Here's a list of cool technologies that address real social problems. Its inspired by a list in Fortune, December 11, 2006, called "Tools for better living." Your additions are most welcome.
1) Must be a device that meets a need for a large number of poor people
2) Must be affordable by those people
3) Must function in the environment in which the people who need it actually live
Fortune lists about seven, of which I was most impressed with these two:
The Lifestraw is a cheap, re-usable water filter that allows the safe drinking of even the dirtiest water.
The Start Syringe is a syringe with a plunger that breaks internally after one use, prohibiting its reuse and potential for sharing dirty needles.
Another that I like is the Solar Cooker a fast, hot oven that uses solar power instead of wood for fuel, making it relevant to people in deforested areas.
What have you seen out there that you think is cool, that solves a problem, and that is prices right, culturally appropriate, and could make a huge difference in the lives of millions of people? Send me your entries through the comment function or via email and I'll keep expanding the list.