COLLEGE STATION – Three companies won the top prizes in the “Under
Fire Response Innovation Showdown,” an event which drew 20 innovative public
safety technologies to College Station and Disaster City. The winners were
Bounce Imaging, Veterans MFG and DetectaChem. They were among the nine
companies who made it to the final round in the two-day competition, and
demonstrated their technologies for first responders at Disaster City®. (See photo below.)
The Product Development Center at the Texas A&M Engineering
Extension Service (TEEX) hosted the event, which invited 20 companies from 11
states and Switzerland to pitch their products before a panel of judges on
March 8-9 and compete for cash prizes.
First place winner was Bounce Imaging of Buffalo, NY, which has
developed a softball-sized, 360-degree camera that first responders could toss
into a hostage situation or other hostile event to give them an inside view of the
Veterans MFG of Katy, TX, has developed lightweight body armor
and bullet-resistant products for first responders.
DetectaChem of Stafford, TX, has a product that detects trace
amounts of a drug using a swab kit and a smartphone application, allowing
responders to analyze a drug sample in the field.
In addition to the top prizes, three companies were awarded in-kind
services by Esri, Paragon Innovations and Ricochet Manufacturing. The companies
who won those awards are RSQ Systems, HAAS Alert and Veterans MFG.
Many company spokespersons said they were excited about the
opportunity to showcase their product’s capabilities in front of potential
users of the technology.
“It was an open forum for a wide variety of technologies,” said
Caleb Holt, Manager of the Product Development Center. “The event focused on
technologies that are targeted to provide first responders with a way to
complete their tasks faster, more efficiently and/or safer for both the
responders and citizens.”
He said the goals of the event were to expose first responders
to emerging technologies that they could use in the real world to make their
jobs easier and safer, to show companies the resources and facilities available
at TEEX’s Disaster City, and to build the Product Development Center’s network
of partners throughout the industry and first responder communities.
The next Under Fire event is being planned for March 2019.
About the TEEX Product Development Center
The Product Development Center, a center within the Texas
A&M Engineering Extension Service, helps manufacturers, product developers,
inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses move products from an idea or concept
to the global marketplace. The Center serves as a gateway to the engineering
expertise, experienced market analysts, laboratories, and real-world facilities
of The Texas A&M University System in order to ensure a product or
technology stays on the path to commercialization. Using the proven process of
THINK | BUILD | SELL, the PDC helps companies develop methodologies, recruit
subject-matter experts, assess partnerships, and test and evaluate their
products. The Center also offers TEEX TESTED, a third-party, unbiased testing
and validation that a technology performs reliably in real-world