Monthly Archives: August 2012

Event to Attend: Rock Health’s Health Innovation Summit

Yesterday’s Rock Health — Health Innovation Summit was high energy, informative, and thought provoking. If you missed it, check out the rockstars who presented here.

I spoke to some interesting businesses at the demo show, including health, wellness, and quantified self startups. I’ll be writing about these companies in the next several months so stay tuned!

Andy Grove, Co-founder, CEO, former chairman and now Advisor to Intel Corporation speaking about what we need in healthcare: cost analysis/accounting, willingness to approximate for the future, and facts – all the facts.

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Get to Know: EyeNetra

If you haven’t seen or toured the MIT Media Lab, I will say that it is one of the most enchanting places for innovation and design (of course I am only slightly biased towards my alma mater).

Many interesting companies and designs have been formed from ideas generated out of the Media Lab, and one I’d like to highlight is EyeNetra. The company is transforming mobile phones into devices that can take eye exams without bulky ophthalmology equipment. Now even people in remote places can get eye tests with the mobile device, and the products and services they need through the company’s mobile app.


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genieMD: Medication Manager and More

genieMD is an application that primarily tracks and manages your medication. The app can also track your workouts and vitals as long as you upload that information yourself. You can also watch videos to learn about various symptoms and diseases.

Have a teenager who needs to be reminded to take amoxicillin while away at camp for the summer because of an unfortunate deer tick bite? Or perhaps you know of an individual taking multiple drugs all with very different ingestion times? This app keeps medication reminders in a consolidated place, away from your Gmail or Outlook calendar.


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Withings Update: New Personal Health Companion App

Update on Withings! The company just rolled out its Personal Health Companion. The app is simple, easy to use and a good platform for Withings to build onto. It is important in this market to get customers to start using your product early so as the company develops add-ons and enhances the product, customer retention will also stabilize.


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23andMe & The Violinist’s Thumb: The Music of DNA

I started reading a book last week that just published this summer called The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code.

The author, Sam Kean, does a wonderful and colorful job of detailing the history and importance of DNA through stories. In Chapter 4, he discusses the “musical score” of DNA and how some musicians have actually translated the A-T-C-G sequence of serotonin into tunes. I was just thinking about how interesting that is (having played the violin for 10 years), when the most appropriate email appeared from 23andMe.

As I had detailed in an earlier post, 23andMe has used my DNA sample to enhance my understanding of my high/low susceptibility of various diseases and my carrier status. Now, they have also composed a DNA melody for me. How does it work? From the website, “This lab creates a melody based on several traits that 23andMe reports on. Your melody will differ from another person’s depending on your specific genotype (ie. AA, GT, CT, etc.).” Pretty neat!


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Get to Know: stickK and GymPact, Using Money as a Workout Incentive

There is a short list of motivators – money, love, hunger, anger, pride, religion, respect and fame to name a few. Websites and mobile apps try to capitalize on these motivators in various ways, such as Foursquare declaring you “Mayor” of the local coffee shop to all your followers, or displaying your perfect 100% positive score for sales on custom jewelry.

One motivator that is becoming more prominent in health and wellness is money.

On, when you don’t hit your workout goals or weight goals for the week, your credit card gets charged and money is sent to the person (someone you hate) or organization (one you detest!) you initially select. If you hit your weekly goal, no money is lost or gained.

With GymPact, instead of selecting who you have to pay when you don’t reach your goals, you actually pay out a sum to a general pot of money. This money then gets distributed to those using the app who DID make their goals for the week. Essentially, you are motivated to exercise not only to not lose money, but also to make money! My home gym didn’t initially show up on the system so I added it myself.

My biggest concern after using GymPact for three weeks was that I couldn’t count my outdoor runs with it. Well as of August 27th, GymPact is partnering with RunKeeper to make your outdoor activities count! See GymPact Blog Post here.


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Cardiio: iPhone Heart Rate Sensor

Cardiio is an app that measures your heart rate when you look straight into the front camera of your iPhone.

How does this technology work? From the website: “Every time your heart beats, more blood is pumped into your face. This slight increase in blood volume causes more light to be absorbed, and hence less light is reflected from your face. Using sophisticated software, your iPhone’s front camera can track these tiny changes in reflected light that are not visible to the human eye and calculate your heart beat!”

You have to look directly at the front camera (or else results will be abnormal), but in general results seem pretty expected!

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IMS Research: Wearable Technology Market to Exceed $6 Billion by 2016

IMS Research released a press release on the expected growth of wearable devices, citing that by 2016 wearable technology will represent a minimum revenue opportunity of $6 billion. This is great news — currently most devices surround healthcare, medical, fitness and wellness areas and there is certainly room for expansion. Press release found here.

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Healthcare Technology: Government Sponsored Cartoon

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has created a three minute cartoon called “Health IT for You—Giving You Access to Your Medical Records.” Cute and easy to watch.

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Skinnyo: Create Your Own Health Challenges

Skinnyo is an app that motivates you and your friends to eat better and work out more through public and private challenges. You can use the app to track your healthy eating and weightloss progress, complain about dieting hardships, or encourage others on your team. You get weekly reminders that “nudge” you in the right direction of the goals you set and each challenge you join has a timeline where players can share tips and links.

Pet Peeve: I’m a pretty easy going website user, but l do have distinct pet peeves. Readers know a few of mine by now (websites with lists that don’t have the ability to sort data based on specific characteristics, absolute hatred for horizontal scrolling, etc.) but I will highlight one more. Most people dislike being asked the same question multiple times just as much as they dislike entering the same data multiple times. Having a “Save Details” button on every tab that doesn’t universally save the information entered for all the tabs, is annoying. I entered My Health information and clicked on another tab. Upon returning to the My Health tab, my information was lost.


The above makes it very clear how the business monetizes the site. It costs $10 to create a private challenge, but it is free to create public ones. It would certainly be interesting to know what percent of users have paid for a private challenge.


I commend the site for being very blogger friendly, even showing the code to post my weight loss chart on my blog. Health and diet bloggers rejoice on the ease of posting your own color customized chart!


My Diary and My Timeline does a nice job of tracking my weight and calculating my BMI, although I would really prefer to have the data from my Withings scale automatically linked to this interface.

Skinnyo is a social health platform. I’d like to see it evolve to partner with various health technologies and perhaps include more incentivized workout challenges, which I will talk about later this week.

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