It took the wealth of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to win the original $10 million X-Prize four years ago, for the first privately financed craft to make it to space and back. But a smaller-scale X-Prize announced at MIT last week opens the door to anyone with a video camera.
The new competition, titled "What's Your Crazy Green Idea?", asks contestants to upload a two-minute video to YouTube, proposing a large X-Prize for work relating to energy and the environment. Judges will select three finalists, and the winner will be determined by public voting and announced in December.
The new prize was announced at last week's X-Prize Energy Forum, which featured talks by inventor Ray Kurzweil '70, geneticist George Church of Harvard, inventor Saul Griffith SM '01, PhD '04, and MIT Energy Initiative Director Ernest Moniz. The event was sponsored by the new X-Prize Lab@MIT, a collaboration headed by Erika Wagner of Aero-Astro.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 17, 2008 (download PDF).