Shweeb, FIRST Among Google's Project 10^100 Winners

Google is a sucker for world-changing projects. Two years ago, Google's appetite for big ideas led to Project 10^100, a call for ideas that change the world by helping as many people as possible. Now, 150,000 entries later, Google has announced the five winning ideas. A total of $10 million will be doled out to the winners, each of which are working on solutions to different global challenges.

Shweeb, for example, tackles the challenge of driving innovation in public transport. Google is ponying up $1 million for the concept, which combines recumbent cycling technology with monorails for a safe, human-powered urban transport system. Shweeb's website elaborates:

On a typical day, you would get up in the morning and descend to the second level of your residential tower, where there is a Shweeb station and ample pods waiting for you. You would get into the capsule, park you luggage and hang up your jacket. You’d then ride to work at a leisurely pace over the top of the traffic jams – not even raising a sweat. You wouldn’t have to worry about finding a car park space or paying for parking. You’d arrive at work feeling fit, healthy and ready to go!

FIRST, another 10^100 winner, is a bit more down to Earth. The non-profit, which will receive $3 million from Google, aims to enhance science and engineering education through competition (i.e. the FIRST Lego League an the FIRST Robotics competition). Google's cash will go towards student robotics team fundraising programs.

Perhaps the most well-known winner is the Khan Academy, an ultra-popular nonprofit that offers a free online library of over 1,600 educational videos on everything from quadratic equations to photosynthesis. A $2 million cash infusion from Google will help Khan translate its videos into a variety of languages.

Want more info on where Google's funding is going? Check out the 10^100 site here.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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