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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!
When I say "Anything for my dog," I mean for my dog, not for me. So when I read about these automatic dog washing machines, I have to ask is this gizmo really for a dog? Would my dog be happy to be put in an airtight chamber and then showered from all sides with soap and water? Or would he be like the dog in the picture, trying like heck to tear his way out of the dang thing?
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.