Ashland, OR, United States
Ashland, OR, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 93.71K | Year: 2012

We present the evaluation and demonstration of advanced electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor modalities to enhance US Army capabilities to detect and characterize buried explosive hazards (BEHs). This technology addresses the need within the US Army for improved detection and characterization of both shallow (flush to 1 m) and deeply buried (greater than 1 m) explosive threats. The proposed research will advance capabilities in BEH detection and characterization by demonstrating a hardware solution and data processing approach that leverages recent advances in wideband miniature atomic magnetic field sensors, multi-axis and vector EMI sensors, and physics-based feature analysis. Additionally, this technology will complement existing detection sensor instrumentation, such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) systems, by providing an orthogonal set of target feature vectors to support target classification.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2012

We propose the development of a compact high-sensitivity Surface Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (SNMR) instrument that is tailored for characterization of the uppermost 2 meters of the subsurface. Through the proposed research and development effort, we will demonstrate an approach that applies new compact Atomic Magnetic (AM) sensors integrated with an advanced high-power transmitter and control system. The SNMR high power transmitter design will be optimized for the top 2 meters of the subsurface with variable pulse moments enabling moisture content layering. The SNMR receiver will specifically utilize a tunable RF magnetometer in the Spin-Exchange Relaxation-Free (SERF) regime. The fundamental sensitivity of the magnetometer in the SERF mode using a 10x10x10 cm vapor cell is 0.001 fT/vHz. The proposed instrument will be light and portable, facilitating easy deployment and enabling personnel to achieve rapid high resolution moisture content information from the top 2 meters.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.02K | Year: 2010

Sky Research, Inc. proposes to investigate the application of geometric diversity to Ultra-High Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar (UHF SAR) and to analyze the effects on coverage, resolution, and detection performance. Geometric diversity can be realized with curved, circular, or spiral flight paths, or by combining multiple straight or curved flight paths into a single coherent data set. The project will include an in-depth analysis of the image characteristics associated with geometric diversity, as well as evaluation of the idea of trading geometric diversity for bandwidth. The costs and benefits of these various flight path geometries will be evaluated and will include all of the aspects that are related to SAR image quality, such as resolution, sidelobe levels, and artifacts, and operational aspects such as coverage rate. Because the primary objective of many SAR systems is to detect targets, the evaluation of the effects of geometric diversity on target detection performance will be emphasized. The analysis will be verified by applying the techniques to actual UHF SAR data and then evaluating the effect on target detection performance in those data. BENEFIT: The application of geometric diversity to Ultra-High Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar (UHF SAR) has several potential benefits over using non-straight flight paths. Some of the benefits of using non-straight flight paths, such as curved, circular, and multiple flight paths may lead to new application areas. These benefits include: following curved roads with curved flight paths; finding highly directive targets, such as wires, with circular flight paths; forming three dimensional images with multiple parallel flight paths; and improving image resolution and target detection performance with the geometric diversity provided by non-straight flight paths. The project will include an in-depth analysis of the image characteristics associated with geometric diversity, as well as evaluation of the idea of trading geometric diversity for bandwidth. The analysis will be verified by applying the techniques to actual UHF SAR data and then evaluating the effect on target detection performance in those data.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.05K | Year: 2010

Sky Research, Inc. proposes to advance present capabilities for Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection and other Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) detection needs though the explicit integration of Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technologies. LiDAR and SAR bring separate and compatible detection capabilities to IED detection applications that can be used together to enhance overall capability. The proposed approach uses SAR as the primary detection sensor and LIDAR as a support sensor providing micro-topographic and vegetation context. SAR in the UHF band is a mature and well-tested technology. The SkySAR UHF radar has been demonstrated to have several highly useful capabilities for ISR objectives including vehicle target detection, facility mapping, and thin wire detection. Meanwhile, LiDAR is particularly useful at distinguishing very small features in micro-topography, which provides a strong support tool in the corroboration of target information extracted from SAR. The integration of SAR and LIDAR will provide the Air Force the following specific benefits: increased Probability of detection and decreased False Alarm Rate of IED targets; decreased complexity of the image exploitation process and decreased time to actionable data; and increased range of applicability of UHF SAR detection applications. BENEFIT: Sky Research proposes to integrate SAR and LiDAR technologies to exploit extensive and existing sensor, platform, processing, and exploitation capabilities to quickly produce tangible, significant and enhanced capabilities to the warfighter.This approach is based on the strong track record of SkySAR to detect thin wires, surface IEDs and shallow buried IEDs. This robust radar technology is ideally suited for many IED target detection applications. LIDAR will be used to augment direct detection for targets where topographic relief is present. However, the main use of LiDAR is to provide the contextual backdrop for SkySAR, as LIDAR can readily produce high-resolution, geo-referenced digital terrain surfaces, bare earth model, and vegetation models. These LIDAR products support and extend SAR detection rates, reduce false alarm rates, and simplify and accelerate the data exploitation process. Therefore, it is anticipated that the proposed research will advance airborne target detection for various IED threats and other intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) applications in open areas, urban areas, under foliage, day or night, within and along roadways. Specific features of the proposed integrated technology include: enhanced target detection and false alarm rejection; decreased time to targets; improved coherent change detection and integrated image processing methods; area reduction through cued interrogation and high resolution terrain and structure modeling; improved digital terrain models and urban scene generation; and improved SAR imagery assisted by LiDAR-derived, high-fidelity digital elevation models.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.99K | Year: 2012

To support the Navy's requirements for low-noise magnetic sensing from small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), we present effective methods for suppressing platform and external interferences. We propose to develop a comprehensive magnetic compensation system that heavily leverages a number of innovations, experience, and on-going work by our team. Our approach combines thorough characterizations of candidate Tier I and/or Tier II UAVs with full-spectrum noise cancellation algorithms and miniaturized sensor and electronics amenable to future installation on in-service unmanned Navy assets. The resulting technology will maximize the potential use of advanced implementations of digital filtering and compensation software fed by new chip-scale vector magnetic sensors.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE I | Award Amount: 149.97K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a dike and levee characterization system. Hurricane Katrina and Rita and the flooding and breaching of levees in the Midwest in 2008 clearly demonstrated the impact of levee failures in the US, and the need for proactive levee assessment and repair. Current approaches to dike and levee assessments are expensive, invasive and lengthy and generally only provide sparse data. The system which will be developed under this SBIR will provide actionable information in near real time on the values of, and changes in, subsurface and surface properties of dikes and levees. This will be done by semi autonomously collecting and processing spatially and temporally coincident multi sensor datasets. Data processing will be done through joint inversion and automated interpretation of multi sensor datasets. Information will be made available to stakeholders in dikes and levees through a web interface, and will allow stakeholders to make informed and data based decisions on the need for corrective actions based on property values and changes. This system should substantially improve dike and levee assessment practices.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the potential to provide dike and levee characterization with improved quality and for substantially lower costs than current approaches, and the associated confidence in levee performance. In the US and in other countries such as the Netherlands, the UK, China and Japan levees and dikes collectively protect tens of millions of lives and trillions of dollars worth of property. Currently dike and levee assessment costs between $50,000 and $300,000 per mile. As the US levee inventory is over 100,000 miles, the costs to assess these dikes and levees pose significant hardship for the federal government, states and communities, and budget constraints sometime result in deferred assessments with potential deadly and expensive consequences. The system which will be developed here will provide in a single pass high quality, affordable (approximately $3000/mile), readily accessible comprehensive information on dike and levee subsurface and surface properties in near real time. This will allow stakeholders to make informed decisions on dike quality and the need for, and location of any corrective actions. The resulting science and data based knowledge about levee strength will provide broad benefits to society.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.94K | Year: 2011

US oil shale reserves contain a vast carbon energy source which if produced in an economically feasible and environmentally safe manner - would provide part of the solution for future US energy needs. While no commercial production of oil shales currently occurs, in situ retorting is generally regarded as the most likely approach. Optimal and environmentally safe in situ retorting will require knowledge and understanding of the retort related processes. Currently no feasible technologies exist which allow direct volumetric monitoring of complex retort processes. As temperature is a major driver and control on such processes the knowledge of spatiotemporal variability in temperature would be of substantial value in the effort to understand processes. Under this proposal Sky Research in collaboration with Idaho National Laboratory scientists will demonstrate the feasibility of a methodology to obtain oil shale retorting temperatures from geophysical data. If this proposal is successful, it would lead to commercial methods for spatiotemporal subsurface temperature monitoring. Such methods would provide part of the needed solution for oil shale retorting and make retorting both commercially and environmentally more feasible


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.94K | Year: 2011

The ability to effectively use large amount of automatically collected geophysical and hydrological data is relevant for both operational (clean up related) and scientific Department of Energy needs. Currently, data from geophysical monitoring systems at DOE sites requires extensive manual data processing and interaction with such monitoring systems requires expert knowledge. Under this proposal Sky Research in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists will develop a prototype hydrogeophysical monitoring software package which will allow for efficient use of hydrogeophysical monitoring systems by automating many of the manual tasks and by providing a web based interface for the interaction with monitoring systems and the associated data.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.97K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a dike and levee characterization system. Hurricane Katrina and Rita and the flooding and breaching of levees in the Midwest in 2008 clearly demonstrated the impact of levee failures in the US, and the need for proactive levee assessment and repair. Current approaches to dike and levee assessments are expensive, invasive and lengthy and generally only provide sparse data. The system which will be developed under this SBIR will provide actionable information in near real time on the values of, and changes in, subsurface and surface properties of dikes and levees. This will be done by semi autonomously collecting and processing spatially and temporally coincident multi sensor datasets. Data processing will be done through joint inversion and automated interpretation of multi sensor datasets. Information will be made available to stakeholders in dikes and levees through a web interface, and will allow stakeholders to make informed and data based decisions on the need for corrective actions based on property values and changes. This system should substantially improve dike and levee assessment practices. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the potential to provide dike and levee characterization with improved quality and for substantially lower costs than current approaches, and the associated confidence in levee performance. In the US and in other countries such as the Netherlands, the UK, China and Japan levees and dikes collectively protect tens of millions of lives and trillions of dollars' worth of property. Currently dike and levee assessment costs between $50,000 and $300,000 per mile. As the US levee inventory is over 100,000 miles, the costs to assess these dikes and levees pose significant hardship for the federal government, states and communities, and budget constraints sometime result in deferred assessments with potential deadly and expensive consequences. The system which will be developed here will provide in a single pass high quality, affordable (approximately $3000/mile), readily accessible comprehensive information on dike and levee subsurface and surface properties in near real time. This will allow stakeholders to make informed decisions on dike quality and the need for, and location of any corrective actions. The resulting science and data based knowledge about levee strength will provide broad benefits to society.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.94K | Year: 2010

The objective of our Phase II work is to develop and demonstrate the Magnetic Underwater Mine (MAGNUM) confirmation sensor and associated integrated UUV sensor module. In the Phase I project, Sky Research and Geometrics explored the use of Micro-Fabricated Atomic Magnetometers (MFAM) technology to meet the Navy’s needs. The prospective MFAM sensor, data acquisition, and processing module have been designed to optimize the key performance factors of the integrated UUV system. Using the results from the success of Phase I, we propose to further develop the technology. Our focus will be on meeting both the performance specifications for sensing and providing a robust integrated solution under demanding operational conditions using a staged approach of graduated development, testing, and demonstrations. During the 12 month Base Effort, a fully functional MAGNUM sensing unit will be developed and tested for an integrated flooded compartment. The first Option period will lead to a fully-integrated module ready for integration with the Mk 18 MOD 1 UUV. In the second Option period, we will perform a submerged prove-out of the integrated sensing capability and document the system design, interface control, and suggested design enhancements based on analysis of the capabilities and limitations in acceptance tests.

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