoD needs in the key littoral environment with E-field sensors, and we designed a complete system for integration into an A-size package in Phase II. Under this Phase II.5 program, QFS will bring to bear demonstrated state-of-the-art expertise in capacitive electric field sensors to build a truly next-generation underwater E-field sensing system. The initial stages of the program will further investigate innovative electrodes designed under Phases I and II, plus incorporate a novel ultra low noise pre-amplifier to read out the electrodes. In addition to these basic system elements, the contractor will add advanced capability in data collection and storage. Two complete prototype systems will be built and deployed in a number of different environments for testing.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.97K | Year: 2011
The use of underground facilities has become increasingly common with organizations that seek to conceal themselves and their activities. With the increased prevalence of these clandestine facilities comes an increased need for a detection and localization capability. Most sizable underground facilities incorporate an electrical power source and means for distribution. Power distribution engenders electrical current, which in turn produces magnetic fields, which oscillate at the AC line frequency. Magnetic fields at this frequency are difficult to shield, and their propagation is virtually unaffected by soil or ground cover. Therefore, magnetic field sensors are a logical choice for monitoring underground facilities, and have been deployed for this purpose in various forms. QUASAR Federal Systems proposes to design and build a compact, air deployable system for localizing underground tunnels/facilities. The cornerstone of the system will be our highly sensitive 3-axis magnetic field sensor. Prior air deployable magnetic sensors have been single-axis. Measuring all 3 field components offers the capability to determine the total field magnitude and direction, thus facilitating the determination of tunnel direction and location. Seismic sensors based on piezoelectric cable sensors will be also be integrated to reject background noise and enhance the detection capability of the magnetic sensors. BENEFIT: The result of this project will be a system of air dropppable sensors and processing to acquire and interpret electromagnetic data for the purpose of detecting and localizing underground targets of interest to the DoD. The benefit to the DoD will be ease of depolyment, covertness, and target detection. Commercial applications exist in resource exploration and geophysics.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2012
Soldiers and Marines manning the Objective Gunner Protection Kit (OGPK) need an accurate, real-time notification system to detect small-arms threat locations even in complex firefight environments involving multiple shooters, different weapons (single fire to full automatic, silenced guns, subsonic bullets), background detonations and explosions, and man-made noise/interference. Existing first-shot detection systems based on acoustic sensing may lose effectiveness because of reverberation and multipath propagation, multiple threat scenarios, high levels of acoustic noise, and vibration on vehicles. Gun-fired bullets and projectiles passing through open-air regions carry electric charges which can be sensed by an electric field (E-field) sensor to determine direction of travel. QUASAR Federal Systems (QFS) has demonstrated a new class of electric field sensor with significantly reduced size and adequate sensitivity for detection of gun-fired bullets. QFS proposes to develop an E-field Gunshot Detection System (GDS) prototype optimized for the OGPK. Phase I will be a feasibility study of a design for an OGPK E-field GDS. We will also perform an outline design for the Phase II prototype during the Phase I Option phase. In Phase II, we will design and develop an integrated scientific prototype and demonstrate its performance through gunshot tests.