For immediate release: May 17, 2021
Kent, Ohio -- In April 2021, Immobileyes won a $50,000 AFWERX Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award for their revolutionary laser defense system to be implemented on artificial intelligence-powered drones that can intervene in dangerous encounters by disrupting, delaying, and deterring an adversary upon detection. The Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX) program, managed by Parallax Advanced Research as a partnership intermediary for the Department of the Air Force, provided STTR consulting to Immobileyes, resulting in the company’s selection for the highly competitive program that enables small businesses to explore technology potential within the defense arena.
Immobileyes, of Kent, Ohio, is developing Laser Storm which projects 100-10,000 multiple wavelength laser beams to cause non-permanent visual disturbance for an immediate, non-lethal intervention. Laser Storm was developed to address active shooters in schools, and it does not cause visual harm, making it is safe to use around soft targets.
Immobolieyes Co-Founder and CEO Atossa Alavi was an attorney at AlphaMicron, an Immobileyes sister company, when she and her team conceptualized the laser system.
"When you send your child to school and the next thing you know is that the school is locked down because of an active shooter, which happened to me, then that changes your world.” Alavi said. “You realize that there is nothing you can do. Our team at AlphaMicron had already been working on a technology to protect a pilot's eyes against lasers which is very difficult to do. Following this active shooter scare, we wanted to find a way to stop them, so it occurred to us that these lasers could also be used to delay and interrupt an active shooter.”
Following the development of Laser Storm, Alavi created Immobileyes, a name chosen by her daughter, and took over as CEO of the firm.
“It’s been an all-consuming, 24/7 endeavor, but I love it. This was not my field, so I went in knowing that I’d have to learn a lot. I needed to learn how to build a company and seek funding opportunities to help my company grow. Since this technology has potential military applications, we decided to first pursue federal funding opportunities provided by the Department of Defense,” said Alavi.
Alavi was introduced to the APEX at a networking event organized by the Wright Brothers Institute, also a partnership intermediary, based in Dayton, Ohio. Following the event, Alavi connected with APEX STTR Program Director Dave Nestic who manages APEX’s process navigation services that are free of charge to academic and industry researchers seeking Air Force funding of their innovations.
Nestic and a team of mentors connected Alavi with potential partners and consulted with her through the application process which eventually helped her win a $50,000 AFWERX STTR Phase I award.
“The APEX team has been phenomenal in helping us navigate the STTR process, from learning how to write a proposal to helping us find potential partners and now, teaching us how to engage with the Air Force during the post-award phase,” said Alavi. “When I met APEX, I was starting from scratch and ended up getting an AFWERX STTR Award and I can honestly say that that would not have happened without APEX’s help. I consider myself very lucky to have this resource and I look forward to future engagement with APEX. There is still a lot to learn.”
About Parallax Advanced Research
Parallax Advanced Research is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Parallax tackles challenges by accelerating innovation; developing technology and solutions through strategic partnerships with government, industry and academia across the State of Ohio and the Nation. By building intelligent teams—composed of humans, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and other complex entities—Parallax is where everything comes together. Together with academia, Parallax accelerates innovation that leads to new breakthroughs. Together with government, Parallax tackles critical global challenges and delivers new solutions. Together with industry, Parallax develops groundbreaking ideas and speeds them to market.
About Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX)
APEX builds partnerships between industry and academia to advance Air Force technology innovation and development. APEX is established via a Department of the Air Force Partnership Intermediary that is managed by Parallax Advanced Research.
Bridging the gap between intruder detection and response, our laser security system utilizes directed energy beams to create a zone of intruder impairment immediately upon detection. Laser Storm selectively reduces an intruder’s ability to see and approach targets while allowing building occupants to exit. The lasers’ strategic operation allows you to act against intruders without putting your people at risk. Distract, disrupt, and impair intruders buys time for the innocent to safely escape and for help to arrive on the scene.