U.S. Army Selects Two Companies to Prototype Deployable Lightweight Ventilator

Just 16 days after Dr. Bruce D. Jette, the U.S. Army Acquisition Executive, launched the xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge, a panel of Army judges has made its initial recommendations.

Two companies, Spiro Devices, LLC, and AirMid Critical Care Products, Inc., have been awarded $100,000 prizes for their innovative emergency ventilator designs.

On April 5, the Army put out a call for ideas for a low-cost, easily manufactured, deployable ventilator that could operate in austere and rural environments. In just 10 days, 150 American companies, academic institutions and individuals submitted their concepts, with a chance at winning $5,000 if invited to present their ideas.

The goal of the Army xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge is to produce 10,000 ventilator units within eight weeks. The Army xTech team reviews ideas as they are submitted and evaluates them on their ability to meet mission requirements, their technical viability and potential for regulatory compliance, the amount of time needed for delivery, and cost.

Currently, there is no deadline to submit ideas and the competition is ongoing.

The xTech judges invited eight of the initial 150 respondents to present virtual pitches. Two companies emerged with different ideas that met all of the criteria:

· Spiro Devises, LLC proposed a breathing bag-based solution.

· AirMid Critical Care Products, Inc. proposed a bellows-based technology.

Leveraging unique authorities in Title 10 United States Code (USC) Section 2374a, the Army xTech Program will help guide the companies through the process to develop their ideas into products, using engineering and manufacturing development contracts and the provisions detailed in the Other Transaction Authority, which can serve as a bridge from prototype to production.

The Army xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge has no deadline, and is still accepting submissions. Go to https://www.xtechsearch.army.mil/ for more information and to submit your ventilator concept for consideration.

By Diane Pollard/U.S. Army

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