Friday, July 31, 2009

Winners of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility-on-Demand Systems (SPM/MoD), submitted by an interdisciplinary student team headed by Professor William Mitchell at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (MIT) has been selected as the winner of the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

Entries in the annual competition must present a bold, visionary, tangible initiative that is focused on a well-defined need of critical importance. They should be regionally specific yet globally applicable, and backed up by a solid plan and the capability to move the solution forward.

The jurors were looking for entries that are:

Comprehensive — addressing the interaction of key issues responsible for present conditions; aims to solve multiple problems without creating new ones;
Anticipatory — factoring in critical future trends and needs as well as potential long term impacts of implementation;
Ecologically responsible — reflecting nature's underlying principles while enhancing the Earth’s life-support systems;
Feasible — relying on current technology and existing resources;
Verifiable — able to withstand rigorous empirical testing;
Replicable — able to scale and adapt to a broad range of conditions.Each year a distinguished jury awards a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems and the results are in!

In the opinion of the jury, the Personal Mobility project best represents the comprehensive, anticipatory approach to design pioneered by R. Buckminster Fuller - it is a, bold, visionary idea and beautifully reflects the spirit of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

SPM/MoD isn't just about the design of these lightweight, highly efficient, electric vehicles, it is about inserting that technological innovation into the social and cultural environment and designing an intuitive system within which they function. The technological innovation embodied in these vehicles is just one piece of a larger system design which addresses issues from pollution, to congestion, to urban space, to economics, to energy use, to the very idea of personal transportation and what that means in a world with nearly seven billion inhabitants. It is - in the Bucky tradition - a transformative solution rather than an isolated piece of technology.

Click on the heading above to see a video about the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

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