DHS Funds Development of Power Unit for On-Body Devices
Thursday, September 10, 2020 | Comments

In addition to radios and cellphones, first responders must carry myriad sensors and peripheral devices that can require different power sources and may need to be charged at different intervals. To address this challenge, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded $1 million to Colorado-based small business TDA Research to develop a power module that would service all of the current and emerging requirements of on-body devices for first responders through the DHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, administered by S&T.

“It can be cumbersome for first responders to constantly monitor and maintain power supply levels and sources for the various devices they carry,” said William N. Bryan, DHS senior official performing the duties of the under secretary for science and technology. “The technology developed through the DHS SBIR Program will lessen the burden for our nation’s first responders so that they can rely on their devices and accomplish their mission.”

The Phase II SBIR contract to TDA Research is based on the successful demonstration of feasibility in Phase I for the company’s On-Body Power Module for First Responders technology solution and merit of its Phase II proposal submission. In Phase II, the company will further develop, test and demonstrate a module that can power, charge and manage on-body electronics including sensors, communications systems and peripheral devices for all first responder environments.

“Although commercial power packs are available, there are none that meet first responder needs including charging a radio,” said Sridhar Kowdley, DHS S&T Program Manager. “The on-body power modules being developed through this SBIR Phase II will support a number of use cases such as in wildland fire situations, where recharging devices may not be possible for an extended time or precludes the use of commercial batteries.”

At the completion of the 24-month Phase II contract, SBIR awardees will have developed a prototype to facilitate the pursuit of Phase III funding. For Phase III, SBIR performers seek to secure funding from a private or non-SBIR government source and pursue technology commercialization resulting from their Phase I and II efforts.

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