DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual

Active
Yes
Status
Open
Release Date
October 3rd, 2023
Open Date
October 3rd, 2023
Due Date(s)
March 31st, 2025
Close Date
March 31st, 2025
Topic No.
A244-002

Topic

Precision Control Lens Eye Tracking Sensors

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the development of precision contact lens eye tracking sensors for Extended Reality (XR) interaction, training optimization, and cognitive monitoring. The objective is to enhance command and control capabilities in XR environments and enable real-time adaptive systems. Current eye tracking technologies lack the necessary precision and ruggedness for military operations. The proposed contact lens-based eye tracking sensors would allow for operational integration into various dynamic scenarios, including manned and unmanned air operations and ground vehicle systems. The project will involve feasibility studies, the development of a working prototype, and human factors feasibility studies. The technology has potential applications in academic research, health monitoring, and various market applications. The deadline for proposals is March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the solicitation link.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Microelectronics; Advanced Materials OBJECTIVE: Develop precision contact lens eye tracking sensors for Extended Reality (XR) interaction, training optimization and cognitive monitoring. Eye tracking is poised to serve as a critical technology for enhancing C2 capabilities in XR environments, optimizing training and cognitive monitoring for enabling real-time adaptive systems. However, current eye tracking technologies do not have form factors which can operate in rugged, highly mobile army environments and the precision necessary to enable necessary capabilities. A contact lens form factor would allow for operational integration into multiple wartime dynamic scenarios for joint mission precision to include manned and unmanned air operations and ground vehicle systems. DESCRIPTION: Camera-based eye tracking technology lacks precision, manufacturability, and sustainment for high tempo and mobile operations. Current high precision eye trackers require minimal changes in head position, pupil size, and ambient lighting for valid data and only enable static operational scenarios. Contact lens-based eye tracking can measure movement of the eye itself thereby avoiding complex and noisy image processing algorithms that traditional high precision eye tracking systems rely on and have a form factor that is acceptable for mission demands. Ground Vehicle System Center (GVSC) has a concept for using the contact lens in mounted individuals as a controller in a multilayered XR User Interface (UI) for Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) where instead of using a physical controller or gesture recognition, the eyes can serve to select virtual objects in the environment. Here soldiers would not rely on traditional physical buttons or controllers to interact and could rely on their eyes thereby increasing the speed and intuitive nature of interacting with HMD interfaces. PHASE I: Feasibility studies for eye tracking system and sensors embedded in contact lens. PHASE II: Working prototype of testbed and sensors which can collect binocular eye gaze position, pupil size, and blinks and comparison to gold standard high precision eye trackers. Phase II Sequential: Human factors feasibility studies and soldier touchpoints. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: • Academic research focuses namely on general eye tracking use cases with little emphasis put on the contact lens submarket. Fabrication of smart lenses has stymied companies, however, 3D printing has shown early signs of circumventing current roadblocks. • Data leverages numerous enabling technologies, ranging from semiconductors, microLED displays, sensors, and RF/Non-RF bandwidth vehicles to transfer data. • Current market applications, including start-up usage, for smart contact lenses include: o Eye disease, blood pressure and glucose monitoring, and other health issues. o Supplanting smartphones from app usage to music playback o The ability to see in multiple different environments, like the dark, that would otherwise obstruct vision. KEYWORDS: Head-Mounted Display (HMD); Sensors; Contact Lens; Eye Tracking; Extended Reality (XR) REFERENCES: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-71233-1

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