DTS Awarded SBIR Grants to Advance US Air Force and NASA Flight Crew Safety
DTS (Diversified Technical Systems, Inc.) has been awarded two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)* Phase I contracts to develop miniature data acquisition systems for flight crew safety testing by both the US Air Force Research Lab and NASA. DTS was selected for each project based on their expertise in test and measurement solutions for crash, blast and injury biomechanics testing.
The DTS 'blue boxes' will be engineered to collect physical measurements including triaxial linear and angular acceleration for two very different applications. NASA's focus is on low-level accelerations over extended time periods, while USAF testing is centered on short duration events. NASA's Dynamic Kinematic Recorder (DKR), as it's being called, will be used to measure vibration data that spaceflight crews may experience during launch and re-entry periods. The USAF Dynamic Impact Recorder (DIR) will measure more intense head and neck accelerations that pilots may be subjected to during ejection seat events.
How and where each unit will be mounted and powered are critical to the development process. With the goal of positioning the recorder as close as possible to the point of interest, which could be on or in a helmet, the real challenge for DTS design engineers becomes size, mass and center-of-gravity (CoG). DTS' ultra-low power designs are significantly smaller and lighter than similar systems on the market. Each unit will feature six degree of freedom (6DOF) sensing and onboard memory, which means all data will be stored in place to non-volatile memory.
Phase 1 deliveries include working prototypes, which will be evaluated against key metrics to assess performance and accuracy of the units. The NASA DKR is scheduled to be complete in January 2019 and the USAF DIR is scheduled for April 2019. One or both may be followed by a Phase II SBIR, in which the concept design is then refined into a finished product.
DTS brings nearly 30 years of experience in developing sophisticated data recorders and sensors used in crash, blast and injury biomechanics testing by top automakers, aerospace and leading researchers. A recent earmark achievement was the successful development and delivery of the US Army Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin (WIAMan) prototypes, a vertical load test manikin for underbody blast testing. DTS has also developed an ultra-small helmet-mounted shock recorder under contract to BAE Systems as a tool for the US Army to gather data in the ongoing study of combat-related mTBI. DTS has been awarded several SBIR projects, which have resulted in the development of numerous commercial data acquisition systems and sensors that are being used for dynamic testing in a variety of industries. Visit www.dtsweb.com for more information.
*The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a United States Government program coordinated by the Small Business Administration that helps certain small businesses conduct research and development (R&D). Funding takes the form of contracts or grants. The recipient projects must have the potential for commercialization and must meet specific U.S. government R&D needs.