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Join the competition

First Responder Smart Tracking Challenge now open

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Do you have an idea for a technology solution to help locate first responders inside structures in an emergency? Join the First Responder Smart Tracking (FRST) Challenge and submit your initial concept paper by March 21, 2022.

A major obstacle for first responders is the need to track each other inside a structure. Current technologies are unable to provide precise location details inside a structure, and that can mean life or death to those responding to an emergency call. The FRST Challenge brings teams together to create the tools that will solve this problem.

Led by the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab in the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University, and funded by an $8 million cooperative agreement from the Public Safety Communications Research Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the challenge formally launched on March 1.

“We’re creating an environment where innovation happens,” said Sonny Kirkley, FRST project director. “We’re not just doing a research project to write a paper and publish it in a journal where no first responder will ever read it. We’re convening the right players who can help solve a problem in the near term. We’re looking for a good, solid idea and a team worth investing in.”

In the first phase of the challenge, teams must submit concept papers describing their proposed technology solution, their team qualifications, and their first responder partnership. All teams will advance from Phase 1 to Phase 2 regardless of whether they win prize funds in the initial judging, as the FRST Challenge hopes to cast as wide a net as possible for interesting solutions. Additionally, walk-on competitors are welcome to join the competition in future phases. Prize money will be awarded in each phase of the competition with a total of $5.6 million in prize funds awarded across five phases of the competition.

Visit frstchallenge.com and sign up for the competition today.

We’re not just doing a research project to write a paper and publish it in a journal where no first responder will ever read it. We’re convening the right players who can help solve a problem in the near term.

Sonny Kirkley

About the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab

The Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab is a collaboration between the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering and University Information Technology Services, and is housed in the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University. The lab’s mission is to research and develop practical, efficient, effective, and equitable technologies and solutions to improve readiness and scale response to crises and disasters.

About the Pervasive Technology Institute

The Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University is a collaborative organization designed to marshal IU's computational experts and resources quickly in response to societal, research, and educational needs. In partnership with University Information Technology Services, the Pervasive Technology Institute also led the original Jetstream award. The institute was established in 1999 by a grant from the Lilly Endowment and has continued to lead productive uses and applications of research technologies for over 20 years.

About University Information Technology Services

University Information Technology Services is part of the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer for Indiana University. It provides services across all IU campuses to support the university’s mission.