Maker Movement Mania

America’s Greatest Makers: How to Enter to Win $1 Million

Deb Miller Landau iQ Managing Editor

Intel and reality TV producer Mark Burnett are looking for technology tinkerers and Do-It-Yourself gadget makers to participate in new America’s Greatest Makers TV show – deadline for submissions is October 2.

Maybe an idea comes with a twist of a screwdriver, or is a rough sketch pulled from a bulging notepad. Maybe it’s buried in the garage or is simply simmering in the back of the next great mind. Wherever it is, now’s the time to let that idea shine.

Whether it comes from a teenager, college student, housewife or the unemployed neighbor next door — the next big idea is about to hit the big time. The casting net is open for America’s Greatest Makers, but time is limited. The deadline for submissions is October 2nd.

America’s Greatest Makers, set to air in the spring, is a television show and multi-media extravaganza that could turn anyone with a good idea an overnight sensation and the winner of a million-dollar grand prize.

Last month, Mark Burnett, the godfather of reality TV and the man behind Survivor, The Apprentice, Shark Tank and The Voice, announced a partnership between Intel, Turner Broadcasting and his company United Artists Media Group.

The message is clear: now is the time to bring your next big invention to light.

“We’re looking for the next big idea,” said Dean Houser, one of the show’s executive producers. “And it really could come from anybody.”

Houser said that applicants needn’t be engineers, science geeks or even self-considered inventors. The whole show, he said, is designed to help anyone with a good nugget of an idea turn it into a reality.

“The great thing about this show is that if you have a really good idea on paper, Intel’s engineers will help you through the process — from idea to market-ready prototype,” said Houser.

Anyone interested in applying for the show can apply via the America’s Greatest Makers application website or send an email.

Houser said that about 30 teams (can be an individual or up to 3-member team) will be flown to Silicon Valley in the first round. Those candidates will be whittled down to 20 finalists who will join the show and be taken to “Tech Shop,” where Intel engineers will give guidance and tools to make the contestants’ visions become reality.

“If the finalists don’t have the materials, we’re going to provide them,” Houser said. “If they don’t have the knowledge, we’ll teach them. We’re going to help these people succeed.”

Any idea, big or small, is fair game said Houser. To give makers a sense for what he’s looking for, Houser pointed to last year’s Intel Make it Wearable competition, which was won by a two-person team — team Nixie. The duo built a winning-idea in their backyard shack.

Nixie, is a wrist-wearable camera that flies away, takes a photo and boomerangs back. The team will bring its prototype to market sometime next year.

“Who would have had any idea that a flying selfie drone that attaches to your wrist would be a thing?”  asked Houser. “I was shocked by that. So we’re excited to see what crazy, amazing ideas people come up with, and can turn into prototypes.”

For Mark Burnett, who bubbles with energy and excitement when talking about America’s Greatest Makers, the show is an invitation to anyone brimming with a good idea. He invites anyone to submit and be a part of America’s incredible innovation history.

“A good idea is something instinctual, something you feel an emotional connection to,” said Burnett. “We are looking for something new, something that connects emotionally and creates value to people.”

Intel’s Chief Marketing Officer Steve Fund said simply: Bring it on.

“There are so many ideas that never get to see the light of day,” he said, emphasizing that Intel can help bring ideas to market. “America’s Greatest Makers is an invitation to unleash the power of invention, innovation and entrepreneurialism.”

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