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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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Vertical Forest Coming Soon to Milan

This is no pie-in-the-sky urban farm design. Italian architect Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale, or Vertical Forest, is actually being built, and will soon add a splash of green to the Milan skyline.

The design features two residential towers with staggered balconies that allow an array of trees and shrubbery to grow outside each abode. Advantages of such a setup, beyond adding verdant beauty to a city, include shading inhabitants in the summer while permitting more sunlight in the winter, protection from noise pollution, and air purification.

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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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Meet Shwetak Patel, 2011 MacArthur Fellow

Shwetak Patel wants to help you conserve energy in your home. A professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, Patel is also a 2011 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship (also known as the “Genius Grant“) for his work developing sophisticated, user-friendly energy sensors for homes and offices.

Patel’s unique technology uses advanced algorithms to determine how much energy each household device is consuming by picking up their individual activity patterns.

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