The U.S. Department of Defense is looking for a few good inventors to help lessen the load soldiers carry as they head out on a mission. The right solution is worth $1 million.
The "load" is all the batteries soldiers carry to power everything from radios and night vision devices to global positioning devices. According to the Defense Department the weight of those energy storage devices can be as much as 20 to 40 pounds on a four-day mission.
The Defense Department is using the "open innovation" route in pursuit of a solution. It has launched a "wearable power" competition to spur individuals or teams to develop good ways to reduce the weight of those batteries. Prizes include $1 million for first place, $500,000 for second place, and $250,000 for third place.
The competition has specific goals. The objective is a wearable, prototype system that produces 20 watts average power for 96 hours and weighs 4 kilograms (about 8.8 pounds) or less.
Additional details are posted online at the Defense Research and Engineering Prize Web site, www.dod.mil/ddre/prize.