NOAA’s SBIR Program Benefits 35 U.S. Small Businesses September 23, 2021 NOAA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program recently awarded approximately $10.7 million in grants to 35 small businesses. These awards fund the development of innovative technologies that support NOAA’s mission and the U.S. economy. This year, NOAA granted 19 Phase I and 16 Phase II SBIR awards. The goals of the SBIR program are to stimulate technological innovation, strengthen the role of small businesses in meeting federal research and development needs, encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, and increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal research and development funding. Small businesses apply to participate in NOAA’s SBIR program during annual notices of funding opportunities. Grant proposals are reviewed by technical experts within and outside of NOAA, and are evaluated based on their scientific merit, commercialization potential, and alignment with NOAA’s mission. The Phase I awards will support feasibility and proof of concept work for initial development of innovative technologies in topic areas including citizen science and STEM education, uncrewed systems, artificial intelligence, genetic research (‘omics), and blue economy. Small businesses use Phase I support to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of their proposed technology. NOAA Phase I awards are funded at a maximum of $150,000 over 6 months. The list of FY21 awarded companies and their project titles include: InferLink Corporation Auto-Transcription for Citizen Science Radmantis LLC Adopt existing technologies for improved seafood production and to better feed a growing world Tridentis Advanced Marine Vehicles LLC Enhanced Aquaculture Monitoring Live Advantage Bait LLC Rapid diagnostic testing for marine velvet disease, Amyloodinium ocellatum: a potential game changer for disease prevention and economic gain for fisheries and aquaculture Areté Associates Infrared Polarimetric Wave Imaging (I-PWI) for Passive Remote Sensing of Sea State Swift Engineering Inc. A Modular Water Quality Observation System to Accelerate the Blue Economy Mimetics LLC Yeast-Based Biosensors for Detecting Pathogenic Bacteria in Aquaculture Systems Hummingbird Nano Inc. Pressure based microfluidics to increase the speed, automation, and portability of ELISA for microcystin detection Synthetik Applied Technologies LLC DeepSpace-AI- A Deep-Learning Based Offshore Monitoring System Using Satellite Imagery Cell Matrix Corporation Participatory Sensor Networks for Marine Navigation Elder Research Inc. HABSSED: Harmful Algal Bloom Surveillance by Sequencing of Environmental DNA Sunburst Sensors LLC pHyter: An Oceanographic Tool for Citizen Science and STEM Education International Association of Virtual Organizations (IAVO) Inc. Setac: Enhancing Usability of Archived Weather Data in the Digital Age Tampa Deep Sea Xplorers LLC Tampa Deep Sea Xplorers Compact Low Cost AUV Platform for Next Generation Seafloor and Water Column 3D Imaging Sensors Maritime Applied Physics Corporation TALONS for Marine Mammal Detection Toyon Research Corporation Detecting and Classifying Marine Mammals in Infrared Video Using AI Syntro Tek Corporation Smartphone Water Quality Monitoring Platform for Increasing Public Engagement StratoSolutions Inc. Stratospheric HAPS for enhancing societal resilience to extreme weather Nearview LLC AI Model for Automated Detection and Mapping of Intertidal Vegetation Phase II is an opportunity for high-performing small businesses to expand on successful Phase I results. FY21 Phase II SBIR awards will support further research and development for projects in topic areas including weather service improvement and evolution, next-generation NOAA platforms, next-generation observations and modeling systems, aquaculture, and recreational and commercial fisheries. NOAA Phase II awards are funded at a maximum of $500,000 over 2 years. The list of NOAA Phase II awardees and their projects titles include: SafetySpect Inc. Rapid detection of fish species and quality in the marketplace Creare LLC Low Cost Ocean Temperature Profile Sensing Shellfish Solutions Inc. Tide to Table Traceability and Marketing System CFD Research Corporation Weather Risk Information and Impacts for Schools Systems Kit Charles River Analytics Inc. Semi-autonomous Capabilities for the Operation of Uncrewed Teams (SCOUT) CD3, General Benefit Corporation SBIR Phase II: Continuous eDNA Monitoring for Early Detection of Aquaculture Diseases Aerodyne Research Inc. Automated Monitoring of VOCs with a Compact Gas Chromatography-Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometer (GC -Vocus) Cruyningen, Izak van dba LineSpect Aircraft Detection 360 Camera and Microphone Array Hydronalix Inc. NOAA Aerielle SONAR UAS Lynntech Inc. Rapid, Simple Diagnostic for Pathogens in Marine Aquaculture CVision AI Inc. Automated Filet Identification Azavea Inc. Advancing Flood Extent Delineation Modeling Using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data Kraenion Labs LLC Machine Learning for Risk Assessment using Satellite and Aerial Imagery AAPlasma LLC Non-Equilibrium Short-Pulsed Discharge for Removal of Antibiotics and Pathogens from Water used in Aquaculture Facilities Innovim LLC Next Generation Observation and Modeling Systems DiveViz LLC Developing a Visibility Predictive Model using Crowdsourced Data Additional information about NOAA SBIR awards from FY21 and previous years, including abstracts of successful proposals and comments on anticipated results, can be found here. The SBIR Program at NOAA is located within the Technology Partnerships Office (TPO). For more information on the SBIR Program and how to apply, visit the NOAA SBIR website. To stay connected with the NOAA SBIR program and to learn about upcoming events, workshops, and requests for proposals, follow us on Twitter @NOAAinnovate and join the NOAA SBIR mailing list by emailing NOAA.SBIR@noaa.gov with the subject “subscribe”.
Black Swift Technologies works through NOAA and Air Force SBIR to Develop Multi-Mission UAS Capabilities NOAA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program was established to support innovative research projects complementing NOAA’s core mission of science, service, and stewardship. Qualified businesses are evaluated based on their degree of innovation, technical merit, and future market potential1. In 2018, Black Swift Technologies (BST) was awarded a Phase I SBIR grant, the purpose of which was to determine the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of a proposed air-deployed unmanned aerial system (UAS) for boundary layer observations in turbulent environments (Contract 1305M218CNRMW0059). The aircraft under consideration was named the Black Swift S0™ UAS (figure 1) and subsequently was awarded a NOAA Phase II SBIR grant to help support the development of a commercially viable prototype. The S0 is now one of three small UAS platforms NOAA is evaluating for use in sampling the lowest and most dangerous regions of a tropical cyclone as part of their hurricane research initiative. Figure 1: Rendering of the air-deployed Black Swift S0 for use in hurricane research. The S0 was designed to address technical objectives defined by NOAA. The requirements included: Keep the price of each UAS significantly lower than similar platforms to allow for more routine operations and increased use of this technology by NOAA Able to measure 3D winds along with temperature, humidity, and pressure Deliver sea surface characterization using a laser altimeter and thermal IR sensor 1-2 hours of cruise flight endurance Integration with existing radio system used currently for dropsondes in order to stream data back to the aircraft A simple to use interface to pre-program the aircraft Provide intelligent and autonomous sampling where the aircraft can make its own navigation decisions based on atmospheric sensor data. Critical to the success of the S0 UAS platform was Black Swift’s ability to reduce the complexity and weight of the vehicle compared with existing platforms, offering an order of magnitude decrease in cost while maintaining endurance without sacrificing performance and measurement quality. These characteristics proved to be equally valuable in the eyes of the United States Air Force when they announced an SBIR solicitation for development of a tactical weather drone able to autonomously conduct atmospheric profiling supporting more accurate cargo drops and improved localized weather forecasts for Air Force and Special Operations Forces. Unlike the UAS proposed for NOAA, which was a tube-launched variant, the USAF required a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, yet many of the flight characteristics (such as operations in high wind speeds) mirrored that of the original S0 UAS. The team at Black Swift evaluated their existing design and determined that, with minor alterations, the S0 could address all the requirements that the USAF outlined in their submission. The result is the Black Swift S0-VTOL, a small, ruggedized UAS capable of carrying a variety of different sensors including a full atmospheric sampling suite or small, lightweight EO/IR cameras. While the fuselage remained essentially the same, the wing structure, engine mounts and tail design all were redesigned to enable the new S0 for vertical takeoffs and landings (figure 2). Figure 2: The redesigned S0 with VTOL capabilities. Not only did the Air Force award Black Swift Technologies the SBIR Phase I contract, they were so impressed with the solution proposed by BST that they subsequently awarded them the Phase II SBIR contract to develop their UAS design. The S0-VTOL is an intelligent UAS designed for autonomous flights at altitudes up to 15,000 feet AGL. It’s designed for rapid ascent and descent profiles and has custom wind estimation algorithms to allow the S0-VTOL to quickly and accurately capture 3-dimensional wind profiles. The user interface provides automated sampling patterns and high-level mission scripting all for “launch-and-forget” operations (figure 3). Figure 3: Example flight pattern flown by the S0-VTOL to quickly determine wind speed and direction as well as other thermodynamic parameters at altitudes up to 15,000 ft. AGL. Both variants of Black Swift’s S0 were the result of funding provided through the SBIR program. This program of recognizing and rewarding technology innovation is critical to the growth and viability of small businesses like Black Swift Technologies and serves as a pathway to their future success. Federal Procurement Information The right to receive sole-source awards is a real benefit of the SBIR Program both to the government and to the participating companies. The SBA SBIR/STTR Policy Directive dictates the justification that an agency can and must use to justify the sole-source award. Predictably, that justification reads that the new award must derive from, extend, or complete prior SBIR effort and be funded with non- SBIR funds. To learn more about this technology, please contact Black Swift Technologies directly