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…)