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HeroX's Favorite Challenges

BY LIZ TREADWELL | 2 min read

We’ve hosted a lot of challenges on HeroX. Some with large prize amounts, some with smaller prize amounts, and all them aiming to achieve a variety of different goals. Needless to say, our team has been able to witness some truly inspiring progress and positive change across many subject areas as a result of these crowdsourcing competitions.

In our 6th year since being founded, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite challenges over the years. We pulled together a list of all time challenges that have awarded winners. There was no minimum prize amount to qualify a challenge to be added to the list. The entire HeroX team was sent the list of challenges in poll format, and each person could cast one vote for their favorite. These are the final results of that poll along with a brief description of what the challenge was about:

1. Space Poop Challenge - With a community of over 20,000 followers, the Space Poop Challenge was by far the most popular challenge we have ran. Besides the subject area being about fecal matter in space and it being sponsored by the NASA Tournament Lab, the competition offered a decent prize amount of $30,000. The challenge eventually awarded three winners who designed systems to route and collect human waste away from the body, hands-free, for fully suited astronauts.


2. Save them All Challenge - This one was a favorite among the pet owners at HeroX. The Best Friends Animal Society hosted a 2-phase challenge to seek ideas to help get resources to owners that are at risk of losing their pets. The competition was a great success yielding six winners in the final round.


3. Aging Innovation Challenge - Another challenge with a social impact goal that resonated with our team. The New York State Department of Health wanted to turn to students in the state of New York to find new solutions to help seniors adapt to daily tasks as they age. Ultimately, five student teams had the chance to demonstrate their prototypes to an in-person judging panel. Two winners ended up splitting the $50,000 total prize.


4. Next Generation Animal Tracking Ideation Challenge - While this may seem like just another challenge related to animals, the solutions submitted to it were more advanced than you may think! This is the 2nd challenge on our list that was ran through the NASA Tournament Lab. It required participants to propose a new system using CubeSat technology that can replace the current animal tracking process. Two teams ended up splitting the grand prize with three others being acknowledged as honorable mentions.


5. Horao (also known as the “It Doesn’t Take a Brain Surgeon”) Challenge - Looking to revolutionize brain surgery, this challenge wanted to find a non-invasive way to visualize the brain’s fiber system and help detect certain tumors that are difficult to recognize. Five finalists traveled to Bern, Switzerland to present their solutions at an in-person event. In the end, one winner was selected and awarded the $35,000 prize. This is the only challenge we’ve hosted where the sponsor completely crowdfunded their prize amount first before launching their competition on HeroX. We hope to see this as a common strategy for challenges going forward.


The HeroX team has really enjoyed being able to be apart of these challenges along with many others over the years. It’s truly inspiring to see people from around the world coming together on our platform to solve a problem that’s interesting or important to them. We look forward to seeing what other breakthroughs and innovations are achieved in the future!

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