Saildrone redefines the world of ocean monitoring by going further, faster and more cost effectively than any other technology on the planet. Unmanned vehicles, like gliders, and drifting bouy's have recently been deployed with promising results, however they are very slow and still require a ship to deliver them to their start location. These carbon fiber seaplanes could drastically change the monitoring of oil spills, climate change, marine life, protected coastlines, etc. They are 10 years in the making and are now funded by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Tiny House Movement
The "Tiny House Movement" is movement to return to houses less than 1,000 square feet and some as small as 80 square feet. This trend is counter-cultural to the rest of society which has increased in material wealth and prestige (where the average home is now 2,479 square feet). These homes use less material, less energy, take up much less space, and some people even believe this movement could help solve homelessness. One of the biggest issues however, is zoning permits for where to keep your tiny house. Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is a company who's helping to lead the movement and is based out of Sonoma, CA.
Connectable Park Bench
Urban furniture that connects you to the city - it is a solar powered park bench that allows you to charge your phone from an outlet on the bench. A young woman runs this innovation from MIT Media Lab (Sandra Richter). They call it "benchy."
Big Belly Solar Compactor
A trash compact that allows it to hold 5x the amount of trash as most trashcans. It sends an alert to the city to let them know when the trash can is almost full. The city of Philly can send their sanitation department to clean up. This means less littering and less space. It also requires fewer trash folks. Changing the way trash clean up works.