Global Hawk Tops Connect List of Most Innovative New Products

Connect, the San Diego nonprofit supporting local innovation and entrepreneurship, has bestowed its highest award for an innovative new technology or product to the Global Hawk, the long-range, high-altitude unmanned surveillance aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman.

The aircraft was initially developed in San Diego by Teledyne Ryan under an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program sponsored by the Pentagon, and first flew in 1998. With a wingspan of more than 130 feet, the spy plane can operate as high as 60,000 feet, fly more than 14,000 miles, and stay aloft for over 32 hours.

Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) acquired Teledyne Ryan the following year for $140 million.

RQ-4 Block 10 Global Hawk

RQ-4 Global Hawk

Connect gives its William W. Otterson Award for a technology or product developed in the region “that has demonstrated a significant impact on society and on our quality of life.”

Connect announced the award last night at a dinner in La Jolla, and recognized eight other winners of its 28th annual Most Innovative New Products Award. The awards, which begin each year in the spring and culminate in the awards ceremony in December, recognize innovative technologies developed by companies in the San Diego area that have been released within the past 18 months.

Experts from around the region evaluated over 100 nominees in eight categories, eventually selecting three semi-finalists in each category. Listed below is the winner in each category:

Aerospace, Security, and Cyber Technologies: Ocean Aero for the Submaran, a robotic unmanned vessel that can operate on or below the ocean surface to carry out long-term data-gathering missions without the need to refuel or recharge.

Cleantech: Q Factory 33 for the B3 Bypass, a device that increases the energy potential of wind, solar, and stationary battery backup systems and electric power generators.

Communications and IT: Mushroom Networks for VOIP Armor, a gateway device for using Internet protocols to make phone calls that automatically works around network problems.

Life Science Diagnostics and Research Tools: CureMetrix for its image analysis platform, which quantifies and characterizes anomalies. CureMetrix says its technology can be used for more accurate mammograms, and reduces unnecessary biopsies.

Mobile Apps: Chalk Digital for its Instant Mobile Ad Platform, a location-based, do-it-yourself advertising technology that enables users to build, target, and launch an advertisement in minutes and distribute it to thousands of nearby mobile apps.

Pharmaceutical Drugs and Medical Devices: PureWick for developing a non-invasive and disposable wick for women that comfortably moves urine away from the body without the need for catheters or specialized nurses.

Software and Digital Media: Comhear for MyBeam, a wireless speaker “sound bar” that produces a fully immersive surround sound.

Sport and Active Lifestyle Technologies: Hush for Hush Smart Earplugs, which help people sleep easier in noisy environments.

Connect also announced that  JPMorgan Chase has provided a $230,000 grant to support Connect in the development of small-business clusters. In a statement released by Connect, Brennon Crist,

head of the JPMorgan Chase middle market commercial banking team in San Diego, says, “Startup accelerators like Connect are making a dramatic difference in the way small businesses work and how they succeed.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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