XPRIZE: An innovative Engine For Change

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Have you ever had the idea of exploring the moon in the most cost-efficient way? Or to explore and map the ocean floor to uncover our planet’s greatest wonder? If you haven’t before, then it’s time you knew of XPRIZE.


XPRIZE runs incentivized competitions to bring about comprehensive breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. They foster high‐profile competitions that motivate individuals, companies and organizations across all disciplines to develop  innovative ideas and technologies that help solve the grand challenges that restrict humanity’s progress.

The idea of XPRIZE started back in 1919 when Raymond Orteig, a wealthy French hotelier, offered $25,000 to anyone who could establish the first nonstop flight between New York City and Paris.

XPrize-2016-5[source: Ansari XPRIZE]

Charles Lindbergh made that happen by modifying a single‐engine Ryan aircraft which he named the Spirit of St. Louis. Nine teams spent $400,000 in pursuit of the $25,000 Orteig Prize. That one single prize changed the way  people thought about aviation and the world itself.

Inspired by the Orteig Prize, the original XPRIZE was announced in 1996, offering a $10 million prize to the first privately  financed team that could build and fly a three‐passenger vehicle 100 kilometers into space twice within two weeks. The prize, later titled the Ansari XPRIZE, motivated 26 teams from seven nations to invest more than $100 million in pursuit of the $10 million winning prize.


XPrize-2016-4[source: Ansari XPRIZE]

The Ansari XPRIZE was then awarded to Mojave Aerospace Ventures, marking the dawn of the personal spaceflight revolution and signifying a radical breakthrough in prize philanthropy.

XPRIZEs are large incentivized competitions to achieve three primary goals >
? To attract individualists take on new approaches and think outside the box about difficult problems, resulting in truly innovative breakthroughs
? To create breakthrough results that are real and meaningful. Their competitions have measurable finish lines and are designed to promote widespread adoption of the innovation.
? To create incredible amounts of leverage. XPRIZEs reach across national and disciplinary boundaries and compel teams around the world to invest the intellectual and financial capital required to solve difficult challenges that the world faces.

Currently, XPRIZE has 7 active competitions >


The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE – Created in 2007, the mission of the Google Lunar XPRIZE is to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond. The competition’s $30 million prize purse will be awarded to teams who are able to land a privately funded rover on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images.


$10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE – The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE is a $10 million global competition to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, helping consumers make their own reliable health diagnoses anywhere, anytime. The winner will be the team with the technology that most accurately diagnoses a set of diseases independent of a healthcare professional or facility, and that provides the best consumer user experience with its device.


$15 million Global Learning XPRIZE – The $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE is a competition that challenges teams from around the world to develop open source scalable software solution that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within the 18-month competition field-testing period. The learning solutions developed by this prize will enable a child to learn autonomously. Additionally, those created by the finalists will be open-sourced for all to access, iterate and share. This technology could be deployed around the world, bringing learning experiences to children otherwise thought unreachable, who do not have access to quality education, and supplementing the learning experiences of children who do.


$7 million Adult Literacy XPRIZE – The $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a competition challenging teams of developers (software, game and app), educators, engineers, and innovators to create mobile literacy learning applications for adult learners. The Finalist teams’ solutions must demonstrate that they can substantially improve the literacy proficiency of adults reading at or below a third-grade level within a 12-month period.


The $7 Million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is a global competition challenging teams to advance deep-sea technologies for autonomous, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration. The success of this prize will allow us to fully explore and map the ocean floor, and uncover our planet’s greatest wonder and resource for the benefit of humanity. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) $1 million bonus prize will incentivize teams to develop technologies to detect the source of chemical and biological signals underwater.


$20 million NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE – CO2 emissions are a leading contributor to climate change, and the world will need a portfolio of solutions to address this Grand Challenge. The $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE will challenge the world to reimagine what we can do with CO2emissions by incentivizing and accelerating the development of technologies that convert CO2 into valuable products. These technologies have the potential to transform how the world approaches CO2 mitigation, and reduce the cost of managing CO2.


The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE is a $5 million AI and cognitive computing competition challenging teams globally to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful AI technologies to tackle the world’s grand challenges. This prize will focus on creating advanced and scalable applications that benefit consumers and businesses across a multitude of disciplines. The solutions will contribute to the enrichment of available tools and data sets for the usage of innovators everywhere. The goal is also to accelerate the understanding and adoption of AI’s most promising breakthroughs.

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For more info about XPRIZE and active XPRIZEs;

Website: www.xprize.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/xprize

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