Monday, January 12, 2009

Innovation Generation

CLOSING THE INNOVATION GAP - Cosmic Log - Encouraging STEM education and future professionals is the subject of the article, but it touches on a number of topics related to innovation prizes:

The Lemelson-MIT Program is probably best-known for the prizes it sponsors, including a $500,000 prize for midcareer inventors, a $100,000 prize for sustainable technologies, and an assortment of prizes for student inventors. But the program also runs an initiative called InvenTeams, which is aimed at putting students and teachers together with innovators from industry.


The Lemelson-MIT Program also gives kids a broader view of how technology can help the planet. Last year, KickStart CEO Martin Fisher won the sustainability prize for his company's low-cost, human-powered irrigation pumps - and during the awards ceremony he met with students who were working on their own irrigation technologies.

"You can imagine how they felt," Schuler said. "Their 'god,' basically, in this field was on stage with them."


One field that's ripe for innovation is the energy industry, as illustrated by this week's greening of the Detroit Auto Show. In the survey conducted for the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, 37 percent of the teens said the gasoline-powered car was the technology most likely to become extinct in the next five years. Figuring out exactly how the cars of the future will be powered is one of the key jobs waiting for the innovators of this generation and the next generation.

The Detroit Auto Show is also the location of a lot of Automotive X PRIZE activity:

Competition Guidelines Have Just Been Released - Progressive Automotive X PRIZE Blog (That's the often quiet X PRIZE Foundation blog, not X PRIZE Cars). The post gives some hints about the changes in the guidelines:

we have removed the top speed requirement, allowed tandem seating in the Alternative Class, reduced acceleration requirements, reduced back seat requirements in the Mainstream Class, and removed the requirement for an eco-feedback indicator

I already posted on the "Demonstration Division" that's intended to encourage major auto manufacturers to enter the competition. The X PRIZE Foundation news scroller also has a number of articles about the Detroit Auto Show with sections on Automotive X PRIZE teams at the show.