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The Department of Defense came to Brooklyn to find hacks that could save lives

The federal government doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to technology. (Remember the debacle? Or Solyndra?) Yet historically, it has been quite innovative, paving the way for much of the tech we now take for granted, such as GPS. The Department of Defense, in particular, is well aware of this, and over the years, it’s created new posts and programs to address the issue.

The latest of those initiatives, MD5, came to Brooklyn earlier this month, in a hackathon at New Lab co-organized by NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Some 120 participants developed products to address the challenge of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in megacities. The hackathon marked the public launch of MD5, a program to connect the Department of Defense with universities and outside technologists to speed up the development of technologies that address national security.

The program featured remarks from NYU Tandon’s dean, Katepalli Sreenivasan, as well as André Gudger, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, and Capt. Christopher Wood, the Marine Corps‘ co-lead for additive manufacturing — yes, that’s his title. (The originally scheduled keynote speaker, Gen. Paul J. Selva, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was unable to attend.)

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