11/2/2016 12:00 AM
COLLEGE STATION - Three companies with technologies aimed at enhancing emergency response and homeland security have been selected to receive assistance in tapping into the first responder marketplace through the Product Development Center (PDC) at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.
The top companies selected by a panel of judges were Cultural Quotient Corporation, Protect The Force Inc. and Hearing Armor LLC.
Product development assistance will be provided to the companies through a three-year, $1.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative (DPSI). The selection followed a national solicitation and identification of DoD technologies that could be transitioned and commercialized to enhance public safety and security. After two rounds of judging, 11 companies were invited to present their technologies at the Defense to Response (D2R) Technology Showcase in College Station on Sept. 20-22, 2016, and three companies were chosen to participate in the D2R Program.
Cultural Quotient Corporation, based in Arlington, VA, has innovative filter technology that not only captures contaminants, but is self-decontaminating and offers the potential for an extended functional lifetime. These filters will target a wide range of chemical classes and provide a safer respirator cartridge for first responders.
Hearing Armor LLC, of Needham, MA, has developed a unique hearing protection earplug that will protect the wearer from loud concussive sounds while simultaneously allowing normal levels of conversation to pass through. This technology has no electronics or moving parts, so first responders can have continuous hearing protection without limiting communication.
Protect the Force Inc., based in Jacksboro, TN, has developed Flex9Armor™, which provides the same stringent level of ballistic protection as a ballistic vest, but the panels are flexible enough for tactical operators to engage in mission-oriented operations without restricting range of motions. This protective armor is a breathable, lightweight solution to adding extra protection for first responders.
“In the next phase, TEEX will guide the companies through a continuous product development cycle of Think, Build, Sell. The focus will be on prototype development, first responder customization, and potential integration with existing first responder systems,” said Caleb Holt, manager of the TEEX PDC.
“We can serve as a gateway for DoD-developed technologies to gain access to real-world training facilities and hands-on, end-user engagement,” he added. “Through the PDC’s Think, Build, Sell process, we can assist technologies in every phase of the development process and position them for successful market entry.”
The selected technologies will be paired with product managers, an emergency response subject matter expert (SME) and a business advisor. Technologies will have testing and evaluation plans developed and executed utilizing TEEX facilities such as Brayton Fire Training Field and Disaster City®.
“Two resources that are virtually unmatched at TEEX are our access to first responder SMEs and realistic training facilities,” Holt said. “When these two resources are combined with our long-standing partnership with Texas Center for Applied Technology, we add engineering expertise to develop and execute testing protocols for some of the most innovative technologies in first response. For this reason we can proudly offer all technologies selected for DPSI’s Technology Transfer Program to become TEEX TESTED®.”
All participants in the D2R Technology Showcase had the opportunity to experience the unique facilities and capability of TEEX through responder demos and tours of RELLIS, Brayton and Disaster City®.
For more information about selected D2R companies or about the TEEX Product Development Center, visit TEEXPDC.com.
Like the PDC page at Facebook.com/teexpdc to see weekly updates of PDC happenings.
Comments from Finalists who attended the D2R Technology Showcase
“The D2R Showcase was an eye opener for me. I was very impressed with the scale and realism of the facilities and expertise of the people at TEEX.”
“This was a very well run event, with benefit coming from better understanding what TEEX and the PDC do, meeting valuable contacts who can potentially help us market our product, getting ideas about how we might better promote our product, and meeting competing vendors whom we might find shared marketing and other opportunities with.”