Entrepreneurs Travel from Near and Far to NASA iTech Forum, Judges Select Three Winners
People around the world come up with new ideas and start developing cutting-edge technologies, devices and code in their backyards. Kira Blackwell, NASA iTech program executive for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, emphasized this Oct. 7 as she welcomed entrepreneurs, judges and intrigued guests to the latest NASA iTech forum in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Ten finalists of the NASA iTech 2019 Cycle II competition traveled to New Mexico from their backyards in Australia, Germany and across the United States. Several ventured from Florida’s Space Coast and one company was even local to Las Cruces. The entrepreneurs showcased their technology breakthroughs to chief technologists from various NASA centers. Experts from industry, academia, professional organizations and potential investors were also in attendance at the public forum Oct. 7 and 8.
Each finalist described how their NASA iTech entry could benefit society and the space program. They illustrated how their company's innovation could assist NASA as the agency prepares for future missions to the Moon and Mars. Ideas ranged from software that helps robots and humans work better together in space to fabric that stimulates blood flow and could improve astronauts’ performance on lengthy missions. On the day of their presentation, each finalist also sat down with the NASA iTech judges to detail the nuts and bolts of their technology.
At the end of the two-day forum, Harry Partridge, chief technologist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, took the stage to announce the three winners. Partridge called them up in reverse alphabetical order.
Winners of the 2019 NASA iTech Cycle II competition pose with NASA leaders for a group photo in Las Cruces, New Mexico. From left: Marc Rippen of Alertgy, Kira Blackwell of NASA Headquarters, Hooman Banaei of Everix, Evan Ruff of OXOS Medical, and Harry Partridge of NASA’s Ames Research Center.
Credits: David Shelton/NASA