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Challenge America Makes Smart Structure Challenge
America Makes Smart Structure Challenge
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 156
Posted: Feb 11 2016
Challenge ID: 9933781
Team Project Rooms are available on this Challenge Team Share Challenge Share

The Seeker, America Makes, is seeking Solvers who can produce “smart structures” using additive manufacturing (AM) methods. A smart structure is any part with an integrated device such as (but not limited to) embedded sensors or actuators that allow for data acquisition and/or smart manipulation. This application has been a long standing promise of additive manufacturing that remains unfulfilled. America Makes would like to understand the state of the art of this potentially disruptive technology and is offering membership in the organization as an award for Solvers demonstrating this capability.

This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires a written proposal and, optionally, experimental proof-of-concept data and/or sample delivery. No Intellectual Property (IP) rights are sought by the Seeker in return for an award.


The ability to produce structural components with relevant added functionality enabled by integrated devices is a potentially disruptive technology. America Makes would like to understand the state of the art technology dealing with additive manufacturing of electronic components into additive manufacturing parts and reward creative solutions. These “smart structures” are any parts with an integrated device such as (but not limited to) embedded sensors or actuators that allow for data acquisition and/or smart manipulation. This application has been a long standing promise by additive manufacturing that remains not completely fulfilled.  While America Makes has awarded research projects on the subject we would like to award creative solutions from organizations, either non-America Makes members or America Makes members, working in this field and bring their expertise to the table.

Submissions to this Challenge should include the following:

  1. A detailed description of the proposed Solution completely documenting the smart structure and the AM technology used to build it, and addressing specific Solution Requirements presented in the Detailed Description of the Challenge.
  2. (Optional) Delivery of a sample smart structure for testing by the Seeker.
  3. A completed America Makes Membership Request Form (available in the Detailed Description section of the Challenge) for membership in America Makes. Please submit within two weeks of registering for this Challenge so that award eligibility may be confirmed. Information contained in this document will be reviewed by personnel not involved in determining winning Solutions and will not be available to personnel making the award decision. Submission of this form does not obligate Solvers to accept membership in America Makes and does not obligate America Makes to offer membership to Solvers.

The awards for this Challenge are Silver Level Memberships in America Makes for one year, as described on Membership in America Makes gives you access to the additive manufacturing and 3D printing industry's thought leaders and innovators. Members receive significant benefits, including access to valuable intellectual property, technical presentations, project calls, and much more.

To receive an award, the Solver or Solver’s organization must be eligible for, and accept, membership in America Makes. Current America Makes members are also eligible for award in the form of equivalent credit toward future membership fees. Membership in America Makes is open to US-based organizations and foreign-owned organizations with US operations. Please see for membership requirements. (Addendum added April 29, 2016) America Makes hosted a webinar to provide an overview of the America Makes program, discuss the value of the America Makes membership, and to describe the levels of membership. The recorded webinar can be viewed here. (End of Addendum)

The award is contingent upon theoretical evaluation and experimental validation of the submitted Solutions by the Seeker.

To receive an award, Solvers will not be required to transfer to the Seeker any Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the solution. Any IP contained in awarded Solutions will be treated as Background Intellectual Property as detailed in the America Makes Membership Agreement and the Challenge Specific Agreement (CSA) for this Challenge.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 11, 2016.  Late submissions will not be considered.

About the Seeker

America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP), America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. 

Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, we are working together to innovate and accelerate AM and 3DP to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.

Established in 2012 and based in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the flagship Institute for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure of up to 45 Institutes to follow and is driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an RTP Challenge?

An InnoCentive RTP (Reduction to Practice) Challenge is a prototype that proves an idea, and is similar to an InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge in its high level of detail. However, an RTP requires the Solver to submit a validated solution, either in the form of original data or a physical sample. Also the Seeker is allowed to test the proposed solution. For details about treatment of IP rights, please see the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

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