John Boucard, founder and CEO of Tesseract Ventures LLC in Overland Park, has always been fascinated by space. It's therefore particularly pleasing that his Overland Park-based tech company has now signed a contract with U.S. Space Force.
AFWERX secured a direct to Phase II SBIR contract of $1,25 million with Space Force. The contract will focus on research and developments at Space Launch Delta 45, at Patrick Space Force Base (Florida) and Cape Canaveral.
Space Launch Delta 45 offers assured launch, range and fighting capabilities. Tesseract Ventures is a company that develops next generation technologies including robots, wearables, and an artificial-intelligence-driven Tesseract Smart Space. This space visualizes data from Internet of Things (IoT) assets, enterprise software, and other sources in order to help teams collaborate faster and make better decisions.
Overland Park employs 30 people including contractors.
Boucard says that the contract is exciting because it involves all departments within Tesseract Venture, including those who develop and manufacture robots, as well as others that focus on software development and artificial intelligence.
He said that the contract was a way to engage everyone in an unusual manner within the company. It allows us to use most of our technologies in this contract.
Tesseract, as part of this contract, will test and refine its existing technology such as Tesseract Smart Space and add new functionalities. He said that the knowledge and improvements gained through the research and development can also be used by Tesseract’s commercial clients in the construction sector.
Tesseract will use its technology to assist Space Force in tracking inventory, equipment status and staff locations. It will also provide a multidimensional view of the launch environments and help gain a better understanding through data visualization.
Tesseract’s Prism wearable device can track both the exact location of equipment and employees, as well as their speed and direction.
Prism can send an alert if an employee walks into an unsafe area. Tesseract uses the location data in order to create a digital replica of the physical site. This gives staff an instant view of operations.
The Prism badge can also be used as an employee's credentialing and identification badge. If they enter the Smart Space the room will display data visualizations specific to the individual's credentials. The Smart Space is filled with touch screens which can display data. However, it can also show 4D holograms if users wear augmented-reality glasses. Smart Spaces can be used to visualize past and current events as well as predict future events. For example, they can simulate how weather conditions will impact operations.
He said that Tesseract could ultimately provide the data needed to make critical decisions.
The Smart Space is able to ingest data in real time from our robots, and can connect with other technologies on base. He said that it's important to keep a human on the loop but they are augmented with 21st Century abilities.
Tesseract won a contract worth $1,25 million last year to assist the U.S. Air Force in advanced data visualization as well as location tracking for supplies and resources. Early on, the company had a goal to work with the federal government.
Boucard said that Tesseract's success was partly due to the patience and local investors who allowed the company the time needed to develop their technology.
It's not enough to just invent. He said that it's one thing to invent, but another to have the right strategies to guide the founder and company through its development. We needed the patience and mentality of local investors in order to have time to create and execute.