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Is anyone out there working on an innovation that can shrink a power inverter from cooler-sized down to tablet-sized? An inverter is a device that converts direct current, from sources like solar panels or batteries, into alternating current to be used in homes. Google has a brand new contest, called the Little Box Challenge, that is offering $1 million to a team that can make a powerful inverter as tiny as possible.
Google announced the contest back in May, promising more details, and here they are:
- Teams need to register by September 30, 2014. There’s a small amount of academic grants available.
- Teams have to submit their plan and approach by July 22, 2015.
- Finalists test out their devices on October 21, 2015.
- Winner announced in January 2016.
The inverter has to be powerful enough — “kW-scale” inverter — with a power density of at least 50 Watts per cubic inch. So it won’t work if you’re looking to use just a weak but smaller inverter. These need to be hefty ones, condensed. Google is working with the IEEE on the contest.