Every year, the editors of Popular Science compile a list of what they believe to be the 100 greatest technological innovations of the past year. This time, the #1 slot went to the Groasis Waterboxx. It's a plant incubator that reduces the need for irrigation:
The Waterboxx, shaped more like a doughnut than a box, helps plants survive long enough to make it through that layer of dry soil. Place the tub around a freshly planted seedling, and fill the evaporation-proof basin—just once—with four gallons of water.
The Waterboxx does the rest. At night, its top cools faster than the air, collecting condensation to supplement those initial gallons. The tub drips about three tablespoons of water a day into the soil, sustaining the plant while encouraging its roots to grow deeper in search of more water. Once the plant reaches the moist soil layer, usually after a year, the farmer lifts the box off the plant and reuses it on the next sapling. Each Waterboxx is expected to last 10 years, and, for about a buck or two per tree grown, is cheap enough to use in poor nations.
At the link, you can view the complete list of 100 innovations divided into 11 categories.
http://www.popsci.com/bown/2010 via First Things | Photo: Popular Science