Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q What if I discover a product that already does what I want it to do?
A That product was someone else’s design work. Include your discovery in your written submission, but also discuss how your design takes the concept further and is a new idea. It is vital to know what potential solutions to Army challenges are already in the marketplace. Your mentors can help with this, but you'll want to do some research of your own.
Q Will my prototype be returned to me?
A Yes, but the ISN may ask to display the winning designs at ISN Headquarters on the MIT campus.
Q Can I use this design to pursue additional funding?
A Yes, this is highly encouraged!
Q Do I have to use nanotechnology in my design?
A No.
Q How do I find out more about what is and is not currently used and why?
A The technical and military mentors associated with each challenge are the best resource for finding out the technical history. You should speak with them at the kick-off session or through email.
Q How does the information from the mentors get distributed fairly?
A The ISN will provide a web-based, limited-access bulletin board where correspondece of general interest will be posted about the challenges. Be aware that your question could be broadcast to all those intending to submit an entry on the same challenge. Questions specific to your design rather than the challenge will not be posted on the bulletin board.
Q Can I use the resources of the ISN to test and build my prototype?
A The ISN does not be designate any lab equipment or personnel to be available to support the Soldier Design Competition, but please contact the Competition coordinator to see if we can assist.
Q Who funds the Soldier Design Competition, MIT or the Army?
A The majority of the funding for the Soldier Design Competition, including the prize monies, comes from MIT discretionary funds and from a generous group of corporate donors to the Competition.
Q How will the U.S. Military Academy be integrated into the Competition?
A USMA cadets will have the same challenges as MIT teams, but due to scheduling differences, will not participate in the semi-finals. However, they will participate in the finals alongside MIT teams.
Q How can I get involved with helping the ISN in organizing the contest?
A Email us at – all help is appreciated!


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