Fast-Track proposals will be accepted.
Direct-to-Phase II proposals will not be accepted.
Number of anticipated awards: 3-5
Budget (total costs, per award):
Phase I: up to $400,000 for up to 9 months
Phase II: up to $2,000,000 for up to 2 years
PROPOSALS THAT EXCEED THE BUDGET OR PROJECT DURATION LISTED ABOVE MAY NOT BE FUNDED.
The exponential rise in the availability of digital still and video imagery has created enormous opportunities for health researchers. However, software tools for automated image analysis in health are lacking. The goal of this topic is to stimulate development of software for automated analysis of physical activity, performance, and behavior in still and video images for clinical, home monitoring, and public health applications. Physical activity refers to movement and postures such as ‘walking’, ‘sitting’, or ‘standing up’. Performance refers to quantitative measures of function such as walking speed or timing of a sit stand test. Behavior refers to identification of specific actions such as ‘taking a pill’ or ‘playing soccer’.
Existing software tools emphasize counting and tracking customers (e.g. TraxSales), monitoring transportation behavior (e.g. TRAF-SYS), and security concerns in the private and defense sectors (e.g. DARPA Minds Eye Program). Additionally, emerging research is attempting to develop automated tools to assess sports performance. This work builds on developments in human performance capture for entertainment applications. In contrast, health-oriented applications are poorly developed, limited to a few publicly available image management and annotation tools. While larger companies are entering this sector (e.g. Microsoft AZURE), they also lack focus on health applications. Finally, advances in machine learning and AI research further support the potential for new products in this area.
This SBIR contract topic is designed to attract proposals for new and innovative image analysis tools to extract information concerning physical activity, performance, and behavior. Each of these interrelated elements of human action have distinct associations with health and health monitoring needs. Examples include but are not limited to: 1) Automated assessments of gait, walking speed, and other medically-relevant performance parameters in the clinic; 2) Enabling in-home monitoring of compliance with medication and physical therapy regimens; and 3) Improved evaluation of physical activity in transportation or park settings. Potential image sources include, but are not limited to: wearable cameras, stationary cameras, smart phones, social media, Photovoice projects, and archives of street images from Google Street View or Gigapan. Applicants will be asked to specify the use case for their project and identify the source of images. Images may be from pre-existing sources or may be collected as part of the project. Collaboration with relevant subject matter experts is required. The tools developed must provide solutions for protecting sensitive or personally identifiable information available in the images.
The long-term goal of the project is to develop software that can automatically extract data from images concerning people and their activities. Advances in security, loss prevention, assessment of human behavior in retail environment, and automated measurement of human performance in sport and animation domains along with growing capacity of computers to identify and count objects suggest that algorithms are available that could be applied to health questions. Data from these algorithms could help multiple aspects of cancer prevention and control from primary prevention such as improved evaluation of interventions to encourage physical activity, to enhanced epidemiological studies, to automation in monitoring of symptoms and response to treatment for disease affecting physical performance, to improved compliance with cancer treatments or physical rehabilitation regimens. This interplay could advance health research and lead to improved commercial products for diverse applications.
Activities outside the scope of this Topic:
Proposals addressing medical images such as MRI scans, microscopy, or DEXA scans will not be considered for award under this Topic.
Receipt date: October 23, 2019, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Apply for this topic on the Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) website.
For full PHS2020-1 Contract Solicitation, CLICK HERE.