Homeland security innovators compete in “Defend America Challenge”
The Chesapeake Innovation Center, America’s first business accelerator for Homeland and national security, recently hosted the finalists for its first “Defend America Challenge,” a competition to expedite the transfer of innovation into the marketplace.
The center received 50 applications for the challenge, ranging from three-page outlines to 80-page volumes. Six were invited for the finals — a 10-minute presentation and a two-minute Q&A held last week in Maryland. The competition was open to any company offering a product or service specializing in the Homeland or national security field.
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Before a crowd of more than 160 attendees that included technology executives and venture capitalists at the Loews Annapolis Hotel, the six finalists showcased everything from virtual reality headsets that can be used to train fighter pilots to products that pinpoint strains of terrorist bio-weapons.
A panel of eight judges, which included venture capitalists and officials from both private and public organizations, judged the contestants on criteria including business viability, market size and presentations.
In the end, ScanTech, an Atlanta-based company whose X-ray technology can identify explosives in shipping containers, won the grand prize of $50,000.
Other finalists included Sensics Inc., Baltimore, for its three-dimensional virtual reality display equipment; Armada Group Inc., Westerville, Ohio, technology company that makes in-car software and equipment for law enforcement; BioDefense Corp., Lexington, Mass., maker of high-intensity mail decontamination equipment; and River Glass, a Chicago information organization company.
A second $50,000 prize for the best invention by a Maryland-based company went to Sensics Inc.