Blog Post

Google’s $1M contest to shrink the power inverter is now ready for you

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

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.
Image courtesy of Google
Image courtesy of Google
Image courtesy of Google
Image courtesy of Google

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.