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    DHS Seeks Bleeding-Edge Wearable Tech for First Responders

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    The Department of Homeland Security on Monday began accepting proposals for the second round in its federally-focused technology "accelerator," in search of next-generation wearable devices that can be adapted for first responders.

    After the success of the pilot EMERGE program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) again turned to startups and small business to fuel federal government research and development. This time the agency's Science and Technology Directorate has teamed up with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and TechNexus, a venture group based in Chicago, to bring wearable technology to first responders.

    The agency hopes that, with the help of wearable devices, today's firefighters, police and emergency medical technicians will be able to minimize equipment requirements and concentrate on effective response efforts.

    "This forward thinking partnership stems from the need to better protect our first responders by identifying new cutting-edge technologies," said TechNexus CEO Terry Howerton. "We are excited to build upon the successes of last year and continue our partnership with CIT, and DHS  S&T."

    EMERGE-2016 accepts product designs that incorporate wearable functionality, including physiological sensors, integrated voice and data communications, and health support, such as hydration. Companies can meet with first responders, investors and potential technology partners directly to showcase products.

    "The additional benefits to startups are a first-rate education in business development from mentors around the business world, early market validation, test and evaluation opportunities, and a path to introduce their technologies to a variety of markets, including government sector partners," DHS said.

    DHS has stepped up its attempts to connect with commercial groups that specialize in wearable products. In July, the government organization held an Industry Day event focused on unmanned aircraft systems, offering a number of hypothetical scenarios that tech companies could offer solutions for, including embedding a panel in the forearm sleeve of a border patrol uniform for agents to control drones.


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