7 Amazing Chinese Farmer Inventions and Mods

You might be under the impression that most Chinese innovation is happening in research labs and universities. Well let me take you on a quick tour of rural China for a second, where an uncanny amount of do-it-yourself contraptions are being created and assembled not by scientists -- but by farmers and laborers!

There must be something in the water out there... Besides toxic waste I mean.


1. Budget Drifting

This one isn't nearly as creative as the other candidates, because technically this mod might be little more than putting roll-bars on a delivery truck. But boy oh boy oh boy, is it ever entertaining to watch!  Making the most of what you have is certainly an admirable quality. Heading into a corner at top speed in a rickety Chinese pickup truck? Well, that's just plain crazy!  It gets exciting after the 1 and a half minute mark.




2. Rural Rickshaw Robots

Mr. Wu in China has taken up the hobby of building robots that mimic human movement. Surprisingly he has no formal training in robotics, and has to construct them using just scrap metal that he gathers from the local area. His wife says that he's obsessed with building robots, but she has stuck with him despite the fact that he once burned down the house as a result of his unique hobby.



3. Oil Drum Submarine

Check out this Chinese farmer who manages to piece together a 20 foot submarine with metal barrels and other scrap metal. He speculates that the craft is capable of diving as deep as ten meters. But if I were you, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for proof!

If they ever make another Hunt for Red October movie, this guy deserves a part. Fit him in somewhere, I don't care where.

20 ft Handmade Submarine20 ft Handmade Submarine


4. Farmer-Copter!

If you thought the drifting was dangerous, wait until you get a load of this.  If I'm correct, I think this is the same terrifying shaky aircraft that was featured on Gizmodo last year. They said it was a plane, but they didn't have any wide angle shot of it. A great China blog ifgogo has more videos taken from other angles, the best of which I'm reposting below. Airplane or helicopter, this thing is pretty damn amazing! And astoundingly it was built by yet another innovative farmer.


5. Backwoods Woman improvises Remote Wireless Internet Access

Living a few kilometers from the nearest town, there was no way for this lady to access a wired network. Her solution? Set up a wireless network in town, and then try to access it from her home 3km away!  After three years of trials, she has finally succeeded. Check out the crude, but effective antenna below. You can view more pictures on this site (Chinese).

Is this made with chopsticks?Is this made with chopsticks?

View from the rearView from the rear


6. Amphibious Car

Here's a man that began his work on an amphibious car over ten years ago. Everything was built in his own workshop, save for the paint job which was donated free of change by a local company. The gull-wing doors allow for the main body of the car to be completely sealed, and that was certainly a smart design move on the part of this untrained amateur car builder. He says that in water the car is capable of reaching 50 kph. While on the highway he has pushed it to 140 kph, which oddly enough is just a bit above the 80 miles per hour mark. Michael J. Fox, if you're in the market for a new car I think this is the one for you!


Amphibious CarAmphibious Car

Propulsion system at the rearPropulsion system at the rear


7. Olympic "Bird's Nest" Stadium: The Bamboo Version

Olympic fever took China by storm last year, and the rural parts of the country were no exception. In an effort to show their Olympic spirit, these farmers set to work on building a bamboo replica of Beijing's Olympic Stadium, more commonly known as the Birds Nest. They could have worked with metal, but obviously bamboo is cheaper if you're working on a farmer's budget.


Bamboo version of Beijing's National StadiumBamboo version of Beijing's National Stadium



Honorable Mention:
The other Chinese farmer who built a submarine

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Mar 19, 2009
by Anonymous

Amazing, but

If you are thinking in terms of all modern technology, you are right. But try google to find how first pioneers of everything (helicopters, plane, car...) did these inventions. In similar conditions as "Chinese farmers". It is only our mistake to forget about KISS = keep it stupid simple.