Kevin Stone's Rescue Reel allows for a smooth descent from tall office buildings. John 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: An Escape Harness for Skyscrapers

• Invention Awards: The Fastest Tank

Invention Awards: Power From Shock Absorbers

Invention Awards: A Real-Life Babel Fish For the Speaking Impaired

Invention Awards: The World as a Web Interface

Invention Awards: Robo-Legs

Invention Awards: A Better IV Catheter

Invention Awards: Eco-Friendly Insulation Made From Mushrooms

Invention Awards: A Generator That Runs on Kitchen Grease

Invention Awards: A Stronger, Greener Fishing Lure