Passionate inventors in modest workshops around the world, often backed by little more than ambition and a big idea, are minting surprising new technologies that stand to change the world.
Popular Science can’t get enough of these audacious makers, so we celebrate the best of them each year in our Invention Awards issue—but to find them we rely on readers like you.
We want to know about any game-changing innovations developed by determined, independent inventors (not big academic or corporate R&D labs). Maybe you’re an engineer designing a revolutionary tool in your garage, or an electronics hobbyist who crowdfunded the development of a great new gadget. Or perhaps you’re an obsessive teen building a life-saving contraption, or a hackerspace member who’s open-sourcing a powerful new technology.
Sound familiar? Enter the eighth annual Popular Science Invention Awards by filling out our entry form at popsci.com/inventionawardsform. Or, if you know people who might want to enter, please share this post with them (popsci.com/inventionawards2014).
Our editors will select 10 finalists that embody the spirit of homegrown ingenuity and solve real-world problems in original ways. Then, in our May 2014 issue, Popular Science’s readers will get a first look at the winners before they go online and appear in our tablet edition.
There’s neither an entry fee nor any tangible prizes. However, your invention stands to be featured in the world’s largest science and technology magazine, reaching our audience of many millions—plus the audiences of TV, radio, web, and other outlets that often highlight our finalists.
Before submitting, please carefully read our rules, guidelines, and tips below, and note that our entry form will close after 11:59pm (eastern time) on January 15, 2014. (The sooner you submit, the better your chances.)
- There is no fee to submit, and there are no prizes.
- An invention should be poised to create a market or disrupt an existing one—not be a solution in search of a problem.
- Inventions must be new, not just minor tweaks to existing objects, products, or processes.
- Inventions on their way to becoming commercial products are welcome, but they can’t already be for sale.
- Inventions must be the work of independent inventors or small teams. Outside funding is fine (even from movie stars!), but inventions created in association with universities, large R&D labs, major corporations, etc. won’t be considered.
- There must be a working prototype, or something that demonstrates an invention works. If you can’t prove your invention works, it won’t be considered.
- Pictures of or relating to your invention are worth a thousand words (and videos even more).
- We love inventions that are physical objects or are very visual, not highly abstract processes or concepts (e.g. computer code). This helps us show off the winners in the magazine.
- Popular Science will not publish an entry without notifying the inventor first, but—as part of our rigorous vetting and fact-checking process—we will contact outside experts to verify the technology and significance of the invention prior to publication.
- Intellectual property (IP) protection is the responsibility of the entrant. We do not have the resources to answer questions about IP, help anyone secure IP rights, or make any kind of guarantee that publicizing your invention won’t compromise your IP or rights. (Enter at your own risk.)
If you’re curious what makes the cut, we encourage you to review winners from previous years: