Every year, the Buckminster Fuller Institute hosts a competition inviting designers and innovators to tackle some of the planet's most pressing problems in the spirit of the late, great architect and inventor for which the organization is named. Because of its focus on humanitarian and environmental design, it's one of our favorite contests, so we were excited to learn that the semi-finalists for the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge have been announced! Click through our gallery to see them all and tell us which one you think should be the winner by commenting below.
This year’s semifinalists range from familiar topics like Earth Hour and the Living Building Challenge, to a project that produces fuel and fertilizer from agricultural waste in Africa. A couple of teams have developed portable, off-grid lights, and several others are working to develop tools for health care providers working in the developing world. Previous winners have included Eco Machines inventor John Todd, marine conservation group Blue Ventures, and Operation Hope.
So far, the distinguished panel of judges has narrowed down the field of contestants from 162 to 18 semifinalists, but their work isn’t done yet. On June 6, the winner will be announced in New York City and presented with the OmniOculi sculpture and $100,000 in prize money. As Bucky Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Congratulations to all of the semi-finalists, and good luck!