Google, Novartis team on ‘smart contact lens’ for diabetics

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/116-fam_1a.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]Despite Sergey and Larry’s vapors over healthcare [TTA 10 July], Google is joining with the Alcon eyewear/eyecare division of Novartis to further develop the smart contact lens. With a licensing deal between them, the initial Google X-Novartis project is the smart contact lens that contains a low power microchip and a hair-thin electronic circuit. It would initially measure blood glucose for diabetics, but also in Novartis’ president’s words, would meet additional “unmet medical needs” within the next five years. Our profile of the lens exactly six months ago [TTA 17 July] has additional detail, including the practicality (and injury potential) of contact lenses for diabetics, especially thicker ones with ‘circuitry’. (Also see the comment below the article.) Another area (and a much-needed, thus profitable one) is age-related farsightedness and creating an ‘autofocusing’ lens much like a zoom lens. Certainly a partner like Alcon will help work through the questions and also steer the X-Marks-The-Spot lens through the usual FDA review that marks the muddy spot before the rainbow. Google Smart Contact Lens Focuses On Healthcare Billions (Forbes)

Eye feels the pain of Google’s Brin and Page

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] Oh, the discomfort that Sergey and Larry must be feeling being grilled interviewed by “billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla” (grudgingly respected in TTA 30 May) at one of his eponymous Summits. Here they are with Google Glass in all sorts of adaptations from Parkinson’s to gait improvement to surgery [see multiple TTA articles here], a ‘moonshot on aging and longevity’ dubbed Calico [TTA 19 Sept 13] and even a contact lens to measure blood glucose in tears [TTA 17 Jan]. All good stuff with Big Change potential. Instead they whinge on about how the health field is so regulated, and all the cool stuff you could do with the data but for that privacy thingy (those darn EU, UK regulations and in US, HIPAA). Page to Khosla: “I do worry that we regulate ourselves out of some really great possibilities that are certainly on the data-mining end.” Brin to Khosla: “Generally, health is just so heavily regulated. It’s just a painful business to be in. It’s just not necessarily how I want to spend my time.” Gee. Whiz. What is apparent here is a lack of personal respect for us ‘little folks’ privacy and our everyday, humdrum lives.

Advice straight from The Gimlet Eye: My dear boys, you’ll just have to get people’s data with that old-fashioned thing, permission. (And you’d be surprised that many would be happy to give it to you.) Or if it’s all too painful, Sergey can play with his superyacht, latest girlfriend and follow his estranged wife Anne Wojcicki’s 23andme‘s ongoing dealings with the FDA. At least she’s in the arena. Google leaders think health is ‘a painful business to be in’ (SFGate) Mobihealthnews covers their true confessions, with an interesting veer off in the final third of the article to Mr Khosla’s view of Ginger.io’s surprising pilot with Kaiser and then to WellDoc’s Bluestar diabetes therapy app–the only one that is 510(k)Class II and registered as a pharmaceutical product [TTA 10 Jan].  Also interesting re the Googlers’ mindset is a SFGate blog piece on Larry Page’s attitudes towards leisure and work in a Keynes-redux ‘vision of the future‘. < work + > people may= >leisure, but certainly<<<$£€¥ for even the well-educated and managerial!

mHealth: too much to blog, too little time

As always the question is where to start? Perhaps with the FT headline ‘Powerhouse’ UK leads Europe app development, says research, a piece by Daniel Thomas on some research sponsored by Google & Tech City UK. A full version of the report is here. Key findings are that the UK:

  • Has become the largest tech hub in Europe for app development;
  • Received a third of revenues generated from mobile software in Europe last year;
  • Is the base for almost a fifth of European developers of smartphone applications;
  • is believed to be the world’s second most important tech hub after the US;
  • Has about 8,000 companies involved in app development, employing close to 400,000 people.

Apparently almost half of app developers and designers in the UK generate most of their income from apps, although a fifth generate no income from apps at all but rather see them as a hobby.

Staying with the FT, Prof Mike Short has kindly also pointed this editor to another article entitled (more…)

The CES of Health (Friday)

Rounding up the 10 Ring Vegas Circus-Circus, it’s time for ‘best and worst lists’: hopping with the Kiwi tracker, no one’s kind to Mother, in the kitchen with 3D printers and what may be up with Google, FDA and contact lenses.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/02-itoi-620×400.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]ZDNet rounds up its Friday coverage with a Best of CES selection. It’s always interesting to get the broader non-healthcare techie view of ‘what’s hot’–they spotted fitness bands early when even diehard QSers were skeptical– and to then see if their picks make it into the broader market. Their health tech picks are the Mimo Baby onesie + detachable turtle monitor from Rest Devices (sure to be a hit at your next baby shower; TTA 10 Sept], movement profiler Notch(see Thursday; it also made The Guardian’s roundup), MakerBot’s home 3D Replicator Mini (Wednesday) and the Epson Moverio BT200 digital content projection smart glasses  (in-market March, @ $699.99 a bargain for what use?). Au contraire, see 11 born-to-fail worst gadgets which includes being mean to Sen.se’s Mother and, in worst design, an iPad video ‘periscope’ from iTOi which looked like it was stolen off the set of the 1956 space opera Forbidden Planet. For today’s market, it definitely could have used a steampunk vibe to carry off its ‘Blue Blazes’ design.

Yet one of their writers gives Mother, a/k/a the “M2M Mollycoddle”, “part-Russian doll and part-Doctor Who monster”, a more thoughtful once-over. (more…)

DARPA Robotics Challenge field competition

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Mettle-and-Metal.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]This weekend (20-21 Dec) in far-south (and warm) Homestead Raceway, Florida the outdoor ‘field’ round of the DARPA Robotics Challenge [TTA 2 July, 22 June] will take place. Robots will win on their performance in disaster response situations–both man-made and natural. Robots will be measured on eight tasks to measure 1) performance in ‘human’ environments, especially degraded ones; 2) ability to use human tools from small to large and 3) usable by those skilled in disaster response who aren’t robotics experts. From the article, the observers will be ‘watching paint dry’ as robots currently perform at the level of a one-year-old, at best moving rather slowly as 30 minutes is allowed for each task, at worst falling a lot. But it’s understood that this establishes a Robot Baseline. Wonder if the researchers and brass will be taking bets on Chiron, Kaist, Valkerie, SCHAFT, THOR, and Robosimian. Final will be in 2014. Mettle and Metal (Armed With Science) Attendance is free and public–and also livestreamed. Information at the Robotics Challenge website.

Making robotics news is Google’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics, designer of one of the competitors, Atlas.  Atlas’ well-publicized stable mates largely mimic animals–BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat, Sand Flea–along with Atlas’ older human-form brother, PETMAN. NBC News wonders what Google’s intense and somewhat covert interest in robotics (nary a peep heard lately from past purchases Meka and Redwood Robotics) really means, but hasn’t answers. Why does search giant want to be ‘BigDog’ of automation?

More color(s) on Calico

Fortune, rolling off sister TIME‘s announcement of ‘Can Google Solve Death?’ [TTA 19 Sep], provides more background on how Calico, Google‘s new company which will focus on aging and associated diseases, came to be. It is the brainchild of Google Ventures’ managing partner Bill Maris who was once in biotech, and saw that this area was missing the root cause of much disease–that we all keep on getting older and experience cellular failure. “Now that the entire genome had been coded, Maris wondered if it was possible to actually study the genetic causes of aging and then create drugs to address them (a question that was heavily influenced by talks with futurist and Googler Ray Kurzweil).” He initially attracted major non-Googly investors, (more…)

Google ‘moonshots’ aging (and death) with Calico

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/360_cover_0930.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Calico is the new Google-ism for a new and apparently separate company which will focus on health and wellbeing, concentrating on aging and associated diseases. Announced yesterday, it will be headed by Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman of both Genentech and Apple, who plans to remain in both day jobs. It’s way outside of Google’s main business model, but in sync with the (failed) Google Health PHR, the potential of Glass in medicine and their relationship with Cornell NYC Tech, which until 2017 is in substantial space in Google’s sprawling downtown Manhattan building; one of the latter’s tech entrepreneurship hubs is ‘healthier life’. Google is also willing to spend floods of money on this without any ROI in the foreseeable future–even the driverless car has a far closer horizon to reality. Other than the release, pretty much copied on Gizmag, Google is Mum. TIME’s cover story next week is only partly available without subscription but the cover (left above) is priceless. Along with it is an interesting bit of speculation on Mr. Levinson’s potential conflicts of interests in this third for him venture which are of perennial interest to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The 2014 smartwatch rush, deluge redux

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/fworkswithnote-v1.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]In the breathless coverage (watch that pulse and respiration!) surrounding the Galaxy Gear, Samsung’s entry into the smartwatch/wearable computing race yesterday at Berlin IFA, this Editor sensed a certain air of…deflation. The consensus so far is that it is a solid first try for Samsung that does not fulfill the hype. The design limitations are obvious: function (scrolling screens likened to Windows Phone for time, notifications, voice memos, S Voice commands, photo gallery, music player, a pedometer and a few more), chunkiness (73.8 grams, 3″ diagonal), a tiny weirdly positioned camera.

In the 70 apps it will initially have is where it intersects with health. (more…)

The Internet.org initiative and the real meaning for health tech

Internet.org — Every one of us. Everywhere. Connected.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Much has been made of the Internet.org alliance (release). The mission is to bring internet access to the two-thirds of the world who supposedly have none. It is led, very clearly, by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Judging from both the website and the release, partners Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia (handset sale to Microsoft, see below), Opera (browser), Qualcomm and Samsung, no minor players, clearly take a secondary role.  The reason given is that internet access is growing at only 9 percent/year. Immediately the D3H tea-leaf readers were all over one seemingly offhand remark made by Mr. Zuckerberg to CNN (Eye emphasis):

“Here, we use Facebook to share news and catch up with our friends but there they are going to use it to decide what kind of government they want, get access to healthcare for the first time ever, connect with family hundreds of miles away they haven’t seen for decades. Getting access to the internet is a really big deal. I think we are going to be able to do it”

Really? The Gimlet Eye thought that mobile phone connectivity and simple apps on inexpensive phones were already spreading healthcare, banking and simple communications to people all over the world. Gosh, was the Eye blind on this?

Looking inside the Gift Horse’s Mouth, and examining cui bono, what may be really behind this seemingly altruistic effort could be…only business. (more…)