Lightweight AI-enabled image processing for Soldier-borne thermal imagers
ID: A244-048Type: BOTH
Overview

Topic

Lightweight AI-enabled image processing for Soldier-borne thermal imagers

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024
Timeline
  1. 1
    Release Oct 3, 2023 12:00 AM
  2. 2
    Open Oct 3, 2023 12:00 AM
  3. 3
    Next Submission Due Mar 31, 2025 12:00 AM
  4. 4
    Close Mar 31, 2025 12:00 AM
Description

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for lightweight AI-enabled image processing for Soldier-borne thermal imagers. The objective of this solicitation is to leverage advances in artificial intelligence and other image processing algorithms to generate higher quality longwave thermal and fused thermal and near-infrared imagery suitable for use on embedded hardware systems for Soldier-borne use. The technology should reduce cognitive burden during long duration missions and improve user acceptance of systems that employ LWIR and NIR sensors. The algorithms should be capable of generating high-quality imagery under various illumination and ambient conditions and provide feedback to the system to adjust camera settings. The proposed processing schema should be capable of running on low size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C) embedded hardware. The project will be conducted in three phases: Phase I involves generating a detailed description of the proposed solution, Phase II focuses on completing the image processing pipeline, and Phase III involves instantiating the image pipeline on relevant low SWAP-C embedded hardware. The project duration is from the release date (October 3, 2023) to the close date (March 31, 2025). For more information, visit the solicitation link.

Files
No associated files provided.
Similar Opportunities
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Lightweight Longwave Bolometer Sensor Components
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic "Lightweight Longwave Bolometer Sensor Components" as part of the SBIR program. The objective of this topic is to develop components that enable low size, weight, and power (SWAP) thermal bolometer-type longwave thermal sensor payloads. These components should have equal or better performance than current commercial offerings while driving down SWAP. The components of interest include lens, focal plane, and readout and processing embedded hardware. The components should be ready for integration into a camera module by the end of Phase II. Thermal longwave infrared (LWIR) capabilities are crucial for many Army applications, especially for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). However, the size, power, and weight constraints often limit the performance of these sensors. This topic aims to develop components that reduce the weight of thermal payloads while increasing their capabilities and keeping unit costs low. The project will have a Phase I and Phase II, with Phase I proposals accepting a cost of up to $250,000 for a 6-month period of performance. During Phase I, firms should design a proposed component with stakeholder input, analyze the SWAP-C impact of the component, and discuss how it will support the objective sensor payload. Phase II will involve completing the component design, fabricating, testing, and characterizing the component for integration into a lightweight sensor payload. Firms will also refine the design, define relevant interfaces, and lay out a high-level plan for integration. The potential applications of this research include smartphone camera augmentation, UAV camera augmentation, home security systems, and climate tech development. The project references academic research on bolometer manufacturing methods and the efficacy of leveraging colloidal quantum dots (QDs) for IR light sensing. Military contractors have also contributed to the research in the LWIR sensor and bolometer manufacturing spaces. For more information and to submit proposals, visit the DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual solicitation notice on grants.gov or the DOD SBIR/STTR Opportunities page. The open date for proposals is October 3, 2023, and the close date is March 31, 2025.
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Low-cost Longwave Bolometer Camera Fabrication Techniques
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic "Low-cost Longwave Bolometer Camera Fabrication Techniques" as part of their SBIR 24.4 Annual solicitation. The objective of this topic is to develop novel technologies and fabrication techniques to reduce the cost of sensor payloads based on resistive microbolometer technology. The focus is on reducing the unit cost of the focal plane array and supporting a low-cost sensor. The solutions should be ready to transition into a camera module development effort by the end of Phase II. The solicitation emphasizes the importance of thermal longwave infrared (LWIR) capabilities in various Army applications and the need for a thermal sensor payload with high-definition array and dramatically reduced unit price. The solutions can involve novel manufacturing techniques, new materials systems, innovative component or module designs, or other approaches. Direct to Phase II contracts will focus on demonstrating enabling developments, and Phase II sequential efforts will deliver a prototype payload meeting the specified requirements for evaluation by Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or other programs. Phase I of the solicitation is only accepting Direct to Phase II (DP2) proposals with a cost of up to $2,000,000 for an 18-month period of performance. DP2 proposals are highly encouraged if they meet the requirements. Proposals should demonstrate the estimated cost reduction compared to products made with current fabrication techniques and discuss the impact on size, weight, and power of a complete camera module. Initial ideas on potential paths for integration into a production camera module should also be discussed. Phase II involves designing and fabricating a prototype device that demonstrates the proposed solution to reduce thermal sensor payload unit cost. The impact of the solution on the unit price of a final sensor payload and its incorporation into such a payload should be discussed. Relevant interfaces should be defined and documented, and potential partnerships with integrators or other companies for follow-on efforts should be considered. In Phase III, the solicitation highlights the potential dual-use applications of leveraging bolometer manufacturing methods for low-cost long wave infrared (LWIR) sensors. These applications include smartphone camera augmentation, UAV camera augmentation (specifically via the Office of Naval Research), home security systems, and climate tech via quantum dot (QD) development. Overall, this solicitation seeks innovative solutions to reduce the cost of thermal sensor payloads based on resistive microbolometer technology, with potential applications in various military and commercial sectors.
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Robust Computer Vision for Better Object Detection with Limited Training Data
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic "Robust Computer Vision for Better Object Detection with Limited Training Data" as part of their SBIR 24.4 Annual solicitation. The goal of this topic is to experiment with innovative AI/ML approaches to object identification and imagery scene analysis. The increasing availability of digital imagery requires automated methods to process and analyze vast amounts of multi-modal data efficiently. One critical application is the identification of objects of interest (OoI) within imagery data or the scene generated by the imagery, which can provide valuable insights and facilitate decision-making processes in various fields such as military intelligence, environmental monitoring, transportation management, and security surveillance. The solicitation is open for Direct to Phase II (DP2) proposals with a cost of up to $2,000,000 for an 18-month period of performance. Proposers interested in submitting a DP2 proposal must provide documentation to substantiate that the scientific and technical merit and feasibility equivalent to a Phase I project has been met. The focus of this SBIR topic is robust AI/ML object detection techniques for computer vision that do not rely on extensive availability of labeled training data. The use of foundational knowledge and methods, such as handcrafted features, evolutionary algorithms, and newer techniques based on transformers, can be leveraged for this topic without requiring a feasibility study. During DP2, firms should develop and implement novel or hybrid AI/ML models for object detection that do not rely on extensive training data and train models in Project Linchpin's AI Unclassified Operations Environment using Linchpin data for DOD use cases. The Phase III dual-use applications include autonomy, retail, public safety, traffic management, enhanced security, and agriculture. Computer vision solutions in the private sector encompass a wide range of applications, and companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offer cloud-based object detection and recognition services. The solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. For more information and to submit a proposal, visit the DOD SBIR website: [link](https://www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/).
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Autonomous Optical Sensors
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "Autonomous Optical Sensors" as part of their SBIR program. The objective of this project is to develop a portable optical sensor that can capture high-quality real-time imagery data during missile tests. The sensor will be positioned near a missile launcher or target to analyze the terminal phase of the flight. The sensor will incorporate high-speed imaging cameras with advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, allowing it to calibrate and manage itself and operate autonomously for an extended period. The sensor will wirelessly receive setup and calibration data from a centralized command center. In Phase I, the awardee will research and define an integrated configuration of the Autonomous Optical Sensor (AOS) that includes various types of optical sensors and an AI framework. Phase II will involve creating a prototype of the AOS based on the Phase I analysis, refining the integrated system design, and conducting functional testing in an operational context. The potential applications of this technology include collecting real-time imagery for air traffic management at airports or surveillance of sensitive areas. It can help track flights, assist in airspace coordination, and alert operators of potential safety or security concerns. The project is currently open for proposals, with a closing date of March 31, 2025. More information can be found on the DOD SBIR website.