Crowdsourcing site Freelancer has teamed up with NASA for more than one competition involving 3D printing and 3D design, including a robot arm and a system for recycling in space. Now Freelancer is working with another major American agency – the US Department of Energy, which is looking for new ideas to develop the next generation of manufacturing technologies for industry in the United States. The DOE and Freelancer will be running contests in order to find innovative solutions for increasing manufacturing energy productivity and strengthening the country’s industrial base.
The new partnership will include the Manufacturing Innovator Challenge, which invites freelancers across the US to pitch design ideas for areas like industrial 3D printing, bioenergy, buildings and vehicle technologies. Prizes will range from $2,500 to $10,000 for the best solutions to today’s manufacturing challenges.
“As Freelancer.com’s ongoing and very successful partnership with NASA has demonstrated, crowdsourcing new ideas can be a powerful way to find and promote innovation,” said Freelancer.com’s Vice President, Enterprise, Sarah Tang. “While NASA has drawn on Freelancer.com to help find solutions for everything from robotic mechanisms on the International Space Station and training course materials, it is now the U.S. Department of Energy’s turn to tap into the millions of talented freelancers in the Freelancer.com marketplace. This new partnership between Freelancer.com and the U.S. Department of Energy may well deliver industry-changing solutions to problems in the manufacturing and energy sectors.”
There are six opportunities in the Department of Energy’s design challenge series:
- Design concepts for additive manufacturing for disaster response
- Design concepts for large-scale 3D printing
- Biobased additive manufacturing
- A low-cost portable refrigerant leak detector for residential use
- A solid state lighting manufacturing concept
- A lightweight turbocharger turbine wheel
Freelancer is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by total number of users and jobs posted. More than 30 million registered users have posted over 14 million jobs in contests in over 1,000 areas. These areas include website development, logo design, marketing, copywriting, astrophysics, aerospace engineering and manufacturing.
In the era of the Internet, crowdsourcing has become an increasingly effective way to find talent that would otherwise be inaccessible. Citizen scientists and others are having an unprecedented impact on major organizations like NASA, as those organizations come to realize how much valuable talent and knowledge exists within the general public. Contests offering monetary and other prizes are an excellent way to reach out to that public, and have resulted in some major advancements in the fields of science and technology.
The first two challenges of the Department of Energy Series, Additive Manufacturing for Disaster Response and Solid State Lighting (SSL) Manufacturing Concept can be entered from now until December 7th. The other four challenges will open shortly. Ideas are welcome from anyone in the United States.
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