There is no doubting the fact that science and research pave the way for new technology. As our understanding of the laws of nature, materials and our environment expands we are able to apply the new found knowledge to improve the gadgets and devices. But does research and academia always have to be so stuffy, boring and dry?
Not according to the Ig Nobel Prizes, which honor work that makes people laugh first and then think. Previous winners include research that found the optimal way to dunk a biscuit, a washing machine for cats and dogs and even Murphy's Law.
For 2011 the winner of the Ig Nobel Prize in Chemistry researched the use of wasabi as a fire-alarm. Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami of Japan worked on finding the optimal density of airborne wasabi that would wake up sleeping person without completely burning their nasal tracts. The research has already lead to a filed US Patent for a Wasabi Alarm.
The full list of winners for 2011 can be found at the Ig Nobel website. The breadth and uniqueness of research is quite impressive and lets hope some other zany, mad professor takes the research and applies it to produce more weird tech.