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Wearable Technology and Power = USD 1,000,000.00 PDF Print E-mail
(3 votes)
Written by Greg Allen   
Thursday, 18 October 2007

The United States Department of Defense will give 1 million dollars to the person or group who developes a wearable power system that lasts four days and cuts in half the weight of the batteries carried. 

Wearable Technology - 1 million dollarsCompetitors must demonstrate flexible power systems that the United States Department of Defense can tailor to its specific needs after the competition.  Winning solutions may have commercial application in the fields of camping, hiking, and other extended outdoor activities.

Here are the complete set of rules for the 1,000,000.00: 

PDF: DOD Wearable Technology.pdf

LINK: http://www.dod.mil/ddre/prize/rules_doc.html

I know several people that have emailed me recently that should try for this... I mean why not.. it's a million dollars. Someone will win. Why not you?   Here are the specifics:

1.1  Background

Various types of DC dry cell primary batteries constitute the state-of-the-art power supply for dismounted warfighters.  Primary batteries provide stored energy but are often discarded when only partially used.  This precaution prevents soldiers from starting a life-endangering mission with half-charged batteries.  New warfighter electronic equipment provides better capability, but also requires additional energy storage.  DoD estimates that future warfighters will carry approximately 9 kilograms (almost 20 lbs) of batteries to complete a 96 hour mission.

Continuously, DoD has funded the development of individual energy components.  Hybrid energy components for specialized applications are now in development.  Optimizing the integration and management of these power generating, storage and distribution components is the final stage in obtaining a lighter weight system to meet future energy and power needs.        

Department of Defense - Wearable Technology

1.2  Overview

This prize program encourages innovation from a broad range of individuals, teams, and institutions to provide technical solutions for the individual energy needs of warfighters in the field.  The prize objective is a wearable power system that lasts four days and cuts in half the weight of the batteries carried.  Competitors will demonstrate flexible power systems that the Department of Defense can tailor to its specific needs after the competition.  Winning solutions may have commercial application in the fields of camping, hiking, and other extended outdoor activities.

       1.3  Goal

Demonstrate a wearable electric power system providing 96 hours of equipment operation at less than half the current weight.  The power system should attach to a garment (vest) and provide 20W average electric power for 96 hours with peak power requirements of up to 200W for short periods.  All components, including the generation, storage, electronics, and connections must weigh 4kg or less, including the attachment system.  The total minimum energy required is 1920 W-hr (20W * 96hr).

       1.4  Prizes

The prize awards are 1st place - $1,000,000.00 USD, 2nd place - $500,000.00 USD, and 3rd place - $250,000.00 USD for a total of $1.75M in prizes for systems meeting or exceeding the performance criteria.

 

(continued on next page   - click Read More below)

2.0  ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

       2.1  Registration

Competitors must register to participate in the Wearable Power Competition by 4:00 PM EST 30 November 2007.  For those individuals/teams who register by the 30 November deadline, a final affirmation of intent to compete along with a preliminary system description in the Wearable Power competition will be required by 4:00 PM EDT 3 June 2008.  The intent to compete notification and system description allows the Government to prepare suitable test venues and equipment for the competition.  Submitting intent to compete is not binding and no penalties are assessed if an individual or team does not compete after confirming their intent.

       2.2  Eligibility

Competition entry is open to individuals and teams.  Teams may include corporate or academic entities but are not required to do so.  Each entry must meet the following eligibility requirements:

Individuals.

  1. The individual must be a U.S. citizen on the date of Registration for the Prize Competition and must remain a citizen until the end of the competition.
    • Proof of U. S. citizenship must be provided with the Registration application and can be one of the following:
      • Notarized copy of U.S. Passport, or
      • Notarized copies of both a current U.S. driver’s license issued from one of the 50 States or U.S. territories and a birth certificate
  2. The individual must be at least 21 years of age on the date of registration for the prize competition
  3. An individual cannot participate on more than one team or compete with multiple entries.
  4. The individual will be sole point of contact with competition officials and must be present at the final competitive demonstration.

Teams.  Teams are comprised of a team leader and team members.

  1. The team leader must be a U.S. Citizen on the date of registration for the Prize Competition and must remain a citizen until the end of the competition.
    • Proof of U.S. citizenship must be provided with registration application and can be one of the following:
      • a) Notarized copy of U.S. Passport, or
      • b) Notarized copies of both a current U. S. driver’s license issued from one of the 50 States or U.S. territories and a birth certificate
  2. Teams may be comprised of members who are citizens of the United States and as well as non-citizens
  3. The team leader must be at least 21 years of age on the date of Registration for the prize competition
  4. Each team will designate a team leader who will be the sole point of contact with competition officials and must be present at the final competitive demonstration
  5. Team members will be identified at the time of registration on the team roster.  Team members may be on only one team roster.
  6. Changes will be allowed for team leader, and team members up to 72 hours prior to the commencement of the final event provided citizenship and age requirements (for team leader only) are met.

Additional Requirements/Restrictions/Allowances.

  1. State and local government organizations, such as public universities may enter or support entries into the competition.  Team leader citizenship requirements shall apply.
  2. U.S. or Foreign-owned Companies and Corporations may enter and support entries into the competition.  Team leader citizenship requirements shall apply.
  3. Federal Government employees and organizations are not eligible to enter.  Included in this restriction are Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs).
  4. The use of Government funding or Government-owned equipment is allowable subject to the approval of the Government contracting officer in writing.

       2.3  Sponsorship

Individuals/Teams competing in the Wearable Power competition are permitted to receive sponsorship from corporations, manufacturers, civilian sporting and outdoor goods manufacturers, or other sources.  Sponsorships are not regulated or managed by the competition officials.

3.0  COMPETITION DESCRIPTION

       3.1  Competition Objectives

The complete power system must weigh 4kg or less and provide a minimum of 1920Whr.  The power system must operate continuously for 96 hours.   During the 96 hours of operation the system must operate: (1) continuously (i.e., 24 hours a day); (2) at partial power; (3) for a number of periods of high power of up to 200W for 5 min; (4) in a non-air breathing mode in a sealed container for a time to be determined; (5) be attitude or vertical orientation and motion independent; (6) provide output voltages of 14V and 28V.  The system must attach to a vest and operate while worn.  The government will provide connectors for the equipment on the course with additional cables, outlets, etc.

At this time the distance the system protrudes from the body when mounted to a vest is the only metric related to how “wearable” the system is.  This thickness metric will be a tiebreaker in case of two or more systems with identical weights, with the lower the protrusion the better.  The purpose of this competition is not a point design for specific applications; therefore a single power output connector (type specified at a later time) on the power system is satisfactory for this competition.

  • Initial weigh-in requirements
    • The entire system, ready for use, including all consumables and attachment system will be weighed to the nearest gram.
    • Systems weighing over 4kg may not be allowed to continue the competition.

       3.2  Description

The final competitive demonstration will be held in the fall of 2008 (October or November) at a location to be determined.  Competitors are responsible for all expenses and equipment unless specifically stated in these rules as provided by the Government.  Competitors must make all logistics, transportation, housing, and other arrangements for themselves and bear their costs.

Overall Competition Description:  The competition will be held over a 5 day period, the first 3 ½ days of which are standardized bench testing to deplete most of the stored energy in preparation for the final field trial.  Those systems still operating at the conclusion of the bench test period will be worn by a team member who completes a prescribed field trial for the final 8 hour period.  The purpose of the field trial is to evaluate performance of the power systems in different environments (as further defined below).  The field trial is not expected to be a physical challenge to competitors.

The government reserves the right to create an intermediate test prior to the bench test if the number of competitors exceeds the simultaneous test capability of the competitive demonstration. 

Bench Testing:  The bench testing begins with an initial weight measurement of the entire power system with any fuel necessary for the 96 hour trial period.  Batteries or other energy storage should be fully charged and ready to begin testing prior to the weigh in.  Systems can use multiple fuel storage canisters but all necessary canisters contribute toward the 4kg limit.  Systems that exceed the 4kg limit may continue with the test program at the discretion of the government but are not eligible for prize awards.

The power system will be placed on a test stand connected through the single power outlet to standard electronic loads executing a load profile which will be identical for all systems.  This load profile will dissipate 1760W-hr over an 88 hour period.  The load profile will include periods that are less than 20W and periods with peak loads that range up to 200W for 5 min. maximum duration.  The maximum load encountered is 200W for 5 minutes.  Some of the loads may be in the form of step loads and others may have a profile that matches specific equipment for rise time and inrush current.  More detail will be available at the Information Forum, although the exact load profile will not be released prior to the competitive demonstration. 

Field Trial:  The final portion of the competitive demonstration is an 8 hour field trial course with each power system worn by a team member who traverses the course completing power draining tasks continuously and at stations along the way.  This segment of the competition is designed to deplete the remaining 160 W-hrs of energy through both a continuous average power load and short peak-power loads.  The systems enter the field trial without refueling and using only the equipment weighed prior to the bench test.  The competitors’ systems will remain in the bench test area until the beginning of the field trial.  In the field trial, each system will be worn on a vest and carried through a course consisting of stations where they would connect with modified commercial equipment such as radios, GPS receivers and computers and the competitors would perform specified operations.  Civilian electronics equipment with roughly equivalent power consumption as military items will be used as surrogates.  At the beginning of the course the power system will be attached, using standard “Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment” (MOLLE) connections, to a garment provided the government.  The object of the course is not a physical challenge but activities that force the competing power systems to operate while in motion and in different spatial orientations.  There will be periods where the participant is stationary while the power system operates a piece of equipment, but the power systems will be expected to operate continuously while the competitor travels from station to station.  The field trial will subject the power systems to periods of walking, lying prone, outdoor environmental conditions, potentially short-term cold chambers and off-wearer operation in an airtight container.

The competitors that successfully complete the weigh-in, the bench test, and the final 8 hour field trial are the only ones eligible for the prizes.  Those systems that do not have sufficient energy to complete the final course do not “cross the finish line,” and therefore do not satisfy the requirements of the competition.  The lightest weight system weighing 4kg or less at the weigh-in and meeting the total energy requirement as demonstrated in the competitive demonstration is the winner.

Testing Schedule:  The weigh-in for the competition will likely start at 8:00am on a Monday followed by the setup of the systems in the bench test area.  The bench test will begin at 4:00pm on that Monday and run continuously until 8:00am Friday.  The field trial will begin immediately following the bench test.

       3.3  Competition Schedule

The competition is announced in the summer of 2007 and will be held in the fall (October or November) of 2008 at a location to be announced later.  Competition Schedule is as follows:

July 2007   Competition Announcement
September 2007Public Information Forum (To be held in the Washington, D.C. area.)
29 October 2007Registration for Prize Competition Opens
30 November 2007Registration for Prize Competition Closes
3 June 2008Notice of Intent to Compete and Submission of System Description
Fall 2008Competitive Demonstration

4.0  PRIZE CRITERIA

       4.1  Winning Criteria

The lightest weight system weighing 4kg or less at the weigh-in and meeting the total energy requirement as demonstrated in the competitive demonstration (bench plus field tests) is the winner.  Second and third place prizes are awarded to systems that meet the power and weight requirements but weigh more than the first place winner.  In the case of systems with identical weights (defined as within one gram), a secondary “wearability” criterion is used.  Wearability is measured by the maximum thickness of the system as it protrudes from the body when attached to a garment.  The thinnest system wins the tie-breaker.

       4.2  Judging and Competition Rule Changes

Government personnel will monitor both parts of the competitive demonstration and accompany competitors during the field trial.  A judging panel made up of senior Government personnel will make the final determination on any rule changes prior to the competition and resolution of any discrepancies throughout the competition.  The decision of the judging panel is final.

Revision of these rules is expected and all competitors are encouraged to check rules changes at least weekly.  All revisions will be posted to the Wearable Power website at www.dod.mil/ddre/prize.  The email address for recommended rule changes or suggestions from potential contestants is This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

5.0  SAFETY

DoD laboratory personnel will conduct a safety evaluation of each system prior to the competition to verify that the system is safe to proceed into both bench testing and field-testing.  Competitors will be given the opportunity to meet the safety criteria if the initial evaluation determines that the system is unsafe to begin the test.  No radioisotope or nuclear power sources are permitted.

Participants will be required to submit a system description complete with a sketch or photograph of the prototype by 4:00 PM EDT, 3 June 2008, at the same time they submit Intent to Compete.  The system description must provide (1) the fuel source(s) used, (2) Material Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals that are used within the system, and (3) all known propriety and patented components used in the system.  Note that some fuels may not be allowed for use in this competition.  A list of approved and disallowed fuels will be posted to the website by 8 October 2007.

6.0  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

The government claims no rights to the intellectual property of competitor’s systems.  Any proprietary information disclosed to the government will be protected in accordance with government regulations. 

Future development of the candidate systems will be under separate contracts and subject to government rights clauses agreed to under those contracts.

Systems will be visible to competitors and media during the bench test and field trial.  Competitors concerned about proprietary information should ensure no proprietary information can be ascertained from a casual viewing of the system.

7.0  CANCELLATION

The DoD reserves the right to cancel this prize program at any time leading up to the competition if an entity not entered in or eligible for this competition successfully demonstrates the objectives of this program prior to the competition.  In this case no prize award will be made.

 

Appendix A-1: Acronyms

DoD                 Department of Defense
EDT                 Eastern Daylight saving Time
EST                 Eastern Standard Time
FFRDC            Federally Funded Research and Development Center
GPS                 Global Positioning System
MOLLE           Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment
USD                United States Dollar

One person has commented on this article.
 No.1  Untitled
Demonstrate a wearable electric power system providing 96 hours of equipment operation at less than half the current weight. The power system should attach to a garment (vest) and provide 20W average electric power for 96 hours with peak power requirements of up to 200W for short periods. All components, including the generation, storage, electronics, and connections must weigh 4kg or less, including the attachment system. The total minimum energy required is 1920 W-hr (20W * 96hr).
Guest (Unregistered) • 2007-10-18 21:24:44
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