Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist: Amy Smith


This week we bring you another mad (and by "mad," we mean "brilliant") scientist who turned up in the research for our upcoming cover story on "The Future" -- Amy Smith, an engineer at MIT.

Smith has developed a cleaner-burning, perfectly-efficient charcoal briquette made from the fibrous leftovers of a sugarcane harvest. If it makes it to market, the product could be a huge hit in countries such as Haiti, which has not only plenty of sugar, but also lots of pollution. Smith's students are also working on versions made from peanut shells and sawdust.

You can read more about Smith and her other ingenious inventions -- "a microscope slide warmer which uses phase change technology to diagnose tuberculosis; a clamp to regulate the flow of intravenous fluids which enables nurses to serve more patients during an epidemic; and her first patent, the Smart Canister, an automatic dispenser which assembles all the dry ingredients for a particular recipe" -- here.