A few months back, I pointed in this blog to the call for entries for the "Innovate or Die" contest for a pedal-powered machine (aka bicycle). Right now, I'd be hard-pressed to ride a bike here in New Jersey, for fear of wind-burn and on account of the slight snow we had today, but I AM walking the two miles to the train station routinely. (Reduces the energy stored in my body, too.)
But, anyway, the contest co-sponsors -- Google, Specialized Bicycles, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners -- actually have announced the winner.
The winning entry, schemed up by five students in California, is the Aquaduct, which transports and filters water. Their idea is that women in third world countries would be able to use the vehicle both to collect water (which they often have to travel a large distance to find) and to purify it. So, in essence, the pedal power would save both the gas used to transport and the fuel used to boil and purify water in these places, which is usually how it's down. A concept drawing is below:
There is a video explaining how the thing-a-ma-jig works here and here. (I found the latter link to be very slow on my Mac, but I couldn't get the Aquaduct video to play on the YouTube site; your choice.) This entry was chosen from among about 100 in total. There were five runners-up.
Some fun ideas here, although I wonder how/if they will be commercialized. Here's hoping Specialized Bicycles actually follows through.