Solar panels that track the sun currently involve the use of motors and electronic control systems to move them and convert the power to energy. But a team of engineering students at MIT, inspired by heliotropic plants that move in the direction of the sun all day (like a sunflower), have developed a new method of motivation for the photovoltaic cells to move. Their invention won first place in MIT's Making and Designing Materials Engineering Contest (MADMEC) -- a $100,000 prize!
Popular Science has announced the 2009 Invention Awards for the top 10 groundbreaking inventions that originated from the minds and perseverance of individual inventors. These inventions did not have big companies behind them with a big research lab and lots of money. You won't see the likes of Apple® or Motorola® or Honda® among this list. Just folks like you and me whose inventions will make a major impact on the way we live, work, learn, play, and even manage intelligence in battle.
Most inventors have pets. I can be safe with that statement, because most people have pets, whether they're dogs or cats, rabbits, fish, birds, snakes, geckos, etc. PetSmart knows this and instead of turning to its usual providers of products for new ideas, it's turning to us: inventors who know how to create innovative solutions to improve life!