3 Awesome Social Impact Products

Each year, thousands of beautifully designed gadgets hit the market that are undeniably awesome, but may not make a huge impact in the way people live their lives. The sad truth is: frivolous products usually get more media attention than their socially conscious counterparts. Today, we thought we'd rundown three of the cooler, awesomely designed social impact products that have come out recently.

1. Adjustable Eyeglasses

For more than 153 million people living in struggling nations around the world--people with poor or no eyesight--eyeglasses are considered a luxury. Imagine growing up in a country where even dime-store prescription glasses are a scarce or unaffordable. That's what makes the advent of adjustable eyeglasses so darn awesome.

Invented by Josh Silver and produced by his company, Oxford-based Adaptive Eyecare, Ltd., the adjustable eyeglasses use two flexible membranes filled with fluid. The wearer can adjust the refraction membranes him or herself, much like one would focus binoculars, until the optimal optics are achieved.

The impacts of these glasses are plentiful: they cost $1/pair (Silver hopes to sell a billion pairs by 2020) and don't need to be replaced every few years with a different prescription. Plus, a high level of optometric training isn't requiredto deploy the glasses. Do they work for everyone? No. The glasses only correct nearsightedness and farsightedness but not astigmatism. Still, for many around the world, they'll be seeing things in a whole new light.

2. Spider Boots

spiderboot1No, you can't exactly scale walls with these Spider Boots, but they're still pretty fantastic. In fact, they exist to make sure you DON'T scale walls, saving you (or the person wearing them) from being blown to bits by a land mine.

Experts estimate that there are 70 to 110 million active land mines in over 60 countries, killing or injuring more than one hundred people a day. In addition to killing indiscriminately, by rendering entire areas of a country "no-go zones," land mines can cripple an area's economic development.

Spider boots are here to change that. A study by Worrell, developer of the spider boot, showed that most mine casualties occur "because the shock wave comes from directly underneath the leg." The spider boot distances the foot from the source of the blast, thus sparing the wearer the mine shockwave.

A fragment resistant deflector shell then goes to work, protecting the wearer from shrapnel and debris. Finally, materials on the bottom of the shoe absorb the residual energy of the blast. The spider boot has won so much acclaim that one was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Now that's design!

3. The XO

XO-PCThere are two billion children in poor countries who have little-to-no access to education. If we could get them all on the Internet, we could provide them such access, but how to do it?

Meet the XO - a laptop developed by the One Laptop Per Child initiative, launched by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte. These things can do a lot more than throw down Xs and Os on the tic-tac-toe board. They can record voice and video, access wireless, handle high heat and humidity, and speak tons of different languages. They also have specially designed screens designed to work in direct sunlight.

Can they break? You can try, but the XO has no hard drive to crash, and only two internal cables - meaning there are less things that can possibly go wrong. 2mm thick plastic walls internal "bumpers" absorb shocks and spills, and the darn things have gigantic wireless antennas which "far outperform the typical laptop." Very cool!

Built in web browser, built in calculator, a PDF viewer for e-textbooks, a music composer, simple video editor, a text editor, built in-Wikipedia... Deployed in +30 locations around the world, the XO is changing the way kids learn -- kids that are well on their way to changing the world.

Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels

If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

15 Dad Facts for Father's Day

Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"


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