Sir James Dyson invented what many consider the world’s best bagless vacuum cleaner—you know, the one that doesn’t lose suction—only after failing many, many times. It took him 15 years and 5,127 prototypes to perfect his cyclone technology, and we suspect that he relished the near-endless tinkering.
But to hold onto a shred of sanity, such long, plodding marathons need to be leavened with quick, instant-gratification sprints, as Dyson’s 650 U.K.-based engineers know perfectly well. In a company-sanctioned competition, they were given about a week to build, and then race, vehicles made solely from spare parts and fueled by the power they could squeeze from a handheld vacuum.
As you can see from the video, the results were all over the map—from polished toy cars to makeshift go-carts. And there were even a few failures.