Google offers $1m power inverter challenge

Google, together with the IEEE, is offering $1m to the person or team who best shrinks the size of power inverters, in something called the ‘Little box challenge‘.

Google little box challenge

Google little box challenge

“We’re looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W/inch3,” said the firm, which is suggesting wide bandgap semiconductors (GaN or SiC, for example) could be part of the answer.

As such, it has teamed up with SiC and GaN vendors: Cree, Efficient Power Conversion, GaN Systems, Monolithic Semiconductor, NXP, Rohn, Transphorm, and United Silicon Carbide.

A test facility will be set up in the US to evaluate potential winners.

The competition is open worldwide to anyone, individuals, teams, companies, and academics. For the latter, grants of around $25,000 are available from Google.


  • Registration by 30 Sep 2014
  • Submit approach by 22 Jul 2015
  • Final date for testing 21 Oct 2015.
  • Winner announced Jan 2016

Google is not requiring any intellectual property or licenses be granted, except a non-exclusive license to be used only for the purpose of testing the inverter and publicising the prize.

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