Big issues are best tackled with massive creativity and sometimes that creativity leads to world-changing innovation.
From clothing that changes color to alert the wearer of nearby toxins to a boot that alerts health care workers if a baby stops breathing, inventors are putting their good ideas into motion.
These inventors are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. Though certainly not an exhaustive list, here are nine innovations that made an impact in July.
1. The app that helps fisherman navigate and avoid trouble
The app, called FishErmen Lifeline Terminal (FELT), seeks to inform fishermen of Indian fishing boundaries so they aren’t apprehended by Sri Lankan police for border crossing a crime that can result in months of jail time. The app also tracks the fisherman’s traveled path, and keeps track of their catch.
2. These eco-friendly mosquito traps designed to tackle Zika
The Zika virus has been on everyone’s radar for the past year, but with the Olympics fast approaching in Rio de Janeiro, around the disease is mounting. Brazil has been particularly impacted by the virus and athletes from around the the world will head there to compete in the coming weeks.
One startup, , created recycled cardboard mosquito traps that serve as a biodegradable stagnant pool the exact type of environment where mosquitos like to breed. The traps contain naturally occurring insecticides to kill female mosquitos when they try to lay eggs inside.
The traps have already been tested in Australia to tackle dengue fever, which is transmitted by the same mosquito species that carries the Zika virus. The company is currently funding its efforts through .
3. A device that helps deaf users detect danger
, a newly launched startup based in New York, is working to make assistive technology affordable and accessible. In July, the company launched a campaign to build its first product, SoundSense. The device is a small wearable designed to help deaf individuals detect loud sounds and alerts, like sirens and car horns, by transforming those sounds into felt vibrations.
SoundSense only costs $30 significantly lower than similar devices. Through its Kickstarter, the startup is allowing donors who don’t need this type of device to donate one to someone who could benefit from it.
4. Clothing that changes color based on nearby pollutants
To raise awareness of air quality especially in urban spaces clothing designer Nikolas Bentel, in collaboration with the Autodesk Applied Research Lab, created . The clothing changes from black to white when there are high pollution levels in the area, with shirts designed to address radioactivity, particle pollution and carbon monoxide.
The shirts come with a hefty $500 price tag. But the innovation is an interesting take on alerting people to unseen pollutants in their everyday environments.
5. A site that provides health care cost transparency
The cost of health care in the U.S. is often unmanageable, especially for low-income individuals and families. But shopping around for low health care costs is often time consuming and frustrating especially if your health issue can’t wait to be treated.
A new website called is taking on this issue, providing U.S. users with health care cost comparisons in a given area of the country. The San Francisco-based startup hopes the site will empower users to take control of their care, while also driving down costs of doctors nationally.
6. The plane that flew around the world without fuel
A plane powered entirely by solar energy around the world in July in an attempt to revolutionize how we think of flight. After more than 17 legs of the journey and 24,000 miles, Solar Impulse 2 landed in Abu Dhabi more than a year after the plane took off.
The goal of the flight, which began March 2015 and was disrupted for several months due to repairs, was to raise awareness of solar power and clean technology that could one day change the way we travel.
7. An app that helps address health crisis with VR games
Innovators at Oxford University created a virtual reality game called , or Life-saving Instruction for Emergencies, to teach health care providers in Africa how to identify and address emergency health situations during childbirth. The game puts providers in high-stress virtual situations, training them how to tackle the situations comprehensively and calmly. It can also be used as a regular app, for those lacking access to VR headsets.
8. A spin on Snapchat helping sexual assault survivors share their stories
Snapchat filters are doing more than just making you giggle with your friends. In India, the filters were used in July by the Hindustan Times to two teenage girls about their experiences with sexual assault.
The filters allowed the girls to without restrictions or fear of their identities being compromised. The girls were asked to chose their own filters to disguise their identity, both opting for the fire-breathing dragon filter arguably the filter the obscures faces the most.
9. A boot that sends an alert when a baby stops breathing
The APNEBOOT detects when infants have apneas, or lapses in breathing, while sleeping. When these occur, it alerts health care providers via a beeping censor while also stimulating the babys foot to wake the child.
The APNEBOOT is the second product of startup , which is noted for its hypothermia detection bracelets for infants. This month, Bempu received seed funding from the competition to continue their work on maternal and infant health.