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Smart Particle Request for Information

Solicitation Number: Smart_Particle_RFI
Agency: Department of Transportation
Office: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Location: Office of Acquisition and Grants Management
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Special Notice
Added: Apr 02, 2009 4:54 pm


This IS NOT a Solicitation, and nothing shall be construed herein or throughout the RFI process to commit or obligate the Government to further action as a result. The results of this market research meeting may be used, however, to develop the scope for potential future solicitation(s).

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) program and Office of Infrastructure R&D’s Hydraulics Laboratory announces its attention to convene a market research meeting regarding the use of ‘smart particle’ sensor networks for in-situ hydraulic research. More information about the Hydraulics Lab at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center and its current research can be found at:

‘Smart particles’ refers to a network of tiny sensors, connected wirelessly to each other, which can also transmit data to a receiving device in nearly real-time. The size of the individual sensor devices, called ‘motes’ is generally less than one cubic centimeter, though some motes may be larger and others are much smaller. Motes can be outfitted with a wide range of sensor types.

This market research meeting seeks to address the use of a smart particle network(s) to perform in-situ hydraulic research. For example, a potential application is the monitoring scour around bridge piers and other submerged structures in real time. One significant problem is the inability of existing scour measurement devices to study scour during storms and high flow events. This meeting seeks to determine the ability of mobile, smart particle networks to perform hydraulic research tasks such as monitoring the shape of the riverbed and scour holes, mapping the velocity of the waterbody, monitoring changes in pressure, and other potential tasks. Initial testing would occur at the FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. An RFP may be issued in the future to provide components and support for a prototype hydrodynamic sensor network. Further hydraulics research applications may also be discussed.

Developing motes of minimum possible size is not of great importance, but the sensors must have neutral buoyancy, be able to operate in turbulent, high velocity, turbid water, and be able, while moving, to transmit data to a receiving device during potentially extreme meteorological conditions. The sensors should be capable of monitoring position, velocity, pressure, and other potential environmental variables. Potential designs and solutions for building the sensor network of motes, data acquisition solutions, mote software/operating systems, and networks will be discussed at the meeting.

This market research meeting will be moderated by an interagency government review panel composed of members with experience and interest in smart particle networks and related fields. Potential vendors will be given the opportunity to present their preliminary ideas on developing the hardware and software components needed for the type of hydraulic research described above.

Interested vendors should comment on the feasibility of developing the smart sensor network, with discussion including but not limited to: hardware and mote construction, instrumentation, networking, programming, scale of implementation, data output capabilities, and cost.

In addition, interested parties should be prepared to discuss potential stumbling blocks and barriers to development and deployment of proposed systems as well as strategies for mitigation. These may include but are not limited to: availability of technology, cost, differences between lab and field application, critical system failure modes, reproducibility, and external effects including hazardous materials release, environmental concerns, interference with and damage to existing systems and infrastructure.

This market research meeting presents two opportunities for participation:

1. Interested Vendors – Organizations, firms or individuals with expertise in the development of smart particle networks may be invited to give a short presentation detailing their current level of capability and/or preliminary ideas for development. Presentation length will be determined based on the number of interested presenters. The review panel and other meeting participants will then be permitted to ask questions to the interested vendors.

2. Meeting Participants – Interested parties without current capability to be a vendor may attend the meeting. They may be permitted to ask questions to presenters, participate in group discussions, and network with other participants.

Meeting Details: The market research meeting will be convened as a one-day conference for the discussion of the current feasibility of developing smart particle sensor networks for hydraulic research. The meeting will be held at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research in McLean, VA.

Interested attendees should express their desire to attend the meeting by sending an email to Due to limited space, no more than two persons per organization may attend.

In addition, interested vendors should send a one page abstract detailing the key points of their presentation. (Abstracts will be evaluated by FHWA and the review panel to decide which interested vendors will present at the meeting. Abstracts may be posted for public review unless the vendor declines. Alternatively, vendors may provide two abstracts: one for the review panel, and one that will be posted for public viewing.) Interested vendors should also provide a short description (3 pages or less) of their organization, and its capabilities, and past and current projects/research pertaining to smart particles, as well biographical information about the presenters. They should be prepared to provide an electronic copy of their presentation as the meeting date approaches.

After the meeting, vendors that give presentations will be asked to submit a white paper for inclusion in the meeting report. All other attendees may submit white papers if they desire. The final meeting report, including these white papers and recommendations of the review panel, will be made available for public viewing at a later date after the meeting concludes.

The date of this market research meeting is currently projected to be at the end of May or early June. A further announcement will advertise the date of the meeting.

Not responding to this announcement or not attending the market search meeting does not preclude participation in any further RFPs, if any are issued. This meeting is convened to assess the level of interest and capabilities of all interested parties.

Contracting Office Address:

Federal Highway Administration

Office of Acquisition Management

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE, E66-101

Washington D.C., 20590

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Smart Particle Announcement

Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
Smart Particle Announcement
Posted Date:
April 2, 2009
Description: Smart Particle Announcement
HAAM, Mail Stop E65-101
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, District of Columbia 20590
FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike

McLean, Virginia 22101
United States
Rick Murray
Phone: (202) 366-4250
Fax: (202) 366-3705