The Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC) has released its first Request for Proposals (RFP) focused on developing a technology platform for Human Performance Monitors for military and civilian personnel in high stress situations such as pilots, special operations personnel, firefighters, and trauma care providers. Organized by FlexTech Alliance under a grant from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) the RFP comes only 3 month since the group officially formed its technical and leadership teams. The consortium members, working with AFRL, issued this RFP to focus on component development and integration for a lightweight, low-cost, conformal and wearable patch.
The heart of this new patch will be a biosensor device to measure chemicals, called biomarkers, in human sweat. These biomarkers can provide early warnings of performance issues such as stress, fatigue, vigilance or organ damage. The platform will contain the sensor, a microfluidic system that delivers sweat to the sensor, printed and hybrid control electronics, interconnects, a power supply, wireless communication, and software – all on a flexible substrate that is comfortable to wear.
“An aircraft has numerous sensors which take over 1500 measurements per second to monitor its condition in flight, whereas the most critical part – the pilot – has no monitors,” Malcolm Thompson, chief executive officer of NBMC stated. “We are working quickly and efficiently to coordinate the expertise being generated at an array of companies, government labs and academic centers. NBMC’s goal is to establish this technology chain to more rapidly develop products and manufacturing approaches for the Air Force and commercial markets.”
Initial consortium membership includes a wide range of organizations. Fortune 500 technology leaders include General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and DuPont Teijin Films. More entrepreneurial organizations include PARC (a Xerox Company), MC 10, Soligie, American Semiconductor, Brewer Science and UES. They are joined by the Air Force Research Laboratory and university leaders such as Cornell University, University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, UC San Diego, University of Cincinnati, Binghamton University, Johns Hopkins University, Northeastern University NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nano-manufacturing, and Arizona State University.
At the kick-off, Dr Richard Vaia of AFRL noted “the consortium is a joint effort spanning AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing, Sensors and Human Effectiveness Directorates. It is an outstanding example of creating a joint partnership and collaboration of organizations pooling their unique expertise to rapidly solve pervasive challenges limiting the rapid delivery of new technology platforms.”
About the Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium
The Nano-Bio Manufacturing Consortium (NBMC) for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has been formed by FlexTech Alliance in collaboration with a nationwide group of partners. Its mission is to bring together leading scientists, engineers, and business development professionals from industry and universities to work collaboratively to create an integrated suite of nano-bio manufacturing technologies and transition them to production. Initial activities focus on AFRL/DoD priorities, including, physiological readiness and human performance monitoring.