Second-year chemistry major Bryan Le and second-year film and media studies major Kyle Good were announced the winners of the X PRIZE Foundation’s “What’s Your Crazy Green Idea” contest on Feb. 5.
The competition, which came out on YouTube in October 2008, was held by the X PRIZE Foundation and Prize Capital to encourage people to create an environmentally and energy-friendly idea that will benefit humanity and create a better future. The contest asked the contestants to pitch a radical eco-friendly idea within two minutes through a video post on YouTube. A prize check of $25,000 was awarded to the students from the competition’s sponsor, Prize Capital.
Within the two minute time span allotted, Le and Good pitched their idea of an “ultra-capacitor,” which is an energy storing device that uses only self-contained capacitors that can be fully recharged under one minute and can be completely recyclable. Their radical breakthrough idea of the ultra-capacitor was explained and presented in the YouTube video by three actors, two of whom are current drama students at UCI and one drama major graduate.
Le cited his lack of camera talent as a reason for not being in the clip himself. Good did the filming and editing of the video, but noted that the actors played an important role in the finished product as well.
“We also had the actors do it because it just made it seem more professional,” Good said.
Their concept to develop a new storage medium received the highest amount of votes on YouTube and beat out over 130 other entries. The contest received over 4,200 votes in determining the winner. Helping their idea get votes, both Le and Good had their friends and family vote for their video before the deadline in November 2008. To get the word out, they relied heavily on Facebook by creating the group “Help impact the environment! Vote for our video ‘The Capacitor Challenge!’ ” Although the group only had 503 members, it got enough votes for them to win.
The idea came from Good, but Le, who has previously competed in science fairs and worked on other inventions, put the whole concept into play and made it a reality.
“Although he won’t admit it, he is the brains behind our project,” Good said.
The idea not only won them $25,000, but also the encouragement to pursue other contests and competitions. Although it was their first video contest, they were not too surprised to win because they felt that their combination of the chemist with the film major produced the best video, one that covered all the requirements in an informative yet interesting format.
Despite reaping a hefty reward from the video, the two do not plan on spending it mindlessly or on frivolous toys. Instead, Le plans on taking a personal spiritual journey to India to better himself physically and mentally. Good plans on going on a European study abroad program, which he already has a $500 credit towards from a previous study abroad contest he won.