In a perfect example of “you never know what’s going to inspire you down the road,” meet Shawn Frayne. Just watch the video:
How about a wall of these, eh?
This guy is just about 30 now, and already won the 2007 “breakthrough of the year” award from Popular Mechanics for this invention. Pretty solid, yeah?
In the video, he only offhandedly mentions where he got his idea. It’s from a horrible engineering folly called the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Another video:
This is exactly how not to design a bridge.
Completely unrelated, right? Mostly. Both have to do with wind. And that’s clearly something that’s interested Shawn since he was young. Shawn consumed information that interested him like candy, unaware that it would come back later in his life.
What would have happened if he hadn’t seen the footage of the Tacoma Narrows bridge? This invention might not be around.
But because it is around, he’s making bank with his ingenious invention, helping the world with a reliable piece of sustainable technology, and inspiring other people to work on projects like his own.
Here’s another interesting solution to turbineless air power. Windstalks–long rods that flap around in the wind and generate power. What sort of thing could have inspired this? Maybe it was a farmer watching his cornfields flowing around in the wind. Maybe it was something else. What do you think?
Point being, it’s fun to think about the fact that the things you watch now and enjoy now are going to be with you forever. It doesn’t really matter what you like so long as you like it. If you grow up to be an engineer, it would make a great story to say an invention or math theorem came from watching Futurama.