If you are a startup with a technology that could be adapted for firefighters, law enforcement or emergency medical technicians, I have an ask and an opportunity for you.
My ask is for better wearable tech for first responders. The sheer weight of their equipment, limited mobility and often hampered communications puts those who put themselves in harm’s way at greater risk, and can jeopardize their ability to save lives safely.
At S&T, we’ve known this challenge exists, and we are exploring all options to improve responder equipment. That’s where startups come in.
My opportunity for you is EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology, a program that will connect startups with business development opportunities, early market validation, and a path to introduce your technology to investors. You can apply and learn more at cit.org/emerge.
We started EMERGE last year as a pilot program with the goal of bringing us closer to cutting-edge technologies in the startup community that have a viable market like health or fitness. With market viability, this tech has a better chance of making it to first responders, which is our goal at S&T.
Last year, we identified more than a dozen wearable technology startups and small innovators that could be adapted for first responders. The companies had the opportunity to showcase their tech to investors at our demonstration day, showing us things like a mouth guard that could send messages using bone conduction technology and gloves that respond to touch commands.
With a formalized program in year two, we are taking the success of the pilot to continue our search for better wearable technology. We continue to work with partners TechNexus and Center for Innovative Technology who each bring unique contributions to the program.
S&T will continue to be the innovative catalyst between the companies and the front line operators to ensure that the products make sense in the responder setting—will it connect with the rest of their gear, will it be light weight or decrease the heavy weight responders already bear?
We believe this is the future of bringing the best technology to those who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. I hope you will join us as we work to help responders in fire houses, police stations and ambulances across the country. Learn more at cit.org/emerge!
Dr. Reginald Brothers
Under Secretary for Science and Technology