iX Challenge: Miniaturised 5G Ready Personal Location Device

This challenge focuses on producing a personal location device concept demonstrator or partial solution, to offer a means of reducing harm to persons working in high-threat environments.

Funding Details
When

Registration Opens

14/11/2022

Registration Closes

09/12/2022

Award

Successful applicants will receive grant funding to undertake a 12-week sprint to develop a Personal Location Device (PLD) concept demonstrator(s), with the potential for follow-on funding.

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An online Q&A session to find out more about this challenge was held on Friday 2nd December 2022: watch the briefing below.

Background

Personal Location Devices (PLDs) offer a means of reducing the risk of harm for people working in high-threat environments. Typically, they take the form of a pocketable electronic device capable of sending an alert with position data and, possibly live audio via RF and/or commercial infrastructure to a dedicated monitoring station.

The monitoring station used may also have the ability to ‘ping’ individual PLDs, to check the location of missing personnel.

It is highly desirable to develop a PLD that is compatible with 3G, 4G and 5G cellular networks and utilises miniaturised electronics and cutting-edge energy storage technology ensuring the Size Weight and Power (SWaP) is optimised.

National Security has a well-established system to receive PLD responses via dedicated monitoring stations, and procedures to respond to an alert. But the PLDs themselves need to be updated to keep pace with modern technology.

The use case for National Security and Defence is as follows: 

  • Charlie, a Government official working overseas, is in trouble in a natural disaster zone.
  • Charlie always wears a PLD as per procedure, up until today Charlie has never had the need to use it and so is glad it has been unobtrusive and requires no technical maintenance (apart from charging the battery every few days).
  • Charlie gets injured and is unable to move, to add to this Charlie’s phone has also been damaged. Luckily the PLD is easily accessible, robust so is undamaged and easy to use – it’s just a simple button press which provides feedback (e.g., haptic, flashing light) that it has been activated.
  • The PLD locks onto Charlie’s position via GPS, and then transmits Charlie’s exact location (within a few metres) over a cellular network back to the Government base, where Alex picks up the information. Alex quickly dispatches local embassy staff alongside paramedics to pick up Charlie and give vital medical attention. The PLD keeps on pinging Charlie’s location once a minute so Alex can update the rescue team if needed.
  • Charlie is in a remote location so has to wait several hours until the rescue team arrives, but fortunately, the PLD battery life is enough to continue transmitting throughout this time even though Charlie hasn’t charged it for several days. Although Charlie’s location is static, there is confidence that the PLD would continue to transmit an exact location to Alex even if Charlie was on the move.
  • Charlie is picked up and treated. The PLD was crucial to finding Charlie’s location and being rescued so quickly.

Rewards & Benefits

Successful applicants will receive grant funding to undertake a 12-week sprint to develop a Personal Location Device (PLD) concept demonstrator(s).

If after a demonstration, there appears to be potential for a product, then funding will likely be made available to continue this Challenge.

Functional Requirements

To ensure future-proofing and advanced usability, it is highly desirable to develop a PLD that is compatible with 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular networks and utilises miniaturised electronics and cutting-edge energy storage technology ensuring the Size Weight and Power (SWaP) is optimised.

Operating Conditions

  • Due to the global activity of the UK Government it is desirable that this could be operated across most geographical regions (considering mobile coverage).
  • The ability to ‘ping’ remotely, so a user can remotely request a global position from the PLD.
  • The PLD must be robust against damage.

Eligibility

Applications are welcomed from academia, entrepreneurs, and industry (particularly from the SME community) within the UK or from 5Eyes countries.

Support and funding

The deliverable could be a lab-based demonstrator, or a partial solution.

It is not expected that a fully mature PLD is delivered by the end of this project, but if significant progress has been achieved and the OCCS Challenge Team deems there is clear potential for a follow-on project, then follow-on funding will likely be made available.

An agile approach over the 12-week period is preferred, i.e. with sprints designed to work collaboratively with the National Security and Defence community. Collaboration between multiple applicants is also encouraged.

For further details and more technical requirements, follow the link below.

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