NSIN hosted innovators for the “Off the Grid” three-day hackathon May 17-19 in San Diego.

The event was held in partnership with the University of California San Diego at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, with winning teams looking to receive project funding and mentoring from NSIN to advance their concepts.

Off the Grid gathered entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and hackers from the academic, military, and commercial start-up communities for a weekend to explore innovative methods to support tactical computing in austere environments. Solutions were evaluated for their potential impact on challenge areas of edge processing or data transmission.

Judges included representatives from the United States Department of Defense, including Brigadier General Josh Rudd, Deputy Commanding General, 1st Special Forces Command, and Dr. William Cohen, Chief Technology Officer to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology, as well as entrepreneurs and business leaders in the private sector.

The winning solution concepts in the team category included:

  • Next-Generation Radio Encasement Design – through advancements in composite materials design and manufacturing, this concept suggests the elimination of much of the metal involved in current “ruggedized” military cases with newer aramid and carbon-fiber based materials. This significantly reduces the amount of weight as these materials are 30% lighter than the highest-grade ultralight aluminum alloys, while still being up to 5+ times as strong as steel. Learn more about this concept
  • The Compressor and the Compressor – a highly effective compression technology, this concept provides a bridge between expectation and reality by reducing overall device size but maintaining the same level of technological function as a larger system. This solution offers low-power, low-bandwidth, offline and accurate AI (computer vision/natural language processing) on a Raspberry Pi-like device, using a special compression algorithm to highly compress information, potentially up to 90 percent. Learn more about this concept
  • Light Stream – leveraging the immense potential bandwidth of light for data transfer, this concept solution provides high speed, low weight augmented communication capabilities utilizing existing gear and the “ubiquity and stability of light.” It uses optical communications coupled with a simple transistor, which adds little to no added weight and incorporates easily accessible “off-the-shelf” components. Learn more about this concept

The winning solution concepts in the venture category included:

  • X-DK Batteries – this solution is a persistent isotopic battery which will reduce the weight of batteries needed in the field relative to existing, current batteries by up to 75 percent, while providing more than 72 hours of power. Further, the solution provides flexibility in size and output power, providing a persistent power source for mission critical operations in austere environments. Learn more about this concept
  • TMEC2 (Tactical Modular Edge Computing & Communications) – this modular computing and communications platform integrates open source hardware and software components into novel architecture designed to be carried and used by individual special operations forces in austere environments. By merging computing and communications functions into existing commodity hardware, this solution significantly increases organic, edge computing capabilities to reduce the data communications burden over crowded and bandwidth limited networks. Learn more about this concept

For details on all the solutions, log onto https://offthegrid-hackathon.devpost.com.