NEW YORK – Since October 2005, the History Channel and Invent Now Inc. have been searching for America’s next great inventor.
He has been found.
David Ward’s Strawjet was named the 2006 Modern Marvel of the Year.
The Strawjet is a breakthrough process in creating building material from straw, providing low-cost panels from an existing and untapped resource that will not only establish a new form of shelter but also preserve the environment.
Finalists included David Cull (hemoaccess valve system), Kristin Hrabar (illuminated nutdriver), Sundaresan Jayaraman (wearable motherboard) and Robert Kelly (Resc-hue Lite Line).
What is it? Strawjet is a farm implement that processes straw from harvests, such as wheat, flax and sunflower, into a mat similar to a large bamboo window blind.
This is used to construct composite building panels in much the same way as fiberglass or carbon fiber.
However, the Strawjet uses paper pulp, clay and cement as the binder rather than plastic resin.
The significance of this new technology is the universal availability of straw on a continuously renewable basis.
Converting straw to a building material will save resources and provide farmers with additional income.
Ward drew his inspiration from the devastation he witnessed first-hand in the Middle and Far East. He wanted to create a building system that would be strong enough to withstand natural disasters, such as earthquakes, yet economical enough to revolutionize the rebuilding of the less developed regions.
The competition. The Strawjet was chosen by the challenge’s panel of famed inventors and experts out of nearly 4,300 submissions from inventors ages 8 to 80 and representing all 50 states.
The panel, which included experts such as Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the personal computer and co-founder of Apple, chose the projects based on their potential to make a dramatic global impact.
“The Strawjet has the potential to revolutionize how we build in the less developed regions of the world by using one of our few remaining and endless resources – straw,” Wozniak said.
Ward, of Ashland, Ore., received a $25,000 grant, and his invention and was featured on the History Channel.
The challenge’s traveling exhibit will culminate at the National Inventors Hall of Fame
in Akron where it will be on display through September.
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