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Echodyne wins $20M contract for border-scanning radar

Kirkland, Wash.-based Echodyne says it’s won a $20 million, five-year contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Innovation Team to widen deployment of the company’s compact radar systems — and to explore new applications for the radars at America’s borders and ports.

Today’s announcement marks the latest round of good news for the Seattle-area startup, which was spun off from Intellectual Ventures in 2014 with backing from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Madrona Venture Group and other investors.

Echodyne is one of several Gates-backed ventures that make use of metamaterials, a type of electronic array that makes it possible to “steer” a flat-panel antenna without moving parts. The company has been working with the Department of Homeland Security and industrial partners to adapt its radar systems to monitor movements across border areas — including drone flights.

Thirty EchoGuard radar systems have already been delivered under the terms of the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, Echodyne said in a news release.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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