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$50,000 Challenge Seeks Simple, Inexpensive Timer

Hour glass (Michael Himbeault/Flickr)A new challenge on InnoCentive asks for a simple, reusable, and inexpensive timing mechanism based on the principles of reverse fluid flow and color change, with a total purse of $50,000. This type of competition — called a reduction-to-practice challenge — requires a written description and evidence of a working prototype, with one-page abstracts due by 14 January 2013.

InnoCentive, in Waltham, Massachusetts, conducts open-innovation, crowd-sourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors. The sponsor of this challenge is not revealed.

For this challenge, the sponsor is asking for the design of a simple and reusable timer that can be produced for less than five cents ($0.05) each. Entrants in the competition must base their solution on the principles of reverse fluid flow and color change. Full technical details and requirements are available with a free registration.

The challenge requires submission of a written proposal with a detailed description of the solution and instructions for building the prototype. Entrants must also provide a rationale underlying the solution, focusing on materials and methods.  The rationale must be documented with theory, relevant examples, and references to related literature, patents, or similar documentation.

In addition, entrants are asked to provide proof-of-concept data and evidence of at least two working models, showing that prototypes exist and the proposed device works as designed.

The challenge has a two-step submission procedure. Entrants should submit a one-page abstract of their ideas to InnoCentive by 14 January 2013. The sponsor will provide feedback on the abstracts, after which entrants can complete their submissions. Final entries are due by 12 March 2013. Winning entrants will be asked to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the sponsor.

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Photo: Michael Himbeault/Flickr

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