Oakley knew its latest innovation would hinge on the (ahem) hinge. Its Radarlock
sunglasses—out this month—allow wearers to swap out its iconic single lenses to best suit their activity, which means it needs a lock that's easy to use but hard to trigger accidentally. "I come from automotives, so I'm inspired by those mechanisms," says Ryan Calilung, an Oakley R&D engineer. "From day one, we thought of this device as a door." To shrink a car door's system, the team used the frame's existing hinge pin and built a lock into the stem; a quick slide of a switch, located near the wearer's temple, releases the lens. To test its strength, the Radarlock was subjected to salt-spray testing, temperature testing, and athlete testing—perhaps the most crucial, as Radarlock will be worn at this summer's Olympic Games. "If it meets their needs," Calilung says, "it will meet the needs of a guy like me riding down the street on his bike." ($200, oakley.com)
A version of this article appeared in the April 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.