A new $200,000 grant will help entrepreneurs working on unmanned marine technology access the specialized design and test facilities at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and its DunkWorks marine technology makerspace.
The grant from the Innovation Institute at MassTech will support the creation of the “D’Works Fund.” The fund will help early-phase marine technology startups in Massachusetts access the DunkWorks’ ocean prototyping and test facilities and its technical and engineering experts. It will also support access to the WHOI Pressure Test Facility and the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory. MassTech is also supporting the development of a new marine accelerator, called DisruptorWorks, scheduled to launch later this year.
“These WHOI facilities include both shore-based test and fabrication facilities, as well as instrumented ocean test sites. WHOI engineers and technicians are unique for their extensive experience developing complex marine instruments and platforms, and operating those systems in remote regions of the planet,” MassTech said in a statement.
The DunkWorks offers advanced 3-D printing, virtual reality systems, several milling machines, scanners and workstations. With these tools, and the advice of on-site staff, prototypers can quickly design, print, test, tweak and re-test new hardware, iterating quickly to a final, workable design.
“The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is proud to support the legacy of excellence in marine research and development at WHOI and we’re excited to help homegrown marine tech companies access these stellar facilities,” said Executive Director Carolyn Kirk. “Today’s award adds a critical element that will help WHOI and the Center for Marine Robotics engage entrepreneurs directly, giving these marine startups the ability to test, refine, and grow their innovative products.”