More pics from the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards

Here are photos from the reception. It was like a poster presentation/science fair on steroids. You can see more from our Flickr set.

High Efficiency Cook Stove [Ashok Gadgil and Christina Galitsky]

High Efficiency Cook Stove
“In Darfur, some 2.2 million refugees cook their meals over inefficient wood fires in camps, with plenty of risks to refuel off-site. There’s nothing high-tech about this stove, but it slashes the time refugees need to spend in heightened danger.”

A non turbine wind alternative [Shawn Frayne]

Humdinger Windbelt Schematic from Popular Mechanics
[I remixed this schematic from the Pop Mechanics site.]

Humdinger Windbelt - Close up of coils
Humdinger Windbelt – Close up of coils

The Windbelt is essentially a taut membrane fitted with a pair of magnets that oscillate between metal coils. Shawn’s design was inspired the vibrations that caused the collapse of Washington’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Galloping Gertie) in 1940.

Shawn’s inspiration: Galloping Gertie. Duration: 4 min 12 sec


Fab@Home [Hod Lipson, Evan Mallone, and Dan Periard]

Fab at home - Make anything machine
“Picture a 3D inkjet printer that deposits droplets of plastic, layer by layer, gradually building up an object of any shape. Scientists at Cornell developed the low-cost, open-source Fab at Home and encouraged experimentation online.”

For the reception, they filled the tubes with goat cheese and jam and fabbed some cracker appetizers (seen at lower bit of pic).

The DIY Water Cleaner [Kelydra Welcker, Winner of Popular Mechanics Next Generation Award]

Kelydra Welcker, Winner of Next Generation Award
Welcker, now a freshman in college, used basic chemistry principles to develop a simple test for the presence of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO), a surfactant used to make Teflon, in the river water near her home in Parkersburg, W.Va.

Then, using hand-me-down chemistry equipment in a makeshift lab set up in a trailer behind her house, Welcker developed a way to remove APFO from water by combining granular activated carbon, the stuff that cleans fish tanks, and electrosorption, which draws remaining APFO ions to a pair of electrodes.

You know you’re destined for a life in science, when your folks “name you after a snapping turtle”.

Two-Mode Hybrid Power Train [GM, BMW & DaimlerChrysler]:

Hybrid Power Train
“The three giants joined forces to develop a scalable hybrid system that brings the fuel-saving technology to the masses of cars and trucks that each manufacturer produces. The fuel savings, over such large volumes of traditionally thirsty vehicles, should be impressive.”

Responsive Bionic Arm [Stuart Harshbarger and Team]:

Responsive Arm
“Proto 2, the prosthetic arm being developed by Harshbarger and a team of 30 partners, may not be as good as the real thing, but it’s narrowing the gap. The nerve-powered robo-limb allows for 27 different kinds of movement—and you can feel.”

Marine Captain Jonathan Kuniholm modeled one of the prototype robotic arms at the reception. Kuniholm is founder of the Open Prosthetics Project:
Tagline: "Prosthetics shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg". Ain’t that the truth.

Length Morphing Helicopter Rotor [Farhan Gandhi]

Length Morphing Helicopter Rotor
” Helicopter performance depends on the length of the rotor blades: For heavy lifting, a large rotor works best, but short blades allow for higher maximum speeds. Now there’s a simple way to achieve both configurations in the same aircraft.”

Like how the theory of gravity came to Sir Isaac Newton upon observing the falling of an apple, the idea for the rotor came to Gandhi while observing a mundane event.

I was in the bathroom [laughs] putting in a new roll of toilet paper. Right, you have to kind of push it so that it comes put, put the toilet paper in and then it springs back. And I’m looking at it and saying here is a spring-restrained telescoping device. And you could have a variable span blade, a rotor blade that’s working on the same principle.

Multitouch media wall [Jeff Han]

Multitouch media wall
This remarkable 8 ft multitouch system is currently "priced for the military", a euphemism for oh so expensive (six figures). It’s large enough for 4-5 people to use it at once.

Surface Computer [Microsoft]

Microsoft Surface Computer
" This tabletop computer uses "multitouch" technology to let several users, employing their fingers, manipulate images and other data right on the screen—no keyboard or mouse needed."

The price for this beauty with all its components would be around $10,000.

Related Links

To learn about all the projects, visit Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards 2007
To see more of these pics, check out our flickr set.

Related Posts:

Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference Pt 1 [Video]
Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference Pt 2 [Video]
More pics from the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards
Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference
Congrats to Shawn Frayne, One of Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award Winners