25th October 2021
What are innovation focus areas?
Whilst the Open Call welcomes a wide range of innovative ideas to solve problems faced by our defence and security customers, DASA is keen to share insight on specific topics of interest. Innovative solutions for any innovation focus area should be channelled via the Open Call for Innovation.
Each innovation focus area has a unique identifier to help us ensure that your innovation is seen by the appropriate parts of Government. You will be able to choose this identifier when you submit your bid and should use it in all communications with DASA.
Next Generation Wearable Technology
Unique Identifier IFA031
Technologies that can be used to collect physiological data (both physical and molecular parameters) from individuals in real-time, continue to develop rapidly. Such developments might be in terms of metrics measured, device functionality and/or form factor (site and style of measurement device). Conceptually, there are obvious drivers for the utility of data from such devices in defence capabilities. However, there remain gaps in the evidence base to support what metrics might be reliably measured by wearable technologies and how data from these platforms might be used to improve decision making in a defence context to protect human health and wellbeing.
Dstl has an aspiration to understand what metrics can be collected from wearable technology platforms that are of credible value to the defence user community (i.e. the metrics are sufficiently robust that they can reliably and confidently inform effective and timely decision making). This IFA is therefore seeking propositions that demonstrate novel technology development and/ or data analytics tools that provide information to inform decision making pathways e.g. changes to health and wellbeing that could inform decision making pathways (i.e. as part of a system not a sole diagnostic device) or assist with assessing human performance.
Proposals should aim to demonstrate that data from wearable technologies have the potential to provide robust, reliable and actionable insight in either acute (minutes/hours – e.g. to intervene in acute injury) or chronic (days/months) timeframes. Of particular interest to this IFA are technologies targeted towards the development of platforms and/or data analytical tools that provide predictive insight, into the effect of physical, psychological and environmental stressors on individuals.
Environmental stressors of interest will include, but are not limited to, thermal (hot or cold), altitude, infection and acute and chronic stress, relative to participant specific baselines. This could include the development of novel sensor platforms that are capable of accessing novel metrics, development of innovative form factors that improve ergonomics; such as reduced size, weight, comfort and/or development of predictive data tools to better understand how to detect, prevent and treat illnesses caused by a range of occupational and environmental stressors.
This IFA focuses on two key challenges/themes:
1) Demonstration of new sensor technologies and of the data generated from these sensors against existing validated measures (where applicable). This should include proof of concept that measures are relevant to a particular state or condition of interest.
2) Innovative exploitation of signatures generated from current or novel wearable systems to provide prognostic insights into human health and wellbeing. Importantly, this would utilise human participant data (this does not necessarily need to be from a military population) and must provide key insights for preventative interventions.
Within this IFA, DASA expects to fund proposals within Technical Readiness Level 3 – 6 Technical Readiness Level (TRL) (Rapid Impact Category) up to £200k for a maximum of a 12 month contract (Projects will be funded across multiple Financial Years).
We are seeking proposals that encompass:
1) Developments in wearable technology platforms. This may include innovative form factors or methods for measurement, which permit the measurement of novel biosignatures from individuals (physical and/or biochemical parameters). This may include, but is not limited to:
- Introduction of novel measurements that currently cannot currently be made by wearable technologies. This might include sensors capable of measuring hydration status, a stress marker, cardiac measure or other pertinent metric.
- Improvements in quality, robustness and longevity of measurements that can be made using wearable devices e.g. reliability of data collection, data quality, and resolution and duration of data collection.
- Form factors that enable collection of data in a minimally intrusive format and thus may be more exploitable for defence customers, e.g. alternatives to wrist worn devices to include patches, arm worn or chest worn devices. Proposals in this theme should include provision of evidence to support that the data generated from these sensors is credible and can be used to inform decision making. This could include demonstrable comparability of any measurement made to an existing validated measure where applicable and/or proof of concept that those measures are relevant to a particular human condition.
2) Exploitation of signatures generated from current or novel wearable systems to provide prognostic insights into human health and wellbeing.
- Proposals in this theme could for example focus on experimentation using wearable sensors in combination with data analysis to measure and monitor individuals to provide insight into the effects of environments or situations on those individuals.
- Of particular interest would be physical, psychological and environmental stressors such as heat or cold, altitude, infection and acute and chronic stress, relative to participant specific baselines.
- Where proposed models or computational tools are described, algorithms and all source code must be provided for future validation and verification purposes.
We are not seeking proposals that:
- Do not address the need for ethical review (MODREC). Proposals should include GDPR requirements and must include sufficient time to achieve appropriate approvals (currently c. 5 months.) For more information see here.
- Are literature reviews or literature summaries.
- Provide proof of concept data collection only. Proposals for novel sensors should aim to demonstrate that the measure is comparable to a credible/validated method to measure the same parameter/metric where appropriate.
- Demonstrate proof of concept of data collection only i.e. data architectures and software solutions are not acceptable unless part of a predictive system including the integration of novel data analytical tools.
- Do not provide prognostic information.
- Utilise existing commercially restricted algorithms.
- Do not provide source code and/or details on the models/algorithms developed sufficient for an independent reviewer to verify.
- Provide solutions which are already commercial products unless applied in a novel way to a defence specific human condition to provide new insight.
- Offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
- Offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions.
Proposals should aim to generate evidence that data from wearable technologies is meaningful in decision-making frameworks for monitoring and maintaining human health and wellbeing and offers demonstrable benefit over current solutions. There is potential for wide exploitation of options developed within this IFA to be exploited across defence, with successful projects being scoped for further use. The exploitation of technology will be leveraged through the Dstl Protecting Our People programme.