Army program will pay $100K for solutions to national ventilator shortage

A biomedical equipment specialist conducts depot-level maintenance on a ventilator at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa., March 23, 2020.


By JAMES BOLINGER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 10, 2020

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The Army will pay $100,000 for a low-cost, easily manufactured ventilator to help with the shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the service’s xTech Search website operating the competition.

The competition opened April 5 and the virtual pitch phase begins April 13.

xTech Search competitions allow small, U.S.-based businesses that are normally unable to compete for Defense Department research and development contracts to submit their solutions to complex problems on a short timeline.

The ventilator competition has two phases to whittle down prospective concepts, each with a monetary reward to further development, according to the website.

During phase one, a team of experts will review a three-minute video and a “concept quad chart,” examples of which are available on the xTech website. Selected applications will receive $5,000, and an invitation to compete in phase two.

In the Technology Pitches phase that begins Monday, applicants will present their proof of concept to a virtual panel of medical and manufacturing experts, like the show “Shark Tank.”

Selected pitches will receive a prize of $100,000 and the entrepreneurs behind them will be invited to develop a prototype. Follow-on contracts for additional production and deployment are also at stake, according to the website.

“Whether this particular program will result in any significant returns is always hard to say, but that programs like this are critical in today’s world is beyond question,” said Braden Allenby, an Arizona State University engineering professor, in an email Thursday to Stars and Stripes.

Businesses can submit their applications online.

Stars and Stripes reporter Seth Robson contributed to this report.

Twitter: @bolingerj2004

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