White House announces finalists in challenge for automated tech to detect opioids in mail


announced on June 12 the eight finalists in the first stage of the Opioid Detection Challenge, which is offering $1.55 million in prizes for an automated tool to detect opioids in international mail.

The project was launched in February by the ONDCP, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, Customs and Border Protection and the Postal Inspection Service. The first stage called for well-developed plans for user-friendly opioid detection tools, with each of eight finalists receiving $100,000.

Here are the finalists, chosen from a pool of 83 submissions from around the world, according to the ONDCP:

  • Atomic-level Drug Detection (Dynaxion): A solution to use high-frequency radio waves in particle accelerator technology.
  • Automated Multimodal Opioid Detection (Battelle): Machine learning algorithms are applied to images captured through dual-energy radiography and hyperspectral imaging.
  • Enhanced X-ray Diffraction (HALO X-ray Technologies): A solution to detect the presence of opioids by measuring how X-rays are diffracted when they pass through a parcel.
  • Nonimaging Concealed Drug Detector (One Resonance): A quadrupole resonance technology that uses radio-frequency signals to search for specific materials.
  • Noninvasive Detection Using Molecular Signatures (GTBM): A solution to use ultrasound technology in a molecular resonance detector that transmits sound waves and analyzes the returned frequencies. These frequencies are analyzed to define the distinct atomic/molecular signature of the target sample.
  • NQR Detection of Nitrogen-Containing Substances (Vadum): A nuclear quadrupole resonance technology that emits radio-frequency pulses to detect specific nitrogen-containing molecules.
  • Operator-free X-Ray Diffraction (XID): An energy dispersive X-ray diffraction technology that uses a polychromatic beam to increase signal strength and detection speed.
  • Scanner and Algorithms for Automatic Opioid Detection (IDSS Holdings): A solution that combines a 3D X-ray computed tomography scanner with automated detection algorithms.

Next, they will participate in a 14-week accelerator to create testable prototypes of their proposals. The second stage will culminate in on-site testing, in which the finalists will compete for a $500,000 grand prize and $250,000 runner-up award.

More articles about opioids:
States with medical marijuana laws have higher opioid overdose rates, study finds
How IU Health cut opioid prescriptions 30% in its EDs
New Jersey Innovation Institute joins statewide EHR interoperability initiative to limit opioid overprescribing


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