Dallas Tech Startups Design for First Responders

Innovators have made huge strides in recent years with technology that helps people in need, for example — an app that guides the blind in unfamiliar buildings and one that helps people with memory loss.

But what about technology that helps the person providing aid? Entrepreneurs and developers participating in a new Dallas innovation program believe their devices, built for first responders, can help save lives.

The program is called EMERGE, and it operates as a seed accelerator for consumer wearable technology with first responder application. First of its kind, EMERGE is a collaboration between Dallas' Tech Wildcatters, the Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Innovative Technology.

The five startups in EMERGE's first class spent the summer working from Tech Wildcatters and recently held their first demo day in Dallas. The second will be in San Francisco later this month.

Thomas Hobohm of Dashin

From apps that help first responders overcome language barriers to a mouthguard that picks up on radio communication - here's a roundup of this first class' innovations:

  1. CyberTimez creates innovative products using the latest wearable and Internet of Things technologies to make a real difference in people’s lives. Guided by the motto “Always in the service of others”, the team develops products that provide the physically disabled more independence, hearing impaired environmental awareness and better enable blind users to function in a sighted world.
  2. Dashin is an open dashboard platform that aggregates data from its own line of wearable sensors, as well as other data gathering devices worn or used by first responders. The team includes 14 year-old Thomas Hobohm of Southlake, TX. The ninth grader includes programming, software development and reading in his list of hobbies.
  3. LanguageMAPS has created the 1stMinute mobile app which improves the communications capabilities of first responders when they're assisting a foreign language speaker. With millions of non-English speaking visitors and residents in the US, language barriers happen more frequently at the scene of a medical emergency. The app provides translation capability and access to critical information in under 60 seconds.
  4. MindTalk uses patent pending bone conduction technology in mouthguards to allow athletes to listen to MP3s and receive radio communication. The team will be applying this technology to first responder equipment to allow firefighters, S.W.A.T. teams, the Coast Guard and others to be able to use a two-way communication system in extreme, loud environments where headphones won't work and outer ear protection is necessary.
  5. SensorSphere is working on an Environmental Monitoring Robotic Ball for first responder use. First responders may be able to throw in or drive the ball into an emergency site to gather environmental data and HD videos, all while operating from a safe distance.

At Bold Idea, we're encouraged to find examples of technology innovation designed for social impact here in Dallas.

Photo credits: