—Rachael Mt. Pleasant
Photo: Kagan Mcleod
36. Drones—Yes, Drones—That Can Save The World
A company called Matternet has tested unmanned aerial vehicles, or "drones," in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it hopes to help deliver medical supplies and food to areas that lack reliable roads. "Most people associate the word drone with war," says Paola Santana, one of Matternet's cofounders. "Well, we're trying to use them for good." By 2020, the drones may even deliver those shoes you bought online to your door—in an hour.
—Rachael Mt. Pleasant
Photo: Rich Hardcastle/Eyevine/Redux
37. Rising Star
This is what happens when you listen to British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas for the first time: You gasp in disbelief that a 23-year-old's voice could be so clear, warm, deep, and wise; you marvel that it's equally stunning on rhythmic pop anthems (like the infectious "Is Your Love Big Enough?") and big ballads (the plaintive, lovelorn "Lost & Found"); and you suddenly remember how you felt when you first heard Aretha or Whitney or Adele—like if you could listen to only one singer for the rest of your life, you'd be happy for it to be her.
Photo: Sam Kaplan
38. Finally, a Pot That Stirs Itself
Invented by a Japanese dentist, the Kurukurunabe (which translates, roughly, to "pot round and round") comes with a notched insert that causes water to swirl in a circular motion and boil faster—unless, perhaps, you're watching it. ($228; amazon.com)
Photo: Peter Rosa/Studio D
39. The Little Black Dress, Reinvented
Consulting for famous fashion brands on their manufacturing techniques, Natalia Allen saw "some atrocious practices" in mills and factories. Among them: rivers being polluted by dyes and workers being exposed to toxic chemicals. Which is why her minimalist LBDs (they also come in white and taupe) are made by robots—who were not exploited, to our knowledge—in New York. Each creates minimal waste by using a single piece of yarn sourced mostly from fast-growing trees. Seamless, lightweight, easy to throw in a suitcase, the dresses are so uncannily slimming you'll want to wear them forever—which is, of course, the point. (nataliaallen.com)
This quote: "The bigness of the world is redemption. Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest."
—Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
Illustration: Kagan Mcleod
41. In the Bag
Almost 23 million checked bags are lost or misplaced in airports every year. Now, thanks to a new palm-size tracking device called Trakdot Luggage, yours won't be one of them. Slip the gadget into your suitcase, and when you land, it sends a text or an e-mail letting you know it arrived as well—or was accidentally rerouted to Des Moines. ($50 plus $9 activation fee and $13 annual service fee; trakdot.com)
Photo: Studio Gang Architects
42. Sun Queen
New York City's planned Solar Carve Tower, designed by architect Jeanne Gang—and situated along the High Line raised railroad-track park—will take its shape from the geometric path of the sun's rays over lower Manhattan, allowing maximum sunlight to reach the park and preserving views of the Hudson River. But just as impressive as the building's engineering is its facade (see a digital rendering, left), barnacled with kaleidoscopic panels of glass, jaggedly razor-cut out of the sky.
Click to enlarge the image
From the August 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!