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DHS S&T Announces Wearable Technology Accelerator Initiative

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced the kickoff of EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology, seeking the development of state of the art wearable technologies on the commercial market that can be modified for first responders.

Wearable technology devices use wireless connectivity to collect and share information among multiple devices creating a comprehensive dataset. First responders, who are often using cumbersome and outdated technologies, can leverage wearable devices to minimize equipment while maximizing effective response efforts.

S&T said it is looking to the startup community to bring wearable technologies to first responders.

“Building on the success of its EMERGE Accelerator Pilot last year, S&T continues to mobilize innovators to help first responders whose difficult and grueling job requires them to carry outdated and heavy equipment,” DHS said, noting, “With EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology, we want to enable today’s firefighters, police and emergency medical technicians to communicate seamlessly with fellow responders, to survey a scene in advance and to track their health status as they put themselves in harm’s way.”

DHS said, “We know the answer to these challenges is out there, which is why S&T is seeking applicants for EMERGE through Friday, September 2, 2016. With our partners, we are looking for early-stage companies with next generation wearable technologies that could be adapted for first responders such as body-worn electronics, advance sensors, and integrated voice and data communications embedded into gear.”

EMERGE continues S&T’s focus to significantly change the face of federal government research and development. The goal is to use novel ways to mobilize innovators around the country and the world to solve the most difficult challenges throughout the homeland security enterprise. These include prize competitions, tapping into accelerator networks, and directly funding startups that match homeland security needs, bringing innovative solutions to homeland security community that would be otherwise unavailable.

The team is looking for early-stage companies with the next generation of innovation in the wearable technology that could be adapted for first responders. First responders have a tremendous need for wearable technology, such as body-worn electronics, advance sensors, and integrated voice and data communications embedded in responders’ gear.

“Our world is becoming more connected, and we need to take advantage of the emerging technology and get that technology to first responders who make our communities safer and more resilient,” said DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin, a former firefighter and emergency manager. “Innovation is all around us and it is our responsibility to ensure that we are using all the technology and resources possible to ensure safety and efficiency.”

An expansion of the successful EMERGE accelerator pilot begun last year, this is S&T’s second time partnering with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), located in the Dulles Innovation Corridor. CIT manages MACH37, a cybersecurity accelerator. Its other partner is TechNexus, a venture collaborative based in Chicago. EMERGE also is supported by the Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Interested startup companies can apply at cit.org/emerge. Selected participants will be featured on S&T’s EMERGE website andwill have the opportunity to demonstrate their technology in front of first responders, strategic industry partners and investors.

“The additional benefits to startups are a first-rate education in business development from mentors around the business world,early market validation, test and evaluation opportunities, and a path to introduce their technologies to a variety of markets, including government sector partners,” DHS said.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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