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Google Announces Winner to Pedal-Power Contest

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Google (GOOG), the search giant turned green energy disruptor, has announced the winner in their fatalistically named “Innovate or Die Pedal-Powered Machine Challenge,” which we wrote about back in September. Co-sponsored with bicycle-maker Specialized, the contest asked cycling grease monkeys to make “clean” pedal power work in new and innovative ways.

The winner is Team Aquaduct for their water-filtering tricycle that could help solve water quality issues in the developing world. Designed to hold enough water for a family of four, the Aquaduct filters water while the rider pedals. Using a clutch attached to an idler pulley, the rear wheels can be disengaged so that water can be filtered while the bike is stationary. The team of five engineers who designed and built it will be taking home $5,000 and a couple of Specialized bikes as their prize.

Innovate or Die – Aquaduct: Mobile Filtration Vehicle

The competition received about 100 video entries, according to the contest’s YouTube group, which also lists the five runners-up. Below the jump are our own favorite picks out of the entries:

Pedal Powered Tennis Ball Launcher

While its applications aren’t as lofty as the Aquaduct’s, this invention will help you work on your backhand. Tennis, anyone?

The Pedal Powered Blender

The pedal powered blender is nothing more than what you’d expect, but the relish with which inventor Dan Schmidt adds his peaches, mixed berries, and guava raspberry juice is strangely intoxicating. Other delicious pedal-powered culinary devices include the pedal-powered coffeemaker, the bicycle ice cream maker, the pedal-powered bread maker, and the Juicycle® classic for your milling and juicing needs.

Homouroboros – Pedal Powered Zoetrope v3.0

Peter Hudson’s contraption, Homouroboros, is a metaphor that uses clean energy to power an optical illusion reminding humble humanity of our evolutionary roots. The final effect is quite stunning. You can also check out his v1.0 “sisyphish.” We’re not sure what happened to v2.0.

My Magic Swirling Ship

MaxCalibrePro’s amazing cardboard contraption looks like something Gilligan was constantly pedaling to power Ginger’s perpetual banana cream pie making.

The Bike-Yak

The bike-yak seems to be treating the symptoms and not the disease of global warming, but it’s still pretty cool. Though I do wonder exactly how “seaworthy” the velo-vessel is.

So there you go, the official winner and our own favorites. Happy weekend.

4 Responses to “Google Announces Winner to Pedal-Power Contest”

  1. Most of your favorite ideas, while fun, do very little to promote the idea of sustainable living. The Aquaduct is a remarkable device because it assists both with the transport and filtration of water in places where plumbing and reverse-osmosis systems are not commonplace.

  2. Green energy is definitely the best solution in most cases. Technology like solar energy, wind power, fuel cells, zaps electric vehicles, EV hybrids, etc have come so far recently. Green energy even costs way less than oil and gas in many cases.