It’s widely recognised that American inventors such as Alexander Bell, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford helped turn the American dream into a reality.
But these days, many inventors are coming from a different economic juggernaut — China. According to China Daily, 210,000 invention patents were given out in the country last year, a 25% increase over 2011.
In this slideshow we’ve included pictures from China’s DIY inventors: industrious men and women inventing in their backyard.
(An earlier version of this story was written by Rebecca Baird-Remba and Adam Taylor.)
He Liang took ten years modifying this suitcase vehicle which has its own motor and can reach speeds of over 12 miles an hour. It can travel 30-40 miles on one one charge.
Tao Xiangli, a self-taught inventor, built this remote controlled humanoid robot out of scrap metal and electronic wires that he bought from a second-hand market for $49,037. Tao ran into a problem, though, when he realised the robot was too big to get out of his front door.
This 7.8 feet tall home-made motorcycle cost its creator, Abulajon, $1,300 to create. It weighs 600 pounds and can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour.
This farmer spent five months building this DIY submarine, which he successfully took to a depth of 30 feet in a lake near his home town of Dangjiangkou, in the Hubei province.
This improvised tractor has 12 brooms spinning behind it and is used to sweep the streets of Mohe in the Heilongjiang province.
Liu Wanyong created this improvised bicycle which is held afloat by plastic tubes in Zhenning, in the Guizhou province.
Liu Fulong built this wooden electronic vehicle and tests it out below. The car can reach speeds up to 20 miles an hour, which is pretty fast for a homemade experiment.
Zhang Wuyi looks up as he squats under a suction pipe of his new submarine that captures sea cucumbers at his workshop in Wuhan, Hubei province, March 25, 2013.
A Chinese inventor, Yang Zongfu celebrates on his six-ton (5,443 kg) ball container named Noah's Ark of China after he succeeds in a series of tests of the vessel in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, August 6, 2012. The vessel was designed to protect people inside from external heat, water and external impact.
A woman rides an unicycle at a park in Shanghai February 28, 2004. The unicycle was designed several years ago by Chinese inventor Li Yongli who called it 'the number one vehicle in the world.'
Zhang Xuelin sits inside his self-made aircraft at his home before its test flight in Jinan, Shandong province, November 28, 2012
Tian Shengying (R), a 55-year-old blacksmith, adjusts the rotor of the helicopter, in Shenyang, Liaoning province, September 21, 2012.
Sun Jifa moves a brick as he works to build his new house in Yong Ji county, Jilin province, September 25, 2012. Chinese farmer Sun, who lost his forearms in a dynamite fishing accident 32 years ago, could not afford to buy prosthesis. He spent two years guiding his two nephews to build him prosthesis from scrap metal, plastic and rubber.
A 49-year-old electric bike mechanic who identified himself only as Wu welds a component to fit onto his newly-made robot (R) at his repair shop in Shenyang, Liaoning province June 25, 2012.
Han Yuzi, 63, inventor, holds up one of his creations, a hair comb that doubles as a small hand-held musical instrument, in Guangzhou, the capital of China's Guangdong province, September 13, 2003.
Li Jingchun (top), a 58-year-old farmer, looks on as his family members work on his self-made aircraft on top of his house in Xiahe village located in Shenyang, Liaoning province February 28, 2012.
Zhang Yali, 49, tests a giant bicycle designed and made by him and his friends outside a rented warehouse in Jilin, Jilin province December 25, 2011.
Local farmer Shu Mansheng hovers above the ground in his self-designed and homemade flying device during a test flight in front of his house in Dashu village on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei province September 21, 2011.
Ding Shilu, an automobile mechanic, carries out a test-flight for his self-made aircraft at a frozen reservoir in Shenyang, Liaoning province February 25, 2011.
Lei Zhiqian rides a modified bicycle across the Hanjiang River, a tributary of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, Hubei province June 16, 2010.
Gao Hanjie installs the rotor blades on his homemade helicopter in Shenyang, Liaoning province June 9, 2010.
A worker polishes the surface of an unfinished miniature submarine at a workshop of Zhang Wuyi, a local farmer who is interested in scientific inventions, in Qingling village, on the outskirts of Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei province August 29, 2011.
Chinese farmer Yang Youde pushes his homemade cannon near his farmland on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei province June 6, 2010.
Farmer Shu Mansheng prepares to take off with his homemade ultralight aircraft in Wuhan, Hubei province May 10, 2010.
Farmer Wu Yulu drives his rickshaw pulled by a his self-made walking robot near his home in a village at the outskirts of Beijing January 8, 2009.
Tao Xiangli gets out of his homemade submarine after operating it in a lake on the outskirts of Beijing September 3, 2009.
Wu Zhongyuan, 22, a local farmer, poses with his self-made helicopter, in Jiuxian county, Henan province August 1, 2009.
Zhao Xiuguo drives a homemade model of Formula One car in Tangshan, Hebei Province, some 180km (113 miles) east of Beijing July 21, 2006.
Li Yuming, a local farmer who is interested in scientific invention, works on his unfinished miniature submarine 'Xiaguang V' on the outskirts of Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei province August 24, 2007.
A self-styled Chinese inventor named Yu Jun tests his homemade helicopter next to his apartment in Beijing June 25, 2003.
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