Eglin Defender chosen as Spark Tank 2020 finalist

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

The Air Force Materiel Command named two finalists to compete against other major command selects in the Air Force 2020 Spark Tank competition.

The Liquid Cooled Plate Carrier and Virtual Visitor Control Center projects were selected from more than 15 submissions from across the AFMC mission footprint as having the highest probability of delivering game-changing impact for Air Force needs.

“Our team is excited to have the opportunity to bring our game-changing idea one step closer to fruition,” said 2nd Lt. Justin O’Brien, a flight chief at the 88th Air Base Wing, here. “From the beginning, our team’s goal was to enhance warfighter performance and safety; this brings us one step closer to achieving that goal.”

O’Brien’s submission, the Liquid Cooled Plate Carrier, aims to provide a low-cost way to combat heat stress experienced by Airmen who require ballistic protection to fulfill their mission requirements. The LCPC is an active cooling system that uses a commercial bladder filled with water in conjunction with an active cooling system and chill pad placed on a user’s back to help regulate body temperature. It can integrate fully with current armor plate carriers without interference.

“Heat stress and related illness negatively impact all aspects of the military; both in an operational setting and in training. The LCPC active cooling system is a device that keeps our Airmen in prime fighting condition, while keeping heat stress at bay,” said O’Brien.

The Virtual Visitor Control Center (V2C2) project submitted by teams lead by Tech. Sgt. Maevemallory Kaneakalau, a member of the 96th Security Forces Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, aims to leverage modern technologies to reduce the wait times associated with installation access requirements while increasing the capacity to support future technologies for base security. The V2C2 aims to use a mobile application and self-service kiosks to capture necessary personal and biometric information to vet individuals needing access to the base, eliminating paper and badge passes which can be easily compromised. Through license plate recognition systems and strategically placed surveillance cameras, the V2C2 can provide detection and accountability of personnel as they move throughout an installation.

The technology may also enhance security forces capabilities to support future technologies such as self-driving vehicles and drone deliveries, said Kaneakalau in the Spark Tank proposal.

“V2C2 originally started as a simple idea to renovate our visitor center into a more welcoming and functioning space,” said Kaneakalau. “Having the opportunity to bring our ideas in front of a like-minded organization truly is amazing.”

Spark Tank is an annual competition where Airmen pitch innovative and often game-changing ideas to top Air force leadership and industry experts. Through partnerships with private sector businesses and technology startups, winners gain the opportunity to develop their solutions to improve Air Force capabilities across the mission spectrum.

The two AFMC finalists will compete in the finals at AFWERX against the winners from other Air Force major commands. The AFWERX judge’s panel will then choose six MAJCOM finalists and two wildcard selections who will present their project ideas to Air Force senior leaders, industry experts and investors during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

The winners are selected based on the likelihood of their project to positively impact Air Force mission needs within a six to 24-month timeframe. The projects are judged on their potential for impact and likelihood of success in conjunction with the ability of the project leads to identify the way forward for the effort.