DHS S&T Names Eight Tech Industry Finalists for $1.6M Opioid Detection Challenge

Jeff Brody

The Department of Homeland Security has picked eight finalists in the first stage of its $1.6M Opioid Detection Challenge, which aims to build new tools for rapid detection of drugs transported through the international mail system.

The agency’s Science and Technology Directorate received 83 proposals for the challenge’s first stage, which sought ideas for automated, user-friendly tools and technologies that could speed up detection of opioids in parcels, DHS said Tuesday.

Battelle, Dynaxion, GTBM, HALO X-ray Technologies, IDSS Holdings, One Resonance, Vadum and XID have been chosen as the eight finalists for the challenge.

The finalists’ proposed concepts use high-frequency radio signals, machine learning, 3D x-ray scanners, advanced ultrasound technology, and other methods to detect illicit drugs.

DHS S&T is leading the challenge in partnership with Customs and Border Protection, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Postal Inspection Service.

“I am very impressed with the creative detection technologies submitted, and we look forward to deploying new solutions in operational environments,” said Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

Each of the eight finalists will receive a $100K cash prize before moving to the second stage for prototyping of their concepts. The winner of the Opioid Detection Challenge’s second stage will receive the $500K grand prize, while the first runner-up will receive $250K.

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