MxD Awarded $6.25 Million by U.S. Department of Commerce

Funding to Support Development of Medical Goods Marketplace and Public Health Demand Modeling

March 16, 2022 (CHICAGO) – MxD, the national digital manufacturing and cybersecurity institute, announced that its project teams have been awarded nearly $6.25 million by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to establish a rapid response medical goods supply chain marketplace and to advance data analysis to track future demand signals.  

MxD’s awards represent two of the 13 total high-impact projects that NIST awarded for research, development, and testbeds for pandemic response. The nearly $54 million in total funding was provided by the American Rescue Act. 

“Long before the pandemic, we were in the business of solving hard problems by forging new coalitions of researchers, manufacturers, and technologists,” said Dr. Federico Sciammarella, MxD President and Chief Technology Officer. “These projects will enable MxD and its partners to put the tools in place for more agile supply chains when the next major public health challenge arises.” 

Rx Product Marketplace Orchestrator 

The Rx Product Marketplace Orchestrator will be an online marketplace for consumers and manufacturers of emergency health and medical goods that ensures rapid response across the supply chain to meet demand for particular items (e.g., respirators, ventilators, and face masks). 

This includes elements to semi-automatically harvest product design and manufacturing information and to perform online matchmaking, offering the ability to fulfill consumer demands from willing and able producers. Orchestration algorithms will maintain constant, manageable demand and ensure capacity utilization and load-balancing between participating producers, as well as knowledge-sharing for making the demanded goods. 

Wayne State University will lead this project and will build a research team together with Oregon State University and Iowa State University. 

“We saw manufacturers step up to coordinate a response to sudden surges in demand for medical goods at various points during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Kyoung-Yun Kim, Professor at Wayne State University and director of the Computational Intelligence and Design Informatics (CInDI) Laboratory. “Organizing and automating much of this activity in an online marketplace will streamline these activities and reduce the time and friction involved in getting these products to where they are urgently needed.” 

Local Health Alert System 

The Local Health Alert System will conduct contact tracing and data analysis, translating real-time public health indicators into future demand signals to develop predictive capabilities for supply chain needs. 

The project will employ blockchain technologies including zero knowledge proofs, verifiable credentials, and distributed IDs to build a decentralized and privacy-preserving system. The application will integrate with leading edge health monitoring wearable technology applications to detect disease earlier, enable earlier and higher-resolution demand signals, and provide additional value to consumers and the health care sector. The project will be led by SIMBA Chain, a software company that was formed in 2017 as a solution to provide secure messaging in the blockchain for the Department of Defense. 

“The Local Health Alert System is the ideal scenario to apply secure, accessible blockchain technology,” said Joel Neidig, President of Government Operations and Co-Founder, SIMBA Chain. “The pandemic created interruptions to the supply chain that few were able to predict. Connecting public health data to potential demand will enable companies to more efficiently produce and deploy medical supplies in future health crises.” 

These projects involve both long-time and new MxD members, as the Institute’s ecosystem continues to grow to support its work on critical issues like supply chain resiliency. 

About MxD 

MxD (Manufacturing x Digital) is where innovative manufacturers go to forge their futures. In partnership with the Department of Defense, MxD equips U.S. factories with the digital tools, cybersecurity, and workforce expertise needed to begin building every part better than the last. As a result, our more than 300 partners increase their productivity, win more business, and strengthen U.S. manufacturing. MxD is also the National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing as designated by DoD. 

Media Contact:
Alyssa Sullivan, Sr. Director of External Relations, 312.281.6823