Innovation Opportunity on the USAF Helmet Through AFWERX – Somewhat Frank Episode 7

USAF Fixed Wing Helmet at AFWERX Vegas photo by Frank Gruber

Innovating at a large corporation or at a government agency can be difficult. It means doing things differently, introducing new concepts and embracing failure. The larger you are, the harder it can be to change the way you do things – even if it’s for the better. To combat that, the U.S. Air Force decided to create a new program dedicated to solving some of the toughest problems it faces via collaborations between the nation’s top intrapreneurs, industry experts, academic professionals, entrepreneurs, and non-traditional contributors. It’s called AFWERX.

Bell Racing Helmets at AFWERX Helmet Challenge

Bell Racing Helmet at AFWERX Helmet Challenge in Las Vegas on November 14, 2018.

On this episode of Somewhat Frank, I talk with his Established counterpart Jen Consalvo about the work that AFWERX is doing to innovate on the United States Air Force “fixed wing helmet” through an open AFWERX Challenge called the Helmet Challenge. We share some highlights of the 30+ innovators that convened in Las Vegas to showcase their solutions which are competing to for contracts to develop an entirely new helmet. Some of the companies we discussed include:

I also talk with AFWERX Marketing Director Bobby Mack as he shares some of his thoughts on the challenge and the opportunity for some of the startups and known brands that came together as part of the program.

Sonitus Technologies Molar Microphone AFWERX

Sonitus Technologies Molar Mic at AFWERX Helmet Challenge in Las Vegas on November 14, 2018.

Listen as I talk with Jen Consalvo to showcase some of the innovators which range from haptics to biometrics to communications and more – part of one on the interesting open innovation programs being done in the U.S. today.


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Haptic on display by Somatic Labs at AFWERX Helmet Challenge

Testing haptics tech headband by Somatic Labs at AFWERX Helmet Challenge in Las Vegas on November 14, 2018.

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