Healthcare

Palo Alto Startup Aims to Curb Childhood Obesity

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Can technology help kids shed pounds? Palo Alto-based startup Kurbo Health is betting it can, with an app that incorporates the best practices from adult weight loss programs. The company, which also offers in-person coaching programs, has raised $5.8 million to push a virtual coaching program that bundles tracking and feedback in a mobile app.   More

Media & Marketing

When It Comes to Sports Display Screens, Size Matters

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The latest arms race in professional sports is taking place not on the field, but above it. Spurred in equal parts by technological advancement, swelling coffers, and growing competition from at-home screens that bring better-than-being-there experiences into living rooms without all the challenge (and expense) of attending a game in-person, professional and collegiate teams are racing to install bigger, brighter, sharper displays that make old-school videoboards look pedestrian by comparison. “We see the living room as our biggest competitor. Our job is to help the venue manager with fresh content,” said Al Kurtenbach, co-founder and chairman of Daktronics, one of the premier display makers in the world.   More

Partner Insights

Your Computer Will Feel Your Pain

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What if your computer could empathize with you? The evolving field known as affective computing is likely to make it happen soon. Scientists and engineers are developing systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate human affects or emotions. It is an interdisciplinary field spanning computer science, psychology, and cognitive science. While its origins can be traced to longstanding philosophical enquiries into emotion, a 1995 paper on affective computing by Rosalind Picard catalyzed modern progress.   More

Global Tech Manufacturing

Electronics Manufacturers Bet Big on Vietnam

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Attracted by low labor costs and other advantages, global electronics manufacturers invested billions in Vietnam over the past few years. As they continue to build new factories in 2014, Vietnam’s economy will benefit from the influx of foreign capital, talent, and technology. A small player in the global electronics supply chain just a decade ago, Vietnam exported $38 billion in devices and components last year, according to data from the International Trade Center. Although this pales next to the $560 billion shipped by China, the world’s leading producer of electronics, Vietnam now ranks as the 12th largest electronics exporter in the world.   More

Energy & Green Tech

A Food Waste Reduction Movement Gathers Steam

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Americans today are paying closer attention to food waste, long a European concern. Helping them reduce that waste is an important new opportunity for food and restaurant brands. Like Ikea and EasyJet, who have made the spartan ethic trendy, food firms can make this an integral part of their brand story. It's a welcome development given that Americans throw away between 30-40 percent of our edible food every year. Mainstream food brands need to rethink policy and get creative to drive both internal and consumer food-saving behaviors.   More

Internet of Things

An Affordable Robot for the Home?

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Rapid innovation in smartphone technology has given us a glimpse of how we will interact with digital tools that can understand and adapt to our preferences and tendencies. Now, an MIT professor is betting that people will welcome a more sophisticated digital personal assistant into their homes. Cynthia Breazeal, who has twenty years of experience working with technology that enables robots to respond to social cues, has created Jibo, an innovation that her company claims is the world’s first family robot. Priced at $499, Jibo is significantly more affordable than other similar robots on the market, but can do many of the same tasks, like order takeout, recognize and track faces, and make video calls.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Diagnosing the First Patient: Genomics to the Rescue

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Nic Volker. Beatrice Rienhoff. Alexis and Noah Beery. If you happen to be a scientist or clinician in the genomics field, you already know the topic of this article just from those four names. Each is a child who suffered from a mysterious or even one-of-a-kind disease. Collectively, they endured years in hospitals, met dozens of doctors, took countless tests to achieve that precious objective: a diagnosis. And for each of these kids, DNA sequencing was critical to providing that answer.   More

Healthcare

Smartphones Could Help Mitigate Bipolar Disorder

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People who suffer from bipolar disorder may soon be equipped with another line of defense in their battle against manic and depressive episodes. Not with more psychologists or prescriptions, but, surprisingly enough, with their smartphones. A new app from the University of Michigan is experimenting with using voice analysis to detect impending mood swings and alert doctors before an episode becomes a crisis, or worse, an attempted suicide. The app works by listening to a patient's' phone calls, and automatically recording, encrypting, and analyzing them to produce data sets.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Google Teams Up with Environmental Scientists to Map Gas Leaks

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Google Maps Street View lets people discover any place in the world and explore it via the Web as if they were actually there. Now, the cars that take photos for Street View are using advanced sensor technology to search for gas leaks and faulty pipes in places like Staten Island, Boston, and Indianapolis. Google has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to pinpoint sources of pollution using methane sensors and data-crunching algorithms.   More

Global Tech

Shanghai Street View: Troubled Technology

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This week’s Street View takes us to Shanghai’s rapidly aging Maglev train, which was once the city’s pride and joy when it first opened in 2004 offering the world’s fastest speeds in a commercial rail service. The Maglev celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, even as debate grows about a technology that has been overtaken by slower but less costly high speed rail trains in the last few years. More broadly speaking, the sputtering Maglev also shines a spotlight on Shanghai’s inability to become a leading center for technology development.   More

Manufacturing

Innovation Hubs Are Accelerating American Manufacturing

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There’s a renaissance underway in American manufacturing. Even as rising wages and energy costs in China are leading more U.S. companies to bring manufacturing stateside, economic indicators point towards real industrial progress. The Institute for Supply Management's monthly Report on Business shows that 15 of 18 manufacturing industries grew in June, and a composite index based on five industry indicators shows a steady expansion in manufacturing for the 13th consecutive month.   More

Global Tech Government

Paranoia Muddies Media’s View of Bitcoin’s Potential

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European financial regulators just took a positive step to engage directly with the disruptive effects of the growing cryptocurrency ecosystem, but you might not have realized that. The European Banking Authority (EBA) watchdog agency issued a report on Friday, July 11, titled “Opinion on ‘virtual currencies’.” It then received a great deal of media attention – most of it negative.   More

Healthcare

The Convergence of Medical and Consumer Health Apps

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Consumer healthcare apps linked to smartphones or wearable devices are growing in popularity, and forthcoming offerings from Apple and Google are likely to draw more attention to the field. These systems allow users to monitor a range of information—heart rate, calories burned, distance walked—but they don’t guarantee a change in behavior, much less an improvement in health.   More

Learning

A Class Discovery Platform: By Students, for Students

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Today, you can use an app to hail a cab or to have groceries delivered within an hour, but college students still use outdated academic services for even simple tasks like signing up for classes, arranging college housing, and paying tuition. Frustrated with such outmoded tools, three UC Berkeley undergrads created an intuitive application to solve a central academic challenge for students there (and at most schools): finding the classes that best suit them.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Individualized Cancer Treatment Coming—But Only If Underdogs Prevail

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Decades ago, “personalized medicine” meant “don’t give penicillin to the person who is fatally allergic to it.” Today, the phrase is shorthand for the ambitious but achievable concept of targeting medications to a specific group of people, based on genetic information, disease progression, biomarkers, and other factors. Still, there’s a small but growing force in the biomedical community that takes the notion of “personalized medicine” much further. For them the term is used literally—they aim for treatment options custom-crafted for the unique snowflakes that we are.   More

Global Tech

Facebook Moves Ahead in Beijing, Line Blocked

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Two of the world’s biggest social networking service (SNS) operators are in the headlines as the new week begins, starting with word that Facebook is moving ahead with its plans to open in China. Meantime, separate reports are saying Japanese-based mobile instant messaging service Line has been disrupted in China, perhaps for carrying sensitive content. These news bits may look different on the surface, but they’re really quite similar in broader terms. China is extremely wary of offshore-based SNS like Facebook, Line, and Twitter, because they are not subject to the country’s strict self-censorship laws.   More

Healthcare

Dutch Surgeon Successfully Implants 3D-Printed Skull

3D printing has gained popularity as the cool do-it-yourself way to manufacture your own art pieces, knickknacks, and playthings. But the technology is capable of so much more—printing everything from food to housing to combat supplies—and it's recently been making big strides in the world of medicine, too. This past spring, Dutch brain surgeon Dr. Bon Verweij achieved a medical breakthrough when he performed the first operation using a 3D-printed skull.   More

Security & Privacy

Ex-Intelligence Chief McConnell Fears Major Cyber Attack

Former National Intelligence Director Adm. Mike McConnell (now at Booz Allen Hamilton) notes in this interview at Techonomy's recent Data Security Lab that our democracy has traditionally made decisions and developed legislation in reaction to events. That is unwise now, though, he says, if we wait until a major cyber event before imposing regulations to demand good cyber practices from business. Sadly, though, he suspects that we won't act until such an event happens.   More

Finance Mobile

Kiva’s Julie Hanna on Tech as a Democratizing Force

Is technology the most democratizing force mankind has ever seen? That's how technologist and serial entrepreneur Julie Hanna sees it. We spoke with Hanna at a recent Techonomy dinner salon in San Francisco. She asserted that tech tools have leveled the playing field and "enabled globally fair access on a mass scale." But she says there's a lot more to do about what she calls "the global opportunity crisis we face, where half the planet's population is living on less than $2 a day."   More

Business E-Commerce

Alibaba Picks NYSE, Plays with Yahoo, Football

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It’s been two weeks since I’ve written a post exclusively about leading e-commerce company Alibaba, so I thought I’d end the week with a round-up of a few company news bits including its selection of the New York Stock Exchange for its highly-anticipated IPO. In related news, the company’s major shareholder Yahoo is reportedly in talks to reduce its planned sale of Alibaba shares in the offering. Last but not least, Alibaba has formally added its name to one of its latest acquisitions, a stake in one of China’s leading soccer clubs.   More