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tech innovation

Apple Seeks FDA's Advice On Journey to More Powerful Personal Tech

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2014 03:26 PM

At a critical juncture for Apple, the house that Jobs built is now turning to health and fitness as the antidote to slipping iPhone sales and public criticism that the brand has lost its defining innovation and design mojo.

The company is reportedly working on a sensor-laden iWatch that works in tandem with a “Healthbook” app to monitor and store personal data on steps taken, calories burned, blood pressure, hydration levels and other blood-related metrics like glucose levels, following the growing popularity of health-monitoring devices like Nike's FuelBand, FitBit and dozens of others than debuted at this year's CES

Apple executives Jeff Williams, SVP operations, Bud Tribble, VP software technology, and Michael O’Reilly, a recent hire and former chief medical officer for Masimo, creator of non-invasive technology that measures blood oxygen, met in December with Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg about “mobile medical applications," according to the New York Times.

Mark A. McAndrew, a partner with Taft Stettinius & Hollister said the out of the ordinary meetings signaled that, “They are either trying to get the lay of the land for regulatory pathways with medical devices and apps and this was an initial meeting, or Apple has been trying to push something through the FDA for a while and they’ve had hangups.”Continue reading...

tech innovation

Google Sees Further Into Health Care Industry with Smart Contact Lens

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 17, 2014 02:51 PM

Google’s latest ‘moonshot’ product is one you'll have to see to believe. 

The company unveiled a prototype for a smart contact lens that monitors glucose levels in tears—a huge boon for the world’s 382 million diabetics (a number that could reach beyond 590 million by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation) who currently test their own blood glucose levels up to ten times a day with finger pricks.

The smart lens, which Google cautions will take at least five years to reach the consumer market, uses a tiny glucose sensor with a wireless transmitter. The nano-electronics in the lens don't interfere with vision as they are placed outside the eye's pupil and iris. It’s the smallest wireless glucose sensor ever made.

The project's co-founders, Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, joined Google X about 18 months ago. “The beautiful thing is we're leveraging all of the innovation in the semiconductor industry that was aimed at making cellphones smaller and more powerful,” Otis said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “It doesn't look like much, but it was a crazy amount of work to get everything so very small.”Continue reading...

tech innovation

CES 2014: IBM Puts Watson to Work as Tech Consultant with $1B Investment

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 10, 2014 12:55 PM

IBM remains bullish on Watson, its supercomputer made famous on Jeopardy!, but it is having a hard time leveraging the super-smart artificial brain beyond trivia and into revenue-producing businesses.

IBM maintains that Watson has revolutionary real-world applications in a variety of verticals including health care and investing, with CEO Virginia Rometty projecting that Watson would generate $10 billion in annual revenue within 10 years. But according to Wall Street Journal, as of last October, Watson wasn't meeting revenue hopes, generating "only" $100 million. Setbacks include costs in “training” Watson “to master the particulars of various businesses.”

To better realize its potential, IBM announced at CES this week in Las Vegas that it is investing $1 billion into making Watson the centerpiece of a new business group based in New York—a group that will build out a productive and profitable ecosystem for the super-computer. Already employing 2,000 people, IBM projects the unit to create $20 billion in revenue by 2015.Continue reading...

tech innovation

IBM Predicts Five Technologies That Will Change the World in the Next Five Years

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2013 05:43 PM

As the year readies to close out, it's time for the annual onslaught of year-end lists of best ofs, worst ofs, and 2014 look-aheads. So in due course, IBM has released its annual 5 in 5 annual technology predictions, highlighting what the company thinks will come to the forefront in the next five years. 

“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Bernie Meyerson, VP Innovation at IBM, told VentureBeat. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”

Among the expected innovations in cloud computing and smarter cities, IBM expects there to be significant changes in the way the medical community treats illness, and how our digital lives are made more secure.

The new list of tech trends and innovations that IBM expects to impact our lives in the years ahead:Continue reading...

tech innovation

Samsung Can Power Galaxy for Days, But Could It Power an Electric Vehicle?

Posted by Dale Buss on December 17, 2013 01:54 PM

Despite the best efforts of everyone from A123 Systems to Tesla, electric vehicles have continued to face a problem: It's just too darn hard to come up with new batteries that can add significantly—much less by multiples—to the range of today's vehicles on a single charge. 

And no matter what other smoke and mirrors and government subsidies are propping up the technology these days, that central reality will continue to hamper EV sales until it changes.

That's why some are hopeful that the potential entry of Samsung into EV technology could eventually become a game-changer. If the company that lately has been outflanking even Apple with its smartphones could apply some of that same innovation and moxie to the challenge of long-range battery systems for automobiles, maybe it could lead to a breakthrough that could move battery-powered vehicles from niche to mainstream.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Is Google Planning a Robot Revolution? Company Acquires Maker of Eerie Military Bots

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 16, 2013 07:07 PM

Boston Dynamics builds robots that mimic the movements of humans and animals “with stunning dexterity and speed"—products widely used for dangerous military operations. So what does Google want with them? http://www.pcworld.com/article/2080580/google-buys-maker-of-fascinating-creepy-robots.html, and Google just acquired them. 

Apparently it has a plan, as the the Massachusetts-based company became the eighth robotics company snapped up by the Silicon Valley giant in the last six months in an undisclosed initiative led by former Android chief Andy Rubin. Its portfolio previously included Autofuss, Bot & Dolly, Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics and Holomni.

As web-based companies push back into the real world of fulfillment, robotics is heating up—a concept most recently demonstrated by Amazon, which announced the development of Prime Air delivery drones earlier this month. Amazon paid $775 million for Kiva Systems last year to automate its fulfillment centers.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Facebook Wants More Social Intelligence – Artificially

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 11, 2013 11:10 AM

Facebook’s hiring of Yann LeCun, among the world’s most prominent artificial-intelligence researchers, to spearhead a massive cross-company initiative, “points to a new layer in Facebook’s ambitions, as well as a shift in the research and development of artificial intelligence,” The New Yorker writes

LeCun, a New York University professor of computer and neural sciences posted on Facebook: 

Big news today!

Facebook has created a new research laboratory with the ambitious, long-term goal of bringing about major advances in Artificial Intelligence.

I am thrilled to announce that I have accepted the position of director of this new lab. I will remain a professor at New York University on a part-time basis, and will maintain research and teaching activities at NYU.

Simultaneously, Facebook and New York University's Center for Data Science are entering a partnership to carry out research in data science, machine learning, and AI.

The application of machine-learning vis a vis social content opens the spectrum for enhanced targeted ads and news feed improvements short-term, and beyond that, LeCun’s background amplifies the longer-term possibilities for Facebook, and others mining AI. Continue reading...

tech innovation

Apple Set to Lift Off as New 'Spaceship' Campus Gets Green Light to Break Ground

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 22, 2013 11:15 AM

Apple will soon begin building Steve Job’s visionary "spaceship" campus as the Cupertino, Calif. City Council unanimously approved building plans last week. 

"Steve transformed Apple into one of the most innovative companies in the world and we understand the responsibilities that come from carrying his legacy forward with this project," Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's head of real estate and facilities told the Council. "We've designed it with the same care and attention to detail as we do with all Apple products."

The 2.8 million-square-foot circular headquarters, due to be completed by 2016, will have four floors, an exterior made almost entirely of curved glass, and enough space for 14,200 employees, close to three times the number previously working on the site.Continue reading...

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