Grand Prize is $20,000, and there are significant other prizes in the prize list, too. Plus, a great t-shirt if you enter with a qualified entry. (The contest image was acquired--legally--from the patently absurd inventions archive.)
The Create the Future design contest has been running for at least 5 years now. They regularly receive around 1000 entries. In previous years, the folks at NASA Tech Briefs handled this contest entirely on paper, which was a lot of work for them. There was no website featuring the entries, so the entrants had no idea what their competition was, and the public didn't get to play at all.
SolidWorks (and I) wanted to make the fun more visible and reduce the work for the NTB editorial team. So we've dragged the contest into, okay, about the year 2004 -- the site is pretty basic, was done on a shoestring dime, and next year will be a lot fancier and more dynamic. But I'm still very pleased at what we've done.
We wanted to help people who enter have a better shot at winning, too -- I emailed all the past year's judges and asked them what advice they had for entrants, and we got excellent responses. Anyone considering entering should definitely read the Tips page.
I was particularly struck by how important clear communication is in creating a good entry. Some example quotes:
Although the main prizes are awarded by the NASA Tech Briefs' invited judges panel, there are 10 prizes for the entries that most captured the public eye. You can help by coming to view them yourself, and posting links to the entries you particularly like. While you're looking around, try finding the guy who has a real beef with NASA (whoa), the personal cooling system, the strangely redundant (IMO) salt and pepper shaker. You may not be surprised by the entry with the current top page views -- apart from being a very cool idea, it's extremely well-written, too.
Help us advertise the contest and the best entries! And consider entering yourself. There's still plenty of time: the contest closes for entries in October. Even if you're afraid you're not up to NASA Tech Brief's judging panel, you might capture the public eye and get blogged and get famous (and get $250 too).
(After the next round of contest entry validations, when we've got more visible on the site, I'll post some links to my own favorite entries to help them out on their page views.)