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Sunday, October 2, 2022

TSA Announces Power of Passengers Challenge Winners

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and TechConnect Ventures announce that 11 technology institutions won the crowdsourcing competition “Power of Passengers Challenge” campaign.

“Co-creating and crowdsourced innovation are no longer novelties for TSA; it’s an imperative to build a pipeline of solutions, increase our capabilities and expand the transportation security marketplace,” said TSA Chief Innovation Officer, Dan McCoy. “The Power of Passengers challenge has been an incredible opportunity to broaden innovation for TSA and our partners.”

The crowdsourced effort presented TSA with more than 125 technologies or concepts to consider.

“We are really proud that this challenge delivered great concepts and many potential technology solutions that seem actionable and promising for TSA,” said Nick Kacsandi, executive director of TechConnect Ventures. “The depth and breadth of innovations – from novel applications for TSA data to advancements in sensors and even COVID-19 mitigation technologies – reinforces the real power that exists among the passenger crowd.”

TechConnect Ventures will award $215,000 to be split among one grand prize winner and ten focus area winners. They are:

  • Grand prize: Synthetik Applied Technologies, LLC, Texas $30,000
  • First place in security effectiveness: Wheel The World, California, $25,000
  • Second place in security effectiveness: ITsimple, LC, Georgia, $20,000
  • Third place in security effectiveness: Complex Systems, Texas, $15,000
  • First place in operational efficiency: SecureInsights, LLC, Washington, D.C., $25,000
  • Second place in operational efficiency: Larry Zeng and Megan Zeng, Utah, $20,000
  • Third place in operational efficiency: Daniel Saab, Ohio, $15,000
  • First place in passenger experience: HearRo, Inc., California, $25,000
  • Second place in passenger experience: Knightscope, Inc., California, $20,000
  • Third place in passenger experience: 101 Research LLC, Virginia, $15,000
  • Most creative response: Identy, Inc., Delaware, $5,000

The challenge campaign included partners from NASA and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

The grand prize winner is already known to DHS. Last September, Synthetik Applied Technologies received DHS funding in order to develop machine learning training data that simulates human travelers and baggage object models to support machine learning algorithms. This award was made under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. Prior to this, in June 2020, DHS S&T announced it had awarded contracts to Synthetik Applied Technologies for both explosives detection and handheld imaging system research and development.

Find out more about the Power of Passengers Challenge at TechConnect


Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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