Tangram Flex commercializes its first component software integration platform
Tangram Flex is a spinout of Galois which was involved in an Ohio Federal Research Network-funded R&D project from 2016-2019 that resulted in autonomy test, evaluation, verification, & validation approaches and modules that address the critical need for safe and secure autonomous systems used by the Air Force Research Laboratory
Dayton, Ohio- Tangram Flex, a spinout company of Galois, successfully commercialized Tangram Pro™, a component software integration platform (CSIP). Tangram Flex was formed to execute commercialization efforts for the intellectual property that Galois had proven feasible from a research perspective. Galois was involved in the development of the Automated Test, Evaluation, Validation & Verification Tools project funded by the Ohio Federal Research Network’s (OFRN) from 2016 - 2019.
Galois works on various DoD programs, including past performance on the High Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) . The program intent was to determine the possibilities of building a hack-proof ground system and air system. The concept leading to the creation of Tangram Flex stems from Galois’ involvement in the HACMS program.
Tangram Flex evolved out of several research programs at DARPA to create a component-oriented approach to systems engineering that's inclusive of emerging software. Tangram Pro™ is a software tool that enables the building of systems in that component-oriented viewpoint.
“In the DARPA HACMS program, Galois set out to prove that through component-oriented engineering we could build a remarkably more secure autonomous system,” said Aaron Miller, director of business strategy and operations at Galois. “What we learned is that a component-oriented approach not only created hack-proof concepts, but also created efficiency in engineering. From here we began testing applied approaches to component-oriented engineering that ultimately led to the creation of Tangram Flex.”
The OFRN program, which was part of this development, enabled Galois to explore verification and validation of components that would be utilized as a part of the overarching premise of building systems via component oriented engineering approaches.
“Galois was selected as an OFRN industry partner because of their experience with test and evaluation methods, a proven IP commercialization model, as well as their proposal to open an office in Dayton, Ohio after being awarded an OFRN subcontract. Galois followed through with their commercialization plan and exceeded our expectations leading to the spinout Tangram Flex in Dayton, Ohio,” said Parallax Advanced Research Program Manager for OFRN, Matt Bush.
“That program enabled us to advance the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) unmanned systems autonomy service (UxAS) architecture that created a real-world open source and demonstrated version on which we did component-oriented engineering,” said Miller.
While the original Galois technology was focused on integrating individual systems, Tangram Flex is extending the capabilities to enable multiple disparate systems to be integrated with confidence.
“When we built the team to take this product to market, we had a belief that every mission deserved access to innovation and the latest technologies and advancements.” said Matthew Farrell, founding team member at Tangram Flex. “We wanted to not only simplify software integration but also secure it. Our team’s experience and industry understandings mapped against the intellectual property that came out of Galois has allowed us to build a product that focuses on rapid integration with confidence. We have a software tool and we have a strong team with experience to deliver software solutions, research, prototype services, and other products for customers in the federal government and the commercial markets.”
While the majority of the competition in the last 50 years has been on innovation, in the past few years the competition seems to be shifting to the way companies are able to integrate various innovations to work in synergy for optimum results.
“Innovation is coming from everywhere anywhere-from industry, academia, startups, and large companies,” said Mark Stadtmueller, vice president of product management at Tangram Flex. “Now it's not so much that a piece of innovation stands by itself, because as soon as a new technology is built, someone is already working on its more advanced version. The differentiation or cutting edge is a company’s ability to integrate the new technology in a seamless and secure manner.”
According to Stadtmueller, the ability to take new software components and integrate them into systems in a trustworthy manner is challenging.
“We call it the treacherous gap between what you envision doing and how you actually implement it with confidence. That trustworthy implementation is our goal, with particular focus on cyber-physical systems,” said Stadtmueller.
Tangram Flex’s CSIP is the industry’s first technology of its kind to overcome that challenge of effective and trustworthy integration. Also, Tangram Pro™ is a cloud native product and is highly adaptive.
“If we have a new customer, we can spin them up a Tangram Pro™ instance in minutes. The fact that a new customer can get their dedicated platform in a day is a big thing. We have a growing user community around the idea of component software integration which is very promising,” said Stadtmueller.
The initial version of Tangram Pro™ was launched in early-2019. The original CSIP developed by Galois has been through multiple iterations, and there is strong market traction for it-especially with its most recent features.
“Tangram Flex has explored opportunities across the DoD and federal spaces at large and will continue to expand into other commercial markets in the near future,” said Farrell.
While Tangram Flex is currently focused on applications of CSIP for the federal and DoD spaces, its future vision includes critical industries like automotive, commercial aviation, and other mission critical platforms, such as the electric grid. Substantial follow-on funding and growth metrics about OFRN-supported spinouts has been due to some of the work done through Tangram Flex’s contract vehicles, such as its teaming relationship and commercial licenses that are in place today.
“A lot of work from the Office of the Secretary Defense, the U.S. Air Force coupled with the OFRN and DARPA work that we were doing at Galois allowed Tangram Flex to come into fruition,” said Farrell.
Work being done by Tangram Flex was mentioned in the last two National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA), specifically on rapid integration and validation and verification of software components as well as work supporting Modular Open Systems Approaches (MOSA). This indicates substantial market swell behind a majority of Tangram Flex’s ongoing endeavors.
Tangram Flex’s external capital and venture transactions have accounted for a majority of the external capital coming into OFRN related spinouts. The OFRN-supported spinout has created over 65 jobs over the last 3.5 years. In August 2021, Tangram Flex was awarded a $95 million Small Business Technology Transfer Phase III contract to support the AFRL and greater defense secure communications community. Moving forward, Tangram Flex will continue to identify the right defense industry base partners and explore new markets to solve existing and upcoming challenges in software integration.
About Parallax Advanced Research
Parallax is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that tackles global challenges by accelerating innovation and developing technology and solutions through strategic partnerships with government, industry and academia across Ohio and the Nation. Together with academia, Parallax accelerates innovation that leads to new breakthroughs. Together with government, Parallax tackles critical global challenges and delivers new solutions. Together with industry, Parallax develops groundbreaking ideas and speeds them to market.
About the OFRN
The OFRN has the mission to stimulate Ohio’s innovation economy by building statewide university/industry research collaborations that meet the requirements of Ohio’s federal laboratories, resulting in the creation of technologies that drive job growth for the State of Ohio. The OFRN is a program managed by Parallax Advanced Research in collaboration with the Ohio State University and is funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Galois specializes in the research and development of new technologies that solve the most difficult problems in computer science. Galois team works closely with clients to achieve a balance between the privacy/cost/speed challenges involved in making systems more trustworthy.
About Tangram Flex
Tangram Flex simplifies software integration for mission-critical defense systems. Every system is unique, but the mission is clear: the people on the ground need dependable, adaptable equipment to get the job done. Tangram Flex combines engineering expertise with its Component Software Integration Platform (CSIP), Tangram Pro™, to arm engineers with customized toolkits for meeting mission needs.