Pittsburgh, PA – VISIMO is an artificial intelligence (AI) company that develops state-of-the-art data science tools and builds custom, interactive, and actionable cloud-based software. From 2020-2021, the company won five U.S. Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I awards totaling roughly $330,000. The company is also selectable/funded for three STTR Phase II awards totaling approximately $2.2 million. The Department of the Air Force Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX) program helped VISIMO apply for the awards via its SBIR/STTR process navigation services that are sponsored by the Department of the Air Force and, therefore, are free of cost to qualifying small businesses and academic innovators nationwide.
VISIMO began as a startup in 2016 and now has 20 employees who conduct independent research and development for AI solutions. VISIMO bases its product development on research done in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati, Florida State University, Colorado State University, and the United States Military Academy West Point. VISIMO's technology will support the U.S. Air Force in decreasing human risk through increased unmanned aerial vehicle autonomy.
“We come up with novel approaches alongside subject matter experts from universities who inform the creation of our models,” said Emma Lamberton, grants, and contracts manager at VISIMO.
VISIMO began pursuing federal funding in 2019. During its first attempt at applying for U.S. Air Force Phase I STTR funding in 2020, the company was contacted by APEX to participate in its process navigation consulting cohort.
“APEX helped us take advantage of the government sector because, previously, we had been in the private sector mostly. We went over multiple drafts and submitted three or four different proposals, all to the same funding round to increase our odds, and our consultants were great in giving us feedback,” said Lamberton.
Since winning the Phase II awards, VISIMO moved on to working with APEX consultants, Chris Mather and Mike Breslin, for Phase I and Phase II coaching, respectively.
“They help us with concepts ranging from commercialization techniques to different security clearances and how to work with classified data,” said Lamberton.
VISIMO’s current focus is on a variety of AI and machine-learning applications, and their future goals and internal research and development are driven by the STTR Phase II awards they have won. VISIMO’s awarded technologies include:
“Artificial Intelligence Algorithms for Sense & Avoid Neural Network Architectures for Orbs & UAVs”: a dynamic decision and risk prediction engine for orbs and unmanned aerial vehicles using artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) algorithms. VISIMO and the University of Cincinnati will collaboratively advance the state-of-the-art to build an artificial neural network model that will scale and enable orbs/UAVs to perceive, learn, decide, and act more efficiently and effectively on their own.
“Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) for Synthetic Data Generation”: state-of-the-art landscape and object synthetic data generation through the development of a generative adversarial network, to produce infinite training data compatible with bi-directional mapping, dynamic multi-object tracking, and base.
"Artificial Intelligence to Support Judge Advocates When Advising Use-of-Force Decisions”: an AI Legal Assistant to provide real-time guidance and instruction to legal professionals and commanders on use-of-force decisions. It delivers a feasibility study identifying the ability of the JAG Corps to use the provided system to advance the state-of-the-art, real-time legal support for time-sensitive tactical decision-making in Air Operations Centers worldwide. The AI Legal Assistant will employ AI and ML techniques that enable the Legal Assistant to train and adapt continually as new data enters the program. VISIMO will employ human/autonomy trust techniques, including providing relevant source documents that justify the AI’s recommendations for fast human review.
The VISIMO team is also broadening its horizons by tapping into risk prediction and mitigation to best support its government clients.
“We're working on synthetic data generation, computer vision, natural language processing algorithms, image manipulation, image security, and object detection,” said Lamberton. “We’re excited to see where our work takes us.”
The Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX) program, a Department of the Air Force partnership intermediary managed by Parallax Advanced Research, provided STTR process navigation consulting to VISIMO throughout the application process. To date, the APEX Process Navigation Team assisted with over $25.6 million across 194 Department of the Air Force SBIR/STTR awards, resulting in research and development efforts from 107 organizations nationwide. Of those awards, 120 are STTRs and involve 50+ research institutes across the United States as partners. The Process Navigation assistance provided by APEX to these organizations resulted in the transitioning of 38 Phase I awards into Phase II to bridge the “valley of death” and reach Phase III. Additionally, more than 700 introductions have been facilitated via the APEX Process Navigation Matchmaking Service which is aimed at creating collaboration efforts between academia and industry.
If you are an academic or industry innovator with promising ideas or intellectual property that you'd like to commercialize, are interested in collaborating with other innovators across the Nation on research projects, or you need assistance and/or academic or industry partners in pursuit of U.S. Air Force funding, then we want to hear from you! Contact APEX at Contact the Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (apex-innovates.org)
About Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX)
APEX cultivates innovation by expanding the American research enterprise for the Department of the Air Force by engaging, connecting, and enabling innovators across academia, industry, and the Department of Defense. utilizes data analytics to identify transformational operational defense solutions in academia, industry, and government sectors; provides process navigation services for academic teams and small businesses and enhances cross-sector engagement by providing direct connections to the technology needs of multiple Department of Defense programs. APEX is managed by Parallax Advanced Research.
VISIMO develops state-of-the-art data science tools and builds custom, interactive, and actionable cloud-based software. The expert team at VISIMO creates comprehensive and innovative solutions that are open-source, secure, and accessible on any device from anywhere in the world.