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News | Dec. 5, 2017

Innovators Recognized for Viable Solutions to "Hack the Human Element"

MD5, the Department of Defense’s national security technology accelerator, hosted area innovators for a three-day hackathon event entitled “Hacking the Human Element” December 1 – 3 in Tampa, FL. The event, presented in partnership with SOFWERX, focused on wearable technologies to enhance operator performance in austere and challenging environmental conditions, with judges awarding four teams for their prototype hackathon solutions.

Local practitioners, technologists, developers, academia, industry partners and the military worked as teams throughout the event to build and demonstrate prototypes which incorporate the latest applications of these wearable technologies.   The teams’ solutions were evaluated on the potential impact on challenge area, validation, level of demonstration, and the viability of bringing the solution to market.

The winning teams and solution concepts included:

  • Squad Dr. Bones McCoy: Demonstrated an automated, on-demand triage system for the battlefield. The Dr. Bones McCoy solution utilized readily available off the shelf technology which is commercially viable in all first responder environments.
  • Squad Smart Tourniquets: Demonstrated a tourniquet concept to be embedded into an under garment to allow the operator to stop bleeding due to a wound to an extremity.  The Smart Tourniquet solution provides a total of four tourniquets developed within the uniform that may be applied high on each limb, thus reducing application time, removing user error and looking ahead, the ability to include auto-activated biosensors to be applied to unconscious operators.
  • Squad Blood Suckers: Demonstrated an intravenous diagnostic probe (IVDP) to provide real-time and continuous blood analysis to ensure efficient and effective treatment of casualties via an IVDP Treatment Guide App, reducing the costs of laboratory costs and provides instantaneous direction for treatment provided by Focal Points of Care.
  • Squad Fabric Communications: Demonstrated a free-space optical communication technology using function fabric to ensure sufficient communications in austere environments. Future uses for the Fabric Communications concepts include battlefield triage, chemical sensing, identification, and Lidar mapping.

Each of the four winning teams will  receive up to $15K project funding and mentoring from MD5 to advance their concepts.   Additionally, the winners were highlighted by Manufacturing USA at the Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC 2017) held in Tampa on December 4th.

“It is amazing what can happen you mix diverse innovators with operators who really understand the problems,” said Dr. Bill Kernick, Principal MD5. “This is just the start, and we’re excited to keep working with the four winning teams so they can advance these concepts toward real outcomes.”

For details on the winning solutions, log onto

MD5 is the Department of Defense’s national security technology accelerator. MD5 provides a platform to cultivate the people and ideas necessary to build technology-based ventures that align to national economic, security and social objectives for the good of the nation.

SOFWERX is a partnership between USSOCOM and the Doolittle Institute that brings together industry, academia, special operators, inventors, and other partners. Innovation at SOFWERX is driven by the requirements of special operators.

 Manufacturing USA brings together public and private investments to improve the competitiveness and productivity of U.S. manufacturing through the creation of a robust network of 14 manufacturing innovation institutes.  Each institute is a public-private partnership focusing on a specific, promising advanced manufacturing technology area.  Of the 14 institutes, DOD is responsible for 8 with the remaining 6 sponsored by DOE and NIST.  Two of the DoD-sponsored institutes, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) and NextFlex, participated in “Hacking the Human Element.”