Twenty small businesses compete for $25K in xTechSearch 7 finals

By Daniel Smoot, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR ProgramMarch 27, 2023

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WASHINGTON – Spanning the country from San Diego, CA to Melbourne, Fla., 20 small businesses inch closer to winning xTechSearch 7, the U.S. Army prize competition that awards companies for developing technologies that solve unique Soldier challenges.

After reviewing businesses’ second-round pitches, the seventh iteration of the U.S. Army xTech Program’s flagship competition unveiled the 20 companies to earn a spot in the final presentation and an opportunity to win its largest cash-prize award.

“The competition’s participants pitched exciting solutions capable of addressing important technology investments across the Army,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program. “Each submission proposed a unique technology geared toward moving concepts to equipment in the hands of Soldiers.”

While the Army already performs research and development across several organizations, xTechSearch 7’s open-solicitation model helped to attract companies with a variety of novel technology solutions. This includes finalists developing Advanced Materials, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and other proposed technologies within the following categories:

Advanced Materials:

·      Carbon SiC Technologies, Inc.; Henderson, Nev.; “Affordable and Productive Scalable Thermal Protection Systems for Hypersonic Vehicles”

·      Helicoid Industries Inc.; Indio, Calif.; “BioHel-HTC: Bio-inspired Helicoid for Low Cost, High Toughness, High-Temperature Resistant Composites”

·      Impressio Tech; Denver; “Ultra-Energy Absorbing Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Advanced Material and 3D Printing for Warfighter Protection”

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:

·      J3D Labs, Inc.; Palo Alto, Calif.; “Automating Predictive Maintenance to Improve Vehicle Fleet Mission Readiness”

Assured Position Navigation and Timing:

·      Anello Photonics; Santa Clara, Calif.; “Warfighter Handheld Optical Gyro GNSS INS for Contested Environments”

·      Flyt Aerospace; San Jose, Calif.; “Novel Sensor for Accurate UAV Navigation in GPS-Denied Environments”

·      Protonex LLC dba PNI Sensor; Santa Rosa, Calif.; “FORT Plus – Zippo-sized APNT Tracker for the Dismounted Soldier for When Nothing Else is Available”

·      Xona Space Systems Inc.; San Mateo, Calif.; “Pulsar: A Resilient and AltNav PNT Service”

Autonomous Platforms:

·      Dragoon Technology LLC; Tucson, Ariz.; “High Endurance Multi-Mission Swarming Unmanned Aircraft”

·      Soar Technology, Inc.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; “Centralized Control of Commercial Drones (C3D)”

·      WingXpand; St. Louis; “8ft Backpackable Autonomous UAS”

Clean Energy Storage:

·      Arbor Batteries LLC; Ann Arbor, Mich.; “Li-ion Batteries with Improved Charge Rate, Energy Density, and Safety using 3D Electrodes”

·      Tyfast Energy Corp.; San Diego; “Ultimate 6T Battery for Future Army Vehicles”

Command Control and Communications:

·      NanTenna; Melbourne, Fla.; “Ultra Low-Profile Soldier Worn L-Band SATCOM Antenna”

Cyber Security:

·      Axiom Technologies; Reston, Va.; “Edge to Endpoint Security with Axiom’s NullTrust-Edge/Endpoint (NTT-E2P)”


·      Moleaer Inc.; Hawthorne Calif.; “Oxygenated Nanobubbles for Various Military Applications Including Waste-Water Treatment”

Human Performance:

·      Sempulse Corporation; San Marcos, Texas; “Next Generation tracking of Human Performance”

·      Talus Ridge; Raleigh, N.C.; “Talus Airflow & Ballistic Support Platform”


·      ForSight Technologies dba TeraDAR; Cambridge, Mass.; “High-Resolution Terahertz Sensing for Army Autonomous Operations”

Signature Reduction:

·      Notch Inc.; Cambridge, Mass.; “Passive and Controllable RF signature using lightweight metasurfaces for Army platforms and equipment”

Between June 19-21, these xTechSearch 7 finalists will present proposed technologies to a panel of Army and Department of Defense subject matter experts in Washington, D.C. at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo.

Selected winners will earn an additional $25,000 in cash and an invitation to submit for a potential $250,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract, which further supports companies through exposure to technical experts while advancing the Army’s strategic efforts.

“I’m excited to hear company pitches during xTechSearch 7’s final presentation,” Willis said. “Finalists should be proud of how far they’ve come, as they’re among the top 20 of the more than 750 initial proposals at the start of the competition.”

Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program strives to integrate small and nontraditional businesses into the Army’s science and technology ecosystem. It provides opportunities for direct exposure to laboratories, program executive offices and program managers across the Army.

Participants receive detailed feedback from Army and DoD stakeholders and have access to training, mentorship and other support infrastructure. This helps guide businesses through the competition and determine where their solutions best align within the Army.

The xTech Program holds several competitions per year. These include open-topic competitions such as xTechSearch as well as technology-specific competitions that target key Army challenges. For additional xTech information, please visit

The Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on a rolling basis to respond to the Army’s current and expected warfighting technology needs. For eligibility information and a list of open solicitations, please visit

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology offers the American Soldier a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services. It also leverages its technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Soldier needs. To learn more, you can visit