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.
With these objectives in mind, a prize that favors ultra-low cost and self-replication can be created. There will be two (possibly three) Personal Manufacturing prizes, awarded by a panel of judges. The first ‘Interim’ prize of up to $20,000 had 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. If there are insufficient entries for the Grand prize (in either number or caliber), the prize deadline may either be extended, or a smaller award amount may be given to the best entry, revising the prize to an ‘Interim II’ prize, with an envisioned ‘Grand’ prize in 2020.
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.
- Dr. Adrian Bowyer
- Dr. Forrest Higgs
- Kartik Gada
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 previous (~2010) generation of RepRap technology took 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, including electronics, that it can print for itself, using low-cost, widely available materials for filament. As the technology has advanced from the days of the Interim Prize, a greater percentage of electronics being printed is valued.
- 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 approaching $100 is the general goal, but not a hard requirement. A BOM considerably more than $100 has to compensate with exceptional capabilities and value for the higher price
- Has a low power requirement when running, even if using a heated printing table
- Is completely open-source
The judging committee will determine an award amount in proportion to how closely the winning entry approaches, meets, or exceeds these criteria. 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 material grinder and filament 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.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, but the division of award funds is to be decided by the team(s) themselves.
- 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 and prize amount up to $80,000 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 bank account.
Update : The Grand Personal Manufacturing Prize was not awarded to any of the entries, on account of not quite meeting the Prize specifications. There is honorable mention provided to ‘Snappy’, as the closest yet to full self-replication.
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 $1.25 (the daily income threshold below which the UN defines a person as being in extreme poverty), 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. The $1.25 price threshold enables rapid adoption of the device, as well as a diminished risk of theft or robbery of the device, which is a frequent problem in regions where such a device is needed. 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.
The winner of the Water Liberation Prize of up to $50,000 will be the first person or team 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, weighs less than 1 kilogram excluding the water, and can be mass-produced (as demonstrated by a pilot run of 10 or more units) for a cost of less than $1.25 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.
Update : The Water Liberation Prize was not awarded, as no entry met the Prize specifications.