THE BLOG
02/07/2012 12:15 pm ET Updated Apr 08, 2012

Breakthrough Innovation -- Solve For X -- Bring On The Moonshots

Astro Teller and Megan Smith of Google, with the support of Eric Schmidt and Sergey Brin, gathered 50 innovators this past week to brainstorm breakthroughs that could impact the world. The gathering is called Solve for X and now has a new website.

The focus is on science and tech leaps that are game-changers. Moonshots that can harness new tech to take on a daunting challenge. Some of the areas discussed include: healthcare, education, transport, energy and the food system.

We heard a presentation about a new mode of package transport called MatterNet. MatterNet proposes to build a network of ground stations for a fleet of autonomous flying drones which can deliver packages of food, medicine ad other critical items. Parts of Africa would be great candidates for such a system. There are fewer paved roads in Africa today than 30 years ago. Many health efforts are hampered by the inability to deliver medicine and lab samples for testing. The MatterNet network can overcome the limited roadway system with a new transport layer in the skies.

Another presentation focused on a very cheap tablet to be used in developing countries with software that kids can use on their own to learn to read, program computers and other skills. While the promise of an inexpensive tablet is tantalizing, the software is key to the initiative. will kids be able to learn to read on their own absent school and teachers? My bet is such software can be developed.

We also discussed the ecosystem of organizations which challenge us to deliver moonshot breakthroughs: X Prize, universities such as ASU, agencies including DOD, DOE with grand challenges -- all of these are loosely connected, but we now can have a flourishing network of platforms meant to elicit a far greater number of moonshot initiatives.

Let's keep the ideas coming. Have a science or tech idea to change the world? Submit it on the Solve for X website.

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