Innovation

Innovation
6:19 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

The $500 'Family' Robot

This is a Jibo
Credit Jibo Indiegogo campaign

For a shade less than $500, you can own one of the world's first family robots: Jibo. 

Although it may be more Jetsons than Star Wars, it's captured the attention of the academic-technology-and-finance complex. The debate is intense among those who favor (or oppose) using robots to help care for our kids as well as aging parents. 

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Innovation
8:40 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Supreme Court Scuttles Aereo's Broadcast TV Streaming Service

The Aereo iPhone app.
Credit Getty Images via NPR

The Supreme Court sent ripples through the tech community Wednesday after ruling in favor of the TV networks who sued Internet-streaming service Aereo.

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XCONOMY REPORT
7:59 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Boston Biotech IPOs Heating Up As Zafgen Brings In $96M

The Boston biotech IPO train may be starting up again. After a couple of slow months, obesity drugmaker Zafgen has brought in $96 million in its Nasdaq debut and saw its stock price rise more than 20 percent. And Syndax Pharmaceuticals has been preparing to go public this week; the Waltham company is working on an experimental drug for breast cancer. Meanwhile, Cambridge-based Sage Therapeutics has filed its paperwork for an IPO down the road. Sage is working on a number of new drug candidates that target neurological disorders. So, that’s three interesting companies to watch this summer.

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Innovation
10:24 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Will Data Driven Robots Rule The World In 2034?

Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons
Credit courtesy of Hanna-Barbera

The future will be data-driven, personalized and with way more robots. These were a few of the big takeaways at the Xconomy's Boston 2034 conference as entrepreneurs and inventors played fortune-tellers for a day. Data collection, whether it’s from bicycles detecting air quality or software tracking every bodily function, will provide more information about us than we thought we wanted to know.

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XCONOMY REPORT
8:57 am
Fri June 6, 2014

EdTech Heats Up As School Winds Down

As the school year comes to an end, the education tech climate is heating up. Blackboard, led by Boston-area CEO Jay Bhatt, is a longtime leader in edtech—but it needs to expand, in part by going international. Bhatt is a former math teacher who previously helped lead Autodesk and Progress Software, two companies that did the majority of their business overseas. Now, as he points out, the globalization of education is just starting to take off. And students in India, China, and Brazil are going to be reached on devices, and by international brands. We’ll have to see if Blackboard is one of them.

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Innovation
8:36 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Jared Diamond: Young People Will Have To Pick Up Governments' Slack In The Future

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond, scientist and author of "Guns, Germs, and Steel," talked to Innovation Hub about the factors that contribute to the success — or failure — of civilizations, from the environment to health to political structures.

Young people, he believes, will have to confront issues that have been insufficiently addressed by world governments — particularly climate change.

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Innovation
9:56 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Is Solar Really Free?

Solar panels sit atop the Old Colony Housing Project in South Boston.

With all kinds of incentives for us to adopt solar power, there are still questions about the price and environmental cost of producing and disposing solar panels.

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Innovation
9:02 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Natick Girls Bring Their Search-And-Rescue Robot To White House

Katelyn Sweeney and Olivia Van Amsterdam show off their robot at the White House.
Credit Courtesy photo

The White House hosted its annual science fair Tuesday with a special focus on girls and women who have excelled in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields. Over a hundred students from across the country showed off their inventions or groundbreaking research, including two girls from Natick High School.

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XCONOMY REPORT
11:23 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Facebook Boston 'Thinking About The Next Few Billion Users'

The Facebook office in Kendall Square.
Credit Courtesy photo

When Mark Zuckerberg left Boston 10 years ago for Silicon Valley, no one knew how much his company would be missed. Now Facebook has come full circle, opening an engineering office in Kendall Square that’s working on problems that could be crucial to the company’s future. As Facebook Boston leader Ryan Mack puts it, his team is “thinking about the next few billion users”---and that will require major tech advances in databases, networking, and compilers. With Twitter, Amazon, and other giants expanding locally, the Boston area is fast becoming a critical front in the battle for talent and tech supremacy.

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Innovation
5:11 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

One Giant Leap For Data Transmission, One Small Step Toward Binge-Watching On The Moon

You could binge-watch House of Cards on the moon, if you were on the moon.
Credit Brendan Lynch / WGBH News

Not that anyone is moving to the moon any time soon, but astronauts could continue their binge-watching habits in space thanks to researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab. The MIT/NASA lunar laser communication team has come up with a way to transmit large amounts of data from earth to the moon at broadband-wireless speed.

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Innovation
10:48 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Could Tablets Help Prisoners Educate, Rehab Themselves?

Jeffrey Ivers

In Massachusetts, six of every 10 inmates released from state and county prisons commit new crimes within six years. But a nationwide initiative wants to prepare inmates so that when they leave, they improve their chances of never coming back.

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XCONOMY REPORT
9:02 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Cleantech Incubator Grows In Somerville

Greentown Labs in Somerville
Credit Courtesy photo

Where can you find the largest number of cleantech startups under one roof? Try Somerville, which is home to Greentown Labs, a co-working space that’s three years old this week. That might come as a surprise; there’s a feeling that energy companies are down when it comes to investment. But Greentown’s 40-odd startups, including Altaeros Energies, Dynamo Micropower, and Grove Labs, are working around traditional venture capital and going straight to corporate partners and customers. This is a hot area to watch as we wait to see what’s next for green energy in Massachusetts.

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Innovation
6:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Online Platform Connects Doctors Separated By Distance, Expertise

A screenshot of the Medting software.
Credit Courtesy photo

When doctors come across a complex case, they usually discuss it with their colleagues over email or lunch. They’re generally limited to their own informal networks of physicians and specialists. A local company wants to change that by changing the ways doctors communicate.

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Innovation
10:26 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Glowing Screens: The Cause Of, And Potential Solution To, Your Sleep Problems

More than 35 percent of Americans sleep about six hours a night — an hour less than what we were averaging 70 years ago. But with the dawn of the ever-present smartphone and tablet, there all kind of apps and gadgets that are supposed to help us sleep better. So what's keeping us up in the first place? And what we’re doing about it?

It’s a typical night and I’m getting ready for bed. I place my glass of water on the bedside table, read a few pages of my book, glance at my phone one last time for any text messages or replies to any tweets, and I turn off the light. The glow of my phone calls out to me. I close my eyes.

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XCONOMY REPORT
9:31 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Local Life Sciences Companies Make Headway In War On Cancer

Boston-area companies are making progress in the war on cancer. Agios Pharmaceuticals has reported its first clinical results from a cancer metabolism drug, which fights leukemia by stopping cancer cells from being born. It’s a very early trial, but six out of seven patients responded well to the drug; that’s good news for Agios, which became publicly traded last July. Meanwhile, fellow Cambridge firm Cerulean Pharma has been moving toward its IPO this week; the company is using nanoparticle technology to deliver anti-tumor drugs to kidney, ovarian, and rectal cancer patients. Two very different approaches, but one common goal.

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INNOVATION
11:28 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Harvard Developers Launch App That Brings Orchestra To Musicians

You know the slogan “there’s an app for that.” It started as an Apple ad campaign and has evolved into a fact of life. From tracking your calories to naming the song on the radio, you can use your smartphone or tablet to help with almost anything. And now, a group at the Harvard Innovation Lab has developed an app that could change how musicians practice their craft.

GUESTS

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Innovation
5:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

How To Compose A Video Game Soundtrack

Screenshot from Jack Lumber, an Owlchemy Labs game.
Credit Owlchemy Labs

When you play a video game, you’re generally on a mission. As you battle your way through various terrain, slaughtering aliens, beheading zombies and reloading your ammo, one key element is with you the entire time: the soundtrack.

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XCONOMY REPORT
7:50 am
Fri March 21, 2014

EdTech Companies Blooming In Boston

The field of education technology is growing up in the Boston area. Companies like TenMarks, Panorama Education, and Playrific are challenging the idea that it’s hard to sell software to K-12 students and schools. The startups are also pushing districts and publishers to raise their game when it comes to making educational materials more engaging and interactive.

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INNOVATION
4:00 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Hacking To Improve Health Care

One team developed facial recognition software to detect rare diseases. Team member Sean Manton posed for the prototype.
Photo courtesy of Sharon Moalem.

Hundreds of students, doctors, designers, engineers and entrepreneurs gathered in an innovation incubator at MIT this past weekend. Their goal? To develop solutions to some of health care’s most perplexing problems.

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Innovation
7:23 am
Mon March 17, 2014

WiTricity Wants To Pull Plug On Charging Technology

This repeater continues the chain of wireless electricity.
Credit WiTricity

We live in a society of wires, cords and cables.

Think about it. In order for anything to work, it needs to be plugged in either all the time or at some point — cell phones, computers, stereos, TV, hair dryers, blenders, vacuums …

But what if nothing had to be plugged in anymore, because electricity was “mobile,” could go anyhere, without all the wires?

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XCONOMY REPORT
8:34 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Lawrence, Lowell Launch Startup Mills

Wannalancit Mill, the site of a startup incubator in Lowell.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

How do you support innovation outside of a traditional tech cluster? Well, take a look at what they’re doing 30 miles north of Boston in Lawrence and Lowell. A three-year-old nonprofit called the Merrimack Valley Sandbox is trying to boost local innovation and economic development through community outreach.

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Innovation
5:00 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Virtual Reality Embraces The Real-World

A hostile virtual boardroom greets a speaker in a public speaking session.
Credit Courtesy The Speech Improvement Co.

Virtual reality had its heyday in video games and TV in the mid-90s before fizzling out of the mainstream. But with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset sending ripples throughout the tech and gaming community at this year’s SXSW, virtual reality is poised to make a comeback-- and some local places are using it in ways that might surprise you.

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INNOVATION
5:54 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

The Future Of Television: Content Is King

XCONOMY REPORT
8:36 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Xconomy Report: Digital Health Tracking Company Pulls In $22M

The digital health-tracking craze is in full swing. Tech companies are trying to help us quantify ourselves and stay in better shape. MIT startup Quanttus has come out of stealth mode this week, with $22 million in funding from East and West Coast investors. The 25-person company makes a wrist-worn device that monitors vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. The idea is to give both consumers and doctors new insights into personal health. One question is how the emerging Boston health-tech cluster will compete with big guys like Apple, Google, Jawbone, and Fitbit. But we certainly have the brainpower and medical expertise to make it interesting.

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XCONOMY REPORT
8:49 am
Fri February 14, 2014

2014: The Year Of Cyber Security

Binary code

Read Kirk Carapezza's story on college network security at our On Campus blog. 

2014 is shaping up to be the year of cyber security. With each new data breach or hacking operation we hear about, tech companies are scrambling to fix the problem and cash in. Waltham security firm Bit9 has acquired Texas startup Carbon Black as it reinvents itself to respond to cyber attacks as well as preventing them. The company has also raised a new round of venture capital, bringing its total to $120 million. Meanwhile, a young Boston-Israeli startup called Cybereason is emerging as a leader in profiling hacker behavior. In the end it’s probably an unwinnable arms race, but it could be good for business.

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Innovation
7:32 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Study: Mass. Needs To Attract Tech Talent With Mix Of Skills

Massachusetts needs to attract more employees in the tech industry that have both hard and soft skills, according to a new study.
Credit Andreyuu/iStockphoto via NPR

Massachusetts needs to do a better job of attracting talent with a strong mix of hard and soft skills — in other words, someone who can code, but is also culturally savvy, even bilingual — and can easily adapt in a team setting, according to The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's annual Innovation Index.

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Innovation
10:45 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Learn How To Innovate From The Beatles

American TV host Ed Sullivan, left, talks with three members of the British pop group The Beatles during a rehearsal for their appearance on his TV show, in New York, Feb. 8, 1964. From left, Sullivan, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. George Harrison, the fourth member of the group missed the rehearsal due to illness.
Credit (AP Photo)

The Beatles made their U.S. debut on the The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago – and to mark the occasion,  Innovation Hub examines the Fab Four's magic formula for creativity, innovation, and success.

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XCONOMY REPORT
8:43 am
Fri February 7, 2014

IPO Express For Local Tech Companies May Be Slowing

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Credit (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The IPO express might be slowing down a bit. There were two new public companies in Boston this week — and two lukewarm receptions in the marketplace. Eleven Biotherapeutics, which makes drugs for eye diseases, raised $50 million in an IPO but priced its stock well below the projected range. And vaccine maker Genocea Biosciences raised $66 million in its IPO and saw its stock remain flat. Even Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, whose stock tripled on its first trading day last week, has come back to earth. All in all it’s been a down week, and the market is looking selective — which might be healthy in the long run.

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XCONOMY REPORT
9:11 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Xconomy Report: Boston Biotechs Have $1B Funding Week

In one of the busiest weeks in biotech, three local companies have made big news. Alnylam has received a $700 million investment from Genzyme, which is good for a 12 percent ownership stake in the RNA interference company. Alkermes has raised $250 million in new cash as it expands its treatments for diabetes, schizophrenia, and other diseases. And Moderna Therapeutics, a heavily funded startup trying to create a new class of drugs around messenger RNA, has scored another $125 million in investment and is spinning out a separate cancer-drug outfit. If its technology holds up in clinical trials, Moderna could be the biggest of them all.

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Innovation
5:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

MIT Algorithm Takes Aim At Social Media Cyberbullying

MIT researchers have come up with a technology that detects bullying online before behavior turns nasty.
Credit iStockphoto via NPR

These days, students navigate social media sites as easily as the hallways.

And Max, Michael and Hyacinth — seventh graders at Weston Middle School, are among them. Each has an iPhone, and using mobile apps comes as second nature to them. They also know that social media can be a tool for bullies.

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