The 2009 Invention Awards

This year's ultimate garage creations and the big thinkers behind them

rescue reel

It's a bird

Kevin Stone's Rescue Reel allows for a smooth descent from tall office buildingsJohn B. Carnett

Right now, somewhere in America, there's an inventor in a garage on the verge of something big. It might not be a cure for leukemia or a rocket to Mars, but some unexpected innovations can be almost as profound. Like the fisherman who made a lure that doesn't damage the environment. Or the college kids who built a shock absorber that saves fuel by turning potholes into power. Here in our third annual Invention Awards, we present these and eight other standout inventors whose creativity and hard work are making our lives better, as well as the secrets for getting your own great idea out of the garage and into the world.

Check out our ten award winners and their inventions:

• Invention Awards: The Fastest Tank