NIA-News Release 2017-07: NASA iTech Selects Top 25 Semifinalists in Innovation Competition

NIA-News Release 2017-07: NASA iTech Selects Top 25 Semifinalists in Innovation Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                      November 21, 2017

Harla Sherwood
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.

NIA Release: 2017-07


NASA iTech Selects Top 25 Semifinalists in Innovation Competition

NASA iTech has selected 25 of the most promising ideas submitted by innovators across the U.S. as semifinalists in Cycle 3.

NASA’s iTech is an initiative by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) to find innovative ideas that address important problems here on Earth and also hold great potential to overcome critical technology hurdles in future space exploration. Those ideas may come from small or large businesses, academia, and other government organizations that may not have previously had a forum to present their solutions to NASA leadership or their industry partners.

“It’s always exciting to see the ideas that the top 25 semifinalists submit for each Cycle. The creativity and potential these entrepreneurs propose, to address some of space exploration’s toughest technical objectives are always very impressive,” said Kira Blackwell, NASA iTech program executive for STMD. “These entries also reflect groundbreaking approaches that could solve important problems here on Earth within our focus areas.”

In September, NASA iTech issued a call for solutions within focus areas including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality Advancement, Autonomy, High Performance Computing and Medical Breakthrough. The popular NASA iTech Cycle 2 category, X-Factor Innovations, also returned in Cycle 3 to allow for trailblazing ideas or technologies that may not align precisely with another specific focus area, but could still make a significant impact on future exploration efforts.

A panel of subject matter experts representing NASA will now review the top 25 Cycle 3 semifinalist entries based on their relevance, likelihood of success, and potential positive impact on space exploration and life on Earth.

The top ten finalists for NASA’s iTech Cycle 3 will be announced on Dec. 18. These finalists will be invited to present their ideas to NASA’s chief technologists, space industry leaders and potential investors at the NASA iTech Cycle 3 Forum to be held at Canon U.S.A. in Melville, New York, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2018.

The top 25 NASA iTech Cycle 2 semifinalists are (in alphabetical order):

AdvancingX – Rocklin, California
Innovation: Organizational Team Index & Motion Analysis Key Indicators
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

BI Tech – Business Integra Technology Solutions – Houston, Texas
Innovation: SG200 Space Computer
Challenge Area: High Performance Computing

BioVirtua – San Francisco, California
Innovation: BioVirtua: Humanizing Telehealth in Four Dimensions
Challenge Area: Augmented Reality Advancement

BluHaptics – Seattle, Washington
Innovation: Augmented Telerobotics: Key Enabler to Commercialization of Space
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

Bubble Base – Pasadena, California
Innovation: 3D Printed Bubble Base for Space
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

FGC Plasma Solutions – Argonne, Illinois
Innovation: Novel Fuel Injectors to Enable Clean, Compact Propulsion
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

Georgia Tech & Aurora Flight Sciences – Atlanta, Georgia
Innovation: Autonomous Parabolic Laboratory
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

Germfalcon – Los Angeles, California
Innovation: Germfalcon – Germicidal UVC Emitting Robot for Commercial Aircraft
Challenge Area: Medical Breakthrough

Green Fortress Engineering (GFE) – Greensburg, Indiana
Innovation: Orthogonal Loops in a Circular Cislunar Economy
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

H2 Energy Now – Boalsburg, Pennsylvania
Innovation: New Technology for H2 Generation from Water in Space by Use of Electromagnetic Waves
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies – Los Angeles, California
Innovation: Augmented Voyage
Challenge Area: Augmented Reality Advancement

iFirst Medical Technologies – Honolulu, Hawaii
Innovation: The iFirst Analyzer: Handheld Laboratory-grade Diagnostics Platform for Extreme Environments
Challenge Area: Medical Breakthrough

InnoStudio – SpeedyNano Team – San Diego, California
Innovation: Nanoization to Develop Hydroponic Cultures
Challenge Area: Medical Breakthrough 

International Game Technology (IGT) – San Ramon, California
Innovation: NASA Interactive Portal (NIP)
Challenge Area: Augmented Reality Advancement

LOOK – Lafayette, Indiana
Innovation: Junior Tube & LOOK Combined: Visual Resources to Overcome Challenges
Challenge Area: Augmented Reality Advancement

Million Concepts – Lemont, Pennsylvania
Innovation: The Arisian Lens: A Novel Solution for Low-cost, Lightweight Microscopy
Challenge Area: Medical Breakthrough

New Frontier Aerospace – Livermore, California
Innovation: Affordable, Powered Recovery for Small Launch Vehicles
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

OncoTab – Charlotte, North Carolina
Innovation: A Monitoring Strategy for the Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Individuals
Challenge Area: Medical Breakthrough

PHR Plus – Phoenix, Arizona
Innovation: Connected Health Tools
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

QT Team – Houston, Texas
Innovation: Utilizing Quadrant Theory for Long-Duration Human Spaceflight
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation 

Rice Technology – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Innovation: Smart Real-Time Multipurpose Sensor – Dissolved and Suspended Solids, Bacteria, Phosphorus and Viruses
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

Senstone – San Francisco, California
Innovation: Senstone: 21st-century Diary Suited for Spacecraft
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

Somatic Labs – Phoenix, Arizona
Innovation: Tactile Interfaces for Augmented Reality to Enhance Communication
Challenge Area: Augmented Reality Advancement

SpaceFlow – San Diego, California
Innovation: Pump-free Flow Reactor
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation

University of Arkansas – CPMC Team – Fayetteville, Arkansas
Innovation: Cyber-physical Manufacturing Cloud for Space Manufacturing
Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovation


For information about the NASA iTech initiative, visit:

For information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:


Gina Anderson
Headquarters, Washington

Timothy Allen
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.






Hampton Roads Small Business Accelerators Receive $50,000

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NIA News Release 2017-06: U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $499K to Support Entrepreneurship Efforts in Hampton Roads

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         September 21, 2017

Harla Sherwood
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.

NIA Release: 2017-06


U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $499K to Support Entrepreneurship Efforts in Hampton Roads

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the National Institute of Aerospace, NIA, located in Hampton, Va., has been awarded a $499,833 i6 Challenge grant.  NIA partnered with local investment group 757 Angels and economic development organization Reinvent Hampton Roads to propose the 757 Accelerate program.

The 757 Accelerate proposal was the only successful application from Virginia, competing against more than 200 applicants from nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations in 28 states. “We are thrilled that NIA can have a role in this project.  We anticipate that the 757 Accelerator will help create at least 15 new viable companies in the area, contributing more than 100 new jobs to our local economy,” said James Closs, NIA Director of Research Program Development.

This accelerator program will operate as a mentor-driven, selective program focused on connecting promising startup and early stage companies in emerging technology sectors with vetted mentors, investors, support services, and educational opportunities throughout the region.  Daniel Morris, Executive Director of NIA’s REaKTOR Business Technology Innovation Center and Program Manager for the i6 Challenge Grant, said, “This is the first time regional leaders have set aside barriers on a venture of this magnitude.  By collaborating, we have found a way to coalesce unique regional resources, investors, mentorship, and research opportunities to create the environment we need to grow a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

“The coveted i6 Challenge grants are awarded to capacity-building projects aimed at increasing regional entrepreneurship through support of innovation, research, and technology commercialization programs,” said Evans McMillion, Vice President of Research and Strategy at Reinvent Hampton Roads.  The 757 Accelerate submission was backed by an unprecedented coalition of regional partners that formed a winning combination.  More than 50 organizations came together to pledge support for this venture, but the core partners included five cities: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth; four universities:  Christopher Newport University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University; and one corporate sponsor, Towne Bank.  “The award of this grant is not just a happy ending, but rather an exciting beginning.  The real story here is the collaboration that will grow the economic diversity of not only Hampton Roads, but Southeastern Virginia,” says 757 Angels Executive Director Monique Adams.  “This award underscores the fact that we are stronger and better when we work together.  Our core partners’ belief in that collaborative ethos is what got us here, but it is their continued support that will help translate this win into real economic momentum for Hampton Roads,” said McMillion.

The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), leads the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. The program is authorized through the America COMPETES reauthorization Act of 2010, and has received dedicated appropriations since FY2014.

To learn more about the Regional Innovation Strategies program and the awardee projects, visit:

Monique Adams
757 Angels, Inc., Hampton, Va.

Evans McMillion
Reinvent Hampton Roads, Hampton, Va.

Daniel Morris
National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.



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