8 hot technologies the CIA wants

In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s investment arm, is interested in expertise ranging from 3D printing of electronics to reconnaissance drones that can hover indefinitely.

Interest to CIA
Of interest to the CIA

The CIA has been investing in startups since 1999 through its not-for-profit arm called In-Q-Tel, hoping to accelerate development of technologies the agency might find useful. It currently lists about 100 firms in its portfolio. The agency doesn’t say why it might be interested in the technologies these companies represent, but with a little imagination it’s not that hard to figure out possibilities. Here is a sample of what they’ve been interested in lately.

Magnet Forensics
Credit: Wikimedia
Magnet Forensics

What they make: Internet Evidence Finder, software that recovers unstructured data such as social media, chat, and email from computers, smartphones, and tablets, and structures it for analysis and collaboration. It’s meant for law enforcement.

CyPhy Works
Credit: Cyphyworks.com
CyPhy Works

What they make: Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC), a six-rotor drone powered by a micro filament tether enabling it to stay aloft indefinitely to take infrared pictures with its hi-res camera. It’s outfitted with an Ethernet link, too.

Celect
Celect

What they make: Celect Optimization Platform, a machine learning/predictive analysis platform that tells retailers what customers want to buy and how to keep inventory moving and maximize sales. Its underlying Celect Choice Engine has other, unnamed possible applications for government clients, the company says.

Fuel3D
Credit: Fuel3D.com
Fuel3D

What they make: Scanify, a hand-held 3D scanner that combines stereo cameras and photometric imaging to quickly produce 3D models, including images of people in less than a tenth of a second. This could have possible uses in biometrics.

BlueLine Grid
BlueLine Grid

What they make: Platform to help create first-responder teams on the fly. It claims the largest private database of U.S. public safety employees. BlueLine includes software to choose and organize teams quickly and track each member’s whereabouts via phone apps.

BlackBag Technogies
BlackBag Technogies

What they make: Forensics dongles to collect and analyze computer and mobile device data and grab recent usage history, account info for social media sites and cloud services, connection data and the like. It makes figuring out what’s on a hard drive quick and easy.

Voxel8
Voxel8

What they make: A 3D printer for printing prototypes of electronic devices by incorporating both plastics and conductive silver ink that can print and cure at room temperatures for making antennas, connectors and transducers.

Connectify
Connectify

What they make: An app that connects a laptop to a cell phone and connects them both to a cloud service to enable blending their wireless Internet connections (Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth) into a single big pipe.