The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) uses prize competitions to invite ideas and solutions directly from the public, or “crowd,” which is called crowdsourcing. Prizes enable us to engage citizen-solvers in competitions for top ideas and concepts, and breakthroughs in science and technology to help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Past prize competitions have helped us find low-cost environmental buoys for the U.S. Coast Guard and better ways to screen for illicit drugs, like opioids, in the international mail system. We use prize competitions to address all kinds of homeland security challenges—big or small—and want you to share your talent!
Announcing the Grand Prize Winner of the Trusted User Interface for Digital Wallets Challenge!
And the grand-prize winner of the Digital Wallets Challenge is...
Dignari, a woman-owned small business from Alexandria, Virginia! Dignari will receive an additional $10,000 for the team’s winning design.
Congratulations to all who entered the Challenge, and to the three finalists:
The $25,000 challenge, launched in September 2020, sought a design concept for an easy-to-use, trusted UI for digital wallets that improves the overall user experience (UX) for the management of digital wallet-based credentials. The challenge took place in two parts. In the first stage, contestants were judged on the design’s UI and end-to-end UX.
Three finalists were announced at a virtual community engagement event hosted by S&T on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. At the event, finalists presented their designs and received feedback from the standards and technical communities to prepare for stage 2 of the Challenge. Federal government experts and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a standards group, provided insights and examples about how they are using, and developing, standards for digital wallets. Each finalist received $5,000 and advanced to the next stage of the challenge.
All finalists did compelling work on implementing digital wallets and engaging with the standards and digital wallets technology community to incorporate feedback into their designs. The finalists submitted details of their work and explanation of how the teams combined an effective end-user experience and shareable back-end functionality for the verifiable credential community.
S&T is planning to post the winning UI for the global community to use and rework the UX of digital wallets.
The Power of Passengers Challenge
Congratulations to the winners in the Power of Passengers Challenge!
In December 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) called on innovators and citizen inventors to leverage innovative approaches that would increase TSA’s security effectiveness and efficiency efforts and improve the passenger experience. To accomplish this mission, TSA asked for this in The Power of Passengers Challenge.
The total prize purse was $215,000 split among one grand prize winner and ten focus area winners. The winners are:
Grand Prize Winner: Synthetik Applied Technologies, LLC, Texas $30,000
Most Creative Response: Identy, Inc., Delaware, $5,000
- First place: Wheel The World, California, $25,000
- Second place: ITsimple, LC, Georgia, $20,000
- Third place: Complex Systems, Texas, $15,000
More Efficient Options for Screening Passengers
- First place: SecureInsights, LLC and Point FWD, Washington, D.C., $25,000
- Second place: Larry Zeng and Megan Zeng, Utah, $20,000
- Third place: Daniel Saab, Ohio, $15,000
Improved Passenger Experience
- First place: HearRo, Inc., California, $25,000
- Second place: Knightscope, Inc., California, $20,000
- Third place: 101 Research LLC, Virginia, $15,000
The Challenge invited innovators and citizen investors to submit responses with approaches or innovations that can re-envision how TSA generates, interprets, and uses data to improve security, efficiency, and passenger experience in one or more of the following areas of interest:
- Area of Interest 1: Security Effectiveness – Improved security outcomes, improved false alarm rate, increased detection of prohibited items, improved identification of mal-actors, better situational awareness of security performance and effectiveness, etc.
- Area of Interest 2: More Efficient Options for Screening Passengers – More efficient use of screening personnel, decreased number of procedural steps, decreased cost per passenger screened, increased passenger screening speed, increased number of passengers screened, improved use of airport infrastructure (physical constraints), etc.
- Area of Interest 3: Improved Passenger Experience – Decreased passenger queue wait times, improved passenger divestiture of items, increased predictability of experience, improved ease of experience, greater levels and options for autonomy and self-service, etc.
Rules, Terms, and Conditions of the Digital Wallets Prize Challenge
What is the Challenge?
Some DHS operations are using blockchain and distributed technologies to issue and verify credentials using open standards. These systems use credentials that may be issued by DHS and held in a digital wallet. DHS is looking for a UI design that supports best practices for visual consistency, ensures security and privacy, is interoperable, and can be integrated with existing back-end processes. The UI needs to instill confidence in the user of the digital wallet that their online interactions are secure and that the parties they are interacting with are legitimate. The goal of this challenge is to foster better UIs for digital wallets to be used by DHS and anyone in the community.
Payment of Prizes: Prizes awarded under this challenge will be paid by DHS S&T and must be received by each entrant via electronic funds transfer. All federal, state, and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the finalists and grand prize winner. DHS S&T will comply with the Internal Revenue Service withholding and reporting requirements, where applicable.
A judging panel will consist of DHS S&T and other federal partner representatives. The representatives are from DHS S&T Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Education, and United States Department of State.
This challenge is for a better design for a trusted UI for digital wallets that support the (1) World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Verifiable Credential (VC) Data Model and (2) Decentralized Identifiers (DID) standards/specifications.
Reference: The digital wallet work that DHS is currently utilizing is using standards and specifications that are incubated at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the global standards development organization that has defined and manages many of the standards used by internet technologies.
As such, it is expected that entrants to the challenge will engage with the W3C Credential Community Group (CCG) to ensure that their proposed designs support W3C standards-based digital wallet implementations.
Note: Reference to the W3C VC Data Model and DID standards/specifications is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. government.
Stage 1: includes an application review and judging period. Up to three (3) finalists will be selected and receive $5,000 each.
Each entry will be based on whether the UI is easy-to-use; visual consistency, while supporting interoperability; security; and privacy best practices.
Stage 1 will be judged on the following criteria:
- The completeness of the interaction flows:
- Obtaining/signing up for a digital wallet from a wallet provider
- Interacting with an issuer to obtain a W3C Verifiable Credential (i.e., interacting with USCIS to obtain a Digital Permanent Resident Card)
- Interacting with a second issuer to obtain another W3C Verifiable Credential (i.e., interacting with a university to obtain a Digital University Degree Credential)
- Interacting with a verifier to present one or more of the W3C Verifiable Credentials in the wallet that highlights the following capabilities
- Consent management for credential release
- Selective disclosure of a credential
- Presenting multiple credentials if requested by the verifier
- W3C VC and DID standards/specification support for the interaction flows
- Visual consistency across web and mobile modalities
- Use of color and typography to enhance understanding and provide feedback to user
- Support for widely accepted web and mobile design standards
- Intellectual property release that allows for sharing/reuse/remix of the work by the community
Stage 1 finalists will be announced and participate in an outreach event hosted by DHS S&T. At this event, the finalists will explain their designs and interact with standards bodies, DHS components, and other potential U.S. government customers. The event will be virtual and feature discussions with the government community and W3C group. The discussions will provide the finalists domain expertise and insight into application integration and standards-based digital wallet implementations. The event is planned to take place in October. DHS S&T will be in contact with stage 1 finalists on announcement and event dates.
Note: The event will be open to the public and does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. government of any entity or individual in attendance.
Selected stage 1 finalists should continue to work with the W3C CCG membership to receive their feedback on their designs and the technical constraints that should be considered to further refine their work as they advance to stage 2 of the challenge.
Stage 2: includes an evaluation and a judging process and one (1) grand prize winner will be awarded an additional $10,000 based on the best design solution.
In addition, stage 2 finalists will be asked to submit a set of design artifacts including design principles, components, tokens and templates and supporting documentation (e.g., GSA’s United States Web Design provides an example) that together can be used to implement the UI experience.
Stage 2 will be judged on the following criteria:
- All criteria used for stage 1 judging
- The ease of use in independently implementing the UI and UX using the design artifacts provided as part of the stage 2 submission
The grand-prize winner will be awarded an additional $10,000 and publicly announced in December.
Contestants’ scores and ranks will be based on the evaluation metric described in this announcement posted on this DHS S&T Prize Competition website.
Stage 1 finalists and stage 2 grand prize winner of this challenge will be determined solely by the judging panel’s ranking (subject to compliance with the challenge rules, terms and conditions).
Rules, Terms, and Conditions
Eligibility Requirements: This challenge is open to all individuals (non-felons) over the age of 18, U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents at the time of entry, and to all legal U.S. entities whose primary place of business is in the U.S. Eligibility is subject to verification by DHS S&T before cash prizes are awarded.
Officers, directors, advisory board members, employees, and support contractors of the DHS and challenge judges are ineligible to compete in this challenge. Likewise, members of their immediate family (spouses, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, parents, step-parents), and persons living in the same household, whether or not related, are not eligible to participate in any portion of this challenge. Note: The members of an individual’s household include any other person who shares the same residence as such individual for at least three months out of the year. See the Challenge.gov public notice for full set of exclusions and eligibility requirements.
You are not eligible to receive any cash prize award in the challenge if you are a resident designated by the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
To be eligible to win a cash prize award under this challenge, an individual or entity:
- Shall have applied to participate in this challenge under the rules promulgated by DHS in accordance with the description provided and comply with all of the requirements on this DHS S&T Prize Competition website, the official competition website.
- Pursuant to the America COMPETES Act of 2010, cash and non-cash awards for this challenge may only be given to an individual that is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States, or an entity that is incorporated in and whose primary place of business is in the United States, subject to verification by DHS before prizes are awarded. An individual or entity must submit an entry from this DHS S&T Prize Competition website to be eligible to win a prize.
- Entities selected as a prize finalist and grand prize winner must register or be previously registered in the System for Awards Management in order to receive a cash prize. Registration in the System for Awards Management is not a prerequisite for submitting an entry to this challenge. Failure to register in the System for Awards Management within thirty (30) days of notification by DHS will result in a disqualification of the winning entry. An individual or entity that is determined to be on the GSA Excluded Parties List is ineligible to receive a cash prize award and will not be selected as a cash prize finalist or grand prize winner.
- Individuals and entities, otherwise eligible to win a prize, may form and submit a team entry; however, each eligible individual or entity must first register as an individual or contestant for the challenge before they form a team. Failure to follow this procedure as outlined on this Challenge website will disqualify the challenge submission. Team winnings, as determined by DHS S&T, will be distributed to the team entry.
- Contestants to this challenge must agree to be bound by the rules of the challenge, agree that the decision of the judges for this challenge are final and binding, and acknowledge that their submission may be the subject of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and that they are responsible for identifying and marking all business confidential and proprietary information in their submission.
- Individuals and individual team members selected as a challenge cash prize finalist or grand prize winner must submit all required taxpayer identification and bank account information required to complete an electronic payment of the cash prize. Failure to provide DHS S&T required documents for electronic payment within thirty (30) days of notification by DHS S&T will result in a disqualification of any winning entry.
- Contestants in this challenge agree, as a condition for winning a cash prize, to complete and submit all required finalists and grand prize winner verification documents to DHS within thirty (30) days of notification, including granting DHS a worldwide, non-exclusive, sub-licensable, transferable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable license in the finalist or grand-prize winning solutions and any related artifacts. DHS will provide this license to the finalist and grand prize winner for completion. DHS plans, but is not obligated, to make the solutions publicly available, such as by posting the finalists and grand prize winner solutions on a software hosting site. Failure to return all required verification documents and the completed license by the date specified in the notification may be a basis for disqualification of any finalists or grand prize-winning entry.
- Contestants to this challenge must agree and consent, as a condition for receiving a cash prize, to the use of their name, entity, city and state, likeness or image, comments, and a short synopsis of their finalist or grand prize-winning solution as a part of DHS’s promotion of this challenge.
- As a condition of participation, all contestants must agree to indemnify the federal government against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to challenge activities. Contestants are not required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to participate in the challenge. By entering the challenge, contestants agree to hold DHS harmless from all legal and administrative claims to include associated expenses that may arise from any claims related to their challenge software (code) or its use.
- Contestants must own or have access to a computer, an Internet connection, and any other electronic devices, documentation, software, or other items that contestants may deem necessary to create and enter a submission. The government will not reimburse contestant’s time and expense to enter the challenge.
- The following contestants or participants (including any individuals participating as part of a team or entity) are not eligible regardless of whether they meet the criteria set forth above:
- Any federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of his or her employment or otherwise be prohibited by federal law (employees should consult their agency ethics officials). Note: federal ethical conduct rules may restrict or prohibit federal employees from engaging in certain outside activities; any federal employee not excluded under the prior paragraph seeking to participate in this challenge outside the scope of employment should consult his/her agency's ethics official prior to developing a submission.
- Any individual or entity that used DHS federal facilities or relied upon significant consultation with DHS federal employees to develop a submission, unless the facilities and employees were made available to all contestants or participants in this challenge on an equal basis.
- Any individual or entity that used federal funds to develop a submission, unless such use is consistent with the grant award, or other applicable federal funds awarding document. If a grantee using federal funds enters and wins this challenge, the prize monies must be treated as program income for purposes of the original grant in accordance with applicable Office of Management and Budget Circulars. Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop a submission for this challenge.
- Per 15 U.S.C. 3719(h), an individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible under these eligibility rules because the individual or entity used federal facilities or consulted with federal employees during a challenge if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the challenge on an equitable basis.
- Use of Marks: Except as expressly set forth in the Contestant/Participant Agreement or the challenge rules, contestants or participants shall not use the names, trademarks, service marks, logos, insignias, trade dress, or any other designation of source or origin subject to legal protection, copyrighted material or similar intellectual property (“Marks”) of the organizers or other challenge partners, sponsors, or collaborators in any way without such party’s prior written permission in each instance, which such party may grant or withhold at its sole and absolute discretion.
- An individual or entity that is determined to be on the GSA Excluded Parties List is ineligible to receive a cash prize award and will not be selected as a challenge finalist or grand-prize winner.
- Nothing in this announcement, registering as a contestant or being designated as a finalist or winner shall act as an endorsement by DHS. Contestants, including finalists and grand prize winner, shall refrain from any activity that through word or deed act as or function as an apparent endorsement of a contestant, finalist, or grand prize winner. Contestants are prohibited from using the logo or official seal of DHS or other government logos or official seals and must not otherwise give an appearance of U.S. government endorsement.
The submission of an entry to this challenge does not guarantee acceptance, a cash or non-cash award, or further use or consideration of the graphical user interface by DHS.
Prize awards are subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with the challenge rules. All decisions of the competition sponsor and judges are final and binding on all matters relating to this challenge. The competition sponsor reserves the right to examine the submission and any associated code or documentation for compliance with these challenge rules. In the event that the submission demonstrates a breach of these challenge rules, competition sponsor may, at its discretion, take either of the following actions:
- Disqualify a submission(s)
- Require remediation within one week of all issues identified in your submission(s) (including, without limitation, the resolution of license conflicts, the fulfillment of all obligations required by software licenses, and the removal of any software that violates the software restrictions).
Intellectual Property: Contestants retain ownership of their existing intellectual property (IP). However, it is required that software (code) and other artifacts submitted in accordance with to this challenge will be subject to the provisions of items 7 and 15 of the above rules, terms, and conditions.
Privacy: Information provided by contestants will be used to contact selected finalists and grand prize winner. Information is not collected for commercial marketing. Finalists and the grand prize winner are permitted to cite that they won this challenge after it has been officially announced by DHS subject to the provisions of item 15 of the above rules, terms, and conditions. The names, cities, and states of selected finalists and grand prize winner will be made available in promotional materials and at recognition events.
Questions: Questions regarding this challenge may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. DHS S&T will share questions and answers with all registered contestants by email during the challenge.
Past Prize Competitions
Through prize competitions DHS has sought the inspiration of citizens to find creative solutions to tough problems that require a variety of perspectives. See what kind of prize challenges S&T has done in the past!
For more information on the Department of Homeland Security’s Prize Competitions, contact the team at PrizeAuthority@hq.dhs.gov.