Demo event ‘illuminates’ innovative tech solutions for Hanscom programs

  • Published
  • By Jessica Casserly
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Lantern: Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center held an industry demo day event for Hanscom personnel and innovation ecosystem partners here Oct. 12.

The “Light the Lantern” demo day, held at the Lantern’s tactical shelter area, showcased 11 technology providers focused on the themes of virtual and augmented reality, zero trust and hybrid edge computing.

“This event is really about connection,” said Lt. Col. Bai Lan Zhu, Lantern executive director. “Today, we’re bringing together mission owners and solution providers and I’m hoping you all collide and spark new partnerships to get after our nation’s top security challenges.”

Joe Bradley, a member of the Lantern’s board of directors, as well as the director of Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems and of Engineering and Technical Management at Hanscom, said demo days help acquisition professionals better understand their connection to the warfighter.

“As the director of engineering, I see events like this as a way for my engineers to keep current, to keep their skills fresh, to understand what’s going on and what the art of the possible is,” he said.

Steve Wert, Lantern board member and program executive officer for Digital, emphasized the need for Hanscom directorate personnel to connect with innovation ecosystem partners who can help them meet the Secretary of the Air Force’s operational imperatives.

“Our partnerships with the defense industry to deliver warfighting capabilities have never been more important than they are now,” he said. “Today, ideally, we’re going to form new partnerships with some of you and move forward as an Air Force.” 

Eric Brimhall, Lantern program manager, said the response to the vendor call for this event was “greater than we had hoped” and the Lantern now has a strong candidate list to draw from for their next ‘Light the Lantern’ event slated for May 2023.

“Moving forward we will offer stronger involvement opportunities to our educational partners and local incubators in order to equip small companies with a purer path to government collaboration,” he said.

Lantern staff said the Hanscom Innovation Team was “instrumental” in helping to shape the event’s technology focus areas and selecting vendors from amongst the more than 80 company pitches received by the innovation team throughout the past year.

“Vendors were selected based on the criteria of compelling technology, interactive demonstration and stakeholder interest,” said Christopher Carrero, the Lantern’s technical director. “My special thanks to Joe Wotton of CROWS, PEO Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Innovation technical director Matt Reyburn, and Lantern Cyber Security subject matter expert Venkatesan Perumal for their contributions."

Deborah Fullford, vice president of sales and business development for MAK Technologies said participating in the demo day and meeting Hanscom personnel was a great business opportunity and gave her company direct access to end users.

“The ability to have a warfighter look at our system, which is a training system, and have them evaluate it is just so informative,” she said.

Representatives from Mass Virtual said military personnel are always surprised by the technology their company offers and events like “Light the Lantern” help them increase awareness and make valuable connections.

“This program [we demoed today] is going into the Cloud One Air Force service,” said Jaime Santiago, executive regional director for Mass Virtual. “The Cloud One program manager is here [at Hanscom], so we got together and he tested a headset, which is great for future meetings he’s going to have at the Air Education and Training Command, which oversees our contract.”

Zhu said she hopes this event increased the Hanscom community’s awareness of the Lantern as not only an experimentation facility, but also a place to collaborate and innovate.

“We’ve received overwhelming positive feedback on the event and how it fostered valuable exchanges of ideas and information that are necessary to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing ones,” she said.

Vendors interested in connecting with the team and being considered for future events are encouraged to visit the Hanscom Innovation Team webpage and submit an intake form for evaluation by technology subject matter experts and program office staff.

To learn more about the Lantern and partnership opportunities, contact Brimhall at