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News and EventsslashSoldier Design Competition


September marks the kickoff of the annual Soldier Design Competition, in which teams compete for cash prizes by applying their creativity and engineering skill to the problems of the modern Soldier. The goal is to generate new products and systems that will help the modern Soldier both on and off the battlefield. Focused on practical, non-weapons products like body armor cooling systems and battery rechargers, the technology that comes out of the Competition often has dual-use potential for firefighters, police, or even athletes.

The Competition is open to any member of the MIT community (including alumni and parents), as well as to Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Each year, the Competition offers participants a choice of specific design challenges based on the needs of real Soldiers, as well as an open design category for creative new ideas. Technical and military mentors help teams understand performance specifications, field conditions, and Soldiers' needs. Teams own the intellectual property rights to their inventions and are encouraged to pursue commercialization of successful designs that can have near-term impact. Several of the teams from previous years have gone on to form companies, refine their prototypes, and even work directly with the Army to bring their technology to Soldiers in the field.

At last year's Finals, six teams from MIT and USMA took away $20,000 in prize money for a host of creative new technologies ranging from an integrated beacon and tracking device to an endothermic insulating material.

The Soldier Design Competition is sponsored by the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies using non-Army monies.

For more information about any aspect of the Competition, please email us at

Back to Competition main page.

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