Google is offering a million dollars if you can create a power inverter that is smaller than a laptop. If you don’t know what an inverter is, the competition probably isn’t up your alley, but basically it means that Google is hoping to change the future of electricity. Current power inverters – the boxes that change direct current into alternating current in homes, businesses and cars – are the size of a picnic cooler, limiting what they can be used for, so a smaller, lighter inverter could change power as we know it (and make one lucky person a million dollars richer).
Smaller power inverters could mean cheaper power grids in remote areas and more solar-powered homes, because renewable energy sources like wind and solar require inverters in order to convert direct current into alternating current. Google also wins because, as the company states on the Little Box Challenge website, it “doesn’t hurt that many of these improvements could make our data centers run more safely and efficiently.”
Called the “Little Box Challenge,” Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers want to reduce power inverters by at least 10x their current size and they are putting their money where their mouth is. Registration ends September 30, finalists will be selected on October 21, 2015 and a winner will be announced in January, 2016.
Images via Little Box Challenge