The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program announced last week that $2.94 million dollars will be awarded to small businesses as part of their Phase 1 awards. There are a total of 19 small businesses who will receive up to $150,000 to prove the feasibility of their specific technology concept.
“The SBIR program is an excellent starting point for tapping into the innovative approaches of America’s small businesses,” says William N. Bryan, Senior Official for DHS Science and Technology. “We look forward to seeing what technologies and concepts can be cultivated from the SBIR Phase I awards into useful tools for the Homeland Security mission.”
The SBIR awards Phase 1 grants to “establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II.” It’s an initial sum that promises more money down the road based on the success of the awardee.
The 19 companies who were recently awarded were grouped into seven research categories. These categories each represent technological advancements of interest to the DHS. And they cover a fairly broad gamut.
A wearable fentanyl analog sensor is among one of the technologies being tested. The sensor is meant to alert DHS agents and first responders to the presence of harmful levels of certain airbourne opioid compounds. These compounds can cause drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and confusion.
Another interesting technology is the cell phone location finder for maritime and remote search and rescue. It’s a technology that will allow search and rescue teams to geo-locate people using the radio waves that emanate from their phones. It would be primarily used for maritime search and rescue operations, and the crux of the design is to make something that is both useful and legal.
Those small businesses who prove their given concepts will move on to Phase 2, which focuses on expanding the R&D efforts of the project with funding up to $1,000,000.