Posts tagged startup

Student startup XEED tackling Parkinson’s Disease


When the topic of the Internet of Things comes up, it’s easy to escape in a world of phone-controlled colored light bulbs and smart ovens. This overlooks the progress being made in the world of industry and healthcare thanks to this clever concept of device connectivity. For those afflicted by Parkinson’s Disease, one start-up believes it might be on to something.

XEED, a startup founded by University of Pennsylvania students Sade Oba and Alfredo Muniz, is developing a wearable designed to monitor and log occurrences of tremors in order to aid the patient in understanding how their daily activities and treatment is affecting their symptoms.

Tremors are perhaps the most outwardly visible symptom of Parkinson’s Disease. Medication and physical therapy are used to assist in reducing their occurrence, however the degree and type of treatments change as the disease progresses. It also tracks the user’s voluntary movements in order to provide critical data about how daily activities affect the occurrence of symptoms. What XEED’s wrist-worn wearable hopes to do is provide the wearer with real data as to how their daily activities can be adjusted to give them a better life.

For patients, a smartphone app will enable them to not only see their progress, but to receive suggestions to help them to adjust their daily activities.

XEED can provide real insight for caregivers

It is a step towards giving patients, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals real insight into their patient’s condition. It could also provide crucial data to researchers that are searching for better methods of controlling or even curing the disease.

XEED’s currently working on its third working prototype, continually improving on its design. In an email to TechCrunch, co-founder Alfredo Muniz stated, “We will be testing the batch of 50 on a small group for two weeks, paying attention to how they put the devices on, whether the LED indicators are useful, whether they remember to charge it, and what modifications need to be done to the phone app.”

XEED’s founders received the President’s Innovation Prize last year, which gave them $200,000 to pursue development of their technology. They are also talking with investors and working with a local Parkinson’s rehabilitation center.


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Siemens gets creative with new startup unit


German conglomerate Siemens announced on Tuesday a new standalone startup unit dedicated to fostering “disruptive ideas more vigorously and accelerate the development of new technologies.”

Siegfried Russwurm, Siemens chief technology officer, will be the acting head of the unit, named next47. It will receive €1 billion ($1.12 billion) in funding for the first five years.

See also: Sri Lanka goes mega in smart city push

Next47 will be focused on “forward-looking fields” such as artificial intelligence and decentralized electrification. The unit’s first project will be a hybrid or fully electric aircraft for small to medium sized planes, which it will demonstrate by 2020 to Airbus.

On top of that, next47 is also working on blockchain applications that could make data transfer and energy trading more safe and secure.

Siemens mentions autonomous machines and networked mobility as two other areas for innovation, though it doesn’t reveal any other individual projects.

“Siemens itself was a startup in 1847—founded in a rear courtyard in Berlin,” said Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG. “With next47, we’re living up to our company founder’s ideals and creating an important basis for fostering innovation as we continue Siemens’ development.”

Siemens not new to startups though

Next47 will be open to startups and developers outside of Siemens, though we assume any projects built inside the incubator will be under some control of Siemens, whether that’s full ownership or a share of the company’s stock. Startups will be able to harness Siemens wide range of systems, which could be a huge advantage for small teams that want to build platform to scale.

Siemens wants to make startups feel welcome inside next47, and mentions its €800 million ($892 million) investment into startups in the past 20 years.

Huge corporations often times build small subsidiaries to push growth in emerging markets. Google X Labs is the most well known, the unit that brought up Google Glass, Project Loon, and other immensely innovative and challenging projects, which can be found on the company’s site.

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Startup Jio wants to protect children with invisible wearables

Mother and toddler son crossing the street on the crosswalk close up

Times have changed, and there are few areas of our lives that remind us of this fact more than with our children. Whether you’re a baby boomer or a millennial, there is a good chance that some of your childhood memories involve walking or biking around your neighborhood and playing with your friends – often without supervision.

That isn’t so much the case today. Keeping track of your children, and ensuring that they are where you expect them to be, is of the utmost important to parents. Unfortunately, current technologies require that you send your child out to play with a smartphone, smartwatch, and/or a bulky tracking device that wirelessly transmits their location to your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

These devices are a distraction for your child, and are easily annoying enough to encourage them to remove it and leave it behind, rendering them useless. Jio, a stealth-mode startup launched in 2015, hopes to change that with their Jiobit wearable.

In a recent blog post, Jio CEO John Renaldi said, “We should be encouraging our kids to be more independent and to experience the freedoms that we had as kids. To do this we need to feel confident that they’re safe –  that’s the solution we’re offering at Jio.”

Jiobit won’t be worn on the wrist

He went on to tell the story about his children and how impossible it was to convince them to wear a watch. Wrist-based wearable devices are currently bulky devices, in part because of the batteries required to power them, their straps and latches for easy adjustment and removal, and of course the electronics required to drive them.  “They’re more or less just taking the smartphone guts and putting it into a watch,” he said.

Additionally, wrist-worn devices are easy to spot. An individual wishing to subvert its functionality could easily find and remove it. This stands to reason that if you’re going to place the wearable on your child for their safety that it be as invisible as possible.

While we don’t yet have any idea exactly what Jio is working on for the Jiobit, what we do know is that it will be a child safety device, almost definitely with location tracking capabilities,  and it won’t be worn on the wrist.

Jio has a team of 12 spread between Palo Alto and Chicago. The team includes designers, marketers, and engineers – each with experience in producing innovative products that ship. With over 150 patents under the team’s belt, this is one startup worth keeping an eye on.

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Cisco incubating IoT Smart City startup in Manchester

world bank

Cisco is working on creating a new incubator with smart cities, the Internet of Things, and healthcare as its primary points of focus. This new innovation center, based in Manchester and founded in coordination with the Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), will be called Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired-Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance).

If there were a list of the most likely vendors to fulfill the technology needs of a smart city, Cisco would be near the top of that list. It is arguably the largest networking company in the world, and when it comes to the Internet of Things, networking is the lifeforce that drives it.

So, it makes perfect sense for Cisco to partner with MSP to create an innovation center that will incubate startups and projects focused on creating and launching IoT technologies that will pave the way for smart cities of the future.

Manchester is an interesting choice for the center’s location. It is a hotbed for growth in the tech scene, second only to London. In a 2016 survey by KPMG, Manchester was ranked number 1 among European cities for cost of doing business.

Cisco will add Manchester to its incubator network

Cisco will also be able to add Manchester to its growing National Virtual Incubator (NVI) network, a system linking incubators and research/academic centers through video conferencing. Its network, which spans the UK and Ireland, already includes several key incubators – including Idea London.

In addition to smart cities, there is an increasing interest in IoT technologies for both consumer and commercial applications. The healthcare sector is also a ripe industry that these technologies can improve. As more sensors and networking solutions are developed, the potential for new solutions in these areas is virtually unlimited.

Smart cities are being actively developed and budgeted around the world and thus far, there is a noticeable gap in the market for telecoms and networking providers…a gap that Cisco wants to fill.

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