As a naturally adventurous species, humans spend a great deal of time outdoors. We hike, we cycle, and we scale mountains, all in the name of fun and health. And as much as we are adventurous, we’re also an innovative species, which is why it’s no surprise that in recent years, some exciting innovations in the world of fitness and recreation have come to light.
From introducing unthought-of conveniences to inventing products that could save a life, these four exciting new innovative products are shaping the way humans remain active in their lives.
One of the most challenging aspects of kayaking isn’t manipulating the waters and staying afloat, but rather figuring out where to store a kayak in between outings. Homeowners in suburbs and rural areas might have space in a shed or yard, but city dwellers don’t have it as easy. Tiny apartments and small land lots make it impossible to own a kayak. The solution, until now, has been to either rent storage space or rent a kayak every time you want to hit the water.
The Oru Kayak, founded by Anton Willis, is the original foldable kayak. Inspired by the art of origami, Oru is a one-person boat that can be unfolded in 5 minutes, and folded back up in half that time.
The lightweight kayak is made out of a single, seamless sheet of double-sided polypropylene, and is intended for calmer, sheltered waters (not the open sea). When it’s folded up, it can fit in tight spaces such as a car truck or closet.
Willis created the Oru Kayak to address a struggle he faced: he loved to kayak, but his apartment was too small to house his passion. He committed several years, and countless prototypes, to the Oru Kayak.
Oru Kayak is manufactured in California, and all the parts are sourced in the USA.
Holding a flashlight in your hand isn’t always convenient. Nor is strapping on LED lights to your shoes or arm. That’s the belief behind the PowerCap, a cotton baseball hat with patented ultra bright LEDs tucked under the brim.
The result is an easy on/easy off, hands-free light, that can be used in virtually any situation, including:
More than just convenience, the PowerCap can prove to be a lifesaver as well. The LEDs provide visibility for distances up to 42 feet, and can be seen from a mile away. The popularity of this innovation might come as a result of its versatility: it’s ideal for the avid outdoorsman as well as the recreational runner. And, this concept doesn’t have to stop at hats. The patented LEDs can work well on other articles of clothing, including shoes.
Weaning off of traditional energy sources has led to some impressive innovations in our history, including solar panels and hybrid cars. Now a new innovation pushes this concept even further.
The Atom (by Siva Cycle) is a bicycle-powered charger designed to power-up your mobile devices by using your own energy.
As you pedal on your bicycle, the Atom turns your movements into energy that’s used to charge a mobile USB device, such as a smartphone or GPS. The Atom is lightweight, splash resistant, and easily detaches for on-demand power.
The Atom by Siva Cycle might find success, because of its clever targeting tactic. In recent years, there’s been a national push toward increased bike riding, namely by environmentalists looking to minimize the country’s dependency on cars and fuel.
The Atom speaks directly to that population, by making bike riding even more environmentally friendly. In future years, Siva Cycle hopes to create versions of their product that will work with other fitness-oriented products (think shoes when you run, or paddles when you kayak).
Since 2005, people living in developing countries have had access to a special type of straw that gives them access to healthy, drinkable water.
Now, that straw is available to consumers across the globe.
The LifeStraw is a personal water filter system that can filter 1,000 liters of water (which equates to enough clean water for one person for an entire year).
This one-of-a-kind straw uses an advanced fiber technology, which can filtrate water without the use of chlorine or iodine. It traps 99.99% of E. coli and protozoan parasites, the main culprits for gastrointestinal diseases. It will not, however, remove viruses, heavy metals, or chemicals.
The LifeStraw has proven to be a lifesaver in third-world countries. However, for consumers it can also prove to be useful. It can be used for travelers to countries with questionable water, or for safely drinking from stream while hiking or camping. It can also make a great addition to any home emergency kit.
For each LifeStraw sold, Vestergaard (the company behind the product) will provide a year’s worth of clean drinking water for those in need.
While unique in their own ways, these four innovations all have one thing in common: improving people’s lives. In some instances, such as the kayak, no one’s life will be outwardly safer as a result of buying the Oru, however, it does fill a certain gap in the marketplace.
Innovations that change the world don’t have to receive national headlines. They just have to address the pain points of a certain segment of the population. It’s safe to say each of the products mentioned above does just that.