Sometimes technological innovation is about doing something that has never been done. The Saturn V rocket that carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon certainly was. But other times, maybe even most other times, technological innovation is about tackling the small challenges that amalgamate to produce big changes. Sometimes true innovation is not about creating a product that is outwardly revolutionary, but one that performs a common task significantly better than its predecessor. We see these technologies everywhere – from cardboard boxes to light bulbs to fuel and emissions efficient engine technology.
With technologies like tablets, touch screens, computers in cars and cloud computing becoming ubiquitous, inventions that were once firmly in the realm of science fiction are becoming a daily reality.
While California may have Silicon Valley, it's New England that's making waves in the angel investment community, and Chris Mirabile is one of the people leading the way. Mirabile is the co-managing director of Launchpad Venture Group, the largest angel group in New England.
Human beings are not the biggest animal on Planet Earth. Neither are we the strongest, fastest, sturdiest, or longest living. However, we have become the most successful apex predator in existence as we know it. How have we accomplished this? What sets us apart is our intelligence and ability to use tools. These interrelated abilities have allowed us to overcome our environment and any other predators we have faced.
The fields of biology and technology are becoming increasingly intertwined. Without computers, sequencing the human genome would have remained a pipe dream. Additionally, some of the most fascinating advances in computing technology have come from observing and replicating aspects of the biological world. This “bits to bio and bio to bits” approach is the core of Charles Fracchia’s world. Fracchia, an IBM PhD Fellow at the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT and Church Lab at Harvard Medical School, is the founder of BioBright.org, which makes open-source tools for laboratories and medical devices.
The future has a way of sneaking up on us. Part of the reason for this is the accelerating pace at which new technologies are developed, as predicted by Moore's Law. But another reason for this is that before a technology gains mass market acceptance, chances are that is has gone through an extensive research phase and many failed iterations. Consider Google Glass. Even though the consumer edition of Glass won't hit the market until next year, the device is already making waves.
What is intelligence? Is it possible to create intelligence, and if so, what will be our role be as the stewards of what we create? Will our creation eventually come to dominate us? The ramifications of the creation and shaping of consciousness itself are impossible to understate, and it can be argued, to understand. It is an ethical question that is potentially vaster by orders of magnitude than any other question humanity has ever faced.
Dan Bacher has always been fascinated by two things: electrical engineering and neuroscience. While these interests may seem divergent, the synthesis of them led him to Brown University’s BrainGate Group, where he is the Senior Research and Development Engineer. Says Bacher, “applying technology to the area of neuroscience just always fascinated me.”
Remember Dolly the sheep? As the first mammal to be successfully cloned, Dolly created a firestorm of controversy, leading many governments to preemptively pass legislation banning human cloning. If nothing else, this proves that technology and ethics cannot be separated from each other. Though many ethicists argue that technology itself is inherently value neutral, being used by humans raises ethical considerations.
When it comes to complex tasks like building a house, many people with different skills work together to accomplish a single, larger goal. Instead of trying to create a perfect robot capable of building a house solo, could scientists replicate how humans function and make a “swarm” of imperfect robots capable of working together to accomplish complex tasks?
António Câmara is a man with a vision.
Despite the widespread adoption of computers and digital technology over the last few decades, how we interact with that technology, and use technology to interact with the world around us has remained largely unchanged. For example, for over 30 years, the primary means of interacting with a computer has been the keyboard and mouse. Certainly there have been updates to the technology – trackpads, for example, have become a popular mouse alternative – but that essential method of interaction remains the same. Even touch screens, perhaps the most widespread change in how people interact with technology, date back to the 1980’s.
So your startup has its business plan in place, your staff is firing on all cylinders, and your product is ready to revolutionize the market. Pop quiz. How many other businesses did you interact with before your product was ready for the consumer?
When it comes to social media, women rule tech:
New research shows that women use social media in greater numbers and more often than men. Research also indicates they are more likely to use social media on mobile platforms, and to interact with brands. With the changing face of technology, are female-focused startups the wave of the future?
If the human brain is considered a computer, what does that mean for science and our lives? Could we repair damaged areas, replace damaged parts, or even upgrade our own minds? It might sound like little more than the stuff of science fiction, but with current advances in brain-machine interfaces, science fiction is fast becoming science fact.
One of the most exciting aspects of the current entrepreneurial ecosystem is the opportunity to showcase your product or service at an event. Just a decade ago, there were few options in terms of events geared toward showcasing startup offerings, and finding a way to showcase your product was a real challenge. Today, so many different events exist that it can be hard for a startup to know which events will best allow them to showcase their product and connect with angel investors.
Whole genomic sequencing might be the “holy grail” of preventative medicine, but according to Dr. Gholson Lyon, widespread genomic sequencing might not be consumer accessible as soon as many would like.