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Google's Next Search: The Fountain of Youth
September 19, 2013
Google on Wednesday launched Calico, a company that will focus on health and well-being, with a particular emphasis on aging and associated diseases. At the helm of this new endeavor will sit founding investor Arthur Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech, chairman of Apple, director of Hoffmann-La Roche and now Calico's CEO.
High-Tech Tools Make Indoor Cycles Brainier and More Fun
September 18, 2013
Bicycles have seen much in the way of technological advancement in the past 150 years, and that was widely apparent on the show floor at the annual Interbike trade show in Las Vegas this week. The modern face of cycling was clearly visible in the electric-assist motors that make bicycles an optimal alternative vehicle for commuting, for example, and the space-age carbon fiber frames that aren't limited just to the high end.
Hot Off the 3D Presses: A New Generation of Fitness Equipment
September 17, 2013
Health buffs today have no shortage of apps, gizmos, gadgets and devices promising to help them get and stay in shape. At the same time, new materials are enabling lighter, stronger and more diverse products. The next revolution in fitness, however, could come from a technology that seems to have little to do with athletics but is already being used daily in the development of new products.
DNA 'Glue' May Someday Repair Damaged Organs
September 11, 2013
Researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University have found a way to trigger the self-assembly of tiny water-filled gel-like cubes into larger structures, a discovery that could lead to practical applications in tissue engineering. The scientists developed the self-assembling system by programming DNA to act as a glue that guides the hydrogels into the larger structures.
Video Game Rejuvenates Brains of Older Adults
September 06, 2013
A multitasking 3D video game that helped some older adults show neurological activity similar to much younger adults could shed light on the plasticity of the older brain. A UCSF research team recently tested a 3D-driving game on a group of adults. The game play was designed to elicit a multitasking response, which generates a certain interference in the brain that increases with age.
If You Like Guitar Hero, You'll Love Working Out?
July 30, 2013
The creators of the Guitar Hero video game franchise are looking to put down the plastic guitars and get pumped up instead. Specifically, RedOctane founders Kai and Charles Huang are teaming up with OpenLink founder Coleman Fung to launch Blue Goji, a new interactive fitness company. The company's mission is to transform gameplay into something that can help players get fit.
VuPack Camera Mount Puts You Back in the Picture
July 26, 2013
One of the most fundamental keys to garnering interest in a democratically funded project is to propose something that people are going to seriously want. Wishy-washy concepts won't cut it -- it's got to be seductive. The svelte Pebble smartwatch is a good example of this funding technique, and it raised millions on Kickstarter. The Ouya video game console is another.
Video Games and Violence, Part 2: Follow the Money
July 23, 2013
At the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show, there was a common theme to be observed in the demonstrations held by both Microsoft and Sony of their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 technologies, respectively. Though longtime rivals, the two competitors both relied upon a similar approach in demonstrating the capabilities of their latest wares, in other words. That approach? Action.
FIDO Makes Working Dogs Better Communicators
July 16, 2013
A wearable tech device that could make it easier for dogs to communicate with their handlers is in development at the Georgia Institute of Technology. FIDO, or Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations, could have far-reaching practical applications. It could improve communications with guide dogs, as well as with search and rescue dogs, and it could give military dogs better capabilities.
Video Games and Violence, Part 1: Risky Business
July 09, 2013
Hollywood may be all about lights, cameras and action, but the current trend in video games seems to be simply action -- followed by even more action. That was one of the biggest takeaways from the recent E3 video game conference in Los Angeles, where Microsoft and Sony went head-to-head with an array of action-packed games that came in stark contrast to previous years' offerings.
If You Search, Advertise on, Invest in, or Have Kids Who Use Google, You Must See This
July 01, 2013
I have a fascination with litigation. One of my early career choices was to become an attorney, and I was actually mentored for a time by a judge. Over the years, I've spent a lot of time engaged in litigation or covering it. I just watched a presentation by the National Association of Attorneys General, and these top law enforcers painted Google as a criminal organization.
The Road to Health Is Paved With Good Nutrition Apps
June 25, 2013
To get rid of the clutter of meal ideas, recipes and grocery lists stuck on his family's refrigerator, Henrik Nielson decided to create an app that could do the job better. Food Planner lets users import recipes from the Web or create them manually, then generates shopping lists and meal plans. The app's goal is to make it easier and more convenient for people to make healthy meals at home.
Patenting Future Cures - or Not
June 14, 2013
The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously decided that some of Myriad Genetics' patent claims were invalid for claiming products of nature. However, the Court also held that other Myriad patent claims were perfectly valid. In short, Myriad discovered the location and DNA sequence listing for two human genes that pertain to breast and ovarian cancer.
Runtastic Turns Workouts Into Enjoyable Data-Crunching Exercises
May 31, 2013
If you've used any of the free tracking apps -- like Google's My Tracks, which records your path, speed, distance and elevation change while you exercise and then maps the route, charts elevation and speed, and tots it all up in a set of statistics -- you'll understand the concept behind Runtastic Pro. Runtastic Pro additionally promises to help you reach goals and track health improvements.
Coordinated Care Models in Digital Health
May 25, 2013
Coordinated care models emphasize the basic relationships between patients and doctors, focusing on the continuum of care. The models reward doctors for the outcome of care instead of pure volume. The two dominant models are the patient-centered medical home and the accountable care organization. The patient-centered medical home model has enjoyed broad market interest since 2007.
Tech Offers Web of Support for Stroke Survivors
May 09, 2013
May is National Stroke Awareness month. I like to follow the technology advancements for stroke prevention and treatment -- and the companies making them -- because I have been a stroke survivor for nine years. We don't realize it on a daily basis, but things advance as quickly in the medical and health industries as in wireless and communications.
Fitbit Flex Takes You by the Wrist
May 06, 2013
Fitbit users who frequently forget or misplace their fitness trackers now have a new option: Fitbit Flex, a version of the popular Fitbit device that's designed to be worn on the wrist, became available on Monday. Fitbit Flex, which retails for $99.95, is a bit larger than the typical silicone awareness bracelet and features a pedometer, sleep tracker, vibrating alarm and calorie tracker.
Wanted in Healthcare: More Wireless Devices for In-Home Patients
April 27, 2013
The machine-to-machine communications industry is undergoing a period of fundamental change and significant growth. Encouraged by declining chipset and sensor costs, manufacturers are increasingly embedding their products with wireless connectivity. Mobile operators and key players in industries as diverse as automotive, oil and gas, and healthcare all have a strong interest in pursuing this growing market.
India to Get a Smartphone for the Blind
April 25, 2013
A company in India has developed a smartphone for the blind. The device will be equipped to read text messages and emails, and it will then convert the text to Braille. It will utilize shape memory alloy technology, which exploits a metal's ability to "remember" its original shape. The phone's screen is not a screen so much as a grid of pins that move up and down to form Braille characters.
Virtualization: An IT Prescription for Healthcare Providers
April 08, 2013
Healthcare providers know that technology can provide an answer to higher operating costs and ailing efficiencies within their organizations, but strict regulatory issues and other compliance matters have always proved to be tough obstacles. The security of patient health data, after all, must never be compromised in pursuit of greater efficiencies.
Relax and Sleep: Whatever Floats Your Dream Boat
March 29, 2013
Relax and Sleep Plus lets you choose and play ambient sounds that might help you sleep. I tried this app during a grueling jet-lagged visit to London. The UK has a seven-hour time difference from Los Angeles, which is my home base, so my day started there just as I normally would be going to sleep. For me, the net result of the time change was sleeplessness in the dead of local night.
Hackathon's Goal: A Smartphone Game That Scores Points for Cancer Research
March 02, 2013
A UK-based charity is sponsoring a weekend hackathon, but those invited won't be using their coding talents to advance any business causes. The 40 programmers, gamers, graphic designers and other specialists will spend the time designing a smartphone game that can let average users help with cancer research.
Big Blue Breaks Into Biotech With Bacteria-Blasting Hydrogel
January 29, 2013
Researchers from IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed what they are calling the first antimicrobial hydrogel that is biodegradable, biocompatible and non-toxic. The hydrogel, which can penetrate diseased biofilms and eradicate drug-resistant bacteria upon contact, has applications ranging from antimicrobial cleaners to therapeutic delivery agents to tissue engineering.
Electronic Health Records Performance Lags Behind Potential
January 23, 2013
Major programs designed to reduce costs and improve healthcare through the automation of medical records have fallen short of the potential to do either, according to a recent Rand Corp. report. The effort to convert paper health documents to electronic form got a huge boost from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.

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