The X Prize aims to tackle the world’s greatest challenges by creating ‘large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions’ to encourage today’s greatest inventors to use their genius for the benefit of humanity. Already underway are the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE, and the group just announced the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X PRIZE, which aims to develop accurate and affordable ocean pH sensors that will ultimately transform our understanding of ocean acidification and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.

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Acidification levels have been on the rise in part because the planet’s oceans absorb approximately 25% of all the CO2 that humans release into the atmosphere. This has caused the chemistry of the water to change, which could have devastating global consequences on the planet’s ecosystems.

The sensors that are currently available on the market make it impossible for researchers concerned to mitigate the problem to adequately monitor the acidification levels and their affect on marine life. Which is where the X Prize comes in: this new competition aims to inspire scientists to create better pH sensing systems to monitor and collect ocean pH data that is urgently needed.

“Just as we have sensors to monitor our body’s vital signs, we need a device to help determine the acidity of our oceans before we can determine the best solution to improve its health,” said Paul Bunje, Senior Director of Oceans, XPRIZE. “To accomplish this, we hope to incent innovators around the world, across disciplines, to compete for this prize not only for the ecological benefits, but for the market potential worth far more than the prize purse itself.”

The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is the second collaboration between Wendy Schmidt and XPRIZE and furthers the commitment by both to address the Grand Challenge of ocean health. The Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE was a $1.4 million competition designed to inspire a new generation of innovative solutions to speed the pace of cleaning up oil spills, with the first place winner accomplishing a cleanup rate almost four times the industry’s previously recorded best cleanup rate.

“Ocean acidification is a serious threat we are only beginning to understand,” said Wendy Schmidt. “It could have significant ecological and societal implications, changing the health of entire ecosystems, affecting the global economy and the biodiversity of the planet. As we did with the Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, we aim to inspire innovators around the world to get behind the creation of better, more efficient methods to monitor and measure ocean health, and ultimately to improve it.”

+ X Prize

Via Fast Company

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