This summer, we asked readers to submit their best project ideas for a shot at crowdfunding through RocketHub.com. Hundreds vied for the chance to make their dreams a reality, and by the end of the Popular Science #CrowdGrant Challenge, two dozen finalists had raised a total of more than $50,000. Here are a few of our favorite projects.
Reach for the Stars
Student experiments flown to 100,000 feet
Pilot Paul Kaup enjoyed mentoring fifth-grade students but felt he could do more to stoke their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. “I realized space balloons were the perfect way to put it all together,” he says. Kaup helped a few schools in Illinois launch kids’ experiments into the upper atmosphere using weather balloons. The kids couldn’t get enough, so he and a fellow pilot turned to #CrowdGrant for help. The money they earned will support 15 to 21 launches—among other projects—next year.
A small team of engineers in Washington state has created an autonomous tricycle called Elcano. By year’s end, they hope to make kits for hobbyists to build their own road-worthy self-driving trikes.
A living light source
Students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison are designing a colony of glowing, self-sustaining bacteria. The goal: Make a bioluminescent lighting kit that shows the promise of genetic engineering.
This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Popular Science.