The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Help us find Washington’s next tech innovators: Week Four

Capital Business is teaming up with the Northern Virginia Technology Council to find the area’s most interesting product innovations.

Here’s how it works: we show you a new category of companies each week, you tell us which ones are best. The top four in each category – apps and platforms (week 1), safety and security (week 2), health, education and energy (week 3), and wearables and robotics (week 4) – will be invited to pitch their product for a panel of experts at the Washington Post’s 15th Street Northwest headquarters.

This week spotlights the area’s wearables and robotics innovators. Voting is now closed for this category.

So far you’ve voted 12 companies through to the final round. Finalists for the apps and platforms category are Fairfax County Public Schools, HumanTouch, Avanade and George Washington University’s Division of Information Technology, Business Intelligence Services. Finalists for the safety and security category are Blue Ridge Networks, INDMEX Aviation, Unisys and R2M Innovations. And in the health, education and energy category Arbiom, Kajeet, Perigean Technologies and Noblis advance to the final round.

Click here to see last week’s competition, and here are this week’s contenders:

Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens from Asius Technologies

Asius aims to improve the quality of earbuds and reduce the potential of hearing loss from these devices by improving the sound quality at much lower volumes. The company also converts the harmful sound (pneumatic pressure) from an earbud or hearing aid to energy. (Video: Asius Technologies)

Asius Technologies is a Colorado-based start-up with an office in McLean that develops innovations based on the physics of sound, with the help of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. To cut down on in-ear fatigue and hearing loss, the company has developed a membrane that can be built into a traditional earbud headphone, designed to counter the harmful in-ear pneumatic pressure that can result from having a listening device sealing onto the ear. The company says listeners get a clearer sound without having to turn down the volume, as the membrane doesn’t dampen acoustic pressure within a person’s ear.

Click here to read more.

Impact Counter from Brain Sentry

Brain Sentry set out to create an affordable and practical wearable sensor that helps to identify the two key risk factors for brain injury in youth sport: Unusually rapid head acceleration and frequent hits to the head. (Video: Brain Sentry)

Diagnosing concussion in children usually relies on after-the-fact reporting of symptoms, but Brain Sentry aims to automatically identify causes of concussion as they happen. The company’s Impact Counter is a wearable sensor resembling a USB flash-drive that attaches to the back of a young athlete’s helmet to keep tabs on rapid head movement and impact to the head. The sensor allows coaches to spot risk factors as they occur and identify which athletes have the highest concussion risk.

Click here to read more.

Cyber Armz from CyberTimez

CyberTimez focuses on automating the Internet of Things using wearable devices like smart watches. Its product, Cyber Armz, aims to automate the real Internet of Things, including physical objects like doors, drawers, cabinets and appliances, using voice commands like “open microwave” and “close microwave." (Video: The Washington Post)

Leesburg-based CyberTimez offers an in-home system designed to make everyday household actions voice-operated via smart-watch. The company codes the watch to the each user’s voice and outfits cabinets, doors and appliances with various rods and widgets that open them automatically. The product is still in the prototype phase, but the company is partnering with the D.C. Center for Independent Living, a local nonprofit, to pilot the program in 20 houses.

Click here to read more.

Inspire from Inspire Living Inc.

Inspire Living offers health devices for children, by addressing the need for point of use devices specifically for children. Its technology is a portable vitals monitoring device for babies that enables anyone to perform an automated respiratory and vitals exam in one minute from anywhere. (Video: The Washington Post)

In development by Fairfax-based Inspire Living Inc., Inspire is a portable product that monitors a child’s vital signs and remotely communicates the results to a parent or doctor’s smartphone. The device circles the baby’s body just under the arms, keeping tabs on seven measurements including heart rate, body position and anxiety level. Inspire is still in the prototype phase, but the company is testing it with aid organizations Project Hope and the International Rescue Committee.

Click here to read more.

Hands Free Cleaning from Intellibot Robotics

Intellibot Robotics designs, manufactures and distributes commercial floor cleaning robots and aims to improve the economics of floor cleaning by reducing labor costs and improving productivity, as well as reducing environmental impact. (Video: Intellibot Robotics)

Intellibot Robotics is a Portland-based robotics company with research and manufacturing centers in Richmond that sells floor-cleaning robots for commercial use. The company’s cleaners stand waist-high and come in three separate models, tailoring the cleaner to the specific needs of the building. The robots can be operated manually via remote control, or can be set to clean on their own without the user’s direction.

Click here to read more.

Qore Performance

Qore Performance, a startup based in Fairfax, Va., is the leader in athletic thermoregulation, providing increased athletic output and safety for their users. (Video: The Washington Post)

Qore Performance is a Fairfax-based start-up that has developed athletic apparel that cools the body during strenuous activity. By placing cooling packets on strategic “pulse points” on a person’s body, the technology mimics arterial cooling techniques employed by paramedics. The company markets the product for independent athletes, soldiers abroad wearing heavy equipment and, more recently, aid workers who spend long periods of time wearing hazardous materials suites.

Click here to read more.

Sensor-Smart Affordable Autonomous Robotic Platforms from Robotic Research LLC

Robotic Research LLC specializes in robotic unmanned systems and in 3D printing. It creates affordable and adaptable system that utilizes 3D printing technology for first responders. (Video: Robotic Research LLC)

The use of advanced technology in disaster relief is often inhibited by circumstance: rescue officials don’t know what they will need until after a crisis has occurred, and the crisis could be far from the closest manufacturing center. Gaithersburg-based Robotic Research LLC is working on an adaptable 3D printing system and spare parts database that would allow for the rapid-fire production of components needed to assemble disaster assistance robots. If the process were scaled up for use, crisis-response agencies could deploy the system close to the scene of a disaster and churn out spare parts on the spot, eliminating the time-consuming process of purchasing and shipping them.

Click here to read more.