In New York City, where first responders can experiment with and test new tools in a realistic urban setting, the Department of Homeland Security’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) has called for multiple technologies ranging from fixed, body-worn, or hand-held sensors to deployable robotics.
For sensors, S&T is looking for solutions that can send and receive data to support or improve the effectiveness of first responder deployments; Ideally, this technology should be able to detect threats and help maintain security in public transit systems, at large public events, and in everyday real-world responses.
Drone technology is also being sought that would help responders capture and model urban environments. According to RFI, these solutions would help officials conduct pre- and post-storm analysis of coastlines, city infrastructure and general city search and rescue operations. Deployable, pioneering robotics with an AI-based mobile, video, and multi-sensor platform would be useful for perimeter security, surveillance, and inspection of public transit facilities.
To further improve disaster preparedness and emergency response, S&T desires situational awareness platforms that provide insight into upcoming weather and evacuation tools, particularly those that aid in patient care and transportation. S&T is also asking for wearable data collection systems to capture photos, mark locations and take notes on different environments, as well as AI-based video analytics solutions that have Wi-Fi capabilities and provide real-time data.
Also of interest are GPS sensor technologies that can track responders outdoors, indoors, or underground, as well as solutions that provide real-time information such as air level monitoring and location, 3D imaging, and biometric feedback on deployed responders. S&T also wants to evaluate resource management tools to track responder medical supplies and equipment.
S&T is looking for deployable communication solutions that emergency responders can use in high-rise buildings or underground environments where communication systems are unstable. To ensure staff can use these tools effectively, S&T is asking for training hardware and software, including 3D holographic technologies, for first responder training and drills.
In addition, DHS S&T looks for technology solutions that meet the following categories:
- Fixed, body-worn or hand-held sensors
- Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
- Situational awareness platforms
- Response and evacuation tools
- Deployable communication systems
- Tracking systems for people indoors and outdoors
- Video content analysis and video analytics
- Training Hardware/Software
- Deployable robotics
- Handheld Data Collection Devices
- Resource Management/Tracking
Each of the following technology categories provides information about potential technology solution types, potential first responder use cases for the technology solutions, and desired technology solution capabilities.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on innovative approaches to improve Advanced Smart Textile (AST) performance to better monitor the health and performance of warfighters, first responders and even professional athletes. Systems with a focus on the integration of individual components.
The Smart Electrically Powered and Networked Textile Systems (SMART e-PANTS) program aims to integrate electronic components into clothing that can collect, process and transmit information about a person’s location and physical environment. The integration of these capabilities into textiles for increased performance, comfort and convenience has long been envisaged, free from discomfort.
Today’s wearables and sensor-laden clothing that collect, process, and transmit information about a person’s heartbeat, temperature, or location are too bulky or must be strapped to the user’s body. Textiles offer greater performance, comfort and convenience, but consumers have not seen many advantages in textile-based systems over the smartphones or other handheld electronic devices they already carry.
Research into active smart textiles (ASTs) is a burgeoning new field in which fabrics are designed to adapt and change their functionality in response to changes in their external environment or user input. Unlike passive smart textiles (PST) such as Gore-TexTM, which rely on their physical structure to function, ASTs use energy to power built-in sensors and/or actuators that capture, store, interpret or react to it.