Think big, build small, win US$1m via Little Box Challenge

23 Jul 2014

The Little Box Challenge competition is calling on inventors to make a big impact on the future of electricity by designing a much smaller but higher-power density inverter – and win US$1m.

The Little Box Challenge, from internet search giant Google and IEEE Power Electronics Society (IEEE PELS), aims to fire up innovation that can drive a greater reduction in the size of power inverters. These are devices that convert electricity from direct current into alternating current.

These technology advancements can lead to higher efficiency, increased reliability, and lower energy costs. For example, a smaller inverter could help create low-cost microgrids in remote parts of the world, or allow people to keep the lights on during a blackout via their electric car’s battery, Eric Raymond of the Google Green Team wrote on the Google Official Blog.

“We’re looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W per cubic inch. Do it best and we’ll give you a million bucks,” Raymond wrote.

IEEE PELS president Don Tan said that by participating in The Little Box Challenge, members of industry and academia could play a pivotal role in a technological innovation that could have a major impact on the world.

As part of The Little Box Challenge, individuals selected by IEEE and Google will judge the submissions, technical approach, and final tests of the devices and select a winner.

The competition is on now and runs through 2015. Registration is closes on 30 September 2014.

Eligible academics may also register and apply for grants to assist in the development of their devices.

The grand-prize winner will be revealed in January 2016.

Image via Google Official Blog

New idea concept image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic