The Uplift Prize

End World Poverty for $1 Million by 2020

Prize Specifications

with 9 comments

There are two Uplift Prizes that aim to jointly improve the lives of 1 billion of the world’s poorest people by 2020, a Personal Manufacturing Prize, and a Water Liberation Prize.  The prize outlines are below, and are subject to revision before the deadlines.

Personal Manufacturing Prizes :

An industrial infrastructure to provide the products and employment that elevates illiterate and semi-literate people in emerging economies to an intermediate level of human development can take decades to build.  With the success of China in assimilating so much of the global economy’s low-cost manufacturing output, many of the world’s poorest nations have no opportunity to construct and secure their own manufacturing sector.  Hence, this stage of human upliftment has become a chasm that many nations are finding difficult to cross. But if manufacturing itself can be brought to the scale that cottage industries operate in, then the scale of Chinese mass-manufacturing is no longer a requirement to be cost competitive.  A technology that removes the fixed costs and volume necessities associated with heavy manufacturing can reduce the barriers to entry for the manufacturing of many commodity goods, and drive costs to unprecedented lows.  The RepRap project is a self-replicating machine that could provide a disruptive influence in democratizing access to the manufacturing of commodities.  An incentive-driven approach to the invention of such a technology at suitable cost targets would yield the maximum benefit. The key resistance points are presently the percentage of the self-replicated machine that can be replicated by a parent machine, and the availability of a suitable material that is sufficiently low in cost.  Until the overwhelming majority of the machine’s parts are self-replicated, the true benefits are not yielded, and until the material used is inexpensive enough to surpass the cost barriers met by high-volume mass production, self-replicating machines are not fully competitive. There will be two Personal Manufacturing prizes, awarded by a panel of judges.  The first ‘interim’ prize of up to $20,000 with an award date of June 30, 2013, and the second ‘grand’ prize of up to $80,000 with an award date of December 31, 2015.

Interim Personal Manufacturing Prize : 

3D printers that print a significant fraction of their own parts currently have to be assembled by people.  As the printers become more efficient at printing, this need for assembly becomes an increasingly restraining bottle-neck to their spread.  This could be addressed by some form of automated assembly, or it could be addressed by making the printers easier for people to put together (or both). The Interim Personal Manufacturing Prize intends to reward solutions to this problem.  The prize will be awarded to the inventor or team of inventors who create the 3D printer that can be assembled from its components to a fully working state most quickly by one person and that:

  • Requires the least skill and experience from that assembly person,
  • Has a low total one-off materials and parts cost,
  • Has a high proportion of its own parts that it can print for itself,
  • Requires a minimum of specialist parts that it doesn’t make for itself,
  • Has a low power requirement when running, and
  • Is completely open-source.

The deadline for prize submission is May 31, 2013, with a winner to be selected and announced on June 30, 2013. To submit an entry for the prize : 1) The entering team has to show that they have been publishing periodically, via their Google archives, the RepRap wiki, or other sources. 2) A video demonstrating that their system meets the prize specs should be submitted.  A suitable video might be 10-15 minutes long. 3) Further specifications (such as drawings, etc.) to explain what may not be evident in the video, to demonstrate the meeting of prize specs.

Judges :

  • Dr. Adrian Bowyer
  • Dr. Forrest Higgs
  • Kartik Gada

Update of Winner Announcement : The Interim Personal Manufacturing Prize has been awarded on June 30, 2013 to ‘Morgan‘ by Quentin Harley.  More details here.

 

Grand Personal Manufacturing Prize :

After the entries submitted for the Interim prize are available publicly, the open-source dynamic of the RepRap community will proceed from there. The current generation of RepRap technology takes up to three weeks to print a full set of parts.  90% of this time is consumed in supporting tasks like positioning and reloading the printer, and replacing print plates, etc.  Only 10% of the time is used for actual printing.  The Grand Prize would seek to make the technology more rapidly scalable by increasing the productivity of the replication process.  As a bonus, the Grand Prize may additionally be helpful in recycling material waste (such as plastics) into material suitable for RepRap use.  Plastics such as HDPE and Polypropylene, of which millions of tons exist as waste matter, may be suitable candidates, and recycling of such waste material would be viewed favorably by the judging panel.

The Grand Personal Manufacturing Prize will be awarded to the inventor or team of inventors who create the best personal manufacturing solution (a 3D printer, or technology that augments the personal manufacturing capabilities of a printer).  The winning solution would be one that :

  • Can be assembled from its components to a fully working state most quickly by one person
  • Requires the least skill and experience from that assembly person,
  • Has software with a very short and simple learning curve
  • Has a high proportion of its own parts that it can print for itself, using low-cost, widely available materials for filament.
  • Requires a minimum cost and percentage of specialist parts that it does not make for itself, which should be commodity, off-the-shelf components.  A BOM not too far from $200 is the general goal, but not a hard requirement
  • Has a low power requirement when running, even if using a heated printing table 
  • Is completely open-source 

The judging committee envisions a variety of technologies and augmentations which might be deployed to achieve the end vision of a personal 3D printing solution including :

  • Software to drive and manage banks of RepRap printers
  • Hardware and software systems to automatically unload printed parts from RepRap printers
  • Hardware and software systems to sort, clean and package or assemble printed parts
  • Development of a suitable grinder or extruder that breaks previous cost barriers
  • Software quality that approaches that of commercially available software
  • Innovations in power management that keeps power consumption low (e.g. managing the heated printing table to only heat up when early layers are printed)
  • Innovations in plastics recycling, and/or use of very-low-cost virgin polymer that breaks previous cost thresholds  

The nature of the competition and the requirements for participants are as follows:

  • Registration of participating teams is optional, but recommended.  Please email team registrations to kartik_gada@yahoo.com and forrest.higgs@gmail.com
  • While teams participating in the competition for the Grand Prize may register well in advance of the competition deadline, it is not expected that the membership of said teams will necessarily remain static thereafter. Any teams can merge with each other if so desired. 
  • Participating teams are expected to regularly publish and make available their technology on an ongoing basis. All technology developed by participating teams becomes open source under a BSD license. Therefore, the winning team will have to have published at least some of their innovations more than 12 months before the deadline. 

Deadlines and Submission Guidelines : The deadline for prize submission is November 30, 2015, with a winner to be selected and announced on or around December 31, 2015.  To submit an entry for the prize :

  • The entering team has to show that they have been publishing periodically, via their Google archives, the RepRap wiki, GitHub, or other sources.
  • A video demonstrating that their system meets the prize specs should be submitted.  A suitable video might be 10-15 minutes long.
  • Further specifications (such as drawings, etc.) to explain what may not be evident in the video, to demonstrate the meeting of prize specs.
  • A designated recipient person/entity/bank account for receipt of the Prize funds should be submitted at the time of entry, in the event of eventual selection as the winner (teams are responsible for deciding how they divide the funds among current/past teammates).  Funds will be payable by one wire transfer to one account.

 

Water Liberation Prize :

At least 2 billion humans, or 30% of humanity, do not have access to clean drinking water.  This includes 40% of the world’s children under the age of 15.  A lack of access to clean water is the root cause of multiple problems, from fatal conditions like dehydration and diseases such as cholera and dysentery to the indirect costs of lost productivity.  That this most basic of problems still affects such a large percentage of humanity demands a solution that can overcome traditionally existing obstacles, such as a lack of rainfall, irrigation, and access to electricity.

An incentive-driven approach to the invention of such a self-reliance device at suitable cost targets would yield the maximum benefit. A device available for under $3, that can produce enough drinking water for a single adult, would cause a net annual economic benefit of $500 for the recipient in the economy that they presently reside in.  The $500 estimate is the sum total of disease reduction, death rate reduction, and productivity increase that access to this water would result in.  These gains would be cumulative for each subsequent year as well.  Lastly, such a device would enable human settlement at greater distances from traditional water sources, as long as atmospheric humidity was above a certain level.  Clearly, the $3 water purification device is a very compelling product for a humanitarian organization to distribute en masse.

The winner of the Water Liberation Prize of up to $50,000 will be the first person to invent a device that is either solar powered, manually cranked, or otherwise not dependent on the existence of an electrical grid, can produce at least 4 liters of potable (drinkable) water per day, either condensed from the air (as measured in approximate 50% ambient humidity) or filtered through a nanomembrane, and can be mass-produced (as demonstrated by a pilot run of 5-10 units) for a cost of less than $3 per unit (as quoted by a contract manufacturer off of the pilot run bill of materials).  The filter should be washable and re-usable, without requiring a periodic supply of new filters, as the device may be used in areas without access to a suitable distribution channel.

The prize will be awarded on December 31, 2015, by a panel of judges.

Written by Kartik

July 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

9 Responses

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  1. I have a question re the specification, particularly the definition of “90% of the volume of the printer parts be printed”, how is this to be determined? For example, the use of a metal tube v’s a rod of the same OD will have different volumes, a printed part printed with infill will have different volumes, or is it the volume of printing materiel in it’s un-printed state.

    Michael

    December 12, 2012 at 3:05 am

  2. Hello Michael,

    We did adjust the criteria and extend the deadline in light of problems such as the one you described.

    Kartik Gada

    July 5, 2013 at 3:20 am

  3. Thank you Kartik,

    But the Grand prize still mentions “90% of the volume of the printer parts be printed”, how is this to be determined? Submerging the parts and measuring the volume of water displaced?

    Michael

    July 5, 2013 at 4:07 am

  4. I could easily make 90% of my parts printed. If by volume I would just make the parts larger. By count I would just increase the number of printed parts. I’m just going to go by what I consider the spirit of the challenge. I will make it simple, I will make it with as little material as possible. I will make parts as interchangeable as possible, I will limit myself to the smallest part count I can. I will use as little hardware as possible. Any hardware I do use will be used multiple times. Everything will be easy to obtain. Perfection is obtained not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away. I am Peter Liwyj and I will enter this challenge. Even if I don’t win I will have made something that will exist long after I am gone. It will be something people will enjoy and use.

    Peter Liwyj

    July 8, 2013 at 1:44 am

  5. Peter, that was my point. While your point re the spirit of the challenge is good, it still makes a difference, there will be choices which overall have little impact, but depending on how 90% is determined, may make a significant difference on volume. Simple example, use hollow tubes, if the inside is not considered “volume”, however you will likely need larger tubes compared to solid rod.
    In reality I was pointing out that unless they have a meaningful way to determine 90% volume, it is an unmeasurable/indeterminate parameter.

    Michael

    July 8, 2013 at 2:09 am

  6. I see your point. I agree that the method is unclear but I think everyone understands the spirit of the challenge. It would also be unfair to award it to someone who used three less bearings than most entrants but whose prints were of a lesser quality because the machine was less accurate. Lets all just do our best and see what happens. I already had a design in mind anyway, the fact that there is a prize that may be won is just a bonus. I didn’t find out about this till after I started gathering parts for my build.

    Peter Liwyj

    July 12, 2013 at 1:32 am

  7. “That the cost of the material used for printing does not exceed $4/kilogram” This might be a problem though. Raw plastic pellets cost $5 a kilo.

    Peter Liwyj

    July 12, 2013 at 1:48 am

  8. […] delighted to announce that Quentin Harley’s RepRap Morgan design has won the Uplift Interim Personal Manufacturing Prize, the funding for which was most generously provided by …read […]

  9. I’m not sure if this helps but i came across it a while ago and its a great invention that could help..

    john

    July 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm


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