Popular Mechanics' seventh annual Breakthrough Awards recognize the top people and products that have "dramatically advanced the fields of technology, medicine, space exploration, automotive design, and environmental engineering." This year's breakthrough innovations range from smog devouring roof tiles to a device that lets you set up an instant small business anywhere. Popular Mechanics is also honoring 11 innovators whose work "will transform the world in years to come."
“From off-the-shelf blood vessels to a cell phone tower the size of a Rubik’s Cube, our Breakthrough Award winners not only capture the imagination, but hold the potential to improve and save lives,” says Popular Mechanics editor-in-chief James B. Meigs, in a press release.
The winners are chosen by Popular Mechanics editors who enlist the help of top experts and past Breakthrough winners to find the coolest inventions of the year. The products are then tested to make sure that they really do what they say they do. Jennifer Bogo, Science editor at Popular Mechanics, told The Huffington Post that when it finally comes down to picking the top 10, there isn't even much contention among the editors since, "the best products quickly rise to the top."
Check out Popular Mechanics' picks for the 10 most transformative products of 2011 in the slideshow below. Click here for a full list of the Breakthrough Award winners, as well as descriptions of their accomplishments, or click here to see the 10 innovators honored by Popular Mechanics.
To see last year's winners, which include everything from a miter saw to a little device that could save your life the next time you're lost in the woods, check out our slideshow here.