Sunday, January 28, 2007

Singapore TechX Prize

Singapore is offering a prize reminiscent of the DARPA Grand Challenge or the British Ministry of Defense Grand Challenge called the TechX Challenge. After the X Prize was won, I anticipated that prize would be followed by a number of similar, but incrementally more ambitious prizes. For example, I thought the next X Prize (whether offered by the X Prize Founcation, NASA, or some other organization) might be similar to the X Prize but for a somewhat higher flight, or for a more dramatic demonstration of quick turnaround, or for a larger number of passengers (or payload). As it turned out, the space prizes that have been announced have either been much more ambitious (Bigelow's America's Space Prize), arguably less ambitious and definitely completely different (NASA Centennial Challenges), or not following the model of prizes for achieving a specific technological challenge at all. I also did not expect to see many different organizations offer prizes in a similar domain like the military robotics prizes in any area but space access prizes. Finally, at that time I didn't expect the next prize from the X Prize Foundation to be the Genomics Prize. That is all part of the interest of these prizes -- it is as difficult to predict which ones will be offered next as it is for the sponsors to predict who, if anyone, will win their prize. I will be following certain non-space prizes like these, since I think their success or failure will have a great deal of influence on the success or failure of the space prize idea, as well as the approach of technology prizes in all industries with difficult technology challenges.