As you've probably noticed, we've had inventions on the brain here at PopSci lately. Our Invention Awards issue (on newsstands now) presents 10 stunning examples of everyday people envisioning solutions to challenging problems and not stopping until they become reality. We've shown you a rocket-powered net that could prevent insurgents from shooting down choppers; a stronger, quieter fastener that makes Velcro look positively ancient; and a compact rope-ascender unit that lets climbers rappel up a wall.
After reading about these amazing inventions, you may be wondering how someone goes from that eureka moment we've all had at one time or another to actually building something that solves a problem. Here, we've assembled an A list of inventive minds to offer their own advice for doing just that. Our panel includes Web entrepreneurs like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, engineering whizzes like Segway-inventor Dean Kamen, and visionary thinkers like futurist Ray Kurzweil.
Launch the slideshow for our invention tips from the pros.
A complete listing of our Invention Award winners thus far (note, we've got two more to come next week):
- A Levitating Arrow Rest - Makes archers stealthier and more accurate with some well-placed magnets
- A Shocking New Weapon - A muscle-numbing magic wand protects cops and citizens, Jedi-style
- A Six Strokes of Genius - An engine that uses steam to squeeze more miles from gas
- A Chopper Shield - Catches helicopter-bound grenades with a net made of Kevlar and steel
- A Big Ball of Connectivity - An antenna that blows up like a balloon brings satellite communications anywhere, anytime.
- The New Velcro - A stronger, better grip without the incessant ripping sound. Has a long-standing dream finally been realized?
- A New Breed of Mouse - Give your mouse the finger to control your computer in three dimensions
- The Flying Belt - Rappel up a wall at an astonishing 10 feet per second with the Atlas Powered Rope Ascender