AF program steers money toward small businesses
WPAFB, Ohio — The military pays billions of dollars to private companies each year, and now a program at Wright-Patterson AFB is trying to steer some of that money to small businesses to directly create jobs.
Researchers at Wright-Patterson are working every day with small businesses to take holographic technology and move it forward. They are taking it to the digital industry and what you see in movies.
A 3-D holographic image that is able to move and be manipulated is some of the newest technology available.
Engineering Research psychologist Paul Havig said, "You have a new area you are going into or planning. You can do route planning very nice."
For years, the military had printed holographic images, but thanks to an innovative small business called Zebra Imaging, they now have the same image on a digital level.
Through a program called SBIR, Small Business Innovation Research, the military asked Zebra Imaging to create this.
Gus Vu SBIR Program Manager said, "Those small shops come up with great ideas and they work around the clock to come up with solutions."
Vu runs the SBIR Program at Wright-Patterson. On Monday, his office put out a list of 150 areas where they want small businesses to offer up ideas and technologies.
In the last two years, SBIR awarded more than $20 million to Dayton-area companies, $25 million overall.
"They provide solutions and they retain intellectual property, so the hope is they commercialize it and become successful," Vu said.
And, in the case of holograms, they create jobs.
Al Wargo of Zebra Imaging said, "These programs are instrumental to help bootstrap and get the company off the ground."
Zebra Imaging doubled as a company through their SBIR contract with the Air Force. Wargo said it's a program that makes sense.
"Use the SBIR Program to gain program and get insight into what people are looking for," Wargo said.
If you would like more information about the SBIR Program, click the following links.