Business Manufacturing

An Online Matchmaker for Designers and Manufacturers

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Repatriating U.S. manufacturing jobs isn't just about bolstering the economy. There are practical business problems associated with outsourcing production abroad. It's not uncommon for shipments of products made in countries like China to arrive with defects, which can be hard to rectify from the other side of the world. In a report on WNYC's New Tech City, Matthew Burnett, a small business owner in Brooklyn, says quality control wasn't the only issue he ran into when he used foreign companies to manufacture parts for his designer watch company—language barriers and time-zone differences hampered routine communications. When Burnett started his next company, a clothing line, he decided he only wanted to make his products in the U.S. That way he could order smaller batches and call up the factory directly if there were any problems.   More

Business Digital

Is Apple’s Blossom Fading?

Image: Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

Apple is arguably the Brangelina of companies: It’s not young anymore, and there isn’t much new there. But our fascination and fixation endure. Widely regarded as a bellwether for the global economy and a perennial favorite on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list, Apple’s better-than-anticipated earnings report reveals a company that continues to capitalize on its unwavering customer loyalty numbers, baked-in culture of innovation, and relentless focus on design as a key market differentiator. But with its iconic founder gone and the company maturing under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook, some are seeing signs of stagnation and decline.   More

Life Science

Why Scientists Celebrate DNA Day (April 25)

DNA helix image via Shutterstock

Here’s a holiday you’ve probably never celebrated: April 25 is DNA Day! It honors the publication of the original 1953 paper from James Watson, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, and others first describing the double-helix structure of DNA. In more recent times, the day has also commemorated the Human Genome Project, declared complete in April 2003. This year, DNA Day marks the 60th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s discovery as well as the Human Genome Project’s 10th anniversary.   More

Digital Life Science

CrowdMed’s Investors Bank on Crowdsourced Medical Diagnoses

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Fans of Dr. Lisa Sanders's "Diagnosis" column, which invites New York Times readers to guess what's causing anonymous patients' mysterious ailments, will love the idea behind CrowdMed, a business that announced its beta launch and $1.1 million in seed funding at TEDMED in Washington last week. CrowdMed is a crowdsourcing platform that taps the collective wisdom of regular folks to produce diagnostic suggestions for baffling cases.   More

Life Science

Brain Science Could Be the Next Big Leap

Brain image via Shutterstock

Those who tuned in to President Obama's State of the Union speech in February might have missed a brief mention of a project some say will catalyze an entire new industry devoted to understanding the brain. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s," Obama said. "Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race." This brain mapping effort is the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (or BRAIN) Initiative, proposed jointly by the President and researchers. Obama has called it one of this century's "Grand Challenges," akin to mapping the human genome, or sending a man to the moon.   More

Finance Manufacturing

With $30 Million, Shapeways Will Push 3D Printing Frontiers

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Peter Weijmarshausen believes that 3D printing "is fundamentally changing the manufacturing ecosystem in its entirety." Several deep-pocketed investors agree. Weijmarshausen announced today that Shapeways, the 3D printing marketplace he heads, has raised $30 million in a series C financing led by Andreessen Horowitz. Existing investors Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, and Lux Capital also participated in the round. Since its founding in 2007, Weijmarshausen says Shapeways has seen a drop in 3D printing prices, an expansion of printable materials, and users upload over 1 million designs.   More

Business Digital Government

New 4G Contracts Test Beijing’s Fair Trade Commitment

The coming months will be a pivotal time for Beijing to show its commitment to free trade, as China’s three telcoms operators get set to award billions of dollars in new contracts to build 4G mobile networks. The building spree will mark the first batch of big new contracts since both the U.S. and Europe took moves last year that could severely limit or ban the import of Chinese networking equipment for reasons of national security and unfair competition.   More

Digital Video

Does Facebook Want to Make Us Closer or More Separate?

A thoughtful article at Wired.com by Evan Selinger asks the right questions about the TV ads for the new Facebook Home app for Android phones. How appropriate is the kind of self-absorbed distraction that the ads depict users of the software indulging in? Should we celebrate people who tune out those around them, opting instead for entertainment provided by their friends? While one ad shows a guy on a plane being greeted by a young relative, another depicts a young woman at a family dinner completely ignoring her relatives as she enjoys her friends' snowball fight, a ballet performance, and a loud drummer.   More

Digital

How to Fake an Internet Phenom in Five Easy Steps

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True story: Kevin Ashton, general manager of consumer electronics firm, Belkin, offers a remarkable step-by-step tutorial in Quartz on how to create the next big household name using social media. It’s easier than you’d think. Using some ingenuity and a little cash ($68, to be exact), Ashton created “Santiago Swallow,” a modern-day Internet celebrity with a verified Twitter account and more than 90,000 followers—who is entirely fake.   More

Life Science

A Cancer Genomics Arms Race Is Underway

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Supercomputers and DNA sequencing instruments are the weapons of choice in an "arms race within the war on cancer." Medical centers in New York City alone are reportedly spending more than $1 billion on building, equipping, and staffing new genomic research centers.   More

Learning

Student Activists Want Schools to Teach Entrepreneurship

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An effort to engage students in discussions about education policy got its start last year as nothing more than a Twitter hashtag, #StuVoice. But with more than a thousand followers, Student Voice has now become a movement, and this month, with support from Dell, the group organized its first live event. On a recent Saturday morning, elevator doors at Microsoft's New York office opened to a crowded scene of high school and college students chattering away in much-longer-than-140-character conversations. One of the most popular panels featured several successful teen entrepreneurs discussing how the current education system fails to support entrepreneurship.   More

IoE Video

MakerSwarm Aims to Open the Internet of Everything to Everyone

The Internet of Things is about lots of things. Not just the Internet of your things, or five or seven of some company's things that don't really play well with any other company's things. It's about casually connecting ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million, a trillion things to build a richer more connected life. Last week at DEMO Mobile, my company, MAYA Design, offered a sneak peek into a new app from our secret labs. It's an authoring tool for the Internet of Everything called MakerSwarm. MakerSwarm allows anyone—kids, geeks, moms, dads, me, you—to connect smart devices in minutes without writing a single line of code.   More

Life Science

Technology to Unlock Cancer Data for Patients’ Sake

GenoSpace CEO John Quackenbush

"If you think about the scientific revolutions that have occurred in history, they've been driven by one thing--the availability of data. From Copernicus to quantum mechanics, it's data that drives innovation." So says computational biologist John Quackenbush in an interview in the May edition of Fast Company. And despite all the talk about massive amounts of genomic data being churned out by next-generation sequencing instruments, much of it is not actually available, at least not in the way Quackenbush and a lot of cancer patients want it to be.   More

Cities Security & Privacy

Now, Everybody’s an Investigator

As the real-time manhunt continues in Boston—with the city on lockdown and one suspect still at large—we’re witnessing a profound shift in the role of the crowd. Since the Boston Marathon attacks on Monday, the public has been asked for by law enforcement officials, and taken it upon themselves, to help solve the crime. Having a plethora of evidence from a variety of sources—photos, video, and eyewitness accounts—has been key in the effort to apprehend the perpetrators. But where it gets hazy is when the public, emboldened on sites like Reddit and 4Chan Think Tank, becomes judge and jury, and ends up wrongly implicating lookalikes.   More

IoE

Everything Changes with the Internet of Everything

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If you get lost, your sneakers could help find you. The coming age of the Internet of everything promises radical shifts in how we live, how we solve problems, and how we recover from difficulty. The technology industry is racing to instrument and connect a vast range of things and processes in the physical and digital worlds. Several big companies have identified it as a giant opportunity—Amazon, Cisco, Ericsson, GE, IBM, and Qualcomm among them. They all believe that what many call the Internet of everything (or IoE) could have an even bigger impact on the world than the Internet we had on the world that preceded it.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

New Smartphone Moves From Alibaba, China Mobile

Smartphone image via Shutterstock

We’re seeing some interesting new moves in the smartphone space from e-commerce leader Alibaba and dominant carrier China Mobile, as each makes big new bets in the fast-evolving area. Alibaba is launching its mobile operating system on a new series of smartphones with several Chinese partners, following a similar aborted attempt last year. China Mobile, meanwhile, is planning a major overhaul for its popular but rapidly aging Fetion mobile messaging service, in an attempt to compete with newer, more popular third-party apps like Tencent’s WeChat.   More

Cities

Rock-Bottom Real Estate Creates Opportunity in Detroit

Detroit image via Shutterstock

Jerry Paffendorf and Dan Gilbert have radically different visions of urban renewal, but both seek to leverage the depressed Detroit real-estate market to spur entrepreneurship and opportunity. Paffendorf, a refugee from the Silicon Valley startup scene, created a website called "Why Don't We Own This?" which offers prospective buyers an information-rich online map of auction property. The idea behind the site is to encourage innovators to buy and renovate inexpensive properties to use for creative or entrepreneurial endeavors.   More

Business Digital

Too Much Like-Mindedness Hurts Companies, and the Country

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After the political rhetoric and partisan saber-rattling of the elections, the fiscal cliff debate, and recent presidential appointments, the country seems increasingly divided. In their book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart, Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing focus on one of the long-term trends driving the political rift. As Americans have become increasingly mobile over the last 40 years, they have sorted themselves into increasingly homogeneous neighborhoods, choosing to live near those who share similar beliefs, backgrounds, and socioeconomic status.   More

Cities Digital Security & Privacy

Investigators Will Crowdsource Clues to Boston Attack

Tracking down the perpetrators of Monday's Boston Marathon bombing will depend in part on determining the techniques they used, an aspect of the investigation that will rely heavily on evidence gathered from videos and photos of the crime scene. The New Yorker's Paige Williams spoke with former crime-scene analyst and Boston University School of Medicine instructor Adam B. Hall about the types of clues investigators will be looking for, and why. Forensic chemistry, explains Hall, lets investigators put together chemical evidence in crimes that involve drugs, arson, and explosives. To learn about the devices used in the Boston attack, Hall says investigators will be collecting every piece of evidence they can.   More

Cities Digital Security & Privacy

Google’s Person Finder Launched Moments After Boston Explosions

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Within moments of the explosions at the finish line of the Boson Marathon today, Google put its Person Finder into action to help friends and family locate loved ones who might have been affected and were unreachable by cell phone. At 7:00 pm, the app was tracking about 3,000 records.   More