ArchiveDisruptive TechnologyOODA Original

DHS S&T Startup Studio 2022 – Converge Showcase Presenting Companies and Finalists

On July 13th, Homeland Security Startup Studio 2022 (HSSS 22) hosted a virtual Converge event to showcase the program finalists’ pitches for the cutting-edge technologies they have worked to advance over the past 18 weeks.  The HSSS pairs inventors from federal labs with seasoned entrepreneurs and mentors to help move federally funded technologies from the lab to the market.  HSSS22 brought together entrepreneurs, mentors, and inventors to accelerate and commercialize federally-funded technologies that meet homeland security needs. (1)

“Teams of entrepreneurs were paired with scientists and technologists to commercialize lab technologies to meet security needs for both commercial and government use cases. Converge was an opportunity for these startup teams to present their efforts to develop companies and for the rest of the community to learn” from their innovative efforts.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate partnered with FedTech to run the Homeland Security Startup Studio 22, featuring finalist pitches and a keynote address by Julie Brewer.   Ms. Julie Brewer serves as the Executive Director of Innovation & Collaboration in the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate.  From the transcript of Ms. Brewer’s keynote:

“At this time last year, I really just want to point out that five teams participated in Converge 21 and all five of those teams ended up forming companies that continue to advance technologies they were paired with in the spring of 2021.  And we’re really happy to point out some of the progress that they’ve made, notably Axle, a company
developed to commercialize a universal API technology sourced from Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), which recently raised 2.5 million dollars in its seed funding round.   A second company formed from the 2021 cohort, Dynasec, is in the process of finalizing an exclusive license with a national lab to commercialize its patented cyber security solution.

So now building upon those successes from last year’s inaugural startup studio the 2022 cohort features many S&T-funded technologies from a range of U.S. laboratories and research centers, including:

  • The U.S. Secret Service
  • Two DHS S&T Centers of Excellence
  • The DHS S&T federally funded R&D Center (DHS S&T HSSEDI)
  • The Naval Research Lab
  • The Naval Surface Warfare Center: and
  • Brigham Young University

In addition, the 30 entrepreneurs in this year’s cohort were recruited from 200 applicants all over the country and this impressive group has a diverse variety of backgrounds and experience  – which is exactly what we need to really bring innovation to our government technologies and take those into the marketplace.” (3)

Phase I

During phase I, program entrepreneurs are taught foundational basics and skill sets so teams can quickly assess potential use cases for their matched technology. During weekly breakout sessions, teams will practice pitching for mentors who will act as sounding boards. Entrepreneurs will participate in lectures on lean programming and spinout topics such as: fundraising, intellectual property, business models, and customer outreach. Participants also engage in customer discovery interviews to help identify the problem-solution fit for their technology.

Phase II

Phase II participants will set up early-stage companies with pragmatic and ambitious company goals. Entrepreneur teams will be guided by program mentors on how to navigate crucial formation steps from pitching to licensing their technologies. The content of this phase will be customized for the team.

DHS S&T HSSS Finalists

2022

Horizon AI:  HorizonAI’s ROSIE technology uses an optical sensor suite to collect accurate, automated, continuous, and real-time vital data from a safe distance. ROSIE (Remote Optical Sensing of Individuals in an Environment) captures multi- source high-dimensionality data and is effective on masked individuals and groups. The data are compiled into composite profiles which are then processed by specially trained AI computer vision to derive key metrics from patterned variations. ROSIE provides a platform for ubiquitous personalized, and proactive clinical and self-assessment.

Wobbl:  Wobbl is a patented hardware attachment with a unique software component that can pair with any 3D Spinning LiDAR sensor and enhance that sensor’s ability to see the world around it. By utilizing a single motor and rotary joint, this simple yet powerful device can dynamically change the speed and angle at which it rotates creating a calculated wobble motion that allows LiDAR sensors used in self-driving vehicles to fill in their gaps of sight. Wobbl makes 3D spinning LiDAR sensors cheaper, safer, and more versatile.

Koru Ports:  The Maritime Transportation System (MTS) accounts for more than $4.6 trillion of annual economic activity—nearly a quarter of the United States GDP. The Port Disruptions Tool (PDT) will enable stakeholders to quantify the impact of disruptions, both natural and manmade, in an evolving environment. Threats faced by individual stakeholders can affect broader supply chain stakeholders via cross-infrastructure, and inter-organizational dependencies. By translating research in simulation and cutting-edge optimization techniques, the PDT will enable MTS stakeholders to model supply chain movements, introduce a wide range of cyber and/or physical disruptions, and calculate functional and economic impacts.

Digital Co-pilot:  Digital Co-pilot is a cognitive assistant that uses a combination of a hardware interface that connects to the aircraft audio system and a set of software algorithms that together improve the safety of single-pilot flights. Cognitive assistance is closely related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and it supports human decision-making. Cognitive assistance is typically enabled by Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) as well as location awareness. Its cooperative automation is designed to augment human cognition rather than replace it. Accurate and reliable inferences allow Digital Copilot to automatically deliver relevant information to the pilot based on context.

Lithioz:  Lithioz’s battery health measurement modules deliver a key battery health indicator that is obtained via rapid and continuous testing performed while battery cells are in use. The health indicator is derived by performing a rapid AC impedance test that indicates if the battery is Healthy, Damaged or Unsafe. The test performed is customized for the battery cell being used and is powered by our proprietary cell signature database that is built for commonly used cells using patented technology. Cell signatures are unique and based on cell make, model and size. The technology allows for individual cell testing as well as battery modules where cells can be connected in series or parallel.

Auether:  Aether’s unique and highly innovative sensor is based on technology that allows it to “see” chemical threats. Our small, rugged sensors provide a high level of specificity and selectivity that could previously be achieved only with costly, complicated and difficult-to-maintain devices. Our sensors see, interpret and communicate chemical threats in near real-time, with high probability of detection and low false alarm rates.

fibrX:  fibrX uses fiber optics with embedded sensors to detect corrosion detection. The process is based on a continuous monitoring and non-destructive approach unlike many of the current processes which require periodic inspections and require individuals to visit sites in hazardous conditions. The data from the continuous monitoring process provides early indication of a change in material structure which can then be quickly addressed.

AGRI START:   AGRI START’s technology is a patent pending bacterial inoculant that will create salt tolerant crops, increase crop yield, promote new plant growth, and safeguard food security. Key Advantages: Enhanced growth of crop plants in salty soil; Reduced plant uptake of sodium ions from the soil; and Increased photosynthesis. How it works: The inoculant is applied as a liquid to plantings or as a dry coat to seeds, growing with the plant and strengthening the crop at the root level.

AccuSense utilizes a passive and AI-driven acoustic sensor, first developed to detect Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorne Beetle in love trees or wood products like pallets. These two pests are responsible for several billions damage costs each year in the US.

The 2022 winning teams were Auether and Horizon AI.

2021

  • Axle Technologies LLC’s universal application programming interface to securely control and monitor vehicles;
  • Charisma Cyber’s predictive model is based on machine learning to attack adversary networks;
  • Dynasec’s moving target defense for thwarting cyber attacks;
  • Electrum Smart Alerts’ nighttime facial and object real-time alerting system; and
  • Hawk Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance Detection Systems’ spectroscopy scanning with a cloud-based reference library.

The 2021 winning teams were Charisma Cyber and Hawk NQR Detection Systems. (4) 2021 was the inaugural year of the HSSS.

Further Resources:

Homeland Security Startup Studio

Converge ’22 Event Guide

Homeland Security Startup Studio 2022 | Launch Event

FedTech

Work with S&T | Homeland Security

Industry Partnerships | Homeland Security

Stay Informed

It should go without saying that tracking threats are critical to inform your actions. This includes reading our OODA Daily Pulse, which will give you insights into the nature of the threat and risks to business operations.

Related Reading:

Explore OODA Research and Analysis

Use OODA Loop to improve your decision-making in any competitive endeavor. Explore OODA Loop

Decision Intelligence

The greatest determinant of your success will be the quality of your decisions. We examine frameworks for understanding and reducing risk while enabling opportunities. Topics include Black Swans, Gray Rhinos, Foresight, Strategy, Strategies, Business Intelligence, and Intelligent Enterprises. Leadership in the modern age is also a key topic in this domain. Explore Decision Intelligence

Disruptive/Exponential Technology

We track the rapidly changing world of technology with a focus on what leaders need to know to improve decision-making. The future of tech is being created now and we provide insights that enable optimized action based on the future of tech. We provide deep insights into Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Quantum Computing, Security Technology, and Space Technology. Explore Disruptive/Exponential Tech

Security and Resiliency

Security and resiliency topics include geopolitical and cyber risk, cyber conflict, cyber diplomacy, cybersecurity, nation-state conflict, non-nation state conflict, global health, international crime, supply chain, and terrorism. Explore Security and Resiliency

Community

The OODA community includes a broad group of decision-makers, analysts, entrepreneurs, government leaders, and tech creators. Interact with and learn from your peers via online monthly meetings, OODA Salons, the OODAcast, in-person conferences, and an online forum. For the most sensitive discussions interact with executive leaders via a closed Wickr channel. The community also has access to a member-only video library. Explore The OODA Community.

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.