US Department of Defense
Advancing Blast Injury Research to Protect and Heal Those Who Serve


The DOD Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs harness the innovative talents and entrepreneurial energies of our nation's small technology companies for US Military and economic strength. BIRCO participates by developing candidate topics for Phase I solicitations in the US Army or Defense Health Agency (DHA) SBIR/STTR Programs and manages successful proposals funded for these topics. Below is a summary of BIRCO-developed topics and resulting SBIR/STTR awards.

A Human Body Model for Computational Assessment of Blast Injury and Protection (Solicitation Code DHP13-010)

Blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are one the most common causes of combat injuries in recent military operations; however, there is a limited understanding of blast injury pathways including biomechanical injuries caused by the direct effects of pressures penetrating the body, flying debris, body translocation in air, and impact on hard objects. Therefore, anatomically consistent human body models and computational tools for modeling blast physics coupled to human physiology and biomechanics are needed to better understand blast injuries, interpret experimental data, and develop improved protective armor, diagnostics and medical treatment procedures.

To further develop these concepts, the DOD SBIR Program funded two Phase I projects:

  1. "Physics and Physiology Based Human Body Model of Blast Injury and Protection" by CFDRC.
  2. "A Human Body Model for Computational Assessment of Blast Injury and Protection" by HyPerComp, Inc.

Following completion of Phase I and Phase II, The DOD SBIR Program selected CFDRC for a Phase III award to continue development of their project, "Physics and Physiology Based Human Body Model of Blast Injury and Protection."

Design, develop, demonstrate, and finalize the Blast Injury Simulation framework for multiscale modeling of blast injury and protection for military operational and combat casualty care applications.

Developed a novel computational biology (CoBi) blast framework for accurate calculation of the human body blast exposure in military heavy weapon training scenarios using data from the free field and warfighter wearable pressure sensors. This CoBi blast tool can be used to calculate spatially and temporally resolved blast loads on the whole human body and on specific organs vulnerable to blast loads, such as the head, face, and lungs. The CoBi blast tool (also called the Blast Overpressure Tool) is being considered for integration with the Range Manager ToolKit for facilitating communication of safety precautions and providing a mechanism for safety precautions to account for blast exposure on cognitive performance.

Biomechanical Rat Testing Device to Validate Primary Blast Loading Conditions for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (Solicitation Code A17A-T022)

Blast-induced neurotrauma has been recognized as a major medical problem among U.S. Service members. Although large volumes of data from experimental animal models are being collected and published, the data cannot be collated or correlated with each other because the biomechanical loading conditions vary across laboratories and experiments. The objective of this topic is to develop a biomechanical surrogate of a rat model that can accurately measure shock overpressure conditions. The device will also measure the actual biomechanical loading experienced by the experimental animals so that the research results of individual laboratories can then be cross-correlated across different test conditions and research groups.

To develop this device, the DOD STTR program funded one Phase II project:

"Biofidelic Rat Surrogate for Blast-induced Neurotrauma Studies" by Creare, LLC

Develop a biomechanically accurate rat model that can precisely measure loading conditions for experimental animal models, allowing correlation and cross-validation of research outcomes from different studies.


  • Fabricated distinct, anatomically accurate skeleton, air-containing lungs, brain, and skull models for integration into a complete rat model. The skull can accommodate a silicone brain and brain sensor circuit board assembly surrounded by a cerebrospinal fluid analog
  • Integrated blast sensors, accelerometers, optical displacement sensors and ultrasound transducers to estimate intracranial pressure, brain acceleration, chest cavity pressure, relative brain-to-skull motion, and cerebrospinal fluid cavitation. Developed firmware for embedded brain and chest electronics to communicate blast test measurements to local computers
  • Demonstrated in blast tube experiments with simplified rat model prototypes that biomechanical loading on the brain and lungs can be reliably measured in relevant conditions

Warrior Health Avatar (Solicitation Code DHP16-001)

Personalized medicine has the potential to create customized health care with medical decisions and treatments tailored to the individual patient. In the last few years, remarkable progress has been achieved in wearable non-invasive physiological and activity sensors, mobile computing, bioinformatics, and computational medicine; however, there remain few objective measures of the health status of a deployed Service member. Therefore, there is great interest in developing technology that can be used in the battlefield to non-invasively measure current health status and predict future changes in the health status of an individual.

To begin to address these concerns, the DOD SBIR Program funded three Phase I projects:

  1. "Vigilant Warrior Health Avatar" by Vigilant Cyber Systems, Inc.
  2. "Personalized Warrior Health Avatar" by CFD Research Corporation, Inc. (CFDRC)
  3. "Warrior Shadow: Holographic Health Avatar for Predictive & Preventative Medicine" by Chimaera Science, LLC

Following completion of Phase I, the DOD SBIR Program selected CFDRC for a Phase II award to continue development of their project, "Personalized Warrior Health Avatar."

Design, develop, demonstrate, and deliver a "Warfighter Health Avatar" simulation platform: physiology based modeling tools of a Warfighter body enabling definite assessment of health status, physical and physiological performance, and injury trajectory by both the user and medical personnel using mobile computing platforms.


  • Developed algorithms and a prototype software module for PCs and tablets to generate Warfighter body anatomy, articulation, and posture
  • Created a simulation module of human body biodynamic responses to various types of loading (blast, blunt, impact, falls) and calculation of injury criteria
  • Developed a physiology module integrating cardiovascular, respiratory, blood chemistry, metabolic, thermal, autoregulation, and other systems for modeling body responses to physical and environmental stressors
  • Wrote fast-running code that performs signal analysis on large datasets to summarize them as physiologically relevant data for the purpose of analysis and long-term storage
  • Established a cloud-based backend to facilitate integration of microservices and CoBi modules while providing a location to store user information, monitor health remotely, store long-term health data, and use that data along with our models to train artificial neural networks

Antimicrobial Textiles (Solicitation Code DHP12-011)

There is a continuing military need for the development of an effective long-term antimicrobial textile finish that can be incorporated into Service members' uniforms, wound dressings, and other hospital textiles to control the transmission of pathogenic bacteria and minimize infection. The goals of the resulting technology include easy integration into fabric weaving and manufacturing and the ability to scale production to a high throughput process, allowing large volumes of fabrics to be treated. It is anticipated that the technology will have both DOD and civilian applications, including the inclusion in antimicrobial textiles, anti-infective wound dressings, medical devices, and hospital textiles, bedding, and wipes.

To begin to develop this product, the DOD SBIR Program funded three Phase I projects:

  1. "Novel Dendrimers for Antimicrobial Textile Finish" by Physical Sciences Inc.
  2. "High Performance Antimicrobial Textiles" by CCL Biomedical Inc.
  3. "Durable and rechargeable antimicrobial textiles" by Me"detech Development Corp.
Last modified: 29-Mar-2021