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Best of 2011: Our Top Stories

The Most Popular, Interesting, Weird, or Just Plain Cool eGFI Blog Posts of 2011

2011 was another busy year for engineers all over the world. From inventing a device that turns air into water to exploring the oceans in a tiny submarine, scientists and engineers are exploring uncharted territory.

Like last year, we at eGFI have chronicled the most awe-inspiring innovations and stories, so in case you missed one, we present:

The Most Popular, Interesting, Weird, or Just Plain Cool eGFI Blog Posts of 2011

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Turning Air into Water

In a world increasingly affected by climate change, unexpected droughts are a harsh reality for many farmers whose livelihoods depend on regular rainfall. That’s why Edward Linacre, an industrial design graduate student from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, decided to invent a device that can literally harvest water from thin air.

Airdrop, as it’s called, recently won the prestigious James Dyson Award, which grants Linacre over $14,000 to develop the product. It was selected from among 500 entries from 18 different countries for its simple design and revolutionary approach to irrigation.

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It’s Here! The 5th Edition of
Engineering, Go For It

Like our new magazine cover? Snatch up the 44″ x 25″ poster

What do the blockbuster movie Avatar, high-performance sports gear, the Angry Birds phone app, and pollution-eating bacteria have in common? They are among a host of fascinating innovations developed by engineers and featured in the newest edition of the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Engineering, Go For It magazine.

The publication is now available in our online store. You can find a free preview of the magazine here.

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Solar Decathalon 2011 Powers Up

Amanda Crosby, right, and Belinda Dods of New Zealand celebrate placing the final screw on the deck of their house

What does it take to build a solar village, where homes not only are designed to create more energy than they use but are comfortable and cool to look at, too? Some 19 student teams from U.S. and international colleges found out this past weekend as they began installing their entries to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The answer: lots of hands-on work involving hammers, wrenches, plumbing, and construction cranes.

The flurry of activity capped the students’ two-year effort to prepare for the competition (we covered the 2009 one here), which this year takes place from September 23 to October 2.

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Student Invents Solar Tree

On a hike through the Catskill Mountains in New York, seventh-grader Aidan Dwyer noticed that the branches of oak trees seemed to grow in a certain pattern. Inspired to try his hand at biomimicry, he created a tree-like arrangement of small solar panels capable of generating 20-50% more energy than traditional flat designs.

Dwyer’s solar tree is based on a mathematical concept called the Fibonacci sequence, which was discovered in the late middle ages.

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