From wireless headphones to a personalized electric motor bike, the 2012 class of our annual America's Coolest College Start-ups list is on the cutting edge of product invention. Many of these upstarts were founded on the mission to give back to the world’s communities, take less from the earth’s resources, and have fun while doing it. What follows is the hottest products produced by college start-ups.
What do you get when you marry state of the art technologies, such as Bluetooth 4.0, light-beam forming, and acoustic echo cancellation, to fresh and innovative audio-tech designs? You get EarTop Technologies, a upstart that creates unique, wireless audio technology products. Their Flow series of products turns your headphones wireless using Bluetooth technology without sacrificing sound quality. Cost: $59.99
There are millions of eager potential customers just waiting for a G3Box to drop in on their neighborhood. No, it’s not the next hot gaming console. G3Box creates low-cost medical clinics inside of abandoned shipping containers that can be customized for the needs of the remote locations they deploy to, in particular, third-world countries. G3Box specializes in maternity clinics, medical clinics for rural healthcare, and emergency disaster relief clinics. Cost: $20,000
Pet owners will appreciate this product if they’ve come home to find that their beloved Fido has left a present on the carpet once again. PetLawn is a “pee pad” topped with artificial grass that allows dogs to use the bathroom indoors without the wet mess and odors. The key to the design is an improved drainage system and a silver-based antimicrobial compound that helps absorb moisture and eliminate stinkiness. Cost: $149
This start-up has designed the perfect dress shirt—Under Armour meets Polo—stitched exclusively from light-weight, moisture-wicking performance fabrics. The wrinkle-free, synthetic fabric is designed to release heat and block odor. Named for the cover agency that supplied British Special Ops with shoe lasers during WWII, Ministry of Supply dons men in stylish dress shirts as well as undershirts with the same no-BO qualities. Cost: $39-$129
Traverse your urban jungle fast and eliminate your carbon footprint at the same time with this personal electric motor bike. The street-legal PEV0 (Personal Electric Vehicle Zero) can be pumped full of energy using a standard 110 volt outlet and then carry you about 30-45 miles at 20 miles per hour without a driver’s license or registration in all 50 states. It can drive over 100 miles on just $0.25 of electricity (about 30 times more than a Toyota Prius). Cost: n/a
Inspired to give back to our nation’s troops, Salute the Brave sells hats, shirts and tank tops that pay homage to those in military service. The company operates with a one-for-one business model, meaning that for every product sold, another is donated overseas in a care package to the troops. The logo features a silhouette of a soldier in front of stars and stripes, while each donated item sent overseas features the phrase "Free To Be Because of Me." Cost: $19.99-$24.99
Absolutely stoked tested and approved, Stoked Skateboards has gnarly longboards from all the most popular brands—providing the sickest buying experience a skater could ask for. From boards to hardware and parts, the company has an expansive selection of products that cater to deck-riders. If you have no idea what I just said you need to bone up on your skater’s vocab. Cost: $3-$300