The Dayton company is commercializing military-grade technology with help from the Air Force Research Laboratory and The Entrepreneurs Center.
Effective communication is key in life. Being able to relay information clearly so that others can understand the meaning of our words and actions is a universally crucial component to success in our personal relationships, at home and in the workplace. Battle Sight Technologies in Dayton is developing innovative tools to improve communications for military, police and first responders—where a lapse in communication could mean the difference between life and death.
“Communicating clearly is already tough. Now imagine you’re on a special forces mission in extreme conditions, it’s pitch black and radio communications are down,” said Nick Ripplinger, co-founder and President of Battle Sight Technologies. “That makes it even harder. We developed our first product, the MARC, to work in the toughest of conditions. It’s a pen-like tool that enhances communications in no-light and low-light situations.”
The MARC, or Marking Appliance Reusable Chemiluminescent, is essentially a high-tech marker that utilizes reusable chemiluminescent infrared technology. While it bears a striking resemblance to a glue stick you might see at the store, its contents are much more high-tech. With infrared chemiluminescence, soldiers can write messages only readable with the help of night vision technology—invisible to the enemy’s naked eye. There is also a standard visibility, non-infrared version.
The concept, licensed by Ripplinger and co-founder Bennett Tanton through the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is meant to address the limitations of the chem-lights, or glow sticks, currently used by the millions in the military to mark helicopter landing zones and direct vehicles in the dark. As opposed to glow sticks which can only be activated and used once, the MARC is pressure-activated and enables users to write specific, chemiluminescent messages. Consider the impact, “Stop! Minefield ahead,” would have on the battlefield.
“It’s just more dynamic than your standard traditional glow stick where you get a six-inch piece of plastic that glows. Now you can write specific messages and mark specific hazards in a way that your guys know,” said Ripplinger. “It enables communication on the battlefield that right now simply isn’t possible.”
Ripplinger, an Army veteran from Miamisburg, Ohio, and Tanton, a former Marine from Syracuse, New York, were recently awarded a Technology Validation and Start-Up grant to advance their product, and are working directly with The Entrepreneurs Center, a regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. Together, they are working to establish their business operations, spread the word about their technology and reach out to community investors.
Battle Sight Technologies is beginning field tests in M 2018 with several special forces divisions—Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force, Marine Recon—and will then expand the offering to include police and emergency response units. The young company is growing quickly, something they say is not just a credit to the community around them, but also a sign that others can succeed as well.
“The thing I love about this startup community is everybody genuinely wants to help. If we succeed, then Dayton succeeds and if Dayton succeeds, Ohio succeeds,” said Ripplinger. “I just had a meeting recently where we were talking to another company, trying to figure out how we could work together to help each other grow so that, as a community, we all grow. That’s special to be a part of.”