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With just a few days left before deadline, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s (USAMRDC) U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) is encouraging all interested parties to finalize their submissions for the xTech Brain Operant Learning Technology (xTechBOLT) prize competition. Billed as a sprawling effort to both spur and expand technological innovation on behalf of the Warfighter, the deadline for submissions is September 15.

In short, xTechBOLT is designed to incentivize private industry to develop and demonstrate the use of various cutting-edge imaging technologies to locate, track, and trace key learning traits that might be, in turn, developed to promote optimal retention and access to memories. According to the team at USAMMDA, the goals for the competition include understanding the effects of emotion and empathy on learning and memory, and further, and their impact on both implicit and explicit learning.

"The xTechBOLT prize is a research topic to help us more fully understand how we can take a novice and turn them into an expert, how an experience turns into a memory, and how that memory is then utilized to perform activities,” said Dr. Darrin Frye, portfolio manager for the USAMRDC Medical Simulation and Information Science Research Program (MSISRP). “The goal of the xTechBOLT prize competition is to incentivize industry to help us understand that process and unlock the brain and maximize human performance."

According to organizers, the hope is that a better understanding these types of brain processing efforts will in turn revolutionize how Warfighters are taught and trained via the use of such brain operant learning technologies. Specifically, the Army is keen for industry partners to focus their efforts on such cutting-edge neuroimaging technologies as quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) testing and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), among others. Through the use of said key technologies, USAMMDA hopes to find early-stage innovations with the potential to dramatically improve military training outcomes.

The deadline for the submission of a concept white paper and an accompanying short video is September 15, after which subsequent winners will be afforded the opportunity to pitch their specific technology in front of a panel later this year at the planned virtual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education (I/ITSEC) Conference. The prize pool for the competition is currently allotted at one million dollars, with portions of the money scheduled to be distributed to winners of each progressive stage of the competition. The first-place winner will receive 500 thousand dollars in prize money as they embark on efforts to further develop their chosen technology.

For more information, please visit the xTechBOLT website at the following address: https://www.arl.army.mil/xtechsearch/competitions/xtechBOLT.html

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U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command: https://mrdc.amedd.army.mil/

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