SBIR Phase I: Ad Hoc Networking to Empower First Responders

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

4933 Neo Parkway
Garfield Heights, OH 44128
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will help develop the next generation of communication devices for firefighters. A report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) analyzing on-duty firefighter deaths from 1977 to 2000 concluded that the number of deaths has not significantly improved since the 1970s. One of the key elements in firefighter safety is reliable communication between individual firefighters and with incident command. This development would pursue the creation of a family of products based upon ad hoc communication technology. This technology has been developing in the military and is now becoming available to the civilian market. Ad hoc networks have the capability of relaying messages between individual transceivers, by finding the best path. While fighting a fire within a building a firefighter could lose communication because of the construction of the building. With an ad hoc network a device could be mounted in a window of a burning building and the individual firefighter could be certain that they would be able to communicate with incident command. This technology is also applicable to other law enforcement and public safety groups, such as EMS. According to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory 2003 Annual Report from NIST, it is estimated that the US annual losses attributable to fire include: 3600 lives, 22000 serious injuries, $10 billion in direct property loss, and $128 billion total cost. By providing a system that would ensure firefighters and other first responders have reliable communication it would be possible to significantly reduce the number of causalities (both firefighters and civilian). This development will further assist in the transition of this ad hoc communication technology from military to civilian use. After developing the fundamental features of this technology, Audiopack would look at advanced features such position location. As this is one of the first opportunities for such a system exist the management and staff of Audiopack believes that there is significant commercial potential.