Over-the-Air Power Siphon and Measurement Challenge

11 Submissions
$50,000 USD
Due:  17th Jun 2024

Challenge overview


The U.S. Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD), the Seeker for this Wazoku Crowd Challenge, is seeking to identify technologies to remotely drain or de-energize the power from batteries and other electrical storage devices, such as capacitors, and also perform the ability to measure the power level.

Improvised explosive devices (IED)s pose a significant threat to military personnel, first responders, and civilians alike. IEDs typically require a power source to initiate an explosion, control a timer, and/or receive a signal to detonate the device from a remote source. A method to neutralize such devices by deactivating the power source without the need to physically touch the device would significantly enhance the safety and protection of personnel who respond to potential bomb-related incidents. Equally important to having an ability to drain power is the ability to measure how much power remains; to know when sufficient power has been drained to render the device inoperable.

While there are over-the-air systems to charge batteries up to three feet away, there are no such identified technologies to drain or siphon power supplies from a standoff distance, let alone measure the remaining power. IWTSD is conducting this Challenge to identify whether the capability exists to, via some non-contact approach, remotely drain/de-energize and measure the power from sealed batteries or energy storage components (e.g., capacitors).

The total award pool for this Challenge is $50,000 (USD). Solvers with the top three solutions that meet the requirements of this Challenge will be awarded $30,000 (USD) for 1st Place, $15,000 (USD) for 2nd Place, and $5,000 (USD) for 3rd Place. Additional follow-on funding may be available for awarded and/or unawarded Solvers for continued development and possible prototyping of their solutions.

A webinar to further inform, clarify, and discuss queries with IWTSD and Wazoku will be held within the first two weeks after Challenge posting. Please watch this space and the message center for details regarding date, time, and participant link.

Your IP Rights are protected in this Prize Challenge; IWTSD must award you to obtain them. The Prize Challenge requires a written proposal to be submitted and Awards will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposal by IWTSD against the Solution Requirements. To receive an Award for this Prize Challenge, Solvers are required to transfer non-exclusive rights for United States government use purposes to the Intellectual Property (IP) in their proposed solution. There is no assignment of IP Rights with this challenge. Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal not Awarded.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 17 2024.

Late submissions will not be considered.

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The Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD) provides a forum for interagency and international users to discuss mission requirements for Irregular Warfare, prioritize those requirements, fund and manage solutions, and deliver capabilities. The IWTSD accomplishes these objectives through rapid prototyping of novel solutions developed and field-tested before the traditional acquisition systems are fully engaged. This low-risk approach encourages interdepartmental and interagency collaboration, thereby reducing duplication, eliminating capability gaps, and stretching development dollars.

Participants must certify they do not have identical or essentially equivalent work funded by another U.S. government agency.

U.S. government employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate. A U.S. government employee acting outside the scope of his or her employment should consult his or her ethics official before participating in the Challenge.

Eligibility is subject to verification by U.S. government before cash prizes are awarded.

Additional Criteria by U.S. Government

Participants (residents or entities) who are designated by the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control or are listed as prohibited sources under Federal Acquisition Regulations Part 25.7 are not eligible to participate in the Challenge. Participants who are listed, or become listed, on the Excluded Parties List found on www.sam.gov, have any active exclusions, or are otherwise unable to be deemed responsible in accordance with FAR 9.104-1 based on information available in FAPIIS, are not eligible to receive any cash prize in the Challenge.

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Energy storage components such as batteries and capacitors store electric energy through chemical means (batteries) or accumulation and separation of charge (capacitors) and serve as power supplies in an almost infinite array of devices. Historically, physical contact with a circuit has been required to charge or discharge such components but in the past decade wireless, contact-free charging of batteries in cellular phones and other devices have become commonplace. While over-the-air charging of batteries is common, over-the-air discharging or draining is not. IWTSD knows of no identified technologies to drain batteries and capacitors at a distance without contact with the device.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are an ever-present threat to armed forces and civilians worldwide. Thousands of deaths annually are caused by IEDs both in areas of conflict and areas often deemed safe. Developing means to combat and reduce the threat from IEDs can go a long way toward making the world a safer place for all. IEDs almost invariably incorporate a battery, capacitor, or other electric energy storage device as a power source for a detonator, timer, and/or receiver. Deactivation of the power source will typically render the IED inoperable and significantly reduce the possibility of detonation. The ability to drain the power source from a distance without the need to physically contact the IED would help protect personnel charged with deactivating and disposing of IEDs wherever they are found.

The ability to remotely drain a power source is important, but equally important is a method to determine when the power source has been drained. Thus, this Challenge is seeking not only ideas and technologies to siphon the power from a battery without contacting it but also a means to measure the remaining power in the battery, also without physically contacting it.

The Challenge

The U.S. Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD), the Seeker for this Wazoku Crowd Challenge, is seeking to identify technologies to remotely drain or eliminate and synchronously measure the power from batteries and other electrical storage devices.

IWTSD recognizes this is a difficult, if not impossible, task and is seeking ideas and early-stage technologies that suggest this capability is achievable prior to forecasting resources for the development of a standoff power siphon system.



IWTSD is primarily interested in solutions with the potential to meet the following requirements:

Able to perform one or ideally both of the following:

1. Remotely, through non-contact means, siphon or eliminate the power from a variety of batteries and capacitors.

2. Remotely, through non-contact means, measure the voltage and amperage of the various power sources.

In addition, solutions should follow these guidelines:

3. For draining, at a minimum, must completely drain a fully-charged 9 volt PP3 battery in 8 hours or less, and a 4.2 volt lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) battery in 4 hours or less.

4. Preferably carriable by a single person or small robot and weigh no more than 40 pounds.

Evaluation criteria will be based on the above aim objectives and factor in time, distance, accuracy, and percentage of voltage and amperage drained.

Things to Avoid:

Components inside IEDs are often sensitive to electric and magnetic fields and thus avoiding the use of such fields is ideal. Solvers are welcome to suggest solutions that utilize or generate these influences, but must also describe how the detrimental effects will be mitigated.

Solutions with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-3 are anticipated, but higher levels are also welcome.

This Prize Challenge has the following features:

  1. Your IP rights are protected in this Prize Challenge; IWTSD must award you to obtain them.
  2. The total award pool is $50,000(USD) to be awarded as follows: 1st Place - $30,000(USD); 2nd Place - $15,000(USD); 3rd Place - $5,000(USD) to the top three solutions that meet the solution requirements, as solely determined by IWTSD.
  3. Awards will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposals by IWTSD.
  4. To receive an Award for this Prize Challenge, Solvers are required to transfer non-exclusive rights for United States government use purposes to the Intellectual Property (IP) in their proposed solution. Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal not Awarded.
  5. IWTSD may also issue “Honorable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards.
  6. IWTSD may wish to partner with the Solver at the conclusion of the Challenge. Please include a statement indicating your interest in partnering.



Please login and register your interest, to complete the submission form.

The submitted proposals must be written in English and can include:

  1. Participation type – you will first be asked to inform us how you are participating in this challenge, as a Solver (Individual) or Solver (Organization).
  2. Solution Level - the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution, TRL1-3 ideation, TRL4-6 proof of concept, TRL7-9 production ready.
  3. Partnering - There may be an opportunity to partner at the conclusion of this Challenge. Please indicate if this is of interest to you.
  4. Problem & Opportunity - highlight the innovation in your approach to the Problem, its point of difference, and the specific advantages/benefits this brings (up to 500 words).
  5. Solution Overview - detail the features of your solution and how they address the Solution Requirements (up to 500 words, there is space to add more in the summary field below, and to add any appropriate supporting data, diagrams, etc).
  6. Does your proposed solution contain any sensitive or potentially controlled information or technology that cannot be included in submission to this Challenge? If yes, please indicate the preferred source and method of contact for further discussion.
  7. Experience - Expertise, use cases and skills you or your organization have in relation to your proposed solution (up to 500 words).
  8. Solution Risks - any risks you see with your solution and how you would plan for this (up to 500 words).
  9. Timeline, capability and costs - describe what you think is required to deliver the solution, estimated time and cost (up to 500 words).
  10. Online References - provide links to any publications, articles, or press releases of relevance (up to 500 words).

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Would you like to learn more about the Evaluators' requirements in this Challenge? Watch our Webinar for the Over-the-Air Power Siphon and Measurement Challenge now:

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Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 17 2024.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Your submission will be evaluated by the evaluation team first reviewing the information and content you have submitted at the submission form, with attachments used as additional context to your form submission. Submissions relying solely on attachments will receive less attention from the evaluation team.

After the Challenge submission due date, IWTSD will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the winning solution(s) according to the timeline in the Challenge header. All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified about the status of their submissions.

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RO Robin of Green Valley

Suppose for the sake of argument, a method exists. You do realize that this method itself would be a weapon in its own right, with the ability to de-energize drones (for instance) or render electronics inoperable (e.g. guidance systems, fuzes, radar, radio, video). It’s just a matter of range. Obviously, then, once one state actor gets this technology, counter-measures become necessary, and said countermeasures will be incorporated into the next iteration of IEDs and other hardware, perpetuating an arms race.I don’t think fifty grand is enough for a new weapons system.

Dr. Kristoffer J Martin Dr. Kristoffer J Martin

You do understand that this is literally impossible to do, right? Unless you can change the fundamental physical laws, this is challenge is based on science fiction.

russell_mcmahon russell_mcmahon

@Dr. Kristoffer J Martin They are aware that as stated the requirement is “impossible”.However, out of such suggestions come ideas which can be useful or even transformational.It was obvious to me at a glance that what they wanted could not be done, but it got me thinking on what subsets of this capability may be possible enough to be useful to them. I suspect that quite a few people could suggest ideas which would help to some extent. I'm not going to start to discuss such things here, but I just may suggest them to them :-) .

Dr. Kristoffer J Martin Dr. Kristoffer J Martin

@russell_mcmahon I mean, I’ve already submitted my solution. And I’ve considered every potential option I can conceive of, even the most outlandish, to achieve the intended goal. The fact is, it is impossible, and the most likely solution to achieve the end goal lies in extant tech. While it’s an interesting conceptual challenge, I don’t think that any real solution that meets their requirements will be presented.

Dr. Kristoffer J Martin Dr. Kristoffer J Martin

I mean I did submit a solution that would allow disabling devices at a distance, it just isn’t what they want, because what they want simply isn’t possible. At the core of the challenge is a means of disabling devices at a distance so as to keep people safe while removing hazards like IEDs. That can be done, but not in the way they describe. In fact, the exact opposite has to happen, they have to overcharge remote electronics, rather than siphoning power from it. After reading the challenge, it’s clear to me the person(s) who proposed the challenge lack fundamental understandings of physics and how electronics work. If we were talking about Vacuum Tube based electronics, then there is a way to do what they ask, but modern electronics it’s absolutely impossible.