Innovative tool links AFRL with relevant technology from small business Published April 22, 2022 By Marcus Morton Air Force Research Laboratory Small Business WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO (AFRL) -- Thanks to Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect, the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is collaborating with DeepMedia, a small business with technology capable of detecting synthetic media in which a person in an image or video is replaced with the likeness of someone else. AFRL’s Information Directorate in Rome, New York, which leads research in text and imagery exploitation technologies, became aware of DeepMedia’s technology via Tech Connect, the website that links developers to the appropriate Department of the Air Force Science and Technology subject matter experts and opportunities. The website provides access to the DAF S&T ecosystem through its idea submission pipeline, ultimately flagging technologies and capabilities relevant to the U.S. military. “[We] found [Tech Connect] to be a great resource for a business like ours to directly engage with Air Force and Space Force programs in order to help protect Americans, in our case, from the threat of malicious deep fakes,” said Rijul Gupta, founder and CEO of DeepMedia. “We regularly seek out resources and in-roads into government programs, which is often a daunting task.” Aiming to identify and protect customers against these threats, DeepMedia is also pioneering breakthroughs in synthetic face and voice technology. Gupta said disruptions in military operations and threats to warfighters increase when adversaries generate realistic deep fake videos. To combat this danger, DeepMedia’s technology detects the deep fakes developed daily, offering analytical tools for enhanced exploitation of multimedia data and publicly available information. Amanda Lannie, an AFRL computer scientist, said unethical uses of synthetic media technology pose significant threats. “The military relies on trustworthy data and intelligence models built from that information,” Lannie said. “Partnering innovators with military researchers and developers to protect troops on and off the battlefield is important to the Department of the Air Force.” The Tech Connect tool, which recognizes the transformational impact external concepts have on the Air Force and Space Force, allowed the company to start a dialogue around the need to advance deep fake detection capabilities. “Establishing programs and opportunities for small businesses to compete alongside larger corporations has opened the door for valuable ideas,” said Lannie. The website is especially useful for new businesses. “As a startup, it’s tough to compete with large tech companies and successfully enter the market. Becoming aware of Tech Connect and utilizing their website has proven to be advantageous for DeepMedia. The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect website made submitting an idea through their online portal a simple, easy, and welcoming process,” said Gupta, calling the website and community at large an “amazing resource for any small business or startup [seeking] to engage directly with the USAF and USSF science and technology ecosystem.” About AFRL The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,000 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com. About Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect website provides access to current, open opportunities, meet-up events, other Department of the Air Force science and technology enterprise connectors and a way for anyone to share an idea. The Tech Connect team, comprised of AFRL personnel, connects quality, relevant ideas/technologies with Department of the Air Force subject matter experts. The team will review ideas/inquiries, provide feedback on innovative ideas and establish a dialogue with potentially interested Air Force and Space Force programs. For more information, visit: https://airforcetechconnect.org/.