The European Defence Agency (EDA) today announced the two winners of the first EDA Defence Innovation Prize: AITEX, a Spanish textile research institute, and Clover Technologies, a Spanish company providing advanced technology services for information systems and communications. The award ceremony will take place in the margins of EDA’s 2018 Annual Conference on 29 November in Brussels.
The Prize, the first edition of which was launched early this year, rewards companies and research entities which come up with the most innovative ideas for new technologies, products, processes or services applicable in the defence domain.
A call for applications was issued in February (see related EDA news here) inviting all types of industries and research institutions in Europe (defence and civil/commercial producers, large companies and SMEs, defence-related and civil research communities) to come forward with ground-breaking ideas which, if implemented between now and 2035, would help improve and enhance Europe’s defence capabilities in two specific domains:
- Autonomous detection, identification and monitoring/sampling/analysis through sensor and platform networking in the area of CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) protection technologies and techniques
- Integration of multi-robot swarming concepts in support of future defence capabilities in the area of Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC).
A total of 24 companies and research institutes from across Europe participated in the contest. A jury thoroughly assessed each of the proposals and reached agreement on the two winners who are awarded €10,000 each.
The winning ideas
AITEX won in the category ‘Autonomous detection, identification and monitoring through sensor and platform networking in the area of CBRN protection technologies and techniques’ with a smart textile idea: a ‘wearable computing’ system composed of many electronic devices (including sensors able to monitor environmental and personal parameters) fully integrated into textile solutions. For this purpose, it is proposed to develop Electronic Noses (ENs) integrated into textiles based on an array of sensors composed of Graphene Oxide (GO) capable of identifying and quantifying a wide range of chemical warfare agents. The complete system would be printed on a textile substrate obtaining a fully wearable system which has significant advantages compared to traditional rigid and semiportable ENs.
Clover Technologies won the prize in the category ‘Integration of multi-robot swarming concepts in support of future defence capabilities in the area of GNC’ with an idea based on a blockchain-based solution to provide a common platform for swarm nodes with an extra security layer. Swarm robotics is an emerging technology facing many challenges such as computational and storage limitations, heterogeneous communication protocols, information security, etc. The idea put forward by the winner aims at a solution which would facilitates the communication of the swarm robotic nodes within a secure environment that offers integrity, confidentiality and authentication. The projected solution is composed of: - a blockchain platform which allows a secure coordination of a swarm robotic; - a Group Key Distribution Algorithm which allows to manage, in a secure way, the joining/leaving operations within a swarm robotic; - and Java Card technology, which offers a tamper resistant solution to storage and manage the sensitive information in a robot.
AITEX, based in Alcoy (Spain), is a leading Spanish centre of research, innovation and advanced technical services for the textile sector. AITEX is a private non-profit association set up in 1985 as an initiative of the Valencian Regional Government, through the Valencian Institute for Small and Medium Industry (IMPIVA), to make the textile sector more competitive. AITEX’ key activity domains include smart textiles, nanotechnology, materials and sustainability and biotechnology.
Clover Technologies, based in Leganès/Madrid, is an industrial company providing advanced technology services for information systems and communications. It is also active in other domains such as IT solutions and information security management, ITSEC and Common Criteria consulting and evaluation and Blockchain consulting and development, security assessment and conformance analysis of security standards and protocols, design and development of UAV security solutions, as well as professional promotion, certifications training and awareness activities.