You don't have to be a famous researcher or engineer to come up with the next big invention. These ten student projects prove just that. They range from a homemade nuclear reactor to a 300mph electric vehicle. Continue reading to see them all.
10. Spokesless Bicycle
Engineering students at Yale University wanted to build a bicycle unlike any other, so what did they do? Go with a single-speed, spokeless design of course. To be more specific, they "used two cranks and two bottom brackets in the front to gear up the ratio; it goes from (IIRC) 53 to a 13, which is connected to the second crank and another 53 which connects to the rear hub."
9. Wireless Automatic Drink Mixer
Making a mimosa (champagne and orange juice) just got easier, with this nifty wireless automatic drink mixer, built by University of Washington students. It features a "remote touch screen allowing users to pick from preset drinks or customize their own."
8. Cell Phone-Controlled Tractor
Two students from India have developed an innovative cell phone-controlled tractor. Basically, the steering, clutch, and brake were mapped to a handset, allowing you to control the tractor's every movement by pressing the appropriate buttons.
7. Robotic Desk Lamp
Built by MIT student Nathan Linder, the LuminAIR is a robotic lamp that essentially "combines a Pico-projector, camera, and wireless computer in a compact form factor." The LuminAR robotic lamp "sees" what you're doing through its webcam and augments your actions accordingly. It displays information, like web pages, videos, and more.
6. Semi-Automatic NERF Longshot Gun
This awesome semi-automatic NERF Longshot gun was built by engineering student -- and TechEBlog reader -- Philip H. specifically for his university's Humans Vs. Zombies game. Though it may not be the first ever made, it certainly is one of the best to date. Its creator "would classify this as a prototype."
5. Laser Backpack
Students at UC Berkley have built a laser backpack capable of generating instant 3D maps. The system uses "a suite of laser scanners and positional sensors that enable it to capture images of building interiors as a fleshy assistant roams their halls."
4. Roller Coaster
This awesome student-built roller coaster just might be one of the craziest homemade contraptions we've seen. It drops "its riders vertically, then turn[s] them face down as they skim 2 feet above the ground, face down and strapped with their backs to the cart."
3. Automatic Dishmaker
Created by MIT student Leonardo Bonanni, this incredible device "can actually replace cabinets worth of dishes by storing them as flat disks." According to its creator, "if the Dishmaker ever becomes a reality, you will never have to worry about dishes again; you just make dishes on demand and try to put all the extra free cabinet space to good use."
[Sources 1 | 2]
2. Buckeye Bullet
Built by student engineers at Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research, the all-electric Venturi Buckeye Bullet "achieved an average speed of 307.7 mph during a two-run pass at the Bonneville Salt Flats on Tuesday."
1. Nuclear Fusion Reactor
Thiago Olson, a high school student, managed to build a fully-functional nuclear fusion reactor in just two years. Now that's a cool gadget not many can make at home. According to Wired, "Olson's nuclear reactor is pretty bad-ass, producing 200 million-degree plasma at its core - or, as Olson points out, 'several times hotter than the core of the sun.'"
[Sources 1 | 2]
Honorable Mention - Robotic Drummer
A group of college students (Matthew Webster, John Vernon, and ShengZhu Wu) created a robotic drumming system, called Monster, for their final project. Their system works using general MIDI, allowing connection to MIDI controllers (keyboards, etc.) and also sequencer software (Pro Tools, etc.)