Image courtesy of siliconhillsnews.com
HeroX is a foundation that is dedicated to solving todays problems, one challenge at a time.

Image courtesy of siliconhillsnews.com HeroX is a foundation that is dedicated to solving today’s problems, one challenge at a time.

Kevin Chiang, Photojournalist

The world of tomorrow faces many problems, but too few solutions.  The non-profit organization XPrize hopes to help remedy some of these problems with its new spin-off for-profit venture, HeroX.

The XPrize foundation designs and manages public competitions to encourage advancements in technology that can benefit mankind. Its mission is to bring about “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity” through incentivized competition, the incentive being money. A lot of money. However, its high profile competitions, which motivate all sorts of organizations, businesses, and individuals to innovate, are all focused on “grand challenges.” But cleaner air, safer cars, better batteries, and smarter educations are just as important as space flight in a real world of tomorrow.

That’s where XPrize’s new spinoff, HeroX, comes in. HeroX was created in 2013, and focused on using crowdsourcing to figure out what to build competitions around. Connor Borden (12) believes that although HeroX “will never be perfect because people will always expect more…it would streamline the world and make things more efficient.”  It attempts to set SMART goals, goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound, that people can develop innovations for and devote resources to. Officialy, it is known as a Public Benefits Corporation, a “for-profit corporation intended to produce a public benefit and operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

HeroX also aims to spur innovation by making it easy for anyone to set up a challenge. These challenges can range from the more mundane to the curiously scientific, from traffic problems to the state of health of Aborigines. The main qualification for a competition, though, is that it be a positive challenge, a challenge whose outcome will make a difference in some problem facing the world today. Borden believes that these challenges will “allow society to grow at its full potential.” For those who aren’t up to setting a challenge or becoming an entrant, there is still a way to participate. Anyone can add a few dollars to a competition’s prize pool.

Three of HeroX’s current popular competitions are Operation Blue Sky, the Clinical Trial innovation prize, and Smart Tech for firearms. Operation Blue Sky was launched by MNP, a Canadian firm assisting Canadian Aboriginal communities. It hopes to address the fact that the 3.75% of Canadians who consider themselves as Aboriginals have a much lower quality of healthcare than the rest of the country’s population.

The Clinical Trial Innovation Prize hopes to increase the number of clinical studies of cancer. Most clinical trials fold before they are completed, simply because there are not enough people willing to participate in them. This prize hopes to address most of the basic reasons why people are unaware or unwilling to be in said trials.

Lastly, the Smart Tech for Firearms Challenge wants to improve gun control and safety by creating a user locking system. Similar to the locking function of a computer or smartphone, it would only allow registered users to fire a gun. The competition hopes that its success will lead to fewer crimes, suicides, and thefts, making the future safer.

HeroX Vice President Emily Fowler stated, “We constantly heard from people all around the world wanting to know how to launch their own incentive prize challenges. We have now created a path for those people.” She added, “It’s about letting the best idea win, no matter where it comes from. Anyone can be a hero.”