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XPrize Founders Launch Tech Innovation Competition

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the more-money dept.

The Almighty Buck 214

metlin writes "The organizers of the Ansari X-Prize have launched the equivalent of the X-Prize in a variety of technology areas, called the WTN X-Prizes. The idea is to have a series of prizes for important technology challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, which will be judged by the World Technology Network. The website mentions that, 'The concept of the WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and the global science and technology innovators identification process and community developed by the World Technology Network (WTN) to launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.' Sounds like a good idea, maybe this will help make that flying car a reality?"

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214 comments

crappy article (-1, Offtopic)

philipkd (528838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468129)

I've read this all over the place. Can't somebody do a "for example" or something of what would be a sample prize for?

Re:crappy article (3, Informative)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468135)

Actually, if you follow the link, there's a space where you can suggest what the prizes should be for.

Re:crappy article (5, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468136)

From the "Click for more information" link:

Here is a very rough and incomplete list of the sorts of challenges that might be appropriate:

  • Medical challenges, such a cure for cancer or other major diseases.
  • Technological "holy grails", such as artificial intelligence, teleportation, molecular assemblers (true nanotechnology), cold fusion, or a believable virtual reality system
  • Major global challenges, such as the various UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) announced by the world's leaders at the UN in 2000 at the Millennium Summit.

Re:crappy article (1)

Harald74 (40901) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468544)

Technological "holy grails", such as ... teleportation, ...

Well, that would certainly keep their prize money safe...

Re:crappy article (3, Funny)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468273)

'The concept of the WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and the global science and technology innovators identification process and community developed by the World Technology Network (WTN) to launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.'

A prize for software that takes overly long and unweildy sentances, and converts them to plain English.

Idea for important technological innovation (5, Funny)

Denver_G (253468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468137)

Can they make one of the 1st prizes some of the X-ray specs so I can see through womens clothing! (Yes, it must have a gender filter)

Re:Idea for important technological innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468300)

Already been done (minus the gender filter)

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/GMA/GoodMorningAm er ica/GMA010807Xray_cameras_hunter.html

Re:Idea for important technological innovation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468303)

Sony already made one [camcorderinfo.com] .

For the gender filter, just don't point it at guys, duh!

Re:Idea for important technological innovation (1)

Random Web Developer (776291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468420)

(Yes, it must have a gender filter)

it better have an uglyness filter of some sort too.
I wouldn't want to see through every womens clothes :)

Cool (5, Funny)

ender1598 (266355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468138)

Instead of fusion power constantly being 10 years in the future, it'll now be stuck at 5!

Re:Cool (2, Funny)

someme2 (670523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468429)

Instead of fusion power constantly being 10 years in the future, it'll now be stuck at 5!

There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those that understand binary and those that do not.

Why does the new X price delay the advent of fusion power by three years?

qweqweqw (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468140)

asdas dasdasda sdasdas

Re:qweqweqw (1)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468265)

Aw c'mon this has got to be among the funniest trolls out there. Note that the buttons pressed are only on the LEFT side of the keyboard....I'm still laughing, at least somebody give it an underrated (and avoid moderating my post at all, comprendo?)

Important technology challenges (5, Funny)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468141)

like e.g. making Microsoft Windows secure? :-)

SCNR

Re:Important technology challenges (5, Insightful)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468171)

it's as simple as unplugging the ethernet cable and using a Linux or OS X box to surf.

Re:Important technology challenges (1, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468259)

I gave up moderation on this thread to make this point -- so listen up, bitches.

Why is this +5 insightful? It's not offering insight into making Windows more secure; it's a knee-jerk /. reaction to any Windows security comment -- and a bad one at that.

For example, unplugging the ethernet cable would render the box useless in a home network. It's analogous to saying, "Can't write with your left hand? Cut it off and use the right hand instead!".

Please. It's +interesting at best, but in no way insightful.

Re:Important technology challenges (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468277)

You understand that in Slashdot (i.e. Bizarro World) you will be modded Troll/Flamebait for daring to unplug yourself from the Matrix right?

Re:Important technology challenges (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468349)

It's called overcompensation [slashdot.org] .

Re:Important technology challenges (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468548)

Back the the days before the commodotiy internet, we had non networked computers. People had floppy disks to bring their files in. Those disks had viruses on.

Re:Important technology challenges (1)

neonstz (79215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468185)

like e.g. making Microsoft Windows secure? :-)

...and throw in cold fusion, anti-gravity, faster than light travel and a perpetuum mobile while you're at it.

Re:Important technology challenges (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468609)

Imagine that the next Windows version is very secure. Describe in 25 words or less how would it affect your life.

Well.. (0, Offtopic)

hexMonkey (809664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468142)

I submitted running Doom3 on a mac

Is there an X-Prize for... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468149)

preventing FR1ST P0ST B@ITCH!!

Zooming out (5, Insightful)

n54 (807502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468151)

I'm getting a bit worried that the X-Prize people have lost focus. Better to do one thing right at the time as they have with the Ansari X-Prize.

Re:Zooming out (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468256)

Considering that the X-Prize was one at a loss of 2-3 times the winnings, perhaps this sort of thing doesn't provide much of an incentive to innovate to anyone but the random billionaire philanthropist.

Re:Zooming out (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468283)

Considering that the X-Prize was one at a loss of 2-3 times the winnings...

No it wasn't [bbc.co.uk] .

Allen will make back MORE than his original investment with the prize money plus the Virgin Galactic deal, PLUS there are other groups queueing up to license the tech. It's starting to look like a pretty smart investment.

Re:Zooming out (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468317)

Allen will make back MORE than his original investment with the prize money plus the Virgin Galactic deal, PLUS there are other groups queueing up to license the tech. It's starting to look like a pretty smart investment.

While that may be true in this particular case, there's no guaranteeing that further prize attempts are going to see any appreciable return. However, I won't dispute the importance of privately-funded R&D. It seems like a great way to spur some real progress into the discovery of actual cures for diseases rather than treatments (thereby wresting control of the medical industry from the big drug manufacturers).

Re:Zooming out (1)

JAgostoni (685117) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468524)

At face value, yes. But I am sure the publicity the winner's have received along with the licensing/purchasing of their technology is going to make up the difference very quickly. Heck, Virgin has already done that. Trust me, they are not going to be in the hole for very long.

Re:Zooming out (2, Insightful)

dnnrly (120163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468257)

Since the X-Prize has been won now, they technically don't have any focus any more. But I do agree that they shouldn't let their new challenges get too confused. It could easily go 1 of 2 ways now, losing focus, letting the differences between challenges blur and being ignored as they wrestle with internal management and resource issues OR effectively splitting the new challenges up and providing clear and acheivable goals that will inspire people to going out there and win.

In my ill considered and completely unprofessional opinion, they should have different fields such as green automotive, green air transport, automated land transport etc. and each field have no more that 1 or 2 challenges such as "first to do X" and "the highest/biggest/best Y by date Z".

Whats the deal with flying cars? (4, Insightful)

ActionJesus (803475) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468158)

Seriously... why is having flying cars lauded as "the next big thing" all the time? There are several things that would make travel easier and cheaper, such as electric or hydrogen powered cars. Or, even at the less techinical side of things, an effective public transport system. Also nicer to the environment.

Also, think of the mess you get when theres a car crash on a motorway. Now multiply that by 40 times - thats the mess you get when flying cards run out of fuel and plough into regular traffic.

Instead of worrying about flying cars, lets just try and make the cars we DO have less of a hassle.

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (3, Funny)

tom17 (659054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468186)

cant see one of these doing much damage in a crash....

Flying card [amagic.de]

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (1)

secretsquirel (805445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468209)

I still don't get why helicopters and planes aren't considered flying cars. Is there a rule or something that says you must use anti-gravity to be a flying car.

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468232)

I think they would be, if it were reasonable to stow one in your home garage. The key element in the dream of the "flying car" is that I, Joe Blow, can take it up into the sky just as easily as driving away in any average sedan (oh what time am I living in, SUV).

But planes require too much infastructure to be personal for the average person, not the lest of which is a runway of some length, and helicopters are perhaps concievable as personal transports, but are both loud and relatively difficult to control.

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468272)

There are several things that would make travel easier and cheaper, such as electric or hydrogen powered cars.

Well, that doesn't exactly solve the problem of traffic congestion. That being said, I personally fear the day flying cars are made available to the average person. Unless auto-navigation systems progress to the point that vehicles can safely drive themselves, I really don't see flying cars becoming mainstream. You think that idiot tailgating you in the "F-950" is a hazard? Just wait until he has 3 dimensions to behave erratically in.

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468412)

Seriously, I've driven on the road before. People can't handle "rolling" cars. However, maybe flying cars would be OK if either 1) the licensing was changed so that it required actual proof of aptitude to obtain one or 2) the cars become cheap enough that most of hte bad drivers will get them, allowing me to use my wheeled car on roads no longer polluted by hordes of unqualified idiots. :)

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468422)

flying doesn't necessarily reduce the problem of traffic congestion. it's fairly well proven that when you increase capacity in a personal transportation system, useage increases an equal or greater amount. providing more capacity is not the answer to traffic congestion.

even with air traffic, you would still need 'roads' (defined volumes in which traffic can move). traffic flow could not be totally diffused: too messy, too many accidents. i personally wouldn't want cars flying over my house.. having my mailbox taken out 4-5 times a year is bad enough.

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (1)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468299)

Or let's make flying vehicles preferable over cars, maybe ? I have been fascinated by this project [petworks.co.jp] for quite a good amount of time already.

Re:Whats the deal with flying cars? (1)

syukton (256348) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468539)

I see two advantages:

1. Flying cars don't need roads
2. Flying traffic can be layered both horizontally and vertically for a near-unlimited traffic bandwidth

#1: The cost (it's all about cost, you should know this by now) of surveying, constructing, maintaining and upgrading roadways is large both in terms of dollars and in terms of man-hours consumed. Not much of an issue here in the USA where we already have plenty of roads, but elsewhere in the world where they've got more dirt roads than cars to travel on them, those are the places that could benefit the most from flying cars.

That brings us to...

#2: These other nations with their explosive population growth are going to be experiencing a traffic nightmare unless something like flying cars comes along.

So you're right, in a very single-minded way, that flying cars aren't really a big priority for us the Americans. But elsewhere, it may be the future because their past is nothing like ours.

RE: maybe this will help... O/T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468159)

"maybe this will help make that flying car a reality?"

I sure hope NOT , I don't want more people in the air than we already have.

Some of the private pilots I've seen shouldn't be driving a car, much less flying one!

Bad Idea all the way around.

Do we really need prizes for this stuff? (3, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468160)

Are we afraid the guy who invents the usable flying car won't be able to sell any? Is there someone with an AI sitting around saying, "If only I could figure out how to make some cash off this?"

The prize for the space travel thing was incentive to do it cheaply, wasn't it? That doesn't work when the hard part is doing it at all.

That said, it's still pretty cool.

Re:Do we really need prizes for this stuff? (1)

vinukr (796210) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468167)

I guess the guy who invents a flying car wont be able to make immediate money selling it coz after all the research that would go into it, it would cost a fortune and it would take sometime for it to get mass produced and become cheap.

Thats exactly why u need prize money for this. After all, prize money is also a catalyst for the invention... isnt it??

Re:Do we really need prizes for this stuff? (4, Insightful)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468280)

Theres one thing to have an idea, to have the motivation, to have the ingenuity and the focus. It's quite another to have the money and time to actually DO anything about it.

Finding a funder can be a bitch - prizes like this mean that the funder has a second bet on - firstly they are betting the flying car will make money - second they are betting that the prize itself will give them some additional publicity.

Imagine HP spending a few million on an Xprize entry for... well... anything. Thats a fraction of an advertising budget. They will sink the money more quickly based on a prize timescale and the reduced 'risk'.

At least I _think_ thats the theory of this kind of prize.

Prize for Fuel Cells? (5, Insightful)

antivoid (751399) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468162)

I feel someone should offer a nice prize for creating an efficient and clean way of producing hydrogen for fuel cell technology. Fuel cells already exist, but the cost, pollution and work involved in producing the hyrdogen required to run a fuel cell is prohibitive. If cheap and clean hydrogen production was achieved, we would be able to stop burning fossil fuels, the world would be a cleaner place, and stuff like flying cars could very well become a reality due to the sheer amount of power fuel cells can produce.

Re:Prize for Fuel Cells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468233)

Fuel cells already exist, but the cost, pollution and work involved in producing the hyrdogen required to run a fuel cell is prohibitive.

So is the cost, pollution and work involved in making the cells themselves!

we would be able to stop burning fossil fuels

Not going to happen... at least not until Peak Oil hits and we can't afford to keep burning them:
http://www.peakoil.net/

stuff like flying cars could very well become a reality due to the sheer amount of power fuel cells can produce.

Erm, no. What we need are less wasteful modes of local transport, not flying, and presumably higher speed, modes.

At the end of the day, if you want clean energy, then "it all comes from the Sun". Work out how many hectares of land you'd need to reserve to acquire the energy from solar radiation you need to commute in your car... happily assume 100% efficiency. Then multiply that by 100million... and then compare that to the land area of the US.

See a problem yet?

Re:Prize for Fuel Cells? (1)

kuiken (115647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468234)

You mean like they plan in Iceland.
Use geothermal vents to build power stations and use the leftover power (after providing electricity to the net) to produce hydrogen.

A clean and for all intents en purposes endless suply of free (beside mainanance and transportofc ) energy

Ethanol or biodiesel (2, Insightful)

spineboy (22918) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468281)

offer the prize for making a working ethanol (or bio diesel)production plant that has a lower cost of energy than say a 30 dollar barrel of crude oil. As far as fuel cells go, I guess adding fuel cell tech to efficiently use ethanol, would be useful.

Re:Prize for Fuel Cells? (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468378)

I feel someone should offer a nice prize for creating an efficient and clean way of producing hydrogen for fuel cell technology.

Does this [pureenergysystems.com] count?

Re:Prize for Fuel Cells? (2, Informative)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468468)

The problem with hydrogen is *not* producing it. Electrolysis is easily accomplish. People have been genetically engineering algae to produce hydrogen gas directly from sunlight. We can gasify coal or other hydrocarbons, bleed off and sequester the CO2 to get H2 pretty efficiently.

The problem with hydrogen is storing it and transporting it safely. There is no good solution for this. The concept of using hydrogen as a bulk fuel is a complete non-starter until this problem is solved. With current approaches, either the pressure is too high, the temperature is too cold, or the energy density is too low. It leaks very easily, so it is difficult to store for extended periods of time. And recent studies seem to indicate that the environmental impact from significant H2 leakage could be worse than CO2 emissions.

Flying car? (3, Insightful)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468168)

I'd hope they come up with real 21st century ideas, rather than rehashing old 20th century ones. Besides, what's the point of being able to fly to work when you still can't find anywhere to park? Anyway, the real problem isn't making a cheap flying machine as much as making it safe for the average person to control it - so what they'd really need are AI pilots, rather than flying cars.

Re:Flying car? (1)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468581)

so what they'd really need are AI pilots, rather than flying cars.

And with AI pilots you can just ditch flying: traffic jams can be avoided completely by perfect cooperation of well disciplined drivers. Quite impossible with humans.

Just look at the column of any (para)military outfit starting the parade march.

Well trained people keep the right distances while forming as well as starting and stopping, so the column starts moving immediately in all places.

Badly trained recruits at the front of the column start walking immediatelly, while those at the end have to wait to have space to start walking. It looks just like traffic jams.

Robert
(after basic 1.5yr military service ;)

Oil? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468174)

I just hope one of the prizes is for a technology to help us kick our oil addiction... Peak Oil is coming people!

This isn't a popular opinion here, (1)

kmmatthews (779425) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468425)

and I will be the first to bitch about our oil addiction, but:
Peak Oil is coming people!
Prove it. We have a lot more oil than these kind of people would have you believe. Granted, I think that oil should stay the fuck in the ground as we focus on nuclear power and electric cars, buses (sp?), etc.

Re:This isn't a popular opinion here, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468483)

Prove it.
http://www.bloomberg.com/energy/ [bloomberg.com]

A bit off-topic but... (3, Interesting)

DeepDarkSky (111382) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468183)

Flying cars sound really great, but quite frankly, I think it's a waste. Unless it offers considerable advantage, it would never take-off (pun intended). By considerable advantage, I mean it can get to places a lot faster or uses less fuel or something. I can see the use of them, but not on a large scale basis. Flying cars will obviously use consierably more fuel than regular cars and other ground transports. For other purposes, there's the airplane, which has been economized and travels much faster.

The flying car, then, I think will end up being like helicopters - but perhaps slightly more common. Wealthy people will have them and for emergency purposes (organ transplants, etc.), but other than that, I don't see flying cars as truly useful. In the U.S., we already consume so much energy driving, etc., do we really just need more ways to consumer energy faster?

(Granted, if we all had this attitude, we would have had the technology advances we've had up to know, airplanes and all, but current energy usage trends are quite alarming).

Re:A bit off-topic but... (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468197)

By considerable advantage, I mean it can get to places a lot faster or uses less fuel or something. I can see the use of them, but not on a large scale basis. Flying cars will obviously use consierably more fuel than regular cars and other ground transports.

Well, there's always the Moller M400 [moller.com] . Top speed of 350 mph, uses regular gasoline, gets 20 mpg (better than an SUV).

Re:A bit off-topic but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468238)

And, as an American, you probably figure that 20 mpg is good! :-)

Re:A bit off-topic but... (2, Funny)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468340)

[sarcasm] Yeah, but does it fly? [/sarcasm]

Re:A bit off-topic but... (1)

mirio (225059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468471)

Well, there's always the Moller M400. Top speed of 350 mph, uses regular gasoline, gets 20 mpg (better than an SUV).

This project has been going on for years and the most they've managed is a few feet off the ground. We can talk about fuel economy once the thing is flying.

I also don't think the Moller is that good of a design. Why fly at 350mph and NOT have a wing? The lift is essentially free...the only cost is induced drag...the natural byproduct of lift in an airfoil. I just don't understand why he wants to have these fans pounding the air into submission (and consequently using more energy => burning more fuel). Now, if this thing had retractable wings...that may make more sense to me.

Re:A bit off-topic but... (2, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468342)

From a century ago: Flying aeroplanes will obviously use considerably more fuel than regular cruise liners and other sea transports.

A flying car occupies an area of usefulness between a car and an aeroplane. For example, I happen to live on a island 10 miles off the French coast. If I want to go to France, I have to book a ticket on a plane, go to the airport according to a schedule. Wait 45 minutes mandatory checkin time, fly to another island, wait for the connection, fly to the one single French airport that is served, then rent a car to get to my final destination 10 miles away. Alternatively, I can take a boat trip, but the ferry only runs in the summer months, once pre day, and once per week in winter. And then I still need to rent a car to get to my final destination. I could buy a two seater aeroplane or a helicopter, but they are prohibitively expensive, and difficult to learn. The concept of a flying car is that it is affordable for the reasonably average person, they are not significantly more difficult to drive than a road car and they don't require an airport at either end of the journey.

It's a very hard nut to crack, but then so is space travel, and that's what the original X-Prize was intended and succeeded to encourage. And with commercial space travel, they didn't start by offering the prize for the first passenger trip to the moon. They started with something more achievable.

There has to be a suitable challenge that is further along the way towards personal flying transport than we are now, but maybe isn't a practical flying car for the masses. I know there are companies that are already doing prototypes in this area, so the prize needs to be set some useful distance beyond where they are now.

Innovations are nice, but . . . (4, Insightful)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468191)

We already have lots of innovation in raw technology. The problem is that they're not economically feasable. The next prizes should be given to the company (or individual) who brings a next generation technology to the masses.

A true highway autopilot in a sub $30k car

Safe fog and rain navigation for the same car

Economic and RELIABLE robotic assembly lines

Stuff like that.

No thanks! (1)

MadDirector (808118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468435)

"A true highway autopilot in a sub $30k car"
No thanks! I won't use that crap... Car With A Mind Of Its Own [slashdot.org]

Re:Innovations are nice, but . . . (0)

isorox (205688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468537)

We do have a prize for them. It's call capitalism. Develop the product and you'll get the customers. Patents ensure noone rips your idea off before you recoup R&D costs either.

Re:Innovations are nice, but . . . (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468612)

Call me a half-empty glass but what consumer product of great complexity than a donut is not encumbered by OTHER patents that make it prohibitively expensive to sell that product to any smart consumers.

what I want to know is... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468200)

The concept of the WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and the global science and technology innovators identification process and community developed by the World Technology Network (WTN) to launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

What will the prize be for a foolproof way of teaching writing skills?

flying car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468208)

maybe this will help make that flying car a reality?


Is not that just called an airplane?

Re:flying car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468470)

Have you ever tried to parallel park an Aeroplane? Do u have one in your garage. Are airplanes affordable enough so that most middle-income families can afford one. Can trailer trash live out of an airplane? I don't think so, so no, airplane != flying car.

Potable water (2, Insightful)

Rxke (644923) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468221)

Cheap ways to purify water etc.
The much-talked about global water-crisis in the making needs some attention.

Crazy ideas aplenty: Thinking of Dune: the big 'stills, that take moisture out of the air and cool it, so it condenses, comes to mind. But something like that would be possible to build with simple stuff... In 'underdeveloped' nations...

Re:Potable water (1)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468341)

I always wondered whether you could have airships that fill up with the hot and humid air above the ocean areas where hurricanes start, and have them travel to the regions where there are shortages of water (or at least some high-altitude grouond and let gravity do the rest).

Where's the opposite prize? (5, Funny)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468262)

Wherever a prize was awarded, anti-prizes where tought of: the golden raspberry [razzies.com] (anti-Oscar), ig-nobel prize [improb.com] ('anti'-NobelPrize), etc.

Where is this "Anti X-prize" then ?
My personal idea for the contents for such a prize would be:

Prize for the craft that crashes most spectacular (without people, duh)

Prize for the most useless invention on (name your territory here)

Prize for the worst overshoot of a set target (wanted to the moon, went to Mars)
Any more ?

Helping humanity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468488)

Most innovatve doomsday device.

Dimensional gateway to hell.

Most incurable and effective plague/computer virus.

Most annoying AI.

The Matrix/Terminators/Daleks.

Most read spam.

101 unuseful things (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468501)

Prize for the most useless invention on (name your territory here)

I remember a Japanese book called 101 unuseful things or something. I can't find the title on Amazon or Google that quick. It was about inventions that were really useless or absolutely impractible to use. It should be really made (not just on paper) and it should be used at least once. It was incredibly funny I remember. It was kind of a competition to have the most unuseful invention.

I have little hope... (1, Troll)

Skadet (528657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468269)

'The concept of the WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and the global science and technology innovators identification process and community developed by the World Technology Network (WTN) to launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

Until they can demonstrate sufficient mastery of language to write a readable sentence, I don't think we'll be seeing those flying cars any time soon.

On second thought, maybe we will... but the manual will be too incomprehensible to enable anyone to drive them.

The Flying Car by Kevin Smith (-1, Offtopic)

riker1384 (735780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468284)

(Horns Honking) Randal: It's times like this it occurs to me that we were lied to by "The Jetsons". Dante: What are you talking about? Randal: According to that show we were suppose to be tooling around in flying cars by now. You see any flying cars lately? That's the problem with TV, it always lies to us. Dante: Yeah, well most of us rational thinkers weren't banking on a cartoon to offer us a viable glimpse into the future of technological development. Randal: You don't think anyone anywhere is working on the flying car. Dante: I could care less. Randal: I gotta believe that there is somebody else out there is thinking about the flying car besides me. Someone who is not afraid to throw their hats over the wall for the good of mankind. Dante: What's that suppose to mean? Randal: Throw their hats over the wall. It means committing to doing something. If more people threw their hats over the wall, we wouldn't be sitting here in this mess right now. We would be zooming over it in the flying car. Dante: I see you have given this alot of thought. Randal: Kennedy, all right JFK himself. When he was in office, he stood before the world and promised them a man on the moon within 10 years. Thing is nobody had started working on a space program at that point. JFK had no data to back up his claims, no inside into the practicality of space travel. But you know what he had? Dante: Marilyn Monroe. Randal: The man had sac. The man had the sac to stand before the world and say "Yo, yo get this we're going to the moon." Imagine, if you and I were the kind of guys who had the sac to stand before the world and say "Get this we'll all be in the flying car by the end of the year. Dante: Do you know you have a one track mind. Randal: Hey, what would you be willing to trade for the flying car? Dante: What do you mean? Randal: Say some German scientist comes up to you and he says "I have invented the flying car. I'll give it to you on one condition." Dante: Well, what's the condition? Randal: He's not going to tell you. Dante: Then it's no deal. Randal: The guy is offering you the flying car. Dante: Yeah, but there is obviously a catch. Randal: Who cares what the catch is, it's the flying car. You'll have the only one in the world. Dante: And why is this... German scientist Randal: Ya, vol. Dante: Why is he offering it to me for free instead of the car companies instead? Randal: What is this "Murder She Wrote"? Who cares what's behind the mystery. You going to look a gift horse in the mouth? Just take the car man. Dante: Not until I know what the catch is. Randal: Fine, the catch is you got to cut off a foot. Dante: No way. Randal: Are you saying you wouldn't cut off your foot for the flying car? You're that selfish. Dante: It's my foot! How am I suppose to walk? Randal: What walk? You'll have the flying car. Good God, you could sell the design and engineering secrets to the car companies and be a multibillionaire. After that you could buy like 50 prosthetic feet. Dante: Which foot, right or left? Randal: You're choice Dante: Ok, I'll trade my left foot for the flying car. Randal: Why your left foot? Dante: Oh, it's got an ingrown toenail. Randal: Listen to you. A guy offers you the Fire from Olympus that is the flying car and you trade him a bum foot. Dante: You said I could pick. Randal: So it's a deal then, your foot for the flying car. You're sure? Dante: Yes, I'm sure. Randal: You can't welch. Dante: I won't welch. Randal: Because the whole world is counting on you. Dante: Why the whole world all of a sudden? Randal: Because the German scientist held a press conference when he made you the offer. He told the world media once the trade is made. You can do whatever you want with the flying car. Including mass marketing an affordable model for consumer purchase. Dante: What the hell kind of scientist is this guy anyways? Randal: One with a lot of free time on his hands and a foot fetish. So are you in? You going to do the right thing here? Dante: Yes. Randal: So it's a deal. Dante: Yes. Randal: Ok, so then what happens is you find out the guy is going to take your foot off with a hacksaw. Dante: What? Randal: And no atheistic. Dante: Aww, screw that! Randal: Come on it's part of the deal. Dante: You didn't say that before! Randal: Well, you should of paid a lawyer look over the contract. But come on, it only hurts when they're taking the foot off. After that they'll use a local on your stump and cauterize the wound. Dante: Well why can't I have a local before he cuts it off? Randal: Because, he is a sick degenerate that likes to inflict pain. Dante: You said he was a man of science! Randal: You don't think Einstein didn't like hacking guys feet off but, nobody ever said anything about it because he was one of the great thinkers of our time. But come on man. Take a hit for the team. It's a few seconds of pain for a lifetime of riches and zero traffic. Dante: Fine, as long as I get the local as soon as he is done cutting, Randal: So you want the local? Dante: Who am I, The Marquis De Sade? Yes, I want the local. Randal: All right. Dante: Why do you say it like that for? Randal: It's just the local he gives you, knocks you out and when your out he diddles you pennie. Dante: Oh, come on! Randal: Hey man, you made the deal. Dante: To trade my foot for the flying car, not to be tortured and molested by some mad German scientist. Randal: And his friends. Dante: What? Randal: It's just when he is done with you he gives his friends a shot at you too. Dante: Deals off. Randal: What are you some kind of homophobe? Dante: No, I just don't want to be diddled by some insane German scientist and his friends after they've hacked my foot off. Randal: Need I remind you, this is for the flying car! Dante: It ain't worth it. Randal: See, you're what's wrong with this country, hell with this world. You're always thinking about your own comfort level. Never thinking about the rest of us. This country was built on sacrifice and nearly 30 years of living a life full of selfish foot pampering and intergender intercourse has made you too soft to throw your hat over the wall for the good of mankind. And what's worse is, not only do you ruin it for the rest of us with the flying car, but you completely blow the notion of American nobility in the process. The children of the world have no heroic figure to emulate. So the future of mankind continues on it's downward spiral into entropy and mass extinction until all that was once great about the human race lies buried in the primordial stew to which we'll most certainly return. Thanks to you and ill refusal to reach for the stars and you'll forever be remembered as the sad footnote in the book of life. The wimpy little scumbag who could of breached the chasm of becoming and being. But instead opted to cover his own ass and foot in the process. Dante: All right! I'll go through with the deal. I'll let the German scientist hack my foot off. Then him and his friends can have their way with me. All for the flying car. Randal: You would do it with a bunch of guys just to get a car. I thought I knew you man.

Because what this world needs is.... (2, Interesting)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468294)

...The NEW Cadillac Escalade Flyin' SUV! With motorized "spinner" rims that spin even when you're flyin!

Gimme a friggin break! The X Prize was cool and all, but that's not quite effective for everything, only encouraging lower costs. If you wanna help the world by offering a prize, try these:

1. Energy Efficient homes. The car is a good start, but the american home could stand to be improved. How about homes that produce more energy than they consume?

2. Space Resource gathering/production. This is what the X prize should work toward IMO. The nearest asteroid is worth (I think) ~3 trillion. Now that's smart resources!

3. Energy production. Solar energy "farms", in space!

4. Energy transport. Friendly/safe synthetic fuels or batteries are a must.

For most of these 10M may not cut it. But I'd like to see some kinda push.

How about feeding the entire World? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468320)

... sure it isn't as "cool" but is the greatest problem facing humanity.

Re:How about feeding the entire World? (1)

hamelis (820185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468504)

we produce enough food to feed everyone, and surplus. the problems are distribution, in the short term, and population increasing geomterically (mostly) while food production (mostly) increases linearly, as well as the fact that a population always increases as much as its food supply allows. both make it necessary to produce more food to feed a growing population, which leads to more people, in a positive feedback loop (unsustainable in a limited resource system). the greatest problem facing humanity is itself: the population doubling by 2050 won't exactly make that problem smaller, especially when oil runs out, the green revolution (cheap pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers) ends, and we can only produce and distribute a fraction of the food we do now.

Re:How about feeding the entire World? (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468518)

Food production is solved on the scientific front. It's the delivery vectory that's the problem -- getting dictators to stop playing food politics would probably end a great deal of the hunger on the planet. That, and serving the neoluddite anti-gm people a big glass of STFU.

suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468324)

Prize for a working quantum computer would be a very good idea.

Alternative Energy Sources (4, Interesting)

BlueMonk (101716) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468365)

I think the biggest challenge facing humanity right now is energy. I don't know if everyone realizes how many of the world's problems are based on energy consumption and how much better off we would be with some alternative energy source that is safe, clean, cheap and plentiful. Surely we've put our minds to it before, and maybe it's futile to hope for such a miracle, but maybe it's time to try again. Any hope of finally getting that cold fusion to work? :) Or maybe some combination of high yield solar panels with efficient storage cells.

Imagine -- forget mideast oil and all their conflicts; forget pollution -- most of it comes from our current, primary energy sources; forget nuclear waste disposal (after we're done with what we've already got to deal with); and if the energy source is reasonably self-contained / localized (like solar panels on the house), forget transmission problems and dangers. If I had to pay double taxes for 2 years to get this worked out, I'd be all for it!

Re:Alternative Energy Sources (1)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468396)

The big challenge isn't so much generation - as transmission and storage. If we can create a reliable way of getting energy to cover a few hundred miles and a few dozen hours with 50% losses we have really achieved something tangible in getting rid of the energy problems by making relatively remote wind / solar / etc sources viable.

At the moment, from the last report I read, wind X energy collected in west of Scotland last night ans stored in a hydro plant until I needed to use it this morning turns into X/50 coming out of my outlet to power this PC.

Holey shit! Turn that into X/2 or even X/10 and you have a VASTLY better economics of energy production. Most of the current production is simply going into warming up transmission cables and hydroelectric damns!

Re:Alternative Energy Sources (4, Interesting)

n54 (807502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468561)

I agree, even starvation (which another poster mentioned) can often (in part) be attributed to lack of energy, for example local overuse of wood contributing to drought or desertification.

Still, research into energy sources probably wont get much help from prizes given out afterwards: either they're already funded by governments or (usually oil) companies, or they lack enough present funding like this interesting fusion project: http://www.focusfusion.org/home.html [focusfusion.org] - disregard the horrible site design, and if there's a VC out there why not have a closer look? If it's successful you'll make Paul Allen green with envy ;)

Such projects or other more established ones might benefit a lot more from "fasttracking" than a prize by getting more funds and brainpower. Then again with all the research going on it might not help at all: do we want to try a broad approach or hedge our bets on a few? Choosing is very hard. Most governments in America, Europe, Asia and Oceania are giving pretty big incentives for energy research as it is. Some big examples are the US hydrogen focus, Chinas pebble reactors (the South African Republic is also looking at this, so Africa is in too), and the Australian solar tower (european technology), and there are lots and lots of smaller projects almost everywhere.

Re:Alternative Energy Sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468575)

We dont need cold fusion or tomahak fusion. We already have cheap safe hot fusion, but without the need of massive ammounts of equipment. See Focus Fusion http://www.focusfusion.org/ [focusfusion.org]

WTN X-Prizes (2, Funny)

ironman_one (520863) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468398)

1. Robots and AI
Robot players beats human world championchip masters in a standard soccer match.

2. Space
2.1 - Race around the mon.
2.2 - Land on the moon.
2.3 - Bring back one kilogram of moon material
2.3 - Land on mars.

3. Medicine
Neural computer interface(say matrix)

4. Energy
Superconducting powerline over 100km

5. Transportation
Antigravity

Re: WTN X-Prizes (1)

bo0ork (698470) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468436)

They forgot:

6. Bureaucracy
Redesigned patent system

Re: WTN X-Prizes (0)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468536)

/. Dupe filter.

</obligatory>

Re: WTN X-Prizes (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468542)

1. Robots and AI Robot players beats human world championchip masters in a standard soccer match.

Only three humans were injured unintentionally by their bulky metal foes. The fourth doesn't count because he deliberately picked a fight with top robotic player Android Schwarzenegger.

5. Transportation Antigravity

Baloon trash is a thing of the past. Now, when you lose grip on the string, the baloon navigates itself out of the solar system.

Innovations (1)

vinukr (796210) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468413)

Innovations that reach out to the poorer mass, especially in the developing and under-developed nations should be what must be concentrated on..

What about research on agriculture?? novel farmland efficiency increasing and cross-breeding techniques.
More on materials that could be useful in cutting costs of basic amenities (shelter especially) for the poor
Also on diseases like cancer and AIDS

It is only innovations like these which are going to make this world a better place to live in.

One option (2, Insightful)

Augoeides (820180) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468415)

I believe one very good place to start off would be IT development in the poorest of the poor countries (which is one of the UN's goals for the millenium). The reason is that, as others pointed out, the X Prizes work best when used to increase incentive for things we already know how to do. This could improve the lives of people living in these countries AND make us, as a species, better able to know what we know.

Re:One option (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468553)

This could improve the lives of people living in these countries AND make us, as a species, better able to know what we know.

Not only would it make their lives better, it's a known fact that when the living standards of the poor improve, the standard for everyone gets higher. Everybody benefits from this. The same goes for education: it's more usefull to give all people basic education and leave it with that, then to give the top 10% top level education (like sending them to universities etc).

How about an X-Prize for writing? (2, Funny)

Airwall (39346) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468430)

The concept of the WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and the global science and technology innovators identification process and community developed by the World Technology Network (WTN) to launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

Man, what a complete trainwreck of a sentence.

solar power (3, Interesting)

bob_avernus (799481) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468486)

Solar panels are still pretty expensive, so why not have a prize for an efficient process for making solar panels?

YUo FAIL It!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468489)

play pArties the [goat.cx]

Anyone read J. Halperin's The Truth Machine? (1)

ArbiterOne (715233) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468522)

In James L. Halperin's book "The Truth Machine", the government is persuaded to offer a prize to the company which can construct a machine capable of determining whether someone is telling the truth, with 100% efficiency. Maybe the WTN could make this one of the prizes?

Flying cars? (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468523)

Are you kidding me?

Most people can't think in two dimensions (how many morons do YOU cuss on the road?), and you want to toss in a third?

I say screw the _flying_ cars; how about automated cars & traffic control systems.

My suggestion.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468530)

SPAM-free Email

Energy is on everyone's mind. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10468532)

What we want to focus on are areas that are underfunded and out of public view. (i.e. like spacecraft developement ~4 years ago.)
I submitted a suggestion for a bioreator that produces blood. Hospitals are always short it...

I submitted one.. (1)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468552)


I submitted the "Duke Nukem Forever" WTN Xprize. What better technological breakthrough could we ever see!!

I listed the prize as $1 million (and yes I did the Dr Evil thing when submitting). I listed the method of funding as $1 from each of the first million Slashdot readers to buy the game, since I figure we'll all be rushing out to get it when it comes out.

Who's with me!?

Advances? (3, Insightful)

builderbob_nz (728755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468587)

maybe this will help make that flying car a reality?

Oh God I hope not. It is bad enough now with drivers not watching what they are doing in two dimensions and now you want to add a third!? The day that they let the average Joe Blogs drive a flying car is the day I give up driving and to back to walking/cycling/public transport - I'll live longer!

Kevin Rice's list of tech innovations needed (4, Interesting)

justanyone (308934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468594)

I've been thinking about this for a long time.
Here's my list:

1. Medical technique (drug/etc.) to stimulate regrowth of tissue, as various lizards do. Lose an arm? Regrow it. this would have to take into account the replacement of scar tissue with healthy new tissue. Important in this are skin, nerve, and heart tissues.
2. Replacement teeth. Along the same lines as tissue regrowth for the gums, replacement teeth would have similar properties to existing teeth but be permanently implanted. We have this for hips, knees, etc., why not for teeth?
3. Technique to artificially stimulate (nuclear) Beta decay. This would allow us to reduce radioactivity immediately in radioactive materials.
4. Method/device to increase, decrease (even to become negative) the force of gravity acting on an object. This would NOT include any mechanical device; I'm talking about a gravitational FIELD force here.
5. 3 dimensional display as a transparent globe that we look into to view projected images. This would allow 3-D viewing, and would vastly assist all manner of medical and engineering processes.
6. Caller-id. Oh, sorry, we have that.
7. Recognition in the social sciences realm that peace studies deserves more research and development, allowing disparate, traditionally hateful relationships between ethic/religious/etc. groups morph into peaceful coexistence, without resorting to genocide of one or the other groups.
8. Airborne refuelling using liquid oxygen instead of jet fuel.
9. Ramjet or scramjet jet engines that can go from 100% atmospheric oxygen variably to 100% onboard oxygen, burning kerosene.
10. Same suppemental oxygen engines that are rated for very high mach numbers in rarified air.
11. Space suits that are very thin and easy to put on/take off, and work at higher than 2 psi so there's no prebreathing requirement.
12. Very high specific impulse (ISP) engines (from 1000 to 10,000) with thrust ranges in the tens or hundreds of newtons instead of millinewtons.

Just a smattering of goals here.

If they are looking for suggestions (1)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10468619)

The Better Battery, or equivalent energy storage system that lasts a decent amount of time in use, and is quickly/easily recharged.
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