Students taking part in Columbia University's Ebola design challenge demonstrated for judges how to use a special chamber for decontaminating small items. Courtesy of Columbia Engineering hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Columbia Engineering

Solar sponge: The top layer of graphite soaks up the sun's energy in tiny holes. When drops of liquid fill the holes, the water quickly evaporates. (The beaker looks hot, but the water below the sponge is cool as a cucumber.) Courtesy of George Ni/MIT hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of George Ni/MIT

All folded up and ready to magnify: The Foldscope weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in your back pocket and offers more than 2,000-fold magnification. TED/YouTube hide caption

itoggle caption TED/YouTube

Clear and clean, bubble wrap is well-suited to serve as an array of tiny test tubes. Here a dye solution is injected into the bubbles to measure the hemoglobin concentration in blood. American Chemical Society hide caption

itoggle caption American Chemical Society

The Liftware device, shown here as an early prototype (left) and the final design, starts up automatically when it's lifted from the table. There's no "on" switch to fumble with. Ina Jaffe/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ina Jaffe/NPR

Elizabeth, Samuel, Bryan and Noah Shaw amid Texas bluebonnets on Easter Sunday. Samuel was conceived with in vitro fertilization so he would not suffer from the hereditary cancer that afflicted Noah. Courtesy of Elizabeth Shaw hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Elizabeth Shaw