X Prize Foundation
|Key people||Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO
Robert K. Weiss, President and Vice Chair
|Area served||Energy & Environment, Exploration, Global Development, Learning, Life Sciences|
|Method(s)||Revolution through Competition|
|Motto||Making the Impossible Possible|
|Formerly called||X Prize Foundation|
XPRIZE is a non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit mankind. Their Board of Trustees include Elon Musk, James Cameron, Larry Page, Arianna Huffington, among others.
The XPRIZE mission is to bring about “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity” through incentivized competition. It fosters high-profile competitions that motivate individuals, companies and organizations across all disciplines to develop innovative ideas and technologies that help solve the grand challenges that restrict humanity’s progress.
The most high-profile XPRIZE to date was the Ansari XPRIZE relating to spacecraft development awarded in 2004. This prize was intended to inspire research and development into technology for space exploration.
- 1 Background
- 2 XPRIZE Unifying Principles
- 3 Prizes and events overseen
- 3.1 Past contests
- 3.2 Canceled contests
- 3.3 Active contests
- 3.4 Future XPRIZEs
- 4 Board of Trustees
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The first XPRIZE – the Ansari XPRIZE – was inspired by the Orteig Prize, a $25,000 prize offered in 1919 by French hotelier Raymond Orteig for the first nonstop flight between New York City and Paris. In 1927, underdog Charles Lindbergh won the prize in a modified single-engine Ryan aircraft called the Spirit of St. Louis. In total, nine teams spent $400,000 in pursuit of the Orteig Prize.
In 1996, entrepreneur Peter Diamandis offered a $10 million prize to the first privately financed team that could build and fly a three-passenger vehicle 100 kilometers into space twice within two weeks. The contest, later titled the Ansari XPRIZE for Suborbital Spaceflight, motivated 26 teams from seven nations to invest more than $100 million in pursuit of the $10 million purse. On October 4, 2004, the Ansari XPRIZE was won by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, who successfully completed the contest in their spacecraft SpaceShipOne. The prize was awarded in a ceremony at the Saint Louis Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. As of 2011, the Science Center maintains numerous exhibits about the XPRIZE.
The foundation has also created the XPRIZE Cup rocket challenge competition.
XPRIZE Unifying Principles
XPRIZES are monetary rewards to incentivize three primary goals:
- Attract investment from outside the sector that takes new approaches to difficult problems.
- Create significant results that are real and meaningful. Competitions have measurable goals, and are created to promote adoption of the innovation.
- Cross national and disciplinary boundaries to encourage teams around the world to invest the intellectual and financial capital required to solve difficult challenges.
Other organizations such as the Nobel Prize committee award prizes and financial rewards to individuals or organizations that produce novel advances in science, medicine and technology. One difference between the XPRIZES and other similar organizations is awarding prizes based on the first to achieve objective 'finish line' requirements rather than a selection committee discussing the relative merits of different endeavors. For instance, the Archon Genomics XPRIZE target is to sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days or less, with less than one error per 100,000 DNA base pair, covering 98% of the genome and costing less than $10,000 per genome (note: this prize was cancelled because it was outpaced by innovation).
The prize can increase attention to endeavors that otherwise might not receive much publicity. For example, attempts in the recent Lunar Lander competition have been well publicized in the media, increasing visibility of both the foundation and the participants.
With the Ansari XPRIZE, XPRIZE established a model in which offering a prize for achieving a specific goal can stimulate entrepreneurial investment. Since then, new challenges have expanded into a range of other fields. XPRIZE is developing new prizes in Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. Some hope the prizes will help improve lives, create equity of opportunity and stimulate new, important discoveries.
Prizes and events overseen
As of August 2013, there are four past contests, three active and one canceled.
1996-2004 Ansari XPRIZE for Suborbital Spaceflight
The Ansari XPRIZE for Suborbital Spaceflight was the first prize from the foundation. It successfully challenged teams to build private spaceships capable of carrying three people and fly two times within two weeks to open the space frontier. The first part of the Ansari XPRIZE requirements was fulfilled by Mike Melvill on September 29, 2004 On SpaceShipOne, a spacecraft designed by Burt Rutan and financed by Paul Allen, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft. On that Space Ship, Melvill broke the 100-kilometer (62.5 mi) mark, the internationally recognized as the boundary of outer space, winning the prize. Brian Binnie completed the second part of the requirements on October 4, 2004. As a result, US$10 million was awarded to the winner, but more than $100 million was invested in new technologies in pursuit of the prize. Today, Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and others are creating a personal spaceflight industry.
Awarding this first prize gave XPRIZE as much publicity as the winners themselves. After the 2004 success there was ample media coverage to afford both Scaled Composites and XPRIZE additional support for them to expand and continue to pursue their aims. Following this early success several other XPRIZES were announced that have yet to be awarded despite various attempts to meet the requirements.
The Ansari XPRIZE won the Space Foundation's Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award in 2005. The award is given annually to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to public awareness of space programs.
2007-2010 Progressive Insurance Automotive XPRIZE
The goal of the Progressive Insurance Automotive XPRIZE was to design, build and race super-efficient vehicles that achieve 100 MPGe (2.35 liter/100 kilometer) efficiency, produce less than 200 grams/mile well-to-wheel CO2 equivalent emissions, and could be manufactured for the mass market.
The winners of the competition were announced on September 16, 2010.
- Team Edison2 won the $5 million Mainstream competition with its four-passenger Very Light Car, obtaining 102.5 MPGe running on E85 fuel.
- Team Li-Ion Motors won the $2.5 million Alternative Side-by-Side competition with their aerodynamic Wave-II electric vehicle achieving 187 MPGe.
- Team X-Tracer Switzerland won the $2.5 million Alternative Tandem competition with their 205.3 MPGe faired electric motorcycle.
2010-2011 Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE
The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE was introduced on July 29, 2010. The $1 million prize had a goal to inspire a new generation of innovative solutions that will speed the pace of cleaning up seawater surface oil resulting from spillage from ocean platforms, tankers, and other sources. The team of Elastec/American Marine won the challenge by developing a device that skims oil off of water three times faster than previously existing technology.
Joelle O’Reilly-Hyland and Paul O’Reilly-Hyland, who are the Managing Partners of Ounavarra Capital, hosted an event for the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. The event was hosted in October 2011 at the home of the O’Reilly-Hylands. 
2006-2009 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE
The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X CHALLENGE (NGLLXPC) was a competition (co-hosted by NASA) to build precise, efficient small rocket systems. It was introduced in 2006 and awarded on November 5, 2009 in Washington D.C. to Masten Space Systems, led by David Masten, the top $1 million prize, while Armadillo Aerospace, led by id Software founder John Carmack took home the second place prize of $500,000, plus an additional $500,000 in 2008.
2006-2013 Archon Genomics XPRIZE
The Archon Genomics XPRIZE, the second XPRIZE to be offered by the foundation, was announced October 4, 2006. The goal of the Archon Genomics XPRIZE is to greatly reduce the cost and increase the speed of human genome sequencing to create a new era of personalized, predictive and preventive medicine, eventually transforming medical care from reactive to proactive. The $10 million prize purse will be awarded to the first team that can build a device and use it to sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days or less, with an accuracy of no more than one error in every 100,000 bases sequenced, with sequences accurately covering at least 98% of the genome, and at a recurring cost of no more than $1,000 per genome.
If more than one team attempts the competition at the same time, and more than one team fulfills all the criteria, then teams will be ranked according to the time of completion. No more than three teams will be ranked and will share the purse in the following manner: $7.5 million to the winner and $2.5 million to the second place team if two teams are successful, or $7 million, $2 million and $1 million if three teams are successful.
Actual competition events was originally scheduled to take place twice a year with all eligible teams given the opportunity to make an attempt, starting at precisely the same time as the other teams. This was changed to a single competition scheduled for September 5, 2013 to October 1, 2013, which was canceled on August 22, 2013. The rationale for the change was articulated by the CEO: "Today, companies can do this for less than $5,000 per genome, in a few days or less - and are moving quickly towards the goals we set for the prize. For this reason, we have decided to cancel an XPRIZE for the first time ever."
2007 Google Lunar XPRIZE
The Google Lunar XPRIZE was introduced on September 13, 2007. The goal of the prize is similar to that of the Ansari X PRIZE, to inspire a new generation of private investment in space exploration and technology. The challenge calls for teams to compete in successfully launching, landing, and operating a rover on the lunar surface. The prize awards $20 million to the first team to land a rover on the moon that successfully roves more than 500 meters and transmits back high definition images and video. There is a $5 million second prize, as well as $5 million in potential bonus prizes for extra features such as roving long distances (greater than 5,000 meters) capturing images of man-made objects on the moon, or surviving a lunar night.
2011 Tricorder XPRIZE
The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE was announced on May 10, 2011, and is sponsored by Qualcomm Foundation. It was officially launched on January 10, 2012. The $10 million prize is awarded for creating a mobile device that can "diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians". The name is taken from the tricorder device in Star Trek which can be used to instantly diagnose ailments.
2012 The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE
The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE goal is accelerating the use of sensors and sensing technology to tackle health care problems and find ways for people to monitor and maintain their personal well-being. It will be composed of two distinct Challenges held in 2013 and 2014. Prize purses totaling $2.25 million will be awarded. It was announced in 2012 and 12 finalists announced in 2013.
2013 The Wendy Schmidth Ocean Health XPRIZE
The Wendy Schmidth Ocean Health XPRIZE is a $2 million competition to improve our understanding of ocean acidification.
XPRIZE has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a prize for a better tuberculosis diagnostic tool. Other potential prize ideas include preserving biodiversity, mapping the oceans, developing clean aviation fuels, energy storage, sustainable housing and carbon sequestration.
Board of Trustees
The Foundation is run by a board of trustees, of which the members are as follows:
- Eric C. Anderson, Trustee.
- Anousheh Ansari, Trustee.
- Amir Ansari, Trustee.
- Jack Bader, Trustee.
- Michael Boustridge, Trustee.
- Peter Diamandis, Founder and Chairman.
- Gil Elbaz, Trustee.
- Eric Esrailian, Trustee.
- Richard Garriott, Trustee.
- James N. Gianopulos, Trustee.
- Eric Hirschberg, Trustee
- Jack Hidary, Trustee.
- Arianna Huffington, Trustee.
- Naveen Jain, Trustee.
- Dean Kamen, Trustee.
- Ray Kurzweil, Trustee.
- Erik R. Lindbergh, Trustee.
- Gregg E. Maryniak, Secretary.
- Rob McEwen, Trustee.
- Diane Murphy, Trustee.
- Elon Musk, Trustee.
- Larry Page, Trustee.
- Adeo Ressi, Trustee.
- Jeffrey L. Shames, Trustee.
- Barry Silverstein, Trustee.
- Ratan Tata, Trustee.
- J. Barry Thompson, Treasurer.
- Ali Velshi, Trustee.
- Craig Venter, Trustee.
- Robert K. Weiss, President & Vice Chair.
- Will Wright, Trustee.
- DARPA Grand Challenge
- Global Security Challenge
- Hydrogen prize
- Inducement prize contest
- Methuselah prize
- Orteig Prize
- "The XPRIZE Heritage | XPRIZE". Web.archive.org. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- Boyle, Alan. "Spaceship team gets its $10 million prize". MSNBC. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
- "Symposium Awards | National Space Symposium". Web.archive.org. February 3, 2009. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- "Competition Guidelines, Version 1.2". Progressive Automotive X PRIZE. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Three Teams Awarded Share of $10 Million Purse in Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE for Super Fuel-Efficient Vehicles". X Prize Foundation. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- Boyle, Rebecca. "Winner of Million-Dollar X Challenge Cleans Up Oil Spills Three Times Better Than Existing Tech | Popular Science". Popsci.com. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- "Hello". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Scene last night - Fred Iseman, James Cameron, Marilyn Horne and Wendy Schmidt". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Private Reception Honoring X Prize Sponsor Wendy Schmidt". Guest to fa Guest. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Peter Diamandis (22-Aug-2013). "Outpaced by Innovation: Canceling an XPRIZE". Huffington Post.
- "X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation Set to Revolutionize Healthcare with Launch of $10 Million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE | X PRIZE Foundation". Xprize.org. January 10, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- "The X PRIZE Foundation and Qualcomm Join Forces to Develop a Competition to Enhance Integrated Digital Health". X PRIZE Foundation. May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "Zehn Millionen Dollar für den "Star Trek"-Trikorder". Der Spiegel (in German). 14 may 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "Nokia Sensing XChallenge Media Mentions".
- Scott Jung. "Nokia and XPRIZE Announce Finalists of the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE". Medgadet.
- "XPrize Board of Trustees".