Sunday, November 25, 2007

X PRIZE Foundation Hints on Future Health and Energy Prizes

The Huffington Post recently published a couple of articles by people at the X PRIZE Foundation. Actually they published more than a couple, but these are 2 I haven't mentioned before.

First, Jesse Berst, Executive Director, Energy and Environment Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation, answers a few quick questions. Here's the part that hints about the types of energy and environment X PRIZEs they'd like to make in the future:

You'll see a wide range of energy and environment prizes over the next four years--alternative energy production, storage, transmission, household efficiency, and commercial efficiency. We'll target areas that are stuck and in need of breakthrough. I think we can help shift the whole world to a new era of possibility and prosperity.

One thing I'd like to see them try is a combination energy/environment and space prize. There are all sorts of possible ways to do this. Some ideas that come to mind include:

- monitoring of Earth's environment from suborbital vehicles or high-altitude/long duration vehicles
- advanced instruments or other components for Earth observation satellites
- smallsat to monitor Earth's environment
- demonstrate solar power satellite or power relay satellite technologies on Earth or in space
- Earth Observation demo bonus prize for Google Lunar X PRIZE
- high efficiency closed-loop environment for astronauts (ie improved recycling)
- (Google-sponsored?) Google Earth content prize

In another article from X PRIZE Foundation staff, Tom Vander Ark discusses his career as influenced by his Dad. This is in the context of Health and Medicine prizes and an X PRIZE Foundation health care summit. It gives some ideas where the X PRIZE Foundation might be heading in those areas.

Again this is an area where the X PRIZE Foundation could address 2 needs at the same time (space and health/medicine) if it chooses a prize that addresses both. I wouldn't restrict prizes to do that, but I'd at least look for opportunities where such "dual-purpose" prizes could work. Perhaps a space prize sponsor and a health/medicine prize sponsor, neither of which is especially concerned with the other's field, could be brought together to sponsor a larger prize than either could fund by themselves if the prize addresses both fields.