The Air Force Collaboratory

The Air Force has launched a great new website, The Air Force Collaboratory, designed to crowdsource solutions to research projects.  As noted in an FCW article: “The first-level purpose of the site is to involve young people, in a collaborative way, in dealing with a tough technical challenge for the government.  This is not a contest; there are no prizes.  Instead, the site appeals both to a desire to excel and a desire to serve, both important themes for the Air Force.”

Its first three projects include:

  • Search and Rescue 2.0 – Develop new technologies through rapid prototyping to save lives trapped in collapsed structures
  • Mind of a Quadrotor – Build a system that allows a quadrotor to navigate its surroundings with minimal human interaction
  • Launch of GPS IIF – Target the precise coordinates within the GPS Constellation to launch our newest GPS satellite.

Kudos to the Air Force for leaning forward with another digital collaboration site reaching beyond its traditional enterprise.

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Air Force Crowdsources FAST Rope Glove Design

The Air Force posted a challenge on InnoCentive for designs of a Fast Rope Glove Device. This is a great example of DoD Crowdsourcing that should continue to be adopted for larger systems to achieve cost savings and innovative solutions.

The Seeker would like to develop a simple system or approach that can be employed with or as a FAST rope to maintain a fast but safe descent rate without heating or burning the hands of the user, either in conjunction with existing gloves and ropes, or as a replacement to existing components such as gloves or ropes.

Challenge Overview

Award: $15,000
Deadline: 17 Dec 11

A FAST rope is used by Military personnel to descend quickly from a helicopter in hostile situations. The FAST rope is about 2” thick, 50-to-90-feet long, and several operators may be on the rope at the same time.

The Seeker would like to develop a simple system or approach that can be employed with or as a FAST rope to maintain a fast but safe descent rate of a 300 – 400 lb (man and equipment) without heating or burning the hands of the user, either in conjunction with existing gloves and ropes, or as a replacement to existing components.

To contribute to the FAST Glove Challenge or learn of other innovations, visit InnoCentive.