AFMC announces 2020 MAJCOM Spark Tank semifinalists

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Air Force Materiel Command has selected five semifinalists from more than 90 submissions to the command-wide Spark Tank competition.

The semifinalists will present their innovative and game-changing ideas to a panel of leaders during the upcoming AFMC Senior Leader Conference, scheduled for Sept. 7-11. The top two ideas will go to represent the major command in the 2021 Air Force Spark Tank competition.

“We were overwhelmed with the response to our first-ever Spark Tank competition, especially given the challenges of COVID-19, telework and the short submission window,” said Kim Norman, AFMC Commander's Accelerated Initiatives Office. “The AFMC We Need effort is one that constantly seeks out Airmen's innovative solutions and provides them opportunities to share their ideas with leadership. The response we've received just goes to show the innovation, dedication and drive of all of our military and civilian Airmen to helping build the AFMC and Air Force we need for the future.”

To view all of the AFMC submissions, visit the Air Force Ideation Platform and search for AFMC Spark Tank.

The semifinalists are:

  • Data Driven Facilities with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), submitted by Maj. Patrick Grandsaert, Air Force Civil Engineer Center
    • Robotic process automation can be used to input data related to facility management into the NextGenIT system. RPA can take data from an email, spreadsheet, website, or other, and input it into a required system for more standardized and centralized data tracking. This can transform the 69,000 hours civil engineering squadrons spend on data entry per year into higher priority work, provide support for infrastructure investment at the lowest lifecycle cost with defendable data, and save procurement costs across the enterprise through better data management.
  • Operation Blood Rain:  The Effect of Airdrop on Fresh Whole Blood, submitted by Maj. Roselyn Jan Fuentes, 96th Test Wing
    • Administration of fresh whole blood (FWB) is a life-saving treatment that prolongs life until definitive surgical intervention can be performed; however, collecting FWB is a time consuming and resource-intensive process. Furthermore, it may be difficult to collect sufficient FWB to treat critically wounded patients or multiple hemorrhaging casualties. A recent pilot study explored the possibility of using airdrop to deliver FWB to combat medics treating casualties in the pre-hospital setting when FDA approved cold-stored blood products are not readily available. The study showed that airdrop is a viable way of delivering blood to combat medics treating hemorrhaging patients in the pre-hospital setting, though further research is needed to fully validate the safety of this method. This effort aims to further develop the airdrop method of blood delivery through large scale replication using a variety of aircraft and diverse conditions to determine if the results are replicable and able to implemented into military protocols.
  •  Pubs 3.0, submitted by Lt. Col. Daniel Montes, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
    • Airmen lack an intuitive interface to understand how publications relate to one another due to the traditional way they are published and listed. This prevents the ability to fully understand intentions or detect errors/redundancy. Pubs 3.0 is the next logical step to cleaning up regulations, policies and guides from Air Force to unit level through digital modernization. The project will update and merge publication management with end-user access through a graphical interface with visual relationships between documents. This will allow for status, waivers and revisions to be easy to detect, with derivations and cross-references to remain correct and traceable, with all users able to have the ability to tag documents and receive updates.
  • Patent Pending Aircraft Diagnostic Using Nanomaterial Based Paint, submitted by 1st Lt. Michael Sherburne, 1st Lt. Candice Mueller, and Maj. John Brewer, Air Force Research Laboratory
    • There is a growing concern in the warfighting readiness of our aging aircraft. Properly detecting the smallest of cracks on airframes is important for applying preventative maintenance before a major issue occurs. This crack detection is commonly done by using a method called eddy current testing (ECT) which suffers a number of shortfalls: the need to sand over rough surfaces to clearly sense defects (time-intensive), multiple calibrations to discern different sized cracks, and human error. To address the current shortfalls, the AFRL team has successfully demonstrated a solution that uses nanotechnology and can be applied as a paint on any surface. This solution could show an easy-to-read 3D surface map of the structure under investigation, in order to find cracks with much less error. In terms of readiness, this technology can be leveraged for quality assurance of the materials that go into airplanes, other vehicles, and structures. In addition, 3D printed structures, which are difficult to characterize, can be assessed using the paint-on solution. In the future, maintainers could use this device and quickly identify any surface defects on aircraft through an easy-to-read surface map. This would reduce human error compared to using eddy current testing which is difficult to interpret.
  • Take Fire Symbol Tracking System (FSTS) Air Force Wide, submitted by Technical Sgt. Joshua Feekes, 75th Air Base Wing
    • The Fire Symbol Tracking System (FSTS allows users to track the fire and hazard symbols for munitions facilities and the highest risk category of items stored in the area. The fire department and security forces are able to access the system to identify what hazards are in each munitions facility. This eliminates phone call notifications and provides a central database for both users and emergency responders to communicate hazards and security requirements. Currently, each base has their own individual method of tracking fire symbols and risk categories for munitions structures. Hill Air Force Base is unique as it developed and implemented FSTS for use across the installation. Users are able to access the system and update facility hazards as well as add new information and risk categories for each munitions structure on base. The fire department and security forces personnel have access to the system when responding to an emergency incident. This system allows users to make real time updates to the tracking system that emergency responders rely on for critical information during an incident. This idea seeks to implement and standardized use of the FSTS across the Air Force.