‘Coolest Thing Made in Nebraska’ contest is down to final two

By: - September 19, 2023 10:30 am

The 2023 “Coolest Thing Made in Nebraska” contest is now down to two finalists. The champ is to be announced Oct. 10. (Courtesy of Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

LINCOLN — The contest to name this year’s “Coolest Thing Made in Nebraska” is in its final stretch, down to a drone-based firefighting system or a wheelchair that gets around in tough terrain.

Ignis firefighting system in action (Drone Amplified website)

One hails from Lincoln, the other from  Columbus.

Public voting in the bracket-style tournament will be open through the end of Sept. 24 at 

A champion is to be announced Oct. 10 during the state’s Manufacturing Summit in La Vista, where all 16 tournament finalists are invited to display their products.

About 60 nominations started off the contest.

Already, the early rounds of the competition drew about 44,000 votes, organizers said. The contest is coordinated by the Nebraska Manufacturing Alliance and Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Nebraska Public Power District.

The last two standing:

All-terrain tracked wheelchair (Rocket Mobility website)

  • All Terrain Tracked Wheelchair from Rocket Mobility of Columbus: According to its maker, the wheelchair has a lower center of gravity that can handle almost any terrain — and can help disabled hunters, veterans, farmers and anyone with mobility issues “reclaim their off-road independence.”
  • Ignis firefighting system by Drone Amplified of Lincoln: The drone-based aerial ignition system ignites backburns to contain and reduce the risk of wildfires. The system is equipped with a thermal and visual camera. Firefighters can import the latest reconnaissance data from a  fire into a flight app to plan and update missions.


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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics.