The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) recently held a Proposers’ Day in Arlington, Va., and virtually. Its purpose was to introduce the SMART ePANTS program to potential proposers and to provide information on technical requirements and program objectives. The program is being instigated to develop sensor systems that can record and store audio, video and location data. Recognizing the importance of comfort and dexterity of the user, it also seeks to develop a garment that maintains stretchability, bendability, surface roughness and washability attributes that are comparable to a garment containing no sensor.
SMART ePANTS sensor systems must also be safely worn against the skin, be reusable, and be capable of exporting the data they gather to an external data storage device (such as a computer hard drive). Sensor systems will be entirely incorporated into garment components, especially fibers, yarn and fabric, but may include (to a limited extent) expected commercial (i.e., currently available for sale) garment accessories such as buttons, grommets, zippers, piping or collar stays.
IARPA is a project of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to address some of the most difficult challenges of the agencies and disciplines in the Intelligence Community (IC). Its stated mission is “to push the boundaries of science to develop solutions that empower the IC to do its work better and more efficiently for national security …” IARPA does not have an operational mission and does not deploy technologies directly to the field. Rather it facilitates the transition of research results to its IC customers for operational application.
Dr. Dawson Cagle is the program manager and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.