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SOCOM Wants Help Designing Oxygen Masks for Skydiving Dogs


U.S. Special Operations Command’s innovation cell is hosting a competition on June 1 to design oxygen masks for dogs to wear when jumping out of aircraft with their Special Forces units.

Military working dogs jump out of aircraft strapped to the chests of their special operations handlers when leaders determine they need the dogs on missions. SOCOM wants help designing oxygen masks for the dogs on High Altitude High Open jumps at altitudes between 15,000 and 30,000 feet.

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SOFWERX will host the competition featuring $6,000 in cash prizes at their workshop in Ybor City, which is located a few miles from SOCOM headquarters in Tampa, Fla. Applicants must register by April 21 if they want to participate in the competition taking place in June.

Competitors must submit designs for the oxygen masks in sizes small, medium and large. The designers must also develop a non-functional prototype to demonstrate the true air seal on a canine model. SOFWERX will use a stuffed German Shepherd that can be bought on Amazon as their canine model.

SOFWERX officials want design teams to use open source and open hardware to develop their oxygen masks. If teams want to use new hardware, electronics, or software for their designs, it must be publicly and freely available under an appropriate open source license, according to competition rules.

On June 1, each team will have five to ten minutes to present their Conceptual Technical Design Package and Non-Functional Prototype.

To learn more about SOFWERX and their work, read our article on the innovation cell stood up by SOCOM officials.

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Tandem NSI oversees a network of 5,000 entrepreneurs and works to connect emerging innovators with national security projects.

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