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Blockchain-based project wins US Military funding

SIMBA Chain used blockchain to cyber-resilient communications between additive manufacturing labs across the supply chain

SIMBA Chain, a smart contract-as-a-service platform, is the winning entry in this year’s Advanced Manufacturing Olympics (MO), held by the US Department of Defence. Though it is not surprising to hear the use of blockchain in the areas of security and supply chains, the SIMBA Chain developed by the University of Notre Dame and ITAMCO casts the use of blockchain in these sectors in a new light.

The MO is organised by the DoD to keep up with the emerging technologies used for contemporary warfare by exploring efficient and effective ways to innovate the manufacturing process and supply chains for weapons and munitions for the US Air Force and US Navy.

Held virtually earlier this week, this year’s event sought to recruit traditional DoD contractors, technology developers, and academics to mobilise new technologies, including 3D printing.

SIMBA Chain was awarded first place and a grant of $100,000 for its performance in one of the technical challenges set during the DoD’s Olympics. The challenge involved a war game scenario devised by the DoD in which a fictional island was under siege.

Participants were expected to deploy additive manufacturing like 3D printing of metals, plastics and composite parts on demand. They were also tasked with creating a secure communication and delivery network for forward-deployed military units and front-line medical staff.

We had six days to put together an entire war game solution to deliver critical parts to a battlefront, keep field hospitals operational and infrastructure like runways intact. What was different about our approach was how we met both the physical challenges of warfighters as well as the cyber threats that are playing a growing role in modern warfare,” SIMBA Chain CEO Joel Neidig explained.

SIMBA’s use of blockchain technology to provide a secure network provided the project an edge over competitors such as Boeing, which won third place, and Stratasys, which was placed second. Blockchain technology-enabled SIMBA’s project to establish cyber-resilient communications between additive manufacturing labs across supply chains.

It is important to understand that the objective behind the DoD’s Olympics is to turn successful commercial realities, and SIMBA Chain is already working with several arms of the DoD, including the Air Force and Navy.

The company has stated that it has “high hopes that blockchain, and specifically SIMBA Chain, will soon be an integral part of the U.S. military’s strategic weaponry.

Written by Harshini Nag

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