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The Foresight Institute has announced its Kartik M. Gada Humanitarian Innovation Prize to design and build a better RepRap. There is an interim prize of $20,000, and a grand prize of $80,000. They consulted with the core RepRap team before the announcement and we were initially concerned that the prizes might drive developers to secrecy in order to give themselves a competitive edge. As you will see they have addressed those concerns by making it a condition of winning the prize that solutions should be pre-published and made available under a free licence. For ourselves and on your behalf, we would like to thank the Institute for the enthusiasm that these prizes demonstrate for the RepRap project and for their magnificent generosity.

The interim prize will be awarded December 31, 2012 and the grand prize will be awarded 3 years later.The requirements to win are quite formidable — to get the interim prize alone, hackers have to radically reshape the current technology:

The winner of the PM interim prize will be the inventor who can make a 3-D printer that can demonstrate the following:

  • Print at least three different materials, including one that is usefully electrically conductive.
  • The ability to print electronic circuit boards.
  • Print beds must be of a material which may be reused with minimal refurbishment for at least 20 print cycles.
  • Maintain a total materials and parts cost under $200 and that 90% of the volume of the printer parts be printed.
  • Demonstrate a build volume of the printer above 300x300x100mm in order to insure that items daily utility can be printed.
  • The capacity to print a full set of parts for a complete replica of itself within 10 days unattended save for clearing no more than one printer head jam.
  • The ability to print autonomously without a PC attached.
  • Uses no more than 60 watts of electrical power.

Good luck hackers! This will not be an easy prize to win. What do you think, readers? [via RepRap.org]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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Comments

  1. A. Karttunen says:

    What is needed:

    Resolution and an ability to print out useful objects, containing
    for example real gears that do not jam or wear out too quickly.

    So, why not instead have a competition who can first devise
    a cheap 3D-printer which can print out some reasonably challenging
    object which should have some real world use? That is, fix the
    object, and define a way to measure its quality after it has
    been printed.

  2. charlie says:

    It’s a good thing they’ve done, but if you could design and build something that followed all the above, you could easily make $100K even by just licensing it. So money might not be the best motivation.

    Still here’s hoping something viable appears, there doesn’t seem to be anything thats really there yet.

  3. japroach says:

    I would like to see smaller prizes based on innovative components. ie $15k for the three material print head.

    It would be more efficient IMO.

    Although you would need some generic interface requirements if you wanted to use the ideas as is.

  4. PatrickIV says:

    This is a terrific idea! I’ve wanted a RepRap forever.

  5. Dominic Muren says:

    I’m totally with you about the need for more modular solutions. Why does anyone need to solve all of these issues at once? Also, the build speed parameter is pretty outrageous, since even the fastest rapid prototyping machines would have trouble printing out 90% of their parts unattended in 10 days…

    I really think that speed of reproduction is a red herring. Think about this: humans take 15-20 years to copy themselves, but after only a couple tens of thousands of years, there are quite a few of us around, doing some pretty amazing stuff. In other words, speed isn’t the answer, ease of adoption, and incentive for adoption is. Currently, PatrickIV “wanted a reprap forever” but doesn’t have one, even though they are makeable. Why not? Probably because of build complexity, parts availability (plastic filament, for example, or the need to make not only parts, but boards as well), and operational complexity.

    Solving any one of these last three issues would advance the cause of replicable fabrication much faster than faster printing would — Look what the makerbot has done in just over a year! Simplicity and publicity beats speed any day — why do you think Paris Hilton can still afford to eat :)