X [Prize] Marks the Spot for UC Irvine Students


"The Capacitor Challenge" video above by UC Irvine students Kyle Good and Bryan Le was this morning crowned the winner of the X Prize Foundation's "What's Your Crazy Green Idea?" competition, which comes with a $25,000 check.

"We're so excited to be the winners of the Crazy Green Idea contest," Good, a film and media studies major, says in a X Prize-supplied statement. "It's an honor that seems too good to be true. We'll never forget this experience."

"I've always admired the X Prize Foundation and the way they've tackled some of humanity's biggest challenges," adds Le, a chemistry major who, like Good, is in his second year. "I'm looking forward to seeing how our idea develops into an Energy and Environment X Prize."

To enter, anyone could post a two-minute video on YouTube describing a concept for a potential X Prize in Energy and Environment. More than 130 videos were received, judges whittled submissions down to three finalists and more than 4,200 people voted for the ultimate winner.


Le explains that he was searching the Net for online contests when he happened upon the X Prize's. He says he and Good drew inspiration from one another and UCI professor Diego Rosso to come up with the "Ultimate Capacitor." Oh, there was also their shared frustration with having to constantly charge and throw away batteries.

Their video calls for a contest to see who can develop a new storage medium, or "ultra capacitor," to power everything from cell phones to electric cars. That beat out Jonathan Dreher of Cambridge, Mass., whose video focused on a competition to reduce American home energy consumption, and Alan Silva of Roy, Utah, whose contest centered on the development of energy-efficient homes that exist completely off the grid. 

The X Prize Foundation has produced a video of its own, capturing events up to and including the moment Good and Le won their prize, as well as a one-on-one interview with the winners and a roundtable discussion with energy leaders. 

The Anteaters plan to spend their prize money on European study abroad programs, a personal spiritual trip to India, college tuition and other-related expenses. Batteries not included.


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