Nokia Bell Labs has opened its fifth annual prize competition for innovators, developers, scientists and researchers to submit their entries in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
However, this year's prize is putting a greater emphasis on disruption and the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0.
The prize program looks for the most disruptive and innovative solutions to common problems. This year, the competition is looking for ideas that surround the topic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, specifically enhancing control and automation of tasks. All contestants will have full access to Nokia Bell Labs researchers, to help refine ideas and get them competition-ready.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be defined by technology carrying out jobs that humans used to do. This means connecting formerly analog machines to multiple sensors and connecting these machines to the internet, creating an "industrial Internet of Things." This connected world aims to make technology do mundane, menial, repetitive tasks, and retrain humans to do the more complex tasks, therefore increasing productivity across the board. (See UK Not Ready for Fourth Industrial Revolution – Report.)
Nokia Bell Labs conducts ground-breaking research into the future of technology.
Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs & CTO for Nokia, said:
We are at the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that will transform human existence in previously unimaginable ways.The Bell Labs Prize seeks innovators who will power this revolution, with an interest in collaborating with a wide diversity of intellects, disciplines, backgrounds, skills, geographies, philosophies ... everything -- that's the classic "Bell Labs way," and the secret of our success.
The prize fund for first, second and third places is $175,000, with the winner taking $100,000. Winners will also get the opportunity to work with the researchers and judges from Nokia Bell Labs. The idea proposal stage closes on April 25; interested applicants can find out more information and apply on the Nokia Bell Labs website.