Small Business Innovations Drive Life-Saving Technology


If basic research produces the scientific fuel for innovation, risk-taking small businesses are the engines converting knowledge into new products and services. Small businesses are often the catalysts for developing and implementing innovative technology that transforms society, from improving wildfire mitigation to enhancing weather prediction capabilities.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs help accelerate the commercialization of taxpayer-funded research into new products and services. The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act, introduced by Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN), improves accountability in these programs and sets forth priorities for the programs to stimulate advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity technologies.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently awarded more than $4 million in funding for small businesses through the SBIR program:

NIST Awards More Than $4 Million to Small Businesses for Innovations in AI, Wildfire Forecasting and More

Read the article from NIST here.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded 19 small businesses in 12 states a total of more than $4.4 million in grants to support innovative technology development. The awardees will receive Phase I or Phase II funding through NIST’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The competitively selected proposals were submitted in response to a call for innovative products addressing specific technical needs.

“The Small Business Innovation Research program supports scientific research and development leading to technological innovation and product commercialization by American small businesses,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology Walter G. Copan. “A variety of scientific disciplines such as optical imaging, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, topography mapping, wildfire forecasting and advanced manufacturing software tools are represented and will provide for further advancements in American innovation.”

Phase I awardees will receive up to $100,000 to establish the merit, feasibility and commercial potential of the proposed research and development. After completing their Phase I projects, awardees may vie for Phase II funding of up to $400,000 to continue their efforts. In Phase III, non-SBIR funds will be used for technology commercialization.

“With a diverse range of innovations ranging from artificial intelligence platforms to forecasting wildfires in real time, we at NIST are truly excited to fund these small businesses and their cutting-edge technologies,” said Mojdeh Bahar, NIST’s associate director for innovation and industry services. “Like previous SBIR participants, this year’s awardees have found ways to positively impact lives through technological innovation and advancement.”

Phase I Awardees

Additive Manufacturing Innovations LLC (Potsdam, New York) $99,999
An Optical Imaging System to Characterize Mechanical Deformation at Microscopic Length Scale — a new optical imaging system to characterize microscopic deformation of materials.

Airflow Sciences Corp. (Livonia, Michigan) $100,000
Advanced Measurement Probe System for Non-Nulling Velocity Testing — an improved technique for performing 3D flow testing for smokestacks that will greatly reduce the complexity and duration of such testing, as well as the potential for human error.

Awayr Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts) $99,999
Validating the NIST Phish Scale Toward Artificial Intelligence Approaches Toward Human Cybersecurity — a next-generation predictive model of vulnerability in cybersecurity phishing attacks.

BigHat Biosciences (San Carlos, California) $100,000
Feasibility of Using a High-Speed AI-Driven Experimental Platform to Develop an Optimized DNA Template for Cell-Free Protein Expression — a high-speed, artificial intelligence-driven platform to rapidly find an optimal DNA sequence among millions of possible sequences.

Emergent Health Care Solutions LLC (Springfield, Oregon) $100,000
Dynamic Incident Intelligence System, Utilizing Adaptation to Real-Time Information — a dynamic cloud-based incident intelligence system that provides firefighters and emergency medical technicians access to a real-time, largely automated and user-friendly data management platform.

HelloMaxwell Inc. (Lexington, Massachusetts) $100,000
An Integrated Data System for Machine Learning Based Prediction of Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFIC) — a physics-based model with customized machine learning to predict RFIC performance with up to 97% accuracy.

NanoElectronic Imaging Inc. (Los Angeles, California) $99,992
High-Precision TEM Topography Mapping — a transmission-electron-microscope-based topographic mapping technique with the potential for atomic resolution in all three spatial dimensions.

Poseidon Systems (Rochester, New York) $98,750
Standardizing Grease Sampling and Characterization by Automated Online Device — a repeatable inline grease sampling mechanism to automatically monitor the iron particle content of grease from a machine in operation.

Reax Engineering Inc. (Berkeley, California) $100,000
Pyrocast: Wildfire Forecasting and Data Services — a wildfire forecast system that automatically detects and forecasts the spread of every fire in the continental U.S. and updates each forecast in real time.

RedShred (Baltimore, Maryland) $100,000
ENT: Extended Nestor Tagging — a cloud-based platform that enables natural language processing and ranking of unstructured text data from manufacturing data logs.

STF Technologies LLC (Newark, Delaware) $100,000
High-Throughput, High-Pressure Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Sample Environment — a prototype sample environment for neutron beamlines that will improve the ease of use and reliability of measurements under extreme environments.

WW Technology Group (Ellicott City, Maryland) $100,000
Model-Based Application of NIST Cybersecurity Standards — a digital tool that will help organizations better understand and apply existing, evolving and new NIST standards.

Phase II Awardees

Airflow Sciences Corp. (Livonia, Michigan) $400,000
Advanced Instrumentation for Non-Nulling Stack Velocity Testing — an improved technique for performing 3D flow testing for smokestacks that will be expanded to create a complete system, capable of full-scale testing at industrial plants.

Intact Solutions Inc. (Madison, Wisconsin) $400,000
Direct Performance Evaluation of Additive Manufacturing Process Plans — a novel system to evaluate, compare and optimize additive manufacturing process plans, for increased savings and improved performance.

nVariate Inc. (Austin, Texas) $399,968
Watertight CAD for Integrating Isogeometric Analysis Into the Model-Based Enterprise — a computer-aided design (CAD) technology that allows the use of a certain type of analysis to fix flaws within CAD models.

OmniVis LLC (West Lafayette, Indiana) $400,000
The Full Integration of a Portable Bacterial Concentrator With a Pathogen Detector Device — a portable solution for detecting ultra-low concentrations of the bacteria that causes cholera.

Parman Tech LLC (Frederick, Maryland) $400,000
Commercialization of NIST Technology for Separating Particles With Light — a prototype that will serve as the model for subsequent production of several beta units to be used for obtaining customer feedback and validation of the product.

QATCH Technologies LLC (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) $400,000
Microcapillary Quartz Sensors for Screening Injectability of High Concentration Protein Formulations — a prototype instrument and test cartridges for pre-screening the injectability of high concentration protein formulations for medical treatments.

Robotic Materials Inc. (Boulder, Colorado) $400,000
Easy-to-Use, Autonomous Bin-Picking and Assembly Operations for the Manufacturing Industry — a graphical user interface with 3D perception and machine learning algorithms to label 3D objects, identify assembly points and issue pick-up and assembly commands.

SandBox Semiconductor Inc. (Austin, Texas) $399,991
Advanced Manufacturing and Material Measurements Software Tool WEAVE for the Accelerating and Automation of SEM Image Analysis in the Semiconductor Industry — software to automate the extraction of critical dimensions from scanning electron microscope images for the microelectronics industry.

NIST, a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit



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