Search giant Google has launched a $1 million (£590,000) contest, inviting engineers to design a compact device that can convert renewable energy into electricity.
The competition, which is being carried out in collaboration with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Google’s Little Box Challenge is looking for a design for a portable kilowatt-scale power inverter.
Inverters are devices that take direct current from renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind mills and convert it into alternating current so it can be used in any residence or business.
At present, the average inverter is three feet long and a foot-and-a-half or so high andwide. Google wants a winning innovator to shrink an inverter down to about 1/10th of its current size – around the size of a tablet device.
"We are looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W per cubic inch. Do it best and we will give you a million bucks," a post on the Google blog says.
Applicants who wish to enter must register their team by September 30 2014, and can access the competition's website at the link below. A final winner will be announced in January 2016.