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AFRL licenses second technology to local firm

AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Assistant Chief Engineer, Dr. Larry Brott, displays infrared powder used to form pellets in the creation of infrared technologies for battlefield communication and training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Donna Lindner)

AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Assistant Chief Engineer, Dr. Larry Brott, displays infrared powder used to form pellets in the creation of infrared technologies for battlefield communication and training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Donna Lindner)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - Battle Sight Technologies has acquired a second patent license related to infrared materials as signaling tools for nighttime military operations.

A year ago, Dr. Larry Brott of the Air Force Research Laboratory, along with his co-inventors, licensed a technology to BST for a pressure-activated marker that allows troops to communicate with written messages in low or no-light conditions (with or without night vision devices).

A second patent by Dr. Brott and his team involving infrared phosphor technology has recently been licensed to BST, which expands to their existing collection of infrared technologies. This technology works similarly to the dials on a watch, absorbing ultraviolet light during the day, and emitting an infrared light at night.

This suite of infrared products, such as glow sticks or patches and packs displaying glow-in-the-dark reflective strips, are all used for battlefield communication and training. Additionally, these products are used to identify U.S. militaries’ locations to friendly ground forces and aircraft.

Identification is a must when troops are partnering with foreign forces, including ununiformed soldiers using civilian trucks.

In March, the Air Force awarded Battle Sight Technologies $165,000 to continue developing products based off the core patches, tapes and molded parts to support low-light/no-light communication.

“Through express tech licensing, it is easy to discover which technologies are available and also learn about pre-negotiated terms and pricing,” said Sunita Chavan, Materials and Manufacturing Technology Transfer Office Lead.  “There is total transparency.  If a company is interested in entering into a licensing agreement, they can complete an easy application.”

“One-stop shopping” is a term Chavan uses to explain express tech licensing.  The user-friendly process makes Air Force technologies available to companies of all sizes while eliminating lengthy contract negotiations associated with government patent licensing.

Pre-determined upfront fees and royalty fees are what make the express licensing platform an easy option, according to Chavan.

“AFRL is a leading research organization right here in our back yard and as a commercialization firm, continuing this mutually beneficial relationship is a huge win for Battle Sight,” said Nick Ripplinger, BST president.

The next steps include learning how to scale-up the production process.  “We are used to making small, lab-scale batches where we can produce 15 crayons per day, said Brott.  “We are getting such interest in this product that we are now being asked to make 200 crayons daily.”

Various “flavors” of crayons are also being requested that match different scenarios. Infrared crayons that leave no trace, and crayons that glow visibly at night while leaving a bright pink pigment mark for daytime viewing are a few examples.

These variations are for first responders who might answer to a night-time train wreck. After searching a train car, they would mark it so that it would be visible at night, and also apparent once the sun rises.

“We are working hard to meet a deadline, for a ‘first responder’ convention in October and anticipating a much larger demand for the crayons after the word gets out,” Brott commented.

The future may hold a non-toxic version for home use; perhaps even as sidewalk chalk.

To learn more about crayons, go to https://battlesighttech.com/products/.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and development center for the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force.  With a workforce of more than 11,000 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development.  For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com.