NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Surface Networks and Orbit Access Links
PROPOSAL TITLE:Low-Power Radio and Image-Sensor Package

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Toyon Research Corporation
6800 Cortona Drive
Goleta, CA 93117-3021
(805) 968-6787

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott A McNally
6800 Cortona Drive
Goleta, CA  93117-3021
(805) 968-6787

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
One of the most effective sensor modalities for situational awareness is imagery. While typically high bandwidth and relegated to analog wireless communications, continuing advances in consumer IC development hold the promise to revolutionize image data collection and its transport. In this effort, Toyon proposes to develop a high performance wireless video node that offers not only ultra low cost and power consumption but is also particularly well suited to NASA mission needs. Our solution includes the use of not only advanced ICs, but also custom wireless communication protocols that enable transport of high frame-rate video over bandwidth-constrained links. In particular, Toyon will leverage CMOS sensor, H.264, and UHF transceiver ICs along with an Arm7-based MCU, which includes a variety of open-standard data connectivity options. As such, our solution is both highly-integrated and offers well-defined data interfaces in order to speed integration into flight systems. Toyon will leverage a proven novel medium access control (MAC) layer that employs dynamic channel allocation (DCA). We will provide ah hoc connectivity along with multi-hop capability through a source-driven network layer.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
As one of the pioneers in active pixel sensor technologies, the Jet Propulsion Laboratories has long known of the utility of CMOS image sensors for space applications. With their high integration, low cost and power, as well as their resistance to radiation effects, these sensors can be used for a wide variety of NASA systems. These include flight and autonomous ground vehicles, personnel equipment, and monitoring systems, such as for identifying mechanical degradation. While very useful, the high data rates associated with an image array typically limit the ways in which it can be integrated into NASA applications. It is Toyon's pairing of H.264 compression and low-power long-range UHF wireless communications that will greatly expand not only the applications to which our imagery device can be targeted but also increases integration flexibility.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are a range of applications to which the proposed technology can be applied in DoD, homeland security, and emergency response, as well as consumer markets. Toyon is active in the area of unattended ground sensor (UGS) and micro-UAV payload development. Particularly for military and homeland security applications, there is a need for wireless nodes to operate for long periods of time while maintaining a small package, thus greatly limiting battery size. We note that the most popular method for deploying video to these applications is through analog video transport over high-bandwidth data links in S-band. Such an architecture is problematic not only for the reduced range and poor penetration, but is also highly susceptible to interference in the crowded 2.4 GHz ISM band that is typically used. Our solution not only overcomes these problems but also allows the interleaving of command and control data on the same digital link.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Airport Infrastructure and Safety
Architectures and Networks
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Data Input/Output Devices
Human-Robotic Interfaces
Manned-Manuvering Units
Portable Data Acquisition or Analysis Tools
Spaceport Infrastructure and Safety
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19