Huge congratulations to Saul Griffith of Squid Labs for winning a MacArthur fellowship. Commonly called the "genius grant", it's one of the most prestigious fellowships possible for unusually creative people. $500,000 to spend as you see fit is an awfully nice thing of course. Even better, it's a unique recognition for people whose expertise is odd enough to typically not "fit in" with their more conventional colleagues.
Saul's in good company this year, including the amazing soprano Dawn Upshaw. I mostly follow computer science; previous MacArthur fellows in that area include Tim Berners-Lee, John Holland, Karl Sims, even rms. All amazingly innovative thinkers.
Saul was one of the brilliant people that made the MIT Media Lab great. It's not easy to characterize his work except to say he figures out how to fabricate incredibly innovative and clever things like low cost eyeglasses and hand cranked generators. One of my favourite memories from Boston was flying his hand-made kites, strong enough to lift me off the ground and let me fly. Just an amusement, but typical of the joy Saul brings to his work.
See also Tim O'Reilly's appreciation