The Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) today issued the list of qualified competitors for its Wearable Power Prize competition to be held this fall in California. Each team has a U.S. citizen as the team leader and 36 states and four foreign countries are represented.
“We are excited that over 100 teams have passed the fuel safety requirement and remain in pursuit of the objective: to reduce the weight of the typical warfighter pack load,” said Will Rees, deputy under secretary of defense for laboratories and basic sciences.
The Wearable Power Prize seeks to reduce the weight of power systems that warfighters carry and aims to award a total of $1.75 million to the lightest weight systems that provide 20 watts of electrical power for 96 hours, but weigh less than 4 kilograms.
"These competitors cleared an important hurdle on March 3, 2008," said Karen Burrows, prize program manager for DDR&E. "The 107 teams still in the competition are striving for the $1 million first prize."
By the deadline, Nov. 30, 2007, 169 teams had entered the competition. By March 3, teams were required to submit details on the power technology they would use. Each team submitted plans for fuels and battery chemistries and those that were judged to be safe for competition were approved.
"Based on their fuel plans, we will see a wide variety of technologies participating this fall," said John Hopkins, the wearable power prize program manager from the U. S. Army Research Laboratory. "Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines carry too much battery weight to power their mission equipment, and this prize seeks to reduce that weight,” said Hopkins. "This competition will be the first time any organization has simultaneously tested such a large number of prototype warfighter power systems under the most challenging conditions."
“The teams’ next step in qualification is already underway. By June 3 each team will submit a description of their prototype, its operation, configuration, wiring diagrams, and other safety-related details,” said Rees. “By then, each team should know if their anticipated performance comes close to meeting our demanding requirements. By July 15 we will have sufficient information about system safety and will notify teams that they have been approved to compete.”
The Wearable Power Prize final competition will be held at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. The competitors’ power systems will begin the competition on Monday, Sept. 29 with a 92-hour bench load test. The power systems will be subjected to power demands similar to those seen in service today and expected in the future. Power systems surviving the bench test will enter the final stage of competition on Oct. 4. The “Power Wear Off” is open to the public.
A list of registered teams and their contact information can be found at: http://www.dod.mil/ddre/prize/teams.html . For more information about the Wearable Power Prize, visit: http://www.dod.mil/ddre/prize/.