NASA iTech Winners Tackle Tech for Space Communications and Medicine
A nanosatellite communications network, 3D printed synthetic organs and mobile medical test solution impressed NASA technologists judging the agency’s iTech competition.
NASA iTech selected three winning companies from 10 finalist teams for their innovative space technology ideas. NASA iTech Program Executive Kira Blackwell announced the winners after two days of in person presentations and meetings with finalists at the competition forum in Hartford, Connecticut.
Government and industry subject matter experts gathered on Oct. 26 to evaluate the finalists’ technology pitches, spanning five focus areas: Big Data and Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Robotic Capabilities, Revolutionary Concepts for Communications, Medical Breakthroughs, and X-Factor innovations. The final category included entries that may not fit within a specific focus area but demonstrate the potential to address a critical need for NASA exploration missions as well as humans on Earth.
“Each NASA iTech cycle brings an impressive range and caliber of ideas,” said Jim Reuter, the acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “As NASA pushes forward to the Moon, we’re interested in innovations that challenge the limits of knowledge and precision in ways we haven’t already imagined.”
The three winners of NASA iTech’s 2018 Cycle III competition are:
Analytical Space – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Data relay network solution that uses small spacecraft to get satellite data back to Earth quickly and affordably.
Lazarus 3D – Houston
Three-dimensionally printed models of human tissues and organs that mimic the mechanical properties of real body parts. The technology required to 3D print soft materials could have applications in space.
One Milo, Inc. – Miami
Compact devices that enable rapid diagnostic testing – using samples of blood, urine or saliva – and wirelessly send results to a smartphone application. This innovative medical lab test can be done anywhere on Earth and potentially in space.
The winners were selected based on criteria including technical viability, likely impact on future space exploration, benefits to humanity and potential for commercialization.
“It’s incredible to see what technology solutions entrepreneurs come up with and how those ideas evolve with a platform like NASA iTech,” said Blackwell. “We give innovators the opportunity to interact with experts who know the industry and technology development process.”
“The best things about this event were the guidance we’ve gotten, the connections with other companies and – the most important thing is that this event is going to help us translate our technologies and make them have real world effects,” said Jacques Zaneveld, Lazarus 3D co-founder and NASA iTech winner.
What’s next for the three winning teams? NASA iTech will continue to mentor these companies throughout the technology development process, offering subject matter expertise as the they bring their ideas to market.
An initiative by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, iTech aims to find innovative ideas that have the potential to overcome critical technology hurdles facing future exploration of the Moon and Mars, even though many were originally meant to solve important problems here on Earth. NASA iTech is managed by the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia.
To watch the 2018 NASA iTech Cycle III Forum, visit:
For information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.