Tacoma’s Namatad Firefly platform — an intelligent situational awareness system that delivers visibility to first responders though wearable hardware, drones, and real time analytics — has been awarded a 2019 TechConnect Defense Innovation Award.

The project was honored this month at the Defense TechConnect Innovation Summit & Expo in National Harbor, Maryland. The awards recognize the top 15 percent of technologies submitted to the conference based on their potential for positive impact for service members and national security.

Matt Tolentino, assistant professor at University of Washington, Tacoma’s School of Engineering and Technology, founded of the company. The project has been a collaboration between UWT, the Tacoma Fire Department, and the City of Tacoma Community and Economic Development Department. It has received support from CoMotion Incubator at the University of Washington and the Port of Tacoma.

Through deployable sensors that self-create a mesh network, Firefly gathers and synthesizes information to provide actionable decision guidance to incident and operations commanders. Vital information such as personnel locations, environmental conditions and escape routes feed to an iPad or tablet. The information can be life saving in crisis situations such as fires, active shooter incidents, military attacks, and natural disasters, and can provide post-event analytics for training and risk management.