Today I am pleased to announce the winners of the Department’s first crowdsourced prize competition in support of the nation’s first responder community. This announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work – not only throughout S&T – but also, in the world of innovation.
The Indoor Tracking of the Next Generation First Responder prize competition tasked a broad audience of innovators, researchers, academia, first responders and the general public to help solve one of the responder community’s most persistent challenges – the need for a real-time, robust indoor tracking capability. More than 50 ideas were submitted for solving these challenges, which were then reviewed by a panel of expert judges. The ideas were systematically reviewed for technical merit and alignment to DHS mission and programmatic needs.
And now, drum roll please!
The first place prize of $20,000 will be awarded to The Vreeland Institute, Inc., of Copake, NY. Their winning solution proposed a multi-layered approach of existing technologies to locate first responders by creating a 3-D map of each room entered as the first responder progresses through a building.
The second place prize of $5,000 will be awarded to Certa Cito, LLC, of Rochester, NY. Their solution adopts an existing localization and tracking technology developed for the sports and mining industries that relies on a deployable mesh network.
These solutions advance us forward in our goal of a first responder who is connected, protected, and fully aware. S&T is exploring how to best incorporate these ideas into the NGFR program.
As I have previously stated, S&T is continuously searching for ways to engage the nation’s innovators – the inventor in his or her basement, the student in college, the first responder on the street – who can bring game-changing technologies to the Homeland Security mission. One of the many tools in the S&T tool kit to reach this new audience is the prize competition. This first one was our pilot, and based on the results and the feedback, it will not be our last.
We’re already looking at other areas for the next competition. Stay tuned to our website and twitter account for the start of the next competition.
Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all who submitted solutions.
Dr. Reginald Brothers
Under Secretary for Science and Technology