Developing Tech for 1st Responders

The Second EMERGE Accelerator Program that ended March 1, 2017, focused on the developing wearable technology for First Responders. The EMERGE program enables small businesses and start-ups to have access to industry partners, investors, obtain responder feedback, and develop early market validation, while at the same time advancing technology to decrease risk for firefighters, police, and emergency medical workers.

Terry Howerton, Co-Founder and CEO of TechNexus, which helps fund and build technology ventures in conjunction with corporations and the entrepreneurial ecosystem reports, “We need to have corporate partners connect with early-stage ventures so that outdated approaches to innovation can be eliminated.”

Specifically, the EMERGE Accelerator program enables small companies to be introduced to corporate executives, have the ability to develop pilots, and to easily find opportunities for projects that can solve first responder’s most critical challenges.”

To emphasize the concept, the EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology Showcase was held on March 1, 2017 in D.C, to showcase the progress, market traction, and impact that was achieved during 2016.

A few of the ventures showcasing their progress included:

  • Vault RMS created a software platform that leverages biometric and situational data from wearable devices and other inputs to build a long term health profile of workers exposed to issues in the environment, to improve overall worker productivity
  • Visual Semantics created software that integrates with cloud-enabled wearable cameras and heads-up displays to provide real-time facial recognition and alerts to help first responders more intelligently assess and react to situation in the field
  • Pear Sports developed a coaching and training application that uses biometric signals like heart rate, VO2 max, location, and environmental data to build training programs to improve the long term health of users
  • Human Systems Integration developed an integrated system that includes remote physiological monitoring. The system provides a plug-and-play wearable situational awareness and communications platform


The program was conducted in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) supporting first responders, the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) creating partnerships between innovative technology start-up companies and advanced technology consumers, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

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