Engineering Possibilities 2017

Draper’s annual technology showcase offers attendees a look at the bold solutions our diverse team of engineers and scientists has developed to take on the world’s greatest challenges, from space travel to cancer. We invite you to explore interactive demonstrations and speak with experts at the vanguard of technology. Rethink what’s possible and realize that the future is closer than you thought. Note, EP17 took place on October 4-7 of this year and is no longer on display. Please join us next year for an all new EP18.


Biomedical Technology

Engineering tools to save lives

We develop rapid diagnostic tools that enable doctors to start treatment without waiting days or weeks for test results to come in from a distant lab. We design techniques to reduce the risk & cost of developing new therapies, so breakthrough treatments can make it to market faster. And we help lower the barriers to personalized precision medicine, helping bring million-dollar therapies with limited access to a hospital near you. Witness our technology’s life-saving potential at EP17:

Differential Mobility Spectrometry: Analyze your breath with the same technology currently used to monitor air quality in the International Space Station. This tool is in human testing for its effectiveness in helping doctors to rapidly diagnose invasive aspergillosis, a lung infection that can be deadly for patients with compromised immune systems if not treated early.

Identification and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test (IDAST): IDAST rapidly diagnoses bacterial infections and measures the bacteria’s susceptibility to various antibiotics so doctors can choose the right treatment the first time, eliminating the trial and error from treating life-threatening infections. Watch an animation and learn how the IDAST process can be used to identify dangerous bacteria.

Predict96: See the postcard-sized platform that can help predict drug performance and toxicity before human trials. Predict96 is a device seeded with cells modeling human organ systems on a 3D microscale, enabling researchers to rapidly test dozens of candidate compounds simultaneously in real time.

CAR T-cell Therapy Biofabrication: Watch a video demonstration of Draper’s fast and affordable microfluidic technique to isolate immune cells for use in CAR T-cell therapy, a promising new cancer treatment that trains the body’s own immune cells to recognize and destroy malignant tumors.


Positioning, Navigation & Timing

Delivering GPS-like accuracy without GPS

Draper develops technology and delivers complete solutions for navigation in the most challenging environments. Explore Draper technologies that deliver precise locations but don’t rely on GPS.

Skymark: Immerse yourself in a virtual reality simulation to see how Draper’s optical tracking technology can determine your exact location using the stars. This isn’t your ancient ancestor’s celestial navigation system.

Vision-aided Drones: Tell a drone where to land and watch the drone use vision to guide itself to the specified location. Vision-based navigation enables drones to see their way through complex environments without relying on GPS.

Atomic Clocks: Without the precision timing provided by GPS satellites around the globe, cell phones, banks and everything else connected to a network would fail. See three atomic clocks developed by Draper to keep the world online and on time without relying on GPS.

Precision Airdrop System: Using airdrops to deliver critical supplies for military and humanitarian missions can be like playing darts from 25,000 feet up and over 10 miles away, leaving the success of the mission in the hands of the wind. See how Draper’s vision-aided airdrop navigation software compares pre-loaded satellite maps with images from an onboard camera, altering the course of the supply payload to land it exactly where it’s needed. 


Strategic Systems

Designing complex dynamic systems

Draper uses model-based engineering (MBE) to design complex systems in virtual environments, delivering resilient hardware capable of performing reliably in the extreme conditions of rocket launches to enable space travel and missile defense systems. Hardware components can be interchanged and tested in simulation, optimizing performance before building expensive prototypes. 

MBE: See how MBE can be used to develop, test, and verify resilient hardware with a game simulating the design of a treasure-hunting Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.

Fiber-optic Gyro (FOG): Adapting technology from the telecommunications industry, Draper developed a fiber-optic gyroscope that remains extremely precise through the intense heat, shock, and vibrations of a rocket launch. See the fiber-optic cables capable of keeping rockets on the right path at EP17.

Zero Force Accelerometer (ZFA): Draper’s next-generation strategic-grade ZFA provides high accuracy positioning data for reliable guidance, even in the face of the intense shock of a rocket launch. Optimize your game with an accelerometer-equipped basketball that tracks the ball’s trajectory through the air and into the net. 

Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM): Draper collaborated with Honeywell to adapt a commercial technology from the semiconductor industry into a computer memory solution capable of surviving the shock and vibrations of rocket launches and the harsh radiation of space without losing critical information. MRAM uses magnetic states instead of electrical charges to store information indefinitely, using much less power than traditional RAM systems. See the advantages of MRAM over conventional memory units with a hardware comparison.


System-Level Autonomy

Delivering autonomy you can trust to handle the unexpected

Draper has more than 60 years of experience in designing, testing and delivering fault-tolerant autonomy in high-stakes arenas, from space to undersea. Our system-level design approach ensures that component failures don’t cascade into the failure of the entire system.

Dream Chaser Landing Simulation: Put your astronaut piloting skills to the test by facing off against Draper’s automated system to land the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser® reusable cargo spacecraft in a simulation game.

Self-Driving Car: Draper supports Autoliv in developing self-driving car technology. View a test car – and see what the car sees through its sensor package.

LiDAR: Draper designed a chip-scale LiDAR sensor that can see obstacles at a greater distance than commercial LiDARs – providing more time to stop a car traveling at highway speeds and avoid a collision. See for yourself how the perception power of Draper’s LiDAR technology compares to current commercially available options. 

Cyber-Security: As more devices are connected to networks, the risk of cyber-attacks becomes a major concern. Think like a hacker and see if you can breach Draper’s cyber-security defenses as you try to exploit a simulated drone’s vulnerabilities and gain control.


Our Process

Ideas & Research

We work closely with academia and industry to identify the discoveries and new technologies that are solution enablers.


Our knowledge of how our customers will use a product—including their environment and operational constraints—informs how we conceptualize the solution.

Design and Prototype

Our modeling and simulation capabilities support rapid incorporation of new ideas and user feedback into virtual systems, demonstratable solutions, and fielded prototypes.


End-use of a product informs how we approach its transition to the field. We work with outside companies to prepare our prototype design for high-volume mass production, or can produce the device in-house when only limited quantities are needed.


Our time spent in the field with sponsors provides them with critical technical support and provides us with valuable insight into the future needs of those customers.