The world needs help. Power demands are rising, bridges are collapsing, cancer is still cancer. These are sweeping, global challenges, but the solutions may well end up coming from the garages and basements next door. As the winners of PopSci's second annual Invention Awards demonstrate, invention—even world-changing invention—can happen anywhere there's an idea and an endless drive to see that idea made real. Launch the articles and videos below for 10 examples of homespun creativity tackling real problems.
The Uno accelerates with a simple lean and turns like a street bike on side-by-side wheels
Doug Selsam's Sky Serpent uses an array of small rotors to catch more wind for less money
Russell Breeding finds lost miners with the same tech found in guided missiles and the Nintendo Wii
Sealed-up suits for divers in dirty seas
Jerome Rifkin's K3 Promoter mimics the jointed motion of a real foot for easier walking (with video of the foot in action)
These filters use plants and fans to clear the air of toxic chemicals
An off-the-shelf powerplant for the burgeoning private space industry (with video of the inventor demonstrating the engine)
This machine uses radio waves and nanoparticles to zap cancerous tumors (with video of the machine in action)
John Hillman put a concrete arch inside a plastic case to build stronger, longer-lasting bridges
This engine uses superhot steam to make a cleaner, more efficient car (with video of the inventor explaining how the engine works)
There are many houses that were knocked down by hurricanes in Florida and New Orleans. Has somebody thought about designing/building a house that will retract down underground whenever there is a hurricane? This may be a great invention.
Retracting houses sounds like a bad idea. Wouldn't that just make it more vulnerable to the flooding that happened. Instead we should be looking into better dams and levys along with better irrigation systems. Further more, working on installing features into houses that make them wind resistant would be more beneficial. Finally they need to work and pruning and maintaining the nearby trees so that during high winds those branches aren't going to become destructive debris.
they do have those new screws that hold plywood better than traditional means, and they were designed and tested with hurricanes in mind. they made a big difference in the test results and they were only about 20% more expensive than regular nails. of course, you can only take advantage of that in new construction.