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Start Date
End Date

Phone-based Low-cost Unattended Ground Sensor (PLUGS)

Develop low-cost sensor utilizing a smart phone as the solution.



Planning to Submit: 36 Submissions: 0

Phase 1:

Develop low-cost unattended, ground sensor utilizing a smart phone as the solution. Conceptual use case is an Android based capability that allows any Android based phone to be used to collect the data of interest and report the activity back utilizing either WiFi or cellular network. The capability will allow for passive infrared, seismic, magnetic, photo, video, audio, with GPS tracking of the device, communications both within a cellular network and WIFI for data exfiltration. Lastly, the ability to display data in a common open geospatial display interface with alerts (ESRI is an option). The capability must work in conjunction with up to five smart phones and will be required to incorporate all of the above, allowing for tip and que to activate sensors and report the data.

The priority for phase one is that all sensors work in conjunction with each other and are not stand alone. For example a seismic sensor would trip a video and or a photo to take place from another phone/sensor or any combination of the sensors based upon mission set.  So tip and que is very important between sensors and the ability to than report the information back through the dashboard.

Phase 2: – In addition the most promising submission(s) may be provided with additional funding to develop their concepts into working prototypes for testing.


  • Working software which SOFWERX will test/demonstrate on 5 Android mobile devices. Devices used for testing Pixel 2 XLs with Lineage OS (Android 8.1)
  • Report data back to a base utilizing WIFI or Cellular network. The base station or control station could be an app running on another mobile device or computer, with the ability to share with a common display (ESRI/SGE).
  • Dashboard / console which can view cellphones and add / manage / assign cell phones to a particular group.
  • If phone is compromised, ability to activate a “shutdown” or “zeroize” mode allowing admin to modify and override functionality, example erase etc.

Conference call scheduled
Please join us for an open Q&A with the PLUGS sponsor and SOFWERX team as we answer your questions about the challenge.  Feel free to email over any questions you have in advance or ask them live on the call.
Date: Thursday, September 20th
Time: 1-1:30 EST
To join conference call: 
1)  Dial conference number: 888.240.2560 (US Toll Free)
2)  Enter Conference ID : 8136935599102


Evaluation Criteria & Priorities 

  • Top priority is for all sensors to work in conjunction with each other rather than operating as standalone sensors.
  • Sensor data collection and transmission to management console represented in an intuitive graphical display.
  • Working dashboard where admin can manage mobile devices.
  • Sensors report information back through the dashboard.
  • Software builds and installs according to supplied instructions.
  • Number of working sensors on cellphone(s) including: passive infrared, seismic, magnetic, photo, video, audio, and GPS tracking.
  • Intuitive and easy to train end user / admins.
  • Novelty of approach.

Prizes will be awarded and announced within 30 days of the challenge closing date. A total of $25,000 in prizes will be offered, with potential for follow-on development funding of top submissions.

Prize Award Amount:

  • 1st Place: $10,000
  • 2nd Place: $7,500
  • 3rd Place: $5,000
  • 4thth Place: $2,500


Challenge Deliverables:

  • Android PLUGS Software & Installation Instructions
  • Working Dashboard Software & Installation Instructions
  • Please provide a video to accompany the submission which will allow judges in various locations to review. (There will be a place to provide a link to the video within the submission form.)


If you are mailing any deliverables, please mail to the following address:

SOFWERX Underground
Attention: TeamWERX
1925 E 2nd Avenue
Suite 102
Tampa, FL 33605

Please post questions throughout the challenge on the Q&A tab. 

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