Robots, Biomarkers and Ice Melters Win NASA iTech Challenge Cycle 2

July 18, 2017

11:40 am

NASA is in constant pursuit of discovering the next galaxy and life on another planet. And while interstellar exploration is always on their to-do list, they’re also looking for startups that can help them get there.

Earlier this year, we reported on the top 10 finalists for the NASA iTech Challenge Cycle 2, an initiative that seeks out the latest cutting edge technology and innovation that is solving problems on Earth but could be transferred to help them with future space exploration.

Courtesy of NASA

The NASA judges have whittled it down to the top three startups who will be chosen to work with the team at NASA and top experts in the space industry.

“NASA iTech is unique in that it reveals groundbreaking technology solutions and provides a catalyst for industry investors, government agencies and small businesses to collaborate with the innovators to mature their technologies for both space and commercial applications,” said Kira Blackwell, Innovation program executive in the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

If you want to know what kind of companies will be helping NASA out, check out who the winners below:

Children’s National Health System – Omniboros Team (Washington DC)

This innovative team developed a smart tissue autonomous robot (STAR) for terrestrial and extraterrestrial unmet needs. They’ve demonstrated the ability to conduct autonomous (supervised) soft tissue surgery with the robotic device.

Challenge Area: Autonomy


Context AI  (Santa Clara, CA)

Context Medical’s new cognitive products are a leap forward for the diagnostic, personalized health and digital health markets. They are working to champion evidenced based medicine to illuminate the future of closed loop medicine.

Challenge Area: Medical Systems and Operations


University of Houston (Houston, TX)

This university team creates biologically inspired, adaptive anti-icing and self-healing surfaces.

Challenge Area: X-Factor Innovations

Watch an interview with Kira Blackwell of NASA on inspiring girls in tech

Read more about the NASA iTech Challenge here.

Read more about advancements in space at TechCo

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.

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