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News | June 21, 2017

Opportunity to Advance New Concepts at Department of Defense Hackathon for Emergency Response with Functional Fabrics

MD5, the National Security Technology Accelerator, is hosting its next Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA July 28-30. The event leverages emerging fabric technology to create new solutions for emergency response, bringing together practitioners, technologists and military staff to build product prototypes over 54 hours. The functional fabrics system prototypes will address challenges encountered in environments such as disaster sites, conflict zones and other scenarios of humanitarian relief. Mentors from the field will be available to provide guidance and unique insights to the entrepreneurs who are convening to create new capabilities in communications, data collection, triage, and emergency response.

Textiles are ubiquitous and will certainly be common in any disaster zone. The Hackathon will define and explore how new, advanced functions in fabrics can augment the efficacy of relief efforts. These advanced capabilities include fabric systems to enable identification, communications, climate control, and performance monitoring. Examples include fabrics that can provide individual-specific patterns, communicate outside radio-frequency bands of energy, locate in GPS-denied environments, passively or actively heat and/or cool, measure and respond to temperature, harvest solar energy, and monitor and report physiological status.

Co-hosts of the Hackathon include the MIT Innovation Initiative, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) and the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy office. AFFOA and MD5 stakeholders provide technologies to be hacked, including advanced fabrics as well as software and hardware tools.

“AFFOA’s mission is to transform traditional fibers, yarns and fabrics into highly sophisticated, integrated and networked devices and systems. The Hackathon will bring together bright minds, specialists and exciting new technologies under one roof to create solutions and systems that do just that.”, said Aimee Rose, Chief Technology Officer of AFFOA.

This is MD5’s third Hackathon and follows contests in New York City , New York (October 2016) and Austin, Texas (February 2017), focused on hacking humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. The competitions gathered over 200 civilian participants and delivered 33 solution concepts. Six winning teams were invited to continue developing with awards of up to $15,000. 

“To us, the Hackathon is just the start;” said Bill Kernick, Principal at MD5, “we’re looking forward to collaborating with the Hackathon winners to advance their concepts toward pilot use.  That is what MD5 is about.”

Please visit MD5’s site for more Details on Boston Hackathon and information on how to register.