Navy to Offer Patented Tech Through New PROPELS Program

by Mar 22, 2022

Every now and then, an entrepreneurial opportunity comes along that gets our adrenaline going. This time, it’s PROPELS.

The PROPELS Accelerator is our new collaboration with NSWC Crane, Dioltas, and the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF). Imagine: a world-class scientist hands you a tested, patented, valuable piece of intellectual property. You work with a team for six weeks to develop a commercialization plan, with support from experts in defense and entrepreneurship.

First you’ll focus on customer discovery, competition, problem definition, and unique value proposition. Then you’ll turn to financial models, early business planning, marketing and sales, building a team, and crafting a pitch deck for investors. At the end of the PROPELS Accelerator, you’ll demo your solution to a panel of experts. Later, you’ll pitch at the Radius Indiana Crane IP Defense Innovation Competition for a chance at a prize package.

And most importantly, you can then take that tech and fully develop a new product, platform, or business. Is your spidey sense tingling? It should be! This could be the big break you’ve been looking for.

“Scientists at NSWC Crane have invented some amazing technology, and while it’s great for the Navy, we believe that there are other use opportunities that can be explored,” Jenna Dix, Director of Technology Transfer at NSWC Crane, told us. “We’re excited to see what kind of commercial applications can come from government-created tech.”

Program Details

To participate in PROPELS, you don’t need to be an expert in the tech itself. You also don’t need previous experience working with Crane or the Department of Defense. All you need is entrepreneurial and business chops, and the good sense to take advantage of an amazing opportunity! The Navy, The Mill, and our partners—Dioltas, a defense-disruptive technologies strategic advisory, and DEF, a non-profit organization that promotes innovation in the national security community—will support you through the process. You can register to participate solo, with a team, or ask us to partner you with others. Companies, entrepreneurs, academics—all are welcome.

You can register to participate now, or you can explore the idea a bit before committing. We’ll hold a virtual info session on March 28 to answer questions on the program. Then, on April 14, NSWC Crane scientists will present the tech at the public Tech Expo at The Mill. You can attend as a spectator or a potential participant. After that, you’ve got until April 22 to officially sign up and select one of the showcased technologies. Then you’ll spend six weeks developing a commercialization plan during the PROPELS Accelerator program that runs from May 4 through June 17.

So what kind of tech is on deck? Here’s an example of what NSWC Crane will demonstrate at the Tech Expo on April 14, with more to be revealed then.

Long-Range Heat Detection

Naval scientists have developed a software system that can use any thermal imager to instantly detect temperatures. It works at a distance, indoor or outdoor, in various weather conditions, and on stationary or moving objects. Greene County General Hospital has been using it for 18 months to identify individuals with fevers as they enter the hospital. The system is ideal for helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 or other infectious pathogens. The temperature system is not limited to detecting human fevers, of course. It has other applications in livestock and herd management, wildfire detection, and thermal runaway in electronic equipment. What applications are you thinking up?

Machine Learning for Cleaning Data

We’ll also hear about a data pre-processing tool that automates data cleaning tasks and provides analysis of dataset using natural language processing and machine learning methods. It’s ideal for messy data collected from multiple sources and incompatibly formatted. Scientists will demonstrate the tool using data from the USDA to show how rising food prices are affecting us. Frankly, everyone who has ever dealt with data wants to get their hands on this kind of tool. Pick an industry, and we bet it’s got dirty data and an aggravated team willing to pay for a good cleaner.

Drone Tracking Technology

Finally, we’ll also see a new design for a drone tracker. The detection and identification of drones is important in the military, law enforcement, and security fields to monitor airspace against unwanted trespassers. This innovative drone tracker system uses imaging sensors to monitor for light reflections off of metals, polymers, and other manufactured materials. The system is able to detect, identify, and track drones at long-range distances. We detect opportunities in this tech.

After the Tech Expo presentations, we’ll celebrate with hors d’oeuvres and drinks, courtesy of sponsors Switchyard Brewing, German American Bank, and the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech. And of course you’ll get a chance to chat with the scientists about their tech and to meet others interested in forming a team and participating in the accelerator.

There’s so much potential in this tech. We can’t wait to see the demonstrations at the Tech Expo. And we really can’t wait to see where the PROPELS innovators take it next. Join us at the Expo! Spectators are welcome, and we’re going to have a great time. Once you see what’s up for development, you might even decide that the opportunity is too good to miss!

Learn more here about the PROPELS Accelerator. The deadline to apply to participate is April 22.

Register here for a March 28 virtual informational session.

Register here for the April 14 in-person Tech Expo at The Mill.