Science & Technology

UWF students land grant to develop app for Air Force

A team of University of West Florida students has been awarded a $25,000 grant to develop an app that will help the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field better gather and share information.

Mid-section of soldier using digital tablet in park on a sunny day

The grant was awarded to UWF students Christian Kaman, Daryl Meade and Lloyd Mageo by the Small Business Innovation Research program, which “is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federal research/research and development that has the potential for commercialization,” according to SBIR’s website.

The students developed the concept for the app during UWF’s Hacking for Defense, or H4D, course held from May to July.

The app, called the Enhanced Situational Awareness Process, will be developed by 2enovate, a company Kaman founded.

The ESAP features a web-based, interactive dashboard that is fully customizable based on user preferences and mission requirements, a mobile application allowing users to better gather and report data, speech-to-text functionality and integration with Microsoft Outlook calendar to track external engagements. The information is updated nearly in real time and can be viewed by a supervisor at the home organization almost immediately.

“It’s not just a software solution,” Meade said. “It’s a holistic approach to data gathering and dissemination.”

The student team conducted more than 40 interviews with potential beneficiaries and stakeholders during the H4D course.

“What I like to see out of the class is the students growing in their soft skills—the organization, the teamwork, the communication,” said Dr. Dallas Snider, an associate professor at UWF and chair of the Department of Information Technology. Snider is the lead instructor for the H4D course.

Kaman said he and his team would like to get more students involved in helping develop the product, which would give them valuable hands-on experience.

Dr. Donovan Chau, director of research engagement for the UWF Division of Research and Strategic Innovation, helped start the H4D course at UWF. He said the course shows that students using teamwork can come up with innovative solutions to tackle real-world challenges.

“Students are the ones who are going to be experts of the future,” Chau said.

This was the second H4D course held at UWF. H4D is part of a national program, and beginning Oct. 1, H4D will be funded by the U.S. Department of Defense as part of the National Security Innovation Network.

For more information on the University of West Florida, visit