Department of Homeland Security Awards Research Contract


RICHLAND, WA - InnovaTek has been awarded a $100,000 contract from the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an advanced, low cost aerosol collector. The collector will be used for surveillance sensors and personal monitoring for bio-defense applications. InnovaTek will add an electrostatic element to its patented mini-cyclone architecture to develop a system that captures tiny particles that can enter the human respiratory system. The collector is a component of a suite of technologies needed for real time monitoring of the air.

The contract is a Phase 1 award under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. This is the first time that the newly created Department of Homeland Security has made awards under the SBIR Program. InnovaTek was one of 66 winners who were selected for funding out of 368 proposals submitted for technologies to defend against weapons of mass destruction.

After the anthrax attacks that occurred during the fall of 2001, the U.S. government has broadened the venue of its bio-defense concerns from the battlefield to the homeland. “Having the ability to monitor the air for the presence of invisible, harmful organisms is a critical homeland security need”, said Dr. Patricia Irving, InnovaTek CEO. “Our development effort will be focused on creating an extremely efficient device that will allow detection of organisms at very low levels but without the high cost and high power demands of current technology.” By reducing the cost and power requirements, InnovaTek’s technology will have widespread applications as a portable device that can be used not only by soldiers and first responders but in other markets such as worker safety, public health, hospitals, and food production.

Phase I of the project is a 6-month effort that will determine the feasibility of the concept and open the door for Phase II funding of $750,000 to build a prototype device for demonstration.

This development effort will further expand the BioGuardian® air sampler products available in the Company’s Environmental Safety Division.