SBIR-STTR Award

Minimalist Operator Tactile Alerting for Universal Reconnaissance (MINOTAUR)
Profile last edited on: 5/2/2022

Program
STTR
Agency
AF
Total Award Amount
$799,883
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Michael Jenkins
Activity Indicator

Company Information

Pison Technology Inc

258 Harvard Street Suite 312
Brookline, MA 02446
   (617) 520-4815
   info@pison.com
   www.pisontechnology.com
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   04
County:   Norfolk

Phase I

Phase I year
2021
Phase I Amount
$49,993
Pison Technology and Bentley University propose a Phase I effort to design, prototype, and validate with AFSW Special Operators the feasibility of a system for Minimalist Operator Tactile Alerting for Universal Reconnaissance (MINOTAUR). MINOTAUR applies decades of empirical research and expertise from our team in minimalist spatial haptics to the design of two distinct haptic cueing and alerting profiles to support: (1) land navigation (i.e., cueing Operators to waypoints, POIs, AOIs); and (2) threat alerting and localization. These haptics cueing profiles will be implemented using a custom haptic actuator configuration as an enhancement to Pison’s proven (TRL7-8) GAMBIT wrist-worn wearable (which enables gesture control of digital systems). Phase I will validate MINOTAUR’s feasibility, via access to end-users from our AFSW MOU signatories, through hands-on technology demonstrations that are made possible by our existing wearable form factor and haptic experimentation prototype test rigs. Working MINOTAUR's intended end users, we will identify promising haptic cueing profiles, and establish requirements for a full-scope MINOTAUR system to serve as a Phase II foundation. MINOTAUR’s haptic cueing capabilities will improve Special Operator situational awareness, while preserving lethality and survivability by promoting heads-up, eyes-out, ears-open, and weapon-ready mission execution. By providing intuitive and resolved haptic cues informed by battlefield ATAK data, Special Operators will be able to better maintain mission focus and reduce decision times for tasks such as land navigation / maneuvers and threat prioritization and response / COA selection. To further mitigate risk of Phase II execution, we will also plan and secure IRB approval to conduct human subjects research in Phase II, which will focus on quantifying the anticipated benefits of MINOTAUR technology under ecologically representative operating conditions. The overall result of the proposed Phase I effort will therefore be a set of established requirements and approved human testing plan to validate the performance of a full-scope MINOTAUR system informed by Phase I feasibility testing. These results will set the foundation for a follow-on Phase II effort to develop, evaluate, validate, and transition MINOTAUR to our MOU customer and end user with minimal technical risk.

Phase II

Phase II year
2022 (last award $$: 2022)
Phase II Amount
$749,890
Pison is the developer of the Vulcan Control Band, a wrist-worn sensor that monitors biopotential activity on the top of the wrist and IMU motions of the arm to define gestures. These gestures provide a human-machine interface (HMI) for interacting with electronic systems. This gesture control wearable enables users to intuitively interact with third-party systems in contexts that would previously be prohibitive (e.g., wearing PPE, holding a weapon). For Defense and Non-Defense stakeholders, a shortcoming of Vulcan is the limitation of its current haptic feedback loop. Based on the success of a Phase I effort, Pison is pursuing a Phase II effort to validate a complementary wearable for Minimalist Operator Tactile Alerting for Universal Reconnaissance (MINOTAUR). MINOTAUR offers resolved haptic feedback to close the gesture control loop that Vulcan affords. Specifically, Phase II will focus on design and fabrication of the prototype MINOTAUR wrist-worn tactile cueing strap that provides multi-haptic communications encoding position and classification information of geospatial points of interest, waypoints, and threats. This allows preservation of visual and auditory sensory channels, while bolstering situational awareness and, as a result, survivability and lethality. This technology will be empirically validated under ecologically relevant conditions for both dismounted and mounted warfighters.