Charge Your Cellphone in 30 Seconds?
Dec11

Charge Your Cellphone in 30 Seconds?

Store Dot, company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has announced technology with the ability to fully charge a cell phone within seconds. Created using nanotechnology, the new batteries are built on nanodots, which are “bio-organic peptide molecules.” These nanodots change the way a battery absorbs a charge and allow it to hold power for longer periods of time.  The current version is too big for a mobile phone, but the company hopes to release a slimmer model by 2016.  The nanotechnology will eventually be expanded to car batteries as well, allowing them to charge in a matter of minutes rather than hours. Store Dot has received two rounds of funding. According to the company, a portion of the money was provided by a leading Asian cell phone manufacturer. This poses no real surprise since it is estimated that the number of mobile phones in use worldwide will number 1.75 billion by the end of the year, creating an enthusiastic market for quick-charging batteries.  Phones that utilize the new batteries will cost up to $150 more than the current market price but would last up to three years or 1,500 power...

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Early Warning Device for Seizures
Dec05

Early Warning Device for Seizures

When Matteo Lai set out to create a wearable biometric data tracker, he didn’t know he’d end up with a device that not only keeps track of your fitness level and sleep quality, but one that can warn you of an impending seizure as well. Lai’s device, called The Embrace, was created in a collaboration between Boston Children’s Hospital and the MIT Media Lab to collect medical-quality data using sensors that measure the skin’s electrodermal activity (EDA), as well as the typical metric data associated with exercise and sleep. EDA is a measure of the amount of electricity conducted via the skin; the conductance increases when the wearer’s sweat production increases, which is what happens when someone gets nervous, excited. or stressed. The measure of skin conductance was initially intended to help people keep tabs on their stress levels. However, an unforeseen benefit was found by chance. An MIT researcher, Rosalind Picard, was working with a device that she created to measure EDA in an attempt to quantify emotional responses, particularly for people who are nonverbal. One of her students took two of the devices home over a Christmas break. His brother, who has Autism and is nonverbal, wore one on each wrist. Picard’s remote monitoring of the device revealed a huge spike in the EDA on the right side only of the brother’s body, which Picard mistakenly attributed to an error in the sensors. When she later spoke with her student, she learned that his brother had experienced a grand mal seizure about 20 minutes after the huge spike in conductance was recorded. More research showed that EDA could also reliably reflect, in an inverse relationship, the flattening of brain waves that occurs after a seizure. Armed with her findings, she teamed up with Lai to create The Embrace. Though Lai’s company already had a great reputation for quality, wearable, biometric devices, there was a challenge in getting people to comply with wearing them because of their bulk. The Embrace has a sleeker, lighter design that works just as effectively as the more cumbersome earlier devices. Though some people will likely use The Embrace solely for fitness tracking, it can offer it’s wearers so much...

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This Mobile App Could be an Uber and Lyft Killer
Dec01

This Mobile App Could be an Uber and Lyft Killer

In the world of shared transportation services and the mobile apps that front them, the battle between companies such as Uber, Lyft and the traditional taxicab services that precede them has been heating up in terms of market share, animosity and scandal. The most controversial belligerent in this capitalistic battle over market share of the lucrative personal transportation sector is Uber, a company that has recently received some very negative press from two fronts: tech journalists and traditional taxicab companies. Just in time for the busy holiday travel season, Uber is in the midst of a public relations debacle that other companies such as Flywheel are finding impossible to resist. Flywheel is a mobile app that uses GPS and mapping technology similar to that of Uber, Lyft and others. Flywheel, however, is different in the sense that it works together with existing taxicab companies instead of providing its own vehicle fleet. Flywheel has been around since 2009, but in the beginning it only provided management services for cab services. Last year, Flywheel switched its functionality to allow people in need of a ride to hail cabs using their smartphones. Flywheel’s current area of operations is limited to San Francisco, a city often selected by tech startups to test their business models. This company is taking a very different approach in comparison to Uber, which seems poised to drive existing taxicab companies out of business by pointing out their flaws and essentially bashing them. Flywheel, on the other hand, seeks to protect taxi drivers who operate the iconic cabs that have been serving American communities for decades. The amount of venture capital that Flywheel has raised is tiny in comparison to Uber and other competitors, but this seems to be a company that intends to operate and promote itself in good faith, and it has room to grow without having to worry about maintenance of vehicle...

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