WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army xTech Program announced the 10 winners of the seventh iteration of the xTechSearch competition series, the Army’s open-topic prize competition focused on transforming concepts into equipment in the hands of our Soldiers.
Sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, the Army designed the competition to attract small businesses developing technology innovations that can solve critical Army modernization challenges. While xTechSearch 7 utilizes an open-topic solicitation model, critical focus areas included advanced materials, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
“Following a record-breaking 775 initial proposals at the start of the competition, we narrowed the field down to our 10 winners,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR Program. “Each winner delivered an exceptionally unique and innovative solution and proved to Army experts that they have an advanced Army application ready for further development.”
The xTechSearch 7 finals took place at TechConnect World 2023 June 19-21, 2023, in National Harbor, Maryland, where finalists pitched their technologies to a live panel of Army technologists, scientists, engineers and acquisition experts. These judges narrowed their selections down to the following winners and their associated technologies.
xTechSearch 7 Winners
· Anello Photonics; Santa Clara, Calif.; “Warfighter Handheld Optical Gyro GNSS INS for Contested Environments”
· Arbor Batteries LLC; Ann Arbor, Mich.; “Li-ion Batteries with Improved Charge Rate, Energy Density, and Safety Using 3D Electrodes”
· ForSight Technologies dba TeraDAR; Cambridge, Mass.; “High-Resolution Terahertz Sensing for Army Autonomous Operations”
· Impressio Tech; Denver; “Ultra-Energy Absorbing Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Advanced Material and 3D Printing for Warfighter Protection”
· Notch Inc.; Cambridge, Mass.; “Passive and Controllable RF Signature Using Lightweight Metasurfaces for Army Platforms and Equipment”
· Protonex LLC dba PNI Sensor; Santa Rosa, Calif.; “FORT Plus – Zippo-sized APNT Tracker for the Dismounted Soldier for When Nothing Else is Available”
· Soar Technology, Inc.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; “Centralized Control of Commercial Drones (C3D)”
· Talus Ridge; Raleigh, N.C.; “Talus Airflow & Ballistic Support Platform”
· Tyfast Energy Corp.; San Diego; “Ultimate 6T Battery for Future Army Vehicles”
· WingXpand; St. Louis; “8ft Backpackable Autonomous UAS”
xTechSearch 7 launched in September 2023 as a forum for eligible small businesses across the U.S. to engage with the Department of Defense, earn prize money and potentially submit for a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract award up to $250,000 each.
Following the initial white paper submissions, judges selected 50 semi-finalists who each received a $5,000 cash prize for their short-concept submissions. The semifinalists were then afforded the opportunity to pitch their technologies to a panel of Army and DoD subject matter experts where the field was further narrowed down to 20 finalists who took home another $15,000 in prize money. Each team then received an invitation to the finals at TechConnect World 2023 where winners took home an additional $25,000, resulting in a total of $45,000 in cash prizes.
“xTechSearch 7 is one of the program’s more recent examples of a partnership with its sister program, Army Applied SBIR, which both fall under the greater ASA(ALT) umbrella,” Willis said. “xTech’s model provides small businesses a mechanism to introduce their technology to the Army, while SBIR helps get them across the finish line with the potential for contract awards.”
Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program integrates small businesses and nontraditional vendors into the Army’s science and technology ecosystem by providing opportunities for direct exposure to laboratories, program executive offices and program managers from across the Army. Participants receive detailed feedback from Army and DoD stakeholders and have access to training, mentorship and other support infrastructure as they progress through the competition to determine how best to align their technology solutions with real users and buyers within the Army. For more information about the program, please visit the xTech website at www.xtech.army.mil.
The xTech Program holds several competitions per year, from open-topic competitions such as xTechSearch, to technology-specific competitions targeting critical Army needs and challenges.
The Army Applied SBIR Program offers Phase I contracts to small businesses and nontraditional vendors with technologies that show technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential. It also provides funding to businesses capable of helping the Army achieve its goals and earn further federal support in Phase II. The program reserves the Direct to Phase II award for already-mature solutions ready for demonstration.
Through the Army Applied SBIR Program, companies engage with technical, acquisition and operational subject matter experts. These specialists offer insight into the Army’s technological opportunities while guiding the companies through the Army research and development ecosystem.
The Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on a rolling, ad-hoc 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 Army SBIR|STTR website.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology provides the American Soldier with a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding, and sustaining the world's finest equipment and services, and by leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs.