Just about everyone I know enjoys games and contests, especially when cash prizes and recognition are involved. Whether it's betting on college basketball, joining a workplace lottery pool, or trying to win a dream home on HGTV, contests generate enthusiasm from even the most unlikely people.

For that reason, and to celebrate the joy of being an engineer, we at Motion System Design are now holding two legal and fun contests offering real prizes. The first competition, which you may have heard about by now, is the World's Smartest Design Engineer online game show. We invite you to sign up for free and play right now at www.smartestdesignengineer.com. Registration is quick and painless. During game play, expect to progress through various levels and subject categories to earn points. Points are cumulative and the game will recognize you each time you log in, so playing on a haphazard basis (whenever you have time) is easy and even encouraged.

Prizes are awarded monthly; if you earn the most correct points for a given month, we'll send you an iPhone, Kindle, or other cool tech gadget. In December, one lucky winner will win at least $5,000 in cash and the awesome title of World's Smartest Design Engineer. The game is also a fun way to test your engineering knowledge. Here's a special tip for you: Many of the game's ever-changing questions are based on articles you'll find in Motion System Design and our sister engineering magazines — so keep reading to stay current on your continuing education.

Another new competition is the 2010 Better by Design contest. Here, Motion System Design will reward both manufacturers and design engineers. As some of you already know, Better by Design is a monthly magazine page that shines the spotlight on truly unique and improved motion components, such as sturdy shaft collars and high-tech encoders. At the end of the year, a panel of industry experts will review all 12 components that we've showcased in 2010, and vote on the year's top three inventions. Winning companies will be announced in early 2011. Meanwhile, as you learn about these new components and specify them into your designs, drop us a line. How might a particular product solve an engineering dilemma? Send a short description of your application and how you will use the new component to msdeditor@penton.com. The most detailed and creative projects will earn you prizes, as well as recognition within the magazine. Better than the World Series of Poker, our new contests are more fun and rewarding for working engineers. We hope you'll give them both a shot.