How to take renewable wind power to the third world? That was the challenge Shawn Frayne set himself. Big turbines are, well, very big…and very expensive. Even small turbines are pretty pricey, given the engineering involved.
The answer first came to him at school when watching a film on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (this Wikipedia link includes a great film). So unstable was said bridge, that it used to oscillate in the wind, turning it into a bit of a tourist attraction as people came to ride the wave (until, sadly, it collapsed in 1940, taking all its passengers with it).
Anyway, the idea of wind based oscillation stuck with Shawn, and he has now turned it into a potentially very cheap and very efficient means of energy generation. Watch the film here, which explains everything very well. Or read the website.
Just goes to show you're never too young to have great ideas, and that harder problems make for better inventions.