Saying the earth is facing “unprecedented environmental challenges,” a major electronics' distributor has announced it is sponsoring a $100,000 environmental electronics contest that aims to put its winning entry into production.
Premier Farnell plc, with its Americas-based distributor Newark, launched the contest at the Electronics Distribution Show (EDS) in Las Vegas May 15. The company says it hopes to attract innovative electronic designs that have a positive impact on the environment by improving energy efficiency or reducing carbon emissions. The winner will take home $50,000 cash, plus an additional $50,000 “support package” aimed at bringing the design to production. The support package will include the services of an electronic design consultant and assistance with legal matters. It will also provide help with intellectual property registration, marketing and publicity.
The international contest could be attractive to designers, not only because of its unusually large purse, but because it does not call on participants to build working prototypes. The consulting services included in the $50,000 support package promise to help the winner bring his or her design to the prototype level. “The winning designer doesn't have to have it in the prototype stage,” says DeWight Wallace, president of Newark. “They can bring it to us at the conceptual level.”
Known as “Live Edge” (electronic design for the global environment), the contest is targeted at designers who use electronics, no matter their discipline or industry or whether they work alone or in teams. It will be held mostly online, the company says, to avoid international travel for participants and judges. Although judges for the contest have not yet been chosen, Premier Farnell promises the judging panel will include a mixture of engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs, academics, industry leaders and environmentalists. Along with the grand prize winner, judges will also select five honorable mention winners, each of which will receive $5,000 cash.
Premier Farnell executives said they conjured up the contest for two reasons: The company is a supporter of the environment and it wanted to make an impact within the design engineering community. “Our planet is facing environmental threats on an unprecedented scale,” says Harriet Green, Premier Farnell plc CEO, in a printed statement. “By unleashing the creativity that exists within the electronics industry, we can make a difference to these global challenges.”
Contest participants must register by Oct. 31, 2007, and entries must be submitted by Nov. 30, 2007. Company executives say they expect a strong group of entries, largely because of the $50,000 grand prize. “Of all the engineers I've met,” says Wallace, “most like money.”