Shift Labs Expands Military Partnerships, Awarded Air Force AFWERX Phase I SBIR Contract

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Press Release: Shift Labs Expands Military Partnerships, Awarded Air Force AFWERX Phase I SBIR Contract

Engagement with USAF will further deploy the DripAssist Infusion Rate Monitor as a way to improve intravenous (IV) medication administration in critical care and field settings.

SEATTLE, WA – Shift Labs, Inc., a Seattle-based company that designs and manufactures innovative, high-quality infusion technologies, announces that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the United States Air Force (USAF) and AFWERX, the Air Force’s tech accelerator and innovation hub.

With this Phase I contract, Shift Labs will engage with USAF to validate their DripAssist Infusion Rate Monitor as a way to improve IV medication administration in settings where Air Force medical personnel provide critical care, including forward surgical teams, aerovac, and prolonged field care.

”IV medication administration is one of those ‘unknown unknowns’ that really affects patient care, especially in austere settings or surge events. We’ve already seen the difference DripAssist makes in military field hospital settings,” says Beth Kolko, CEO of Shift Labs. “We applied for the AFWERX program because we got repeated requests from military and civilians for a DripAssist-style solution that would be optimized for the whole patient care continuum. We’re excited to explore how the affordable, robust kind of solutions that Shift Labs is known for can make it easier for military personnel deployed around the world to deliver quality medical care.”

Recent publications by Major John E. Buonora, a PhD CRNA in the US Army, have illustrated the field utility of DripAssist, in particular with forward surgical teams providing prolonged field care when under enemy attack. The Phase I SBIR gives Shift Labs an opportunity to explore how additional branches of the military can benefit from the DripAssist product line.

Shift Labs’ award-winning DripAssist device is a lightweight tool that provides precision real-time monitoring for intravenous (IV) treatments in any setting. The handheld device delivers unprecedented portability, durability, and efficiency to meet the unique challenges of providing and coordinating care in austere settings, and it allows clinicians to easily manage infusions without a traditional infusion pump.

DripAssist is currently used throughout the US for outpatient and home infusion, and it is also used to provide essential care in military field hospitals and developing world hospitals.

As Shift Labs completes this 3-month Phase I, they are looking to next steps that may include a Phase II project with Air Force partners, or direct transition to a sole-source procurement agreement under a Phase III contract. This SBIR also makes it possible for DripAssist to be procured directly from any Federal agency, and Shift Labs has been working with USAID and disaster preparedness groups to spread the word regarding new technologies that enable safer medication management in austere conditions.

Molly Blank, Director of Research at Shift Labs, says, “The AFWERX program really showcases the best of the military being innovative and exploring new models to get emerging technologies quickly into the hands of personnel. It’s been a pleasure to work with their team and see their dedication in working with the private sector to accelerate problem solving.”

About Shift Labs

Shift Labs, Inc. is a Seattle-based company that creates well-designed medical devices for fast-growing healthcare sectors, everywhere from alternate site care in the US to clinical care in emerging markets. The DripAssist Infusion Rate Monitor is their first product and has previously been recognized as one of Popular Science Magazine’s 12 Best Healthcare Innovations of 2016, as well as receiving the MedTech Conference’s 2017 Global Health Innovation Award, a Silver medal from the Industrial Designers Society of America IDEA awards and funding from USAID as part of the Ebola Grand Challenge and Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development. Learn more at

About the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and AFWERX SBIR Grant

AFRL and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in SBIR 18.2, the Air Force has begun offering 'Special' SBIR topics that are faster, leaner and open to a broader range of solutions.


Contact CEO Beth Kolko,, or CTO Koji Intlekofer, at +1 206.369.1216.