Abstracts of FY09.1 Phase I Awards



Parabon NanoLabs Inc
11260 Roger Bacon Drive
Suite 406
Reston, VA 20190-5203

Proposal Information 0911018 - SNP-based Desktop Biometric Device for Rapid, Low-cost Verification of Identity and Kinship and Confirmation of Identity by Physical Traits
Topic Information H-SB09.1-001 - Low-Cost and Rapid DNA-based Biometric Device
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090036

DNA has the potential to provide vast amounts of biometric information. However, the current method of analyzing DNA - which produces biometric signatures from sequences of `junk` DNA called short tandem repeats (STRs) - falls far short of realizing this potential. STR signatures are information-poor and the technology required to produce them is terminally incapable of supporting fast, automated analysis. In particular, electrophoresis, an essential step in the readout of STRs, has inherent time, size and reproducibility limitations that prevent its use for rapid, low-cost biometric verification. Parabon NanoLabs proposes to overcome these limitations by using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs - pronounced `snips`) to form biometric signatures. An easy-to-use, desktop biometric device is proposed, based on a novel `SNP chip,` that reads designated SNPs to produce information-rich biometric signatures. It uses these signatures to automatically verify identity and kinship in less than one hour at a cost of under USD 50. The resultant SNP signatures will also provide physical trait information, such as hair and eye color - a capability not possible with STRs. The proposed technology can be further miniaturized to produce a high-speed, handheld biometric device having enormous commercial value across the homeland security, law enforcement, and defense industries.


NetBio, Inc.
830 Winter Street
Waltham, MA 02451-1477

Proposal Information 0911054 - Rapid, Ruggedized, and Fully Integrated STR Typing for Kinship Analysis
Topic Information H-SB09.1-001 - Low-Cost and Rapid DNA-based Biometric Device
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090034

The availability of a ruggedized, fully integrated STR typing instrument that combines DNA purification, amplification, separation and detection, and data analysis into a single, easy-to-operate system would represent a substantial advance in human identification. The purpose of the Phase I SBIR proposal is to plan the development of a device that enables the rapid determination of kinship of persons seeking to immigrate and of children being adopted overseas. The major tasks are: To conduct a DHS needs and requirements assessment for a fully integrated STR DNA typing instrument for the immigration application. Requirements to be defined will include throughput, cost, site and data security requirements, and user qualifications. To establish specific performance metrics for the device. Metrics will include: time to answer, sensitivity, and resolution and precision of the STR profiles. To study candidate enabling technologies and risks. Required performance metrics, technology readiness level, ability to integrate the modules, manufacturability, cost, and likelihood of system completion within the next two years will be evaluated. To define a viable technology architecture for the proposed device. This work will define technology architecture elements currently in place and areas requiring customization to address DHS needs and requirements.


Advanced Liquid Logic, Inc.
615 Davis Drive, Suite 800
PO Box 14025
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3169

Proposal Information 0911079 - Low-cost and Rapid DNA Sequencer for Biometric Applications
Topic Information H-SB09.1-001 - Low-Cost and Rapid DNA-based Biometric Device
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090035

A DNA sequencer for biometric applications will be developed. The system will enable rapid and low-cost identification of individuals and kinship verification using a self-contained and portable device. All process steps from DNA extraction to DNA sequencing will be automatically performed within the disposable single-use cartridge. This high-level of functional integration is made possible by Advanced Liquid Logic`s digital microfluidic technology which enables precise manipulation of liquid droplets using an array of electrodes formed on an inexpensive printed-circuit-board (PCB). The goals of the Phase I project are to develop detailed use cases and product requirements, identify key technical risks and required research activities and to develop a system architecture and preliminary design.



Virginia Diodes Incorporated
979 Second Street SE
Suite 309
Charlottesville, VA 22902-6172

Proposal Information 0911049 - Modular Frequency Extenders for Vector Network Analyzers
Topic Information H-SB09.1-002 - Submillimeter-wave Vector Measurements for Explosive Materials
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090037

Modular frequency extenders will be developed for Vector Network Analyzers to extend their frequency range throughout the band from 100 GHz through 1THz with excellent dynamic range (100dB) and the capability for full four port measurements. The extenders will rely on VDI`s full waveguide band frequency multipliers and mixers that utilize planar, integrated Schottky diode circuits. The modular nature of the system will allow rapid reconfiguration of the components for operation in any of the waveguide bands within a few minutes, while maintaining low cost through the use of the same driver components. In Phase 1 VDI will demonstrate one of the waveguide bands with the required level of performance and the modular nature of the system. This will include the development and demonstration of all of the critical components and the delivery of this extender to the sponsor. This system will serve as a prototype for the commercial sale of VNA extenders for the wider commercial market including national, industrial and university research laboratories that are developing new applications and technologies for this important frequency band.



Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.
44 Hunt Street
Watertown, MA 02472-4699

Proposal Information 0911090 - Generation of bivalent aptamers with high affinity and selectivity for detection of viruses and bacteria from environmental samples
Topic Information H-SB09.1-003 - Non Antibody-Based, Selective and Rapid Protein Analysis for Detection of Viruses and Bacteria in Environmental Samples
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090038

Better methodologies for the rapid detection of pathogenic bacteria and viruses are needed. A problem with current antibody-based assays is cross-reactivity with similar, but harmless, species. RMD, Inc., proposes developing nucleic acid-based affinity reagents (aptamers) against the spore coat of the model organism Bacillus thuringiensis. Aptamers displaying fast binding rates (kon) will be selected in order to increase the speed of the assay. A novel approach using bivalent, bispecific aptamers will be utilized to increase the binding affinities to at least equal that of typical antibodies. The selectivity of the aptamers will be enhanced by employing counterselection procedures whereby aptamers binding related species are deselected. Finally, the aptamers will be applied to an ELISA-like protocol and their performance directly compared to antibodies. Commercial Applications: A more rapid, sensitive, and selective assay for the detection of bacteria and viruses will have widespread applications in homeland security, the military, healthcare, and food safety. The assay could be used to screen ports of entry, public places of interest, military sites and battlefields for evidence of biological threat agents. Likewise, the assay could be used in a clinical setting, in a laboratory or at the point-of-care, to rapidly diagnose infectious diseases.



Intelligent Systems Technology Inc
12122 Victoria Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066-3118

Proposal Information 0911100 - TRAnalyst(tm): Terrorism Risk Analyzer for CBRN Threats
Topic Information H-SB09.1-004 - Decision Analytic Approaches for CBRN Terrorism Risk Assessment
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090039

Project Summary. The analysis of CBRN terrorism risks is a national priority and a DHS imperative. To enable such analysis, requires tools that facilitate decision making based on identified risks. The tools available address risk assessment but not risk management. Furthermore, these tools do not model intelligent adversaries when conducting threat/risk assessment. This SBIR is concerned with developing and implementing a prototype decision analysis methodology for CBRN Terrorism Risk Analysis that overcomes these limitations. The methodology is intended to support Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) medical countermeasure decision making. The proposed approach augments Probabilistic Risk Analysis with simpler decision-analytic approaches for both risk assessment and risk management, and incorporates an intelligent adversarial model within its threat representation. Phase I of this effort is concerned with producing a functional prototype for CBRN Terrorism Risk Analysis that can be implemented and available on standard personal computers. Anticipated Benefits/Potential Applications. The overall methodology is expected to become part of strategic planning tools used in government and industry. Potential applications include cyber network infrastructure protection, business continuity planning, and counter-insurgency operations planning.


CENTRA Technology, Inc.
25 Burlington Mall Road
Burlington, MA 01803-4134

Proposal Information 0911126 - CBRN Decision Support Tool
Topic Information H-SB09.1-004 - Decision Analytic Approaches for CBRN Terrorism Risk Assessment
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090040

While there are DHS programs to compare risks, some of which look specifically at CBRN risk, these tools have had limited practical utility for informing realistic risk mitigation strategies or supporting programmatic decisions at the national or regional level. CENTRA Technology, Inc. (CENTRA) proposes a CBRN Strategic Decision Support Tool that will build upon some of the more mature programs within DHS and provide results to support the management decisions that can help prioritize possible interventions, such as medical countermeasures. Drawing on extensive experience and expertise in risk methodology and assessment, CENTRA will fill an important gap in CBRN risk assessment and medical countermeasure decision-making. The CBRN Strategic Decision Support Tool will provide an innovative approach to CBRN risk using a simpler, yet more robust, model that is optimized to show decision-makers the potential effects of various investments or interventions and how they might reduce risk. This will be accomplished by tailoring a successful regional strategic risk analysis model to create outputs to support medical countermeasure decision-making relative to CBRN risks. This model will help decision-makers conceptualize and understand not only the factors that drive high-risk scenarios but also the factors that are most sensitive to change from government action. In terms of Commercialization, the primary market for the proposed tool consists of Federal and State, local, and tribal government agencies. At the national level, the proposed tool can support homeland security, emergency response, and public safety agencies in evaluating risk mitigation options to meet the responsibility for developing risk-based programs to prepare for and recover from terrorism-related and other all-hazards related incidents.


CogniTech Corporation
1060 East 100 South
Suite 306
Salt Lake City, UT 84102-1683

Proposal Information 0911147 - Probabilistic Framework for CBRN Terrorism Risk Assessment and Decision Support
Topic Information H-SB09.1-004 - Decision Analytic Approaches for CBRN Terrorism Risk Assessment
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090041

The proposed research will develop a probabilistic decision analysis methodology and software framework applicable to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threats and incidents. The software prototype developed in the Phase I research will include tools to enable probabilistic assessments of risk, analysis of sensitivities, and risk management strategies that can compare the impact of multiple countermeasures on outcomes. These tools will use a knowledge base that will be developed in collaboration with CBRN and public health experts. The software prototype will be demonstrated using existing scenarios and threat-related data. By exploring all plausible combinations of inputs, the software prototype will show the potential of this methodology to assist decision-makers in their understanding of risk drivers, sensitivities, and optimal response strategies.



Luna Innovations Incorporated
1 Riverside Circle
Suite 400
Roanoke, VA 24016-4962

Proposal Information 0911041 - Evidence Preserving Hard Disk Unlocking System
Topic Information H-SB09.1-005 - Hard Drive Unlocking
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090043

Luna Innovations will design and develop a hard disk unlocking system that is easily usable by forensic technicians while preserving evidentiary integrity. Our solution will be robust even against anticipated future drive features and drives modified by criminals to have certain anti-tamper properties. This is important as it is nearly certain that manufacturers or criminals will develop such countermeasures to a system that was not designed with such foresight. Examples in related technology include modern flash drives which employ encryption, authentication, and anti-tamper technologies, like the IronKey ( and others. We will design our system to be user friendly: specifically, it will illustrate to the user exactly what must be done with a given drive. The system will also optionally make a copy of the entire drive for exploration by LEOs for leads. Law enforcement personnel will be able to access and copy password-protected hard disk drives quickly and with confidence in maintaining evidence integrity for later prosecution. Our tool will provide an intuitive, pedagogical user interface that will allow departments to empower forensic technicians with a new capability in the field that hitherto had required engineers in a laboratory setting. Commercial applications include state and local forensic teams as well as federally approved sales to foreign police services. This expanded market will benefit communities by placing the resource close to more searches in order to obtain timely clues to related criminal efforts. Indeed, such functionality will be needed in the future as more sophisticated criminals use computers to organize their enterprises.


Infoscitex Corporation
303 Bear Hill Road
Waltham, MA 02451-1016

Proposal Information 0911061 - Minimally-Invasive Disk Access System
Topic Information H-SB09.1-005 - Hard Drive Unlocking
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090044

Law enforcement and intelligence organizations require an evidence-collection device that can attach to a computer, remove any password protection, access data without corrupting it, and reset the password so that the computer`s owner will not know that any data has been accessed. However, there is no way of obviating the password, because the password is built into the drive itself. Also, because the password information is stored in different ways and in different locations depending on hard disk manufacturer, the evidence-collection device needs to recognize the drive model before it extracts the password. Infoscitex (IST) is pleased to propose Minimally-Invasive Disk Access System (MIDAS), which will unlock and relock variety of hard disk drives for covert data access operations. MIDAS uses a database to keep track of password locations and other usable exploits in a variety of hard disks. At the end of Phase I, we will demonstrate the feasibility of our hardware and software solution, with a comprehensive risk-mitigation plan for further developing our technology. At the end of Phase II, we will deliver three pre-production MIDAS prototype units for field testing and use in selected DHS applications.


Cybernet Systems Corporation
727 Airport Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1639

Proposal Information 0911122 - Hard Drive Unlocking
Topic Information H-SB09.1-005 - Hard Drive Unlocking
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090042

Recovering hard drive data is an integral part of computer forensics and has played a key part of many investigations. However this capability is getting significantly harder as sophisticated encryption and data protection mechanisms become routinely employed. The trend of encrypting data is growing due to market pressures and legal requirements for privacy laws, especially in the financial and medical industries. As a result of these market forces, it will become nearly impossible to gather data from hard drives, especially in the timely or covert manner required by many investigations. To aid in this arms race between secure data and law enforcement access needs, Cybernet proposes to create a tool that simplifies and automates accessing protected hard drives. Cybernet`s Automated Drive Unlocking Tool (CADUT) comprises a software component that stores a database of known hard drive weaknesses and automated methods to apply them, and combines this with a hardware component designed to detect and attack implementation weaknesses of an unknown drive model using high-speed cracking and protocol fuzzing methods. As newer drive locking technologies and models are released, the database and hardware will be augmented as needed to remain competitive.



Physical Optics Corporation
20600 Gramercy Place, Building 100
Torrance, CA 90501-1821

Proposal Information 0911015 - Secure Identification and Authentication Mechanism
Topic Information H-SB09.1-006 - Highly Scalable Identity Management Tools
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090046

To address the HSARPA need for a strong and reliable identification and authentication (I&A) mechanism for secure and reliable systems by enabling authentication of all system components and individuals, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new Secure Identification and Authentication Mechanism (SIAM) technology. Proposed technology is based on the implementation of unique fingerprints for all system components and a novel unbreakable bit-level encrypting method. SIAM fingerprinting is software to unbreakably encrypt the component`s data, thus providing reliable component-level I&A; eliminating the security gaps of traditional methods; and detecting/preventing system misuse, intrusion, and exploitation. In Phase I, POC will demonstrate the feasibility of SIAM by developing and testing a system TRL 4 prototype based on existing IT technologies that will simulate enterprise level architecture and include all basic secure system components. In Phase II, POC plans to develop a full-scale TRL 6 system prototype capable of allowing reliable I&A for all system components, providing secure sensitive information sharing, and improving the management and distribution of electronic security policies and roles with a reduced system cost. SIAM will benefit government and commercial applications, including federal and border security systems, financial services, complex global enterprise networks, and Internet security.


Galois, Inc.
421 SW Sixth Avenue
Suite 300
Portland, OR 97204-1662

Proposal Information 0911036 - A Certifiable Federated Identity System for Cross-Agency Collaboration
Topic Information H-SB09.1-006 - Highly Scalable Identity Management Tools
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090045

The Department of Homeland Security`s charter has a fundamental requirement to collaborate with other government agencies. Secure collaboration on this scale requires strong identity management which can ``vouch for`` DHS personnel working with other agencies, and makes it possible to provide DHS resources to individuals in other agencies whose work requires it. We propose the development of a reusable identity metasystem which will be designed foundationally to support government certification for deployment across agency boundaries, focusing on open standards, secure development, and a cross-domain design. Anticipated Benefits: The opportunity to deploy standard trusted components in a variety of agencies, each of which can continue to maintain their own method of managing identity and authorization. Agencies can share information based on this layer, which will evolve to support a wide variety of needs. Potential commercial applications: Compliance with government standards of trustworthiness in software used for critical purposes, along with a user-centric approach to identity management can enable Internet users to merge their many usernames and passwords, can allow critical transactions to be executed with a higher degree of trust, and can help bring about an environment where e-voting increases voters` trust in the validity of the outcome of elections.


Queralt LLC
250 State Street
Unit G-1
North Haven, CT 06473-2182

Proposal Information 0911168 - Converging Security with Location Base Services and Identity Managment
Topic Information H-SB09.1-006 - Highly Scalable Identity Management Tools
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090047

To meet the objective of developing a strong identification and authentication machanism for DHS, that is also scalable, we propose the development of a convergent and behavior solution, that will join physical and logical security events. This solution would be composed of two layers, one is an input or identification payer which would gather input from multiple technologies, like RFID, GPS, Wi-FI, Zigbee and other sensors. This information would be analized by a behavior engine that would correlate the data with current identity management applications, therefore enabling to make decision closer to the edge of the enterprise, while securing both physical and logical assets.



Progeny Systems Corporation
9500 Innovation Drive
Manassas, VA 20110-2210

Proposal Information 0911059 - Tanker Survey Vehicle
Topic Information H-SB09.1-007 - Autonomous (or alternative) In-Liquid Survey Vehicle
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090048

The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for maintaining the integrity of our borders and preventing attacks within our country through the use of trade and immigration laws coupled with various tools to monitor for the threat of illegal cross-border activity. This includes numerous points of entry over land, air, and sea. As the threat grows increasingly sophisticated and innovative, so, too, must the tools that monitor those points of entry. One weakness in particular involves tanks filled with fluid in commercial shipping vessels. These areas are not easily searched without offloading content which can be costly, time consuming. Progeny Systems Corporation proposes to perform a detailed system engineering analysis to clearly define the requirements for a tanker survey vehicle and user interface. The requirements analysis will include definition of tankers and the liquids that they carry and define the user interface. Our conceptual autonomous vehicle will be light weight and agile to freely move within the tank and survey the tank for targets. We will incorporate imaging sonar onto the tanker survey vehicle with on-board image processing and detection algorithms to identify anomalies for the user.


Phoenix International Holdings Incorporated
9301 Largo Drive West
Largo, MD 20774-4753

Proposal Information 0911081 - Development of the Phoenix Tanker Inspection Robot
Topic Information H-SB09.1-007 - Autonomous (or alternative) In-Liquid Survey Vehicle
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090050

Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. proposes the development of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for inspection of liquid cargo holds entering United States ports. Phoenix has developed a range of small, tethered, underwater inspection vehicles whose proven design will serve as the base for the new inspection system. Thorough environment classification, feasibility studies, and requirements definition will provide a foundation for Phase II development of a fully functional prototype. Drawing on our significant underwater vehicle experience, we will develop the Phoenix Tanker Inspection Robot (PTIR) to address the security risks from marine tankers. Phoenix will design, prototype, test, produce, commercialize, and operate the PTIR system. Our personnel have produced more than twenty ROVs for unique research, search and salvage, and hazardous environment applications to 20,000 foot water depth. Our coastal offices are positioned near major ports, and staffed with personnel expert in offshore equipment logistics and ROV operations who will inspect incoming tankers.


Boston Engineering Corporation
411 Waverley Oaks Road
Suite 114
Waltham, MA 02452-8414

Proposal Information 0911165 - BioSwimmer Biomimetic In Liquid Inspection System
Topic Information H-SB09.1-007 - Autonomous (or alternative) In-Liquid Survey Vehicle
Award/Contract Number NBCHC090049

BioSwimmer is a system level solution including a biomimetic autonomous swimming vehicle that provides efficiency, maneuverability and payload integration capability that is unavailable in other platforms. Phase I includes development of advanced sensing to perform in-liquid inspections with accuracy and reliability. Additionally, the Phase I work provides design and prototyping in support of a Phase II demonstration. The BioSwimmer system is an end-to-end solution that includes sensing, post processing, control, and leverages current similar prototypes as well as the robotics, in-oil inspection, and sensing experience of team members. Commercial applications include the oil-shipping industry and Boston Engineering is aligned with the Coast Guard and several consultants to enable commercialization and feasibility of logistics of the application.