Mar 06

Heavily-Attended PNT Technology Showcase Raises Interest in Emerging Technologies

A fascinating afternoon of cutting-edge PNT technologies presented to more than 50 attendees

C-TRAC is thrilled to report the successful conclusion of another Technology Showcase.

Designed to explore PNT alternatives to our vulnerable GPS systems, per a directive from Congress to decrease the military's over-reliance on GPS technology, the showcase held on February 26, 2018 was sponsored by C-TRAC, CyberWorx and the TechMarketplace. Over 50 attendees gathered to hear about the latest PNT technologies and to learn more about the Air Force's needs.

First up was Keynote Speaker Rear Admiral (ret) Liz Young, offering her unique and highly-informed perspective on just how vulnerable GPS is now, as opposed to what potential vulnerabilities might be exploited in the future as technologies improve. Her speech was  both funny and engaging, and it was fascinating to hear about some of her personal experiences with the equipment.

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Rear Admiral (ret) Liz Young wows the audience with an engaging keynote speech

The first technology presentation of the day was by Mark Smearcheck, an electronics engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Sensors Directorate. The AFRL Sensors Directorate’s mission is to lead the discovery and development of future capabilities, providing integrated Intelligence, Reconnaissance, combat identification and spectrum warfare effects. The PNT Technology Showcase was held specifically to benefit this AFRL lab, which has been charged with working the  PNT issue among others. Mr. Smearcheck did an excellent job of concisely explaining the current reliance on and risks to GPS, the current state of PNT, and how contractors may request access to the Air Force’s open architecture for PNT, including plug-and-play implementation options. 

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Electronics Engineer Mark Smearcheck of the AFRL Sensors Directorate

John Wallace, the Commercial Operations Manager of Rincon Research Corporation, was up next to present Rincon's Raptor Zynq UtraScale + MPSoC SDR Development Kit, which combines the latest generation FPGA SOC technology with a MIMO-capable RF transceiver. He was peppered with great questions from the audience, as were all the presenters.

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Commercial Operations Manager John Wallace of Rincon Research Corporation

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Deeply-engaged audience members work together to understand a knotty point

GPS Source’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Kurt Williams, then took the floor to discuss their Sentry Scout Resilient Positioning Navigation and Timing (R-PNT) solution. Mr. Williams explained that the Sentry Scout provides mission essential data and integrates emerging and existing technologies – such as INS, CSAC, ES/EP, and AJAS – to create a commercially available solution for the US Army that can also be applied to non-military applications. He, too, was besieged with questions as he explained the technology in detail.

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Kurt Williams of GPS Source fields numerous questions

The final presenter was Ryan Blay, a graduating senior from CU Boulder’s Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR). The invention he presented is a hybrid algorithm that combines Time-Difference-of-Arrival (TDOA) and Power-Difference-of-Arrival (PDOA) localization techniques in order to determine the position of a [GPS-blocking] jammer/ spoofer in a wider variety of situations. 

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Ryan Blay, a graduating senior from CU Boulder's CCAR, presents a PNT algorithm

The audience members then separated to attend breakout sessions wherein they had the opportunity to discuss specific technologies with presenters one-to-one. The presenters made themselves available for questions and offered up collateral materials for closer examination. 

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Breakout session with John Wallace of Rincon Research Corporation

The PNT Technology showcase concluded with a free wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres Happy Hour where a good time was had by all: many more discussions were held, numerous networking opportunities presented themselves, and another successful C-TRAC Technology Showcase finally wound down.


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Event organizer Brian Bellacicco (far right) shares a laugh with audience members

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C-TRAC Executive Director Don Kidd (center) engages in an intense discussion

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Networking in the Catalyst Campus kitchen

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DATE: February 26, 2018

TIME: 1:00 PM – 5:30 PM

VENUE: Harvey House, Catalyst Campus, 555 E. Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

COST: None. The Showcase is open to the public.

HOSTED BY: The PNT Technology Showcase is a collaborative production of C-TRAC (Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization), the Technology Marketplace (, and the Air Force CyberWorx program.



What is PNT?

Positioning, Navigation and Timing, or PNT, are the three necessary elements that, when combined with map data, constitute GPS. 

A directive from Congress asks that PNT alternatives to standard GPS be developed due to concerns that the US is over-reliant on vulnerable GPS technology. The Air Force is addressing this problem via a CyberWorx Design Sprint beginning February 27th. 

To kick-off the Design Sprint, the PNT Technology Showcase on February 26th will bring the most promising positioning, navigation and timing technologies from AF labs, industry, and academia together for presentations before an audience of members of the military and federal employees, industry, entrepreneurs, academia and venture capitalists. 

A FREE Happy Hour will conclude the festivities shortly after 4:00 PM, allowing audience members and presenters to network with industry partners and stakeholders in a casual setting.

What is a Technology Showcase?

Technology Showcases are opportunities for inventors and innovators across all sectors – federal labs, university labs, and industry – to present promising technologies to audiences consisting of a wide array of interested parties, from military acquisition officers to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and anyone who enjoys learning about the latest cutting-edge technologies. 

Each innovator will conduct a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation or other demonstration, followed by a 10-minute Q&A from the audience. After the series of presentations, the participating innovators will be available for smaller breakout sessions prior to the start of the Happy Hour.

Innovators Presenting

A mixed group of Air Force, academia and industry organizations will be presenting the latest PNT methods and technologies. Among the innovators presenting are: 

Sounds great! Where do I sign up?

Click HERE to register. Remember, there is no cost to attend the PNT Technology Showcase.


Lora A Premo

Lora published her first written piece at age seven, when she wrote the second-grade play for her class; she has been writing ever since. She is now the Content Manager for C-TRAC and continues to create content daily on a wide variety of subjects.