The Department of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) office announced today the 48 team finalists for its $1 million Wearable Power Prize that will culminate Oct. 4 during a head-to-head competition in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
The 2008 Wearable Power Prize competition is a unique approach by the DoD to address the need for long-endurance, light weight power systems for dismounted warfighters.
DDR&E launched the competition in July 2007 by offering a $1 million first prize for a wearable system that provides 20 watts (avg.) of electrical power for 96 hours, weighs less than 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds), attaches to a standard military vest, and operates autonomously. By the November 2007 deadline, 169 teams had registered to compete. Teams submitted safety details of their fuel/energy source(s) and a full functional system description of their prototype. All teams which had batteries, fuel cells, capacitors, engines, and other components that were compliant with the published safety guidelines qualified to continue in the competition. Over the last ten months, the original field has contracted to the current group of 48 innovative, most capable contenders. Each team leader is a U.S. citizen, but teams have members representing 15 countries.
“We now have the ‘best of the best’ competing,” said William S. Rees Jr., deputy under secretary of defense for laboratories and basic sciences, and sponsor of the competition. “Teams representing large and small companies and individual inventors will showcase their latest technology in this competition. The best efforts of the entrepreneurial community in lightweight, portable power and energy will go head-to-head at Twentynine Palms in a few weeks.”
The Wearable Power Prize competition will be held at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. A schedule outline follows:
Sunday, Sep. 28 Competition Begins
Competitors power-up their systems for a 92-hour power-draining bench test in outdoor conditions.
Friday, Oct. 3 Kids’ Day
Invited local school students will participate in interactive science and technology exhibits and displays. They will meet working scientists, engineers, and inventors from companies all over the country and the DoD.
Saturday, Oct 4 Final Power “Wear-Off” Field Test “Base Open to Public & Media”
Teams surviving the bench test go head-to-head in the final 4-hour field test competition. The public and media are invited to view exhibits, the latest in power technology, and see Team members wear their prototypes as they power surrogate equipment in the final trial of the competition.