Fight Recorder Concept

This research opportunity is aligned to the NGTF’s targeted science and technology area of Enhanced Human Performance.

Work under this activity will focus on science and research work required to develop an early idea into an innovation concept. The overall S&T effort is envisioned to be conducted at the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) - PDF; 206KB 1-4 stage.

The purpose of this announcement is to:

  1. focus attention of the scientific and technology community in an area of interest
  2. encourage dialogue amongst those interested in this area with DST Group
  3. provide a planned timetable for the submission and assessment of proposals.

Fight Recorder Concept Overview

Battlefield casualty survival and recovery is closely tied to response time, and to the tailoring warfighter systems to better mitigate emerging threats. The “Fight Recorder” reduces response time by alerting recovery and support teams in event of a casualty and delivers vital information required to effectively examine and enhance the performance of the warfighter’s ensemble through event reconstruction. Recent technological advances make the development of the Fight Recorder feasible. Key enabling technologies include advances in wearable hardware platforms (satellite geo-location, enhanced sensor capabilities, prolonged battery life, low cost, and continued miniaturization) as well as the development of sophisticated data analysis capabilities (e.g. machine learning).

The envisioned Fight Recorder is a small lightweight device unobtrusively worn by the warfighter. It incorporates an emergency beacon that once activated (by the wearer or a medic) the device establishes connectivity with a low Earth orbit satellite network and transmits geo-location along with the relevant incident data to trigger predefined incident response. In addition, it captures data required for meaningful incident investigation, and provides first hand insight into the demands of military operations. The device preserves the recent history of the ‘fight’ through the recording of dozens of parameters collected several times per second. The Fight Recorder gives an accurate testimony, reproducing the warfighters gross body movement history, to assist in any later insight analysis or investigation.

The Fight Recorder has the potential to be a game changing technology for the ADF and this capability exploration activity provides the means to more fully explore the feasibility of the concept. In addition to the benefits for the warfighter, this technological innovation is expected to provide benefits in other contexts including emergency services, law enforcement agencies and the private sector.

To develop this early idea into an innovation concept, two key science and research opportunities have been identified:

Reconstructing Warfighter Motion (Special Notice 1)

The advent of wearable motion sensors, and in particular inertial measurement units (IMUs), offers a cost-effective and unobtrusive solution to measure and monitor body motion in the field. IMUs contain three types of sensors:

  1. an accelerometer that measures tri-axial linear acceleration, including the acceleration due to gravity
  2. a gyroscope that measures tri-axial angular velocity, and
  3. a magnetometer that measures orientation based on the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field.

By attaching IMUs to various body segments, it is possible to measure the position and orientation of individual body segments during human movement. While IMUs have great potential for reconstructing human movement outside the laboratory, limited work has been done to develop the necessary theory, algorithms, and software needed to achieve this goal.

The objective of this activity is to develop efficient computational methods using principled approaches which enable reconstruction of gross body motion with a high probability of correct movement classification, and low false classification rates. The algorithms and methods developed in this thrust should perform in complex, realistic environments. The goal is to transform data captured by a single (separately developed) body worn IMU into a reconstruction of the warfighters’ gross body motion. It is anticipated that the capability to reconstruct movement categories (i.e. stationary / crawling / walking / running; upright / seated / prone / supine) will enable unprecedented insight into the demands of military operations.

DST Group plans to fund a single award of up to $300k over two years.  Proposals that can deliver the outcomes sought at lower cost will be considered, as will proposals that make a strong case for how additional investment would deliver a more effective outcome.

The expected deliverables include software prototypes, algorithmic descriptions, and study findings as appropriate.

Warfighter Motion Capture and Beacon Feasibility Study (Special Notice 2)

The advent of low earth orbit satellite networks and miniaturised wearable sensor hardware, offers a cost effective means to capture, store and transmit vital time-sensitive data from remote locations to a ground station in an affordable and secure manner.

The objective of this activity is to develop a set of critical hardware components and to use them in demonstrating the feasibility of capturing, storing and transmitting human motion data and the status and geolocation of a soldier. The components include:

  • a small wearable hardware platform incorporating an inertial measurement unit (tri-axial accelerometer and gyroscope, and a magnetometer) to monitor body motion and the capability to connect to a military network from a remote location, e.g. via a low orbit satellite network and/or ground stations
  • the capability to adjust the performance parameters of the hardware to extend the life of the on-board battery
  • the capability to store and pre-process sensor data based on a set of predefined parameters to adjust transmission data load
  • an interface to provide benchtop access to data on the unit.

DST Group plans to fund a single award of up to $400k over two years. Proposals that can deliver the outcomes sought at lower cost, or that require more to achieve a more effective outcome will be considered.

The expected deliverables include hardware prototypes and feasibility study findings as appropriate.

Significant Dates and Times and Key Guidance to Applicants

Step, Date Event
Step 1, Thu 16 Mar 2017 Links to two special notices will be released on Thu 16 Mar2017. The invitation to submit against the special notice is limited to Australian Universities (who are signatories of the Defence Science Partnering Deed) and Australian and New Zealand industry.
Step 2, Thu 30 Mar 2017 Applications should be submitted online by 5pm EST (Sydney time) on Thu 30 Mar 2017. No late applications which fall outside the guidelines will be accepted. All submissions will be handled in confidence. Question or enquiries regarding this announcement should be submitted in writing to ehp-ngtf@dsto.defence.gov.au. Answers to questions submitted in response to this Special Notice will be added to the frequently asked questions.
Data rights for technologies developed or leveraged for this effort should be clearly stated in the proposal; however, proposals should assume either government purpose rights (GPR) or unlimited rights. Justification provided for data rights more restrictive than GPR will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For this special notice we are not interested in proposals for: consultancy, demonstrations of off-the-shelf products, literature reviews, solutions that don't have significant benefit to Defence, PhD proposals, projects that cannot demonstrate feasibility within the timescale, existing solutions or technology which have already been tested and found to have limited utility, exclusively theoretical and simulated approaches with no practical validation.
Step 3, Thu 30 Mar to Thu 13 Apr  2017 A DST Group selection panel will assess proposals based on the “NICER” criteria:
  • Novel: shows an innovative approach to addressing the science and technology challenge;
  • Invested: includes meaningful co-investment;
  • Connected: evidence of an openness to working with Defence.
  • Excellent: involves researchers and organisations with excellent track records of delivering high quality outcomes;
  • Relevant: describes a clear path to achieving the aims of one of the stated special notices.
Essential Requirements include demonstrated capability and experience relevant to addressing the requirements of the nominated special notice and an ability to attract suitability qualified research personnel and thereby rapidly stand-up the capability. Due to the anticipated number of applications, feedback for unsuccessful applications in the initial assessment phase will be limited.
Step 4, Thu 13 Apr 2017 Applications with high promise will be notified by 5pm EST on Thu 13 Apr 2017 and will then undergo a secondary down selection process to identify the strongest applications for progression to formalised agreements. The secondary process will involve the completion of an expanded proposal and research plan document and potentially site visits / discussions.
Step 5, Thu 5 May 2017 The 8 page expanded proposal will be due by 5pm EST on Thu 5 May 2017
Step 6, Thu 12 May 2017 Final successful applicants will be determined by 5pm EST on Thu 12 May 2017 and contracting will commence immediately. We intend to use established DST Group contractual documents developed by the Technology Partnerships Office (TPO), or other contracts approved by the TPO. The successful applicants will be announced on the Defence Innovation Portal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long are research projects expected to take?

  • DST Group are initially looking for programs with a scope to develop and deliver over relatively short time frames (as specified in each Special Notice).

What is meant by co-funding?

  • DST Group is looking for a partner to co-invest in developing a focussed capability that delivers to Defence. Competitive submissions will reflect investment in this endeavour through for example any or all of the following:
    • in-kind academic or technical support
    • in-kind facilities access.

Who owns the intellectual property (IP) created during the research program?

  • The university/industry partner retains ownership of IP created during research undertaken except as stipulated in the formalised contract. However, the Commonwealth retains usage rights. Find further information regarding Defence's approach to IP for this project at Innovation Hub IP Strategy.

Can applicants submit collaborative study proposals with other universities/industry partners?

  • DST Group encourages the proposal of any model that will enhance outcomes. However, there would be a requirement for a signed prime with contractors/partners underneath (partners do not necessarily have to be DSP signatories as contracts will be between DST Group and the prime).

Will there be any limitations on publishing outcomes?

  • DST Group’s preference is to establish a world class capability which necessitates peer review and open literature publications. Due to commercial reasons there may at times be some limitations to publishing which is consistent with any industry-based collaboration. However, any limitations will be clearly stipulated in the agreement associated with each program of work.

What will be the reporting requirements?

  • There will be reporting associated with milestone and deliverable based review/payment points in the formalised contractual agreement.

Why is there is no provision in the 2 page EOI for a detailed budget?

  • At this stage we require that only the basic budget elements within the template be completed. If a proposal is shortlisted for the second stage there will be the opportunity to provide more detailed information (including a full budget).

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