NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel

NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel

NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel Our next moderator and the panel that we have assembled is going to talk about NASA iTech as a model for, for stimulating innovation Kira Blackwell is an executive in the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA. Really two things sum her up. NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel She’s an intrapreneur and she’s passionate about space exploration. She’s bringing both of those together in a unique program. We look forward to hearing about it. NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel

That was really short and sweet. Thank you. Works for me! Well, so he’s, so Steve just told you I’m with NASA headquarters and I’m here to talk about a program that we started at headquarters about a year ago called NASA iTech. If we plan to send humans further than we’ve ever sent them before then what we know is that requires unprecedented technical challenges that we’re facing. In order to solve those we’ve got to have an unprecedented approach to solving those problems, NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel

NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel
NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel

which we believe is what iTech does. Part of our challenge is to discover new approaches concepts and technologies that solve critical technical gaps to enable human exploration to Mars and beyond. So you might be asking us “how are you doing that?” We need to find the most innovative technologies, attract entrepreneurs who want to make a profound impact, and connect them with potential partners who can help them make their solutions successful. So you’re asking yourself “you’re with NASA… don’t you guys have all of the smart people there?” “Aren’t they working on all those challenges?”

And, I would say we have a lot of the really smart people they’re working on a lot of those challenges, but the truth is, is we know that we don’t have the monopoly on great ideas. A lot of these technologies are being developed to solve problems here on Earth that we could use to help solve problems in space, for us. And so we’ve just got to figure out a way to leverage those and we want to work with them, which is why we started iTech. We work with small businesses, innovators universities, and even other government agencies to leverage what they’re doing in their agency to partner together with us. However, what we’ve learned is entrepreneurs see some barriers that they really don’t want to deal with and I would say that paperwork kills more than just trees (It) kills innovation.

So we decided to remove those barriers, create a five-page white paper so that entrepreneurs could submit their proposals or ideas to some of our challenges and potentially remove other barriers as well. Another barrier that we see is intellectual property. Most entrepreneurs would like to maintain their intellectual property. We invest – as a government agency – a lot in developing cutting-edge technologies that have a space application specifically but if we’re looking for technologies that are solving problems here on Earth, it doesn’t make sense for us as a government agency to try and take the intellectual property for ourselves.

It makes better sense if we could leverage the technology, help them use a platform like NASA to help them raise that private dollars to further develop the technology… which is what we’re doing. So NASA iTech doesn’t take the intellectual property, because we don’t give them federal dollars… but I will tell you that and you’ll hear from Jose down at the end there are lots the companies that have participated so far have raised millions of dollars private dollars to further develop the technologies that we’ve identified in the last year. Another barrier that that we’ve noticed or we’ve heard about is that generally when we put out a solicitation we prescribe the solution. We tell them exactly what we want or the technology we’re looking for, and that creates a problem. Because, sometimes the technology we’re looking for might not be the solution. So what I’ve done is I’ve decided to issue challenge focus areas basically listing things like major areas of challenges and then

I’m allowing the entrepreneurs or innovators to come up with a solution to solving some of our challenges. And, if you look at the very last category the “X-Factor”… that’s sort of the… “If NASA only knew I had this technology…” That’s the category that they could submit that for we’ve got a great process where those proposals are evaluated and we’re able to do a great downselect for these proposals and some amazing technologies has come have come out of this… which you’re, you’re gonna hear about today. We provide the right time the right place and the right people?

so that entrepreneurs can make an impact because what we’ve learned is most entrepreneurs or most innovators are wanting to change the world. They’re not wanting to make the… the next million dollars “just for the sake of making money”; they want to see that what they’re doing is changing people’s lives. And so, if we can provide that platform for that to happen in and for the solutions that we need can also change people’s lives here on Earth, than I think we might have tapped into something that could be useful. If your actions inspire others to dream more, to learn more, to do more, and become more you’re a leader. I feel as though NASA iTech, NASA our agency, is sort of leading the way for government agencies to work with (and) leverage cutting-edge technologies across the globe to help entrepreneurs partner with us – without losing intellectual property – as they move forward and begin changing other people’s lives – but impacting space. And, so if you want to get involved, this is just a quick… you know people will say “How do we get involved?” “Kira, here’s my business card…”

Honestly, we created on our website a space under “get involved” tab that you can actually go in and put your name, your email, and you’ll be notified you can select if you’re an you’re an investor, if you’re an entrepreneur, you can select any of those categories and you’ll get an automatic email notification that’ll tell you when our next solicitation is, when the next forum is, and it’s open to the public so if you’d like to attend… we just usually have a limitation on seating. So if you get your information in pretty quickly, that that’s really helpful. So, we have three, three of our top entrepreneurs here today that are going to talk about their technologies that were selected in July I also have with us Harry. He’s one of our Chief Technologists out of our Ames Research Center, and I have Francisco who is one of the other government agencies that participate… or he came to our last forum and he realized what we’re doing with NASA is something that that can also help the EPA. There were several technologies that came out of our last cycle that he realized could also be useful for some of the challenges that the EPA is facing. Watch this video for just a second. NASA iTech is a unique initiative to find innovative solutions to problems here on earth and apply those ideas to solving the challenges of future space exploration. The top 10 finalists innovators for NASA iTech Cycle 2 were recognized at the NASA iTech forum for their technical viability, the likely impact on space exploration, and the potential for commercialization.

The top three teams were Context AI, Omniboros, and the University of Houston. Context AI from Santa Clara, California showcased a wearable bio-sensor array that turns the body’s vibrations, sounds and bioelectric impulses, into actionable intelligence to identify heart problems at very early stages. Earlier detection of health issues could lead to lower costs and better outcomes for patients on Earth and preventive care for astronauts on long-duration flights. The Omniboros team at the Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC presented a smart robotic surgery technology called ?STAR.? This advanced platform for surgeon?s ?supervised intelligent autonomous robotic surgery? reduces human error and complications during minimally invasive procedures. Smart autonomous surgical systems such as this could also prove valuable for future deep space missions. And, the University of Houston introduced a new material that repels ice. Inspired by wood frogs, the adaptive surface works like a pair of glasses that change to sunglasses when you go outdoors.

The material performs normally at ambient temperatures but becomes an anti-icing surface when exposed to extreme cold. This could greatly enhance the safety of aircraft and space vehicles and protect power lines in severe winter weather. The top three entries are all moving their innovative ideas forward, bringing us closer to addressing gaps in technology for future space exploration. iTech?s cycle 3 three opens in September (2017). Find out how you can get involved at NASAiTech dot com. So, that’s how to get involved and I’m gonna start asking some questions. So basically I’m gonna introduce each of them – or allow them to talk a little bit about their technology – and then I’m just gonna pose some questions that might be helpful for you understanding how we’re working with them. And then I’ll move to our next set of speakers. So Sean, you want to tell me a little bit about your technology and your your experience with iTech? Absolutely.

0:10:14.470,0:10:18.100 So, good morning guys. First of all I’d like to thank you all on that NASA iTech team. It?s been a tremendous experience, not only with the mentorship that leads up to the NASA iTech but also the post winning events as well, including this. So, Context AI provides physicians patients and consumers actual information that helps patients avoid disease and predict illness. And, we do this by combining aggregated medical data with novel data from our sensors – wearable sensors -that record every sound vibration and impulse in your body in order to create, really these actual insights, to prevent disease. The stethoscope was invented about 200 years ago, but it only provides less than 10{0200a47673485610640b637afa5ff10abec096eabb6904aec7ef83f08b4209ae} of the audio frequencies that come out of the human. That, that come out of the human heart. We designed our acoustic sensors not just for human interpretation, but for machine learning. So with EKG? it’s really interpreted by humans, but we have created broad sensors specifically for machine learning that measure the changes in the? by electric fields from your body and we use this information to essentially create physical health fingerprints across tens of thousands of disease patients.

Then, when a patient wears our patch, we’re able to identify and predict disease within those? within those patients, so ultimately with the action that we?re? that we’re providing, we hope to address the congestive heart failure market, and preventing hospitalizations, saving (the) healthcare system money, and saving patients lives. And so, Sean? you? Context AI was a part of our first cycle, and you? we select a top? we select down to a top three that we work with and mentor in, in each of our cycles and so although you weren’t selected for, for the first cycle you were selected in the second cycle. What happened in that six-month time period with? within Context AI? So, I think one one event in particular – to be able to start our clinical study.

A couple things? We were able to refine our clinical Prototypes, so we’ve got working clinical systems that are approximately twelve sensors measuring the vibration sounds and electrical impulses of patients and we’ve started a 500 patients study with the University of California at San Francisco as well as two international sites? that really helps. I think present the data, understand the data, and really communicate our objectives, as well as find that business model and being able to communicate. Those three or four things in particular six or nine months later, I think helped create a more compelling presentation and interacting with the judges (which is a pretty grueling day by the way) – It was fun event, but it includes you know 15 minutes PowerPoint, and three hours of roundtable of judges. So the size of your sensor also changed a little? Certainly! I mean we were able to invest in and miniaturize our sensor. Right now, we have kind of a two pronged approach where we’ve got a hardware system that’s adaptable to and has the degrees of freedom to listen to various organs and collect information really high-quality data while we really kind of define the requirements and miniaturize the patch such that right now we have the best.

The patient will wear a vest for about five minutes to create the baseline. These these digital biomarkers which we’re calling physical health ?fingerprints.? But ultimately they’re gonna leave the clinic with a wearable patch? waterproof lightweight wireless patch connected to your cell phone and the cloud. And ultimately we’re a data science company, so improving our algorithms particularly around deep learning machine learning and collecting that data from the patients are all areas that we’ve made incredible improvements. And really, we’ve got a terrific team about data science, data scientists, engineers and multidisciplinary effort including about eight cardiologists.

Okay, thank you, Sean. I’m gonna go on to Peter for a second. Peter, Peter, tell me a little bit about your technology? and then I have a question for you. So we are interested in democratizing surgery so we want to program best surgeons techniques and judgments into a machine and have it available for everybody. And here’s why you want to think about it? Each year there are about 230 million procedures performed around the world That’s about 140 million procedures Short. It takes about 10-15 years to produce a surgeon and you will never produce enough surgeons to meet that unmet need. The other thing is that even with all the technological advances, the complication rates that are associated with specific procedures really haven’t changed? and any time you get a complication you risk of dying goes up fairly substantially.

So we want to sort of uh essentially improve that by programming the best surgeons judgments and techniques into it and have it available. And what we did was to improve vision, intelligence, and dexterity part of it. And at the same time, did a, a first sort of a surgical procedure in live animals. Essentially it is very similar to space applications as in being able to do a sort of mobile deformable target in an unstructured environment. So surprisingly when the sort of autonomous robot, the surgical procedures… It outperformed surgeons. So with a little improvement, we think that we can improve outcomes, improve safety, and then decrease complications that improve sort of and have it available for everybody around the world. So Peter, you’re one of the top surgeons at Children’s National and I can’t help but wonder, what made you want to go down the path for building an autonomous er, robot that can replace you in your role potentially?

I mean was there something that happened, maybe in your life that kind of made you, that made you make that decision? Can you share a little bit about it? Right. The the epiphany for me was that I was teaching my son how to ski a number of years ago. He was about four or five years old – and I do these airway reconstructions for little babies. So, babies are born with tiny little breathing pipes and if you don’t fix them, they will die, and we’re on the top of the hill and I got a call about a baby that’s coming over from about three, four hours away from the out west coast. The challenge was that, obviously if I didn’t get down safely it wasn’t good for me and nor was it good for the baby. So it occurred to me that any knowledge that’s contained within sort of one individual is not a very good knowledge. And you should be able to program it or have it in a technology that can be transmitted horizontally across to your colleagues and then vertically to next generation. So hence sort of a notion about wanting to democratize surgery.

That’s, so really the motivation. And so, how do you see your technology solving a problem for NASA in space? Right, so the, the I’m always inspired and then and I’m particularly thankful for NASA iTech and the Space Foundation for this opportunity. But, you know it’s, that space has always been an aspirational thing for, for humanity, and and obviously if you are, if we are planning to go to another planet and if we are going to be multiplanetary species at some point, when you look at the current sort of communication technology, it takes too long to call, if there if you got a surgical emergencies. Or it’s too far to come back for surgical emergencies, I think. So you will need to think about autonomous systems and we don’t have enough surgeons on Earth to send every time you have a mission up there, so and if you’re gonna colonize Moon or Mars or what have you, I think these are the sort of autonomous systems you need to think about.

The interesting part is very much like autonomous cars, the idea is there are technologies that are coming onboard I think that can complement human capacity and capabilities so that outcomes can be improved, minimize complications and then improve safety. And, and so you mentioned earlier that the robot outperformed the human. Yes. Can you, can you explain that a little bit better? So, this was a preclinical study using our research prototype and then we set it up as a intestinal anastomosis as a sort of a “proof-of-concept surgical task.” Over a million of these are done around the world in the United States alone.

For, for instance, for GI urologic, gynecologic and so on, so we compared the robot doing autonomously all of these intestinal anastomosis versus really experienced and some of the internationally well-known surgeons doing, using current technology (which is open surgical tools or minimally invasive surgical tools or well-known DaVinci tools) and when we measure all different parameters and then these – by the way – the machines are operated by engineers, they outperform surgeons, except the the timing part which was comparable to what they would use for minimally invasive surgical tools. So it was sobering, but and yet surprising to me, that with a very little improvements and vision – so we used the sort of a hyper spectral vision plus 3d plan optic – meaning that it gives awareness, situational awareness to the robot, and then a little bit of intelligence and, and dexterity part- you can outperform what’s considered the really standard of care. So just imagine what it could be possible in the near future. I’m ready! Sign me up, okay? I’m gonna go to the next speaker. Hadi, can you talk a little bit about your technology? Oh wait, before he goes there, he actually came from Houston. Okay, I didn’t think he was going to be able to show up on the panel, and lots of floods, His house was flooded, or surrounded by all the roads around his home, initially was flooded and so, luckily they went down enough and he drove to Dallas and hopped a plane, and he made it here.

So, I’m just happy he’s here. But I just wanted you guys to have a little more appreciation for what he went through to be here on this stage today. So go ahead, sorry. Good morning everyone. The technology that we have is a new generation of anti-icing surfaces. So looking at the anti-icing problem, I thought that there may be some species in the nature that they can survive in the winter and give us some ideas about the new material that we can use for anti-icing surfaces.

I found wood frogs that, they can survive in the winter and 65{0200a47673485610640b637afa5ff10abec096eabb6904aec7ef83f08b4209ae} of their body water can be frozen but they’re still alive and lives happily. So, I look at the biology of this wood frogs and found that (by) mimicking the biology of the wood frogs, we can generate a new material that can be outstanding anti-icing performance. So the idea was we came up with this idea two years ago and we worked continuously with the really sophisticated teams of PhD students in my groups and finally we found a new material. I have the material here for you – that outperform on all the material that are current level in the market in anti-icing performance. It’s durable. At this time we have the IP on this material and we hope that we can develop this material on the market, not because of the financial part of this aspect of this material, but if you look at the human life, every winter in the just United States three million people will suffer from power outage because of the icing problem. So if we can address this problem it is a huge advantage for us. So, how is the material applied? So materials apply the spray coating so it will come as a spray that you can coat on the surface and it will cure in ten minutes and it cures in ten minutes how long does it last on the surface? So the life that we have for these materials now is more than ten years. It can keep its performance up to ten years but after ten years you will have some degradation. But we are working also to extend this life of this material. I think ten years is pretty good. What about the weight of the product when it’s when you spray it on the on a surface? So the material is made of the polymer, one of the lightest materials that we can find in nature so, regarding the weight, there’s no problem on the weights on any surface that you are going to coat.

So if you look at the different application of this material, not they’re just aerospace applications, aero applications, I think you have faced this problem every interval you are going to take off from the airport, you should put some anti-icing fluids on the surface and it costs thousands up to $10,000 depends on the size of the aircraft. But also you have power transmission system and you have icing you have ice flashing, collapse of towers infrastructures, and these are just few examples of the importance of anti-icing surfaces. Thank you, Hadi. I’m gonna, I’m gonna actually go to our chief technologist now and let him talk to you a little bit about his participation in iTech. Harry is one of our chief technologists at our Ames Research Center, but I would say he’s probably one of the most you know, in terms of cutting-edge technologies and what’s out there. He probably reads somewhere about 330 to 350 proposals a year which is quite a bit, so you know if you have any technology questions he’s your go-to guy, or as he is for me. But Harry, you’ve been a part of this program since the beginning and so can you tell me a little bit about maybe how you could see this as valuable for the agency? How there’s a benefit here? Yeah, you know there are a lot of benefits.

NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel

NASA is very much a you know contracting, it does solicitations and stuff and so this was really a new way of looking at how to bring in, proposals in. They’re quick to review, they were easy to review. Since NASA’s not paying for it, to relax some of the regulations and, and the quality of the presentations at the iTech was really fantastic. I mean, they got mentored and stuff and they were really first class. But what really made it interesting is that we could actually talk with them about their concept and make suggestions for it and how, how we could use it. So that interaction was different than what we normally do on on proposals and the way the government does it. The other thing that was really fascinating is, is that the review panels is more than NASA. Normally, we bring NASA contract or academics in and stuff. This time we brought venture capitalists, business, and we able to look at the comb… the technologies from a different perspective than we would normally look at them. So, those combinations, so that was really very beneficial for us and evaluating them and in looking at it. And some of the proposals we saw were in, for an area, they were probably the best concepts I’ve seen in any proposal that I’ve ever read. And so I am at NASA Ames which is in Silicon Valley, so we’re right near in Mountain View and I hate to tell you but I read many more than 350 proposals a year. I was taking a good guess, sorry. but that’s already So we do, but, the government, I mean it’s interesting to see how the different government, and and I’ve reviewed for many other agencies not just NASA. What we do in reviewing proposals for example, venture capitalists. I’ve always known they were very different but by participating in this we got to see some of those differences and it was a useful insight into the technologies.

Thank you, Harry. I can just say that from the entrepreneurs that have participated in the Cycles, one of the one of the biggest impacts for them is being able to sit down, just like Harry said, him being able to engage with the entrepreneurs has been very beneficial because that for both, for both sides because they’re able, we’re able to have a better understanding of where they’re going with the technology. But also having a chief technologist, all of our chief technologists, at each of our field centers are able to participate in this and so it really helps with our core competencies, understanding where we’re at in that current state of technology. But from an entrepreneur standpoint being able to engage with a NASA leader within our agency and that leader be able to guide them and say “well we’ve tested these areas but you might want to look at something in this area,” and so during those impact roundtables here, can you give maybe some examples of maybe a company you talk to that, how you think you might have helped them maybe? Or giving them advice? Well, so points of contact within NASA people who are interested, how it compares with things that NASA’s funding, some NASA programs that they could consider funding, funding how it ties into the programs and long-range long-range plans that we have. Yeah. All of those are that all of those are great points and they are ways in which it helps the entrepreneurs.

From our first cycle, one of them, one of the top three, they already have their molecules being tested in our water filtration system out of Marshall. Just to see if it works in that environment. One of the others of top, of the top three which in, they were selected in December, so less than a year ago, they’re already working with JPL to negotiate how they’re going to work together with that technology in that Center. And again I don’t guarantee any funding or give them funding, but there are ways in which these entrepreneurs can work with the agency. If, if we’re really interested in it, which is the key part to having the chief technologist look at it. Because we actually get 25 top proposals and go through those proposals determining which of those which of those top 10 are most applicable to addressing some of our space challenges. So I’m gonna go on to Francisco for a second and Francisco is with the EPA and Francisco participated in our last forum. So tell me a little bit about your role within the EPA and why you’re sitting on a space panel with iTech? I’m also wondering why I’m sitting in a space panel.(laughs) But, no, so so I’m a biologist at EPA and my job’s in the Emergency Response world. So I’m with a group known as the CBRN consequence manager advisory division. And CBRN, for those of you who don’t know, is the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear so, WMD. So our job is to respond to some sort of CBRN incident and make sure that we can restore the environment for re-occupancy. So, disposing of waste, making sure we can decontaminate an area, sampling an analysis.

So, we tackle a lot of tough challenges with, with different agents that are not prevalent and that are dangerous and lethal. So that’s the role that that we play in the agency and I’m specifically the biologist for the team. So, as far as why am I at a space panel? Kira approached me about coming out, taking a look at the way they approach some of their challenging gaps, and when you talk about emergency response, you want to talk about unprecedented technology challenges? Every emergency response is an unprecedented technology challenge. It may be that you may have the same type of scenario, but the circumstances, as far as resources available, the community you’re working within, the timeframe that you need to accomplish this the mission that you’re assigned to, it’s all different. So what I like to have is, what I like to tell people is “I want to have the biggest toolbox, I can have, so I can pick and choose and respond accordingly. And this, when I was when Kira approached me, I was kind of “Good, you know that’s that sounds great but

I think I’m gonna go to some meetings,” and then Kira he dragged me out and brought me to the challenges, and then when I heard the presentations especially from the top three, I was, I was blown away, about, by the way they were able to attract some of these companies that answer some of their challenges, that are “our” top technology challenges. And, we have some of those tough science challenges as well that, although we have fantastic scientists and we have people that are working around the clock to try and to answer some of the challenges, we have, the reality is, you know we don’t have the budget we need, we would like to have to be able to tackle some of the challenges in the way we’d like to. So it’s, it’s definitely a great time to start looking outside of the paradigm that we operate on there to look at different ways and different companies that are trying to answer these challenges. And the great thing, just from sitting at the NASA iTech was looking how some how some of these technologies even though they were geared for space we could repurpose them for our own our own challenges in the sea burn world. And that’s something that that I brought back to our agency and also talking to some of the entrepreneurs. And kind of looking outside of just your specific niche and seeing how some of the technologies could be repurposed for different different scientific tech and in the environment in space. And in medicine, can you give me an example of one of the technologies that you saw in July that you felt like could be Applicable? So in July so being a government employee I ought to give the quick, you know these are my opinions these are not the opinions United States government or the EPA and no this should be as as some sort of an endorsement.

Don’t worry Francisco, it’ll go on NASA Watch. I have to say to say, now that I’m done doing that part, So some of the technologies, one that that didn’t make the top three but was really interesting is was a company bit tome who was looking at hydration, how to measure hydration, so you might be wondering what does the EPA care about hydration? Well, when we send HAZMAT workers into into the hot zone, into the contaminated area, they’re wearing these what are essentially moon suits, these fully encapsulated suits, where stress level goes up, your person, your perspiration increases, and it’s a, it’s a very high-stress environment. And a high-stress type of a suit you have to wear. So how do we tell if someone’s okay when they’re in there? Well, we measure their body temperature, take their blood pressure and we kind of give him a pat on the back. You, “You, okay? Yeah?” and that’s it. So being able to measure hydration would be huge for us, not only to make sure that our workers are safe, but also to be able to quantify, “Can they go back into the hot zone?” Do they need more rest? Do they need any more hydration? That would be huge for us, as far as being able to work at a safer environment for the health and safety of others. And actually Context AI, their technology would be huge for us also, on the health and safety front again wearing these level A suits. A quick story: I was conducting an exercise with some local and state responders. NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel.

They were wearing the level A suits, you know taking blood pressure, taking temperature pat on the back, and saying “Hey, You okay?” Unfortunately, one of those responders, twenty minutes into the exercise, had a heart attack and actually passed away. He had an underlying heart condition, didn’t really tell us what was going on, the stress levels were just, became too great and his body couldn’t overcome the stress. Something like a Context AI, if we were to able to use that as a, another parameter in order to simply and easily measure how the body is reacting to that high stress condition, and also be able to incorporate some of the hydration technology, that would go a long way to keeping our workers safe. And you see some of the work going on in Houston people are already really stressed. There’s a lot of adrenaline going on. Your body is not used to that. Being able to just go beyond body temperature and blood pressure with some basic technological additions, that’ll go a long way to keeping a lot of people safe, keeping our responders safe, and thus keeping the community safe. Thank you, Francisco. I’m gonna go on to our last panel member and his name is Jose. I’d like for you to tell me a little bit about your background and what you’re doing and how you got engaged with iTech and how you’re still involved. Yeah, so what we do in Caelus Partners is, if you, if you watch Ed Swallows brief that brief he just gave, it’s spot-on that’s really the marketplace we’re dealing with space. We see it a little bit different. But the facts are that there are models today where those companies can fail, and investors will make a lot of money. So don’t get so where we come in as Caelus, is saying look we want to manifest that technology, but we also want to make sure the strategic support for them financially is there throughout. So, things like investor profiles, are they a match to what the company is trying to do? So what we’ve had to do, normally in other markets you would have different consultants, you would have different investors in space, because of the lack of consulting and the lack of being able to bridge that, we have to take on both and so we take end-to-end work from entrepreneurs and work also with investors to ensure that we have the right profiles to address the resiliency of those companies that you just saw in those charts, that don’t necessarily have the best outcomes. And, that’s where we focus on. So, we started this company about 18 months ago. In about six months as we were learning getting our way through and stumbling like any good fund manager that’s starting out, we were here.

NewsStreet Space Technology & Innovation Forum: NASA iTech Panel

We were right here we’re on the same seat or at and I saw a presentation from Kira. A lot of people didn’t notice, a lot of folks didn’t know exactly where she was coming, from because they never associated NASA with the integration of investing and being able to look at different ways as to how IP’s can be used and have resiliency to be able to support NASA. So, I seized the moment. I said “Hey, you don’t know me now, but you will know me later and whatever the heck you’re doing. I want a part of that! Because if you’re in the investment business is about deal flow. And again, we’re not big we’re about five, our CFO is sitting right over there. And our focus in terms of deal flow, remember we we have to look at it if we want to be successful, truly successful, both financial and technically, you got to address national, national state interest, you got address commercial competition, and you also have to address any scientific collaboration where NASA normally sits at. So our approach led us here because we needed to have the right deal flow. So, let me give you let me give you the stats. We participated in both cycles as judges in the investor side. So we went from we had 10. 10 obviously in each cycle. 10, 8 of them fit our investment thesis, 5 we went in to consult with in some advisory role 2 we took the funding, one, this is an span of six months, one, one we’re still in a struggle, (laughs) but there are amazing company. We just, it’s gonna take us a lot longer than we thought, and then one we closed within three months for them to get nine million dollars in the bank. So they can move on. And they actually that one company, was a second time in NASA iTech and was not a top ten either time. (Laughs) So just to tell you the qualitative performance of some of the companies that are showing up. Why is that? Because that screening, that due diligence all these little things that you are concerned with technology technology-wise or future demand signals. NASA already took care of it. So every six months I’m seeing 10, 10 and 10 in the queue, and and that helps us build a deal flow. For somebody small like us, for quite a bit of time, not only that but it helps us look at where else we can create resiliency for the, in terms of an investment for the industry, so if you’re if you’re stuck on “I want to be in space and only space,” well let me help you, space is a domain. There, it’s just where you do stuff. So we got a, we’ve got to help some of these companies, being able to manifest on Earth. Yeah, so I got involved and thank you to the Space Foundation for that. Jose, I’m gonna ask you a question, since this is being recorded and we might actually have reporters in the room. So, I thought I might just throw it out there, and I don’t look great in orange or stripes, so Jose do I pay you, as a civil servant to work with any of these companies? No, you actually you don’t have to, you don’t have to pay me, I actually I probably would have paid in, just just think of it this way. He doesn’t pay us either! (laughs) The point is, the point is that to do the due diligence that we would have to do, no kidding, due diligence from an investor perspective where else, and I say this, I said this a previous other time, I I don’t go get the technical expert that is a retired person or this guy, individual that I have to hire, I have my own, and I could bring them in. But how much better than having the CTO of a NASA Center sitting with me talking to that technology? I mean how much validation can you possibly get? And by the way in Cycle 2 they upped the ante by bringing individual that’s in the market doing the work now. Not somebody I’ve got to hire, spin them up, or a retiree that’s got a fin, off maybe is off the market. It’s happening right there and then the technologies again, I’m not even gonna discuss any of them, because there were some that were so great. They’re gonna definitely, do, make a dent in the industry. He’s not wanting to share I think. Yeah, you know that what good investors do, they hog a little bit. But you know, and if you’re an investor, any good investment organization is looking out for different quarters. So we look in periods of quarterly investment cycles. And that types of companies you’re seeing like (University of) Houston. Those are great for forecasting, being able to where you’re going to put your money down later on. So you get a breath and a depth of companies with great technologies that can help you as an investor online. Over time, I mean, where else are you gonna get that I would have to hunt that down go somewhere else pay someone to do that I don’t have to do that I I can just attend participate and support these these great companies allowing that technology with that with their financial strategy so it works out great Thank You Jose so I would actually like to open it up for some questions if anybody has questions for the panel members on stage I think it would be helpful because you might have questions that I didn’t I didn’t think of so and we have a few minutes left so hi my name is John Anderson I’m with Blalock van and I have a question I wanted to director Peter I know you’re not endorsing any particular companies out there but I had a question is a company like Intuitive Surgical with their robotics and their surgery is that a are you following part of their business model when you’re going out and looking to have the recreate the situation for the surgeons so the market you know there’s only single player in the market intuitive which is a 20 mm 20 billion dollar cap it’s been around since 1995 that they sold 3,000 units and and 10 markets or above in terms of clinical penetration is in low double-digit as in less than 15 percent for all surgical procedures there’s fundamentally is something that is not quite right about the technology I think it’s a great technology to start and then and then I think this is a reason why some of the other key players such as verb and and Medtronic SAR getting in the line what’s fundamentally different about how we’re approaching it it’s twofold number one you know when you look at regulatory aspect of these medical devices you just have to be just as good and just as safe and they don’t demand that it be better so what’s fundamentally what we were aiming is that we are looking for better outcome better safety less complication that’s one aspect and second thing is that I think the reason one of the key reasons why the adoption hasn’t been as as good is because I think some of these technologies are outstripping human capacity to be able to handle the information so I think having that sort of a super human capabilities whether in a vision intelligence or dexterity side I think that paradigm is very important in terms with being collaborative as we move into the future so we are it’s a platform technology and then we’re between Sita and Ceres a and then we are prepared to fully compete with the Giants yes yeah this for cure I actually you say you’ve got winners you know you’ve got this cycle you’ve got top ten you know the this is you know sort of Hollywood media reality TV show kind of speak you also say that you don’t give money what actually do you do is this a Space Act agreement what you know what does a winner get so the reason your you’re correct we do have cycles we do have winners will they get a trophy okay more than a trophy they we help to put them in touch with the right people investors we provide the platform where they can engage with VCS where they can invade and engage with our major contractors Boeing Lockheed Northrop Grumman from our last cycle in July six of the companies met with Northrop Grumman because when we have our impact tables they sit down with them one on one and they exchange contact information they ask additional questions the entrepreneurs are able to talk with them and then they follow up and these are these are groundbreaking technologies very smart people and the people that we have in the room that work with them are interested in the technology so we provide mentorship for the top three that’s why we have a Down select two top three really it has to do with bandwidth we yes we don’t give them dollars if we’re testing our someone’s molecules in our water filtration system that’s done through a non reimbursable Space Act agreement or we purchase a certain amount of those from that from that organization to test it to see if if it works and we I do that specifically to ensure that the technology that they’re developing can pursue a commercial path by getting investors and things like that generally VCS or any investors are kind of opposed to government-owned technology so I had to figure out a way to set up I what the rules were I had to figure out how to build something that we could we could function within those rules but also was a win for the entrepreneur a win for NASA a win for VCS that as they get involved and engaged did that help to answer your question you know I can also comment maybe on behalf of context AI in addition to the networking that goes on at NASA headquarters for the full week with chief technologists and many representatives around the United States we’ve already got as winners a meeting set up and collaborating with flight surgeons out of houston with astronaut programs where our goal is to measure these digital fingerprints these digital biomarkers on earth and then to look at the deltas as astronauts go into microgravity environments and see how these biomarkers change in space versus versus earth and of course this we’re looking to not only be technology that can be part of Mars missions but can be helpful here on earth as well as meeting set up with Edwards flight surgeons for some of the loss of consciousness we’re involved with g-forces in G lock so I mean it’s really like she said the networking involved but also kind of the access and and really collaboration that we get as finalists has been incredibly helpful and and creates an opportunity for us to solve problems that we find are also very applicable here in healthcare systems and you’re in in the current health care hospitals and the Sisto I want to I want to jump in on that Sean because you’re you’re spot-on but on top of that Chuck there the big part of this is we can in that room you have the expertise to solve what is the best way to take care of the company at the end of the day because they may be coming in saying hey I want to have a partner literally I’ll tell you one money one company came in and was hung up on I want to have a partnership with the US government because this is you know my life’s work and I want to contribute to the government six seven seven weeks later seven weeks later that individual at least was able to look at the commercial aspect of that and we could get that individual linked up with the right mentorship so that in time can do it that individual would have never seen that would have never seen that and in that feedback it’s amazing because they may be getting feedback technologically saying “Hey you’re widget is really really good but NASA may or may not align with it right now. That’s fine because somebody like me can sit in the same room and go “Wait, wait there’s another place we can use this and we can align it.” So don’t stop doing your work. You have in some cases, like University of Houston they’re starting out, but if you have somebody does. We have companies there that were finishing up an A Series going to a B Series race, so that’s a completely different discussion. The beauty of it is those discussions are coming back with with literally the technologies and the experts, right now in the industry, you know, that can help us from a government perspective, look at it. And normally when you submit a proposal for when a solicitation comes out, you’re never going to get the opportunity that you get, to sit down with our chief technologists across our agency and that’s critical. It’s critical for the entrepreneurs and they have provided a great amount of help having the technologists understand where the direction they’re going or where they need to go or if they’re focused on one area having that insight and information has been has been incredibly valuable – more valuable than than any dollar I could have ever given them. And I’ll also say that one of the companies that was part of the top ten, they weren’t selected as a winner their, their Phase One clinical trials were funded just because they were selected for NASA (iTech). Oh, and then just so you know in the room is there’s VC representation, there was there was angels in terms of angels. So the, the entrepreneur and both NASA then got to see something they’d never seen. The different types of monies and what, what type of temperament those investors have some are very short some are much longer duration and much a patient so both sides got to see a lot you get a lot out of it. Okay, we had a question in about so I would like to commend NASA. We as a company received some powerful research from say tops Peaks Alliance technology outreach program in 2005, and as a result of that research, we’ve created a hundred jobs a 50-million-dollar company, and I would just encourage anyone who can have the opportunity to work with one of the the NASA affiliates. I work at, I work with Kennedy Space Center, but um the say top program and from what I understand NASA iTech, it’s a great benefit to our country and this private business and government collaboration is what makes our country great. So I want to thank you. Thank you. Amir, did you have a question? An observation. So Kira, and I have been in touch about this particular subject since she joined the office about a year ago, and and she took this thing you know to answer what your climate was a little bit from something that was pretty ephemeral, in terms of who gets what kind of reward what does NASA get out of this what do the entrepreneurs get out of this? And and she really took this concept that if you bring different disciplines together and bring these different areas of interest together, then there’s a greater societal benefit. There’s payback to the Government, there’s a greater understanding in the non-space community about what interaction with the space community can do for a company economically. And so I just wanted to commend the work that you’ve done on taking a concept that was kind of not very well-defined and turning it into a program that’s become something very important. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you everyone.

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