Monday, October 6, 2014


The XPrize, ever heard of it? It is a cool prize that not only inspires commercial entities & individuals/start-ups to push the envelope but pays creativity and innovation.
I’m going to give you a basic review but if you want more go to
I am going to let the basic definition go to the experts, the XPrize organizations website. “An XPRIZE is a highly leveraged, incentivized prize competition that pushes the limit of what’s possible to change the world for the better.”
These areas where they try to expedite change extend from;
·         creating a tablet based Open Source software that will not only bring the gift of literacy and all that entails to 250 million children around the world but also to allow the children to learn to read, write, and perform arithmetic, fully autonomously.
·         The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE that will discover in detail how CO2 emissions are effecting our Oceans and consequently us – Earth’s custodians. With this knowledge we can begin the healing process.
·         Nokia - Sensing XCHALLENGE – envisioning a future where digital meets healthcare. Between sensors & devices a person will gain personalized access to affordable healthcare. Information collected will provide insights not only to you about your health but if deemed necessary will communicate that information to your physician. Perhaps this could save you from that stroke or heart attack that is just days or hours away!
·         Star Trek and an awesome device! Following the basic tenants of the previous XPRIZE this is the bring healthcare to the palm of your hand. Picture this; a wireless device in your hand that monitors & diagnoses your health conditions. Basically, a Tricorder.
·         Follow this $30 million dollar competition to land a privately funded robot on the moon. TOO COOL!!! (sorry- space is exciting!) Google has funded this prize and basically just wants to open up the commercialization of space, push it along, and vastly decrease the cost of access to space.

·         ALSO very cool as it launched the start of a new private space industry – A &10 million dollar prize funded by the Ansari family (anybody remember Anousheh Ansari? the first woman to buy a ticket to space, spending an estimated week-plus at the International Space Station in 2006.)This prize was won in 2006 by, well, hint – their commercial flights to space start this year from New Mexico, US to 130K in the sky.
·         $2M to advance reusable/repeated rocket travel to the moon – a sustainable lunar lander. This showed the power behind a good partnership. Namely that of NASA &
Northrop Grumman. The fact that this particular prize competition is over doesn’t mean that the race is over. Won is 2009, NASA together with all of its commercial partnerships have opened up a new business model Building not for how much noney can you make today but what neat things can you do today and possibly get paid tomorrow!
·         In order to inspire a new generation of super fuel efficient vehicles – a $10 million dollar competition. Did you know that in 2010 this prize was paid by Progressive Insurance? The prize was shared by 3 teams-Edison2, Li-ion, and X-Tracer. Lightweight materials & an aerodynamic design and still offering a design that includes 4 seats and gets 102 miles to the gallon. Really awesome is that while they didn’t win, teenagers made it almost to the finals proving that great ideas are born everywhere. AND this prize is gives everyone a chance! Now, give me one of those automobiles!
·         Awarded in 2011 – quadrupling the pace of surface oil recovery a $1.4 million dollar prize was awarded to improve crude oil cleanup from the ocean surface. 

**Want to hear about some awesome current prizes? – Well there is the AI Ted Talk. You’ve heard of (who hasn’t?) Well get ready for this! In March of this year from the stages of the gauntlet was thrown down. An A.I. challenge that begs a robot to walk or roll onto the stage and present a Ted talk so cool and so innovative that it receives a standing ovation. The rules are still being worked out and you all are invited to offer your rules to them online (at )
You know of the main thing holding so many cool inventions and causing a black mark on many current ones; the battery. Well, a challenge that aims to take care of that!
Revolutionary battery technology with greater capacity for storing energy for everything from small wearable technology to larger electronics. This is one that can influence a hundred different markets and certainly make the winner and winner for life! (By the way there are rules – a 300 percent improvement is necessary!)
ALSO THE TRANSPORTER CHALLENGE. Not what you think. Actually I don’t know what you think - it wasn’t what I thought! I saw it and thought but that’s not possible and but another part of my brain said read the next sentence. It is a challenge for personal flying machines. The winning team will demonstrate a vehicle that can transport at least one person (plus additional cargo weight), utilize vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and autonomously navigate through a three-dimensional course. The vehicle must also demonstrate the ability to land safely in the event of an emergency, as well as have noise levels significantly below that of today’s helicopters.
NOW that you have seen the cool ways they innovate and jumpstart technologies understand how they came to be.

The first XPRIZE was not funded prior to being announced. In 1996 entrepreneur Peter Diamondis offered $10 million to the first privately funded team that could build & fly into space twice within the period of 2 weeks. AND the plane had to fit 3 people. Luckily the Ansari family provided the funding recognizing great promotion of future technologies. That and Ansari great love for and understanding of the very same. This prize was inspired by the Orteig Prize of 1919. A prize of $25k was offered by French hotelier Raymond Orteig to the person who could give the first non-stop flight between NYC and Paris. In 1927 Charles Lindbergh won the prize in the famed Spirit of St Louis.

Since the prize has been offered in many areas and succeeded although one was cancelled due to the realization that it wasn’t actually improving society. (The genome project-it was seen as detrimental due to people wanting to use it in a different way.)

ALSO created – the XPRIZE Cup – a rocket challenge. Actually it is a 2 day Air & Space expo held in New Mexico that began in 2004. Each X Prize Cup hosts different events and demonstrations, such as rocket-powered bicycles, rocket jet packs; but particularly notable are the Lunar Lander Challenge and the Space Elevator Games. 85,000 visitors attended the 2007 X Prize Cup. Although there was no X Prize Cup in 2009, there was a Lunar Lander Challenge.

I know this isn’t my usual fare but I really find it awe-inspiring that unselfish people offer money to make the world a better place. 

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