Mark Ahn Provides Insights into Tech Trends

Mark Ahn, the seasoned Biotech entrepreneur recently sat down in order to provide insights on the latest tech trends and the technology that is going to make a global impact in the coming year. Now, while he did not name specific brands or elements, he did point out what would be important to look into for any tech firm looking to make something important for the rest of the tech community to use.

First, Mark Ahn pointed out the importance of caring. He stated the tech should be innovative but it should move towards assisting the user with a task. The designers need to care about the user’s needs and not produce the tech product simply to make money. This can be anywhere to help manage food consumption to being able to help alter climate change and global warming. He indicated that there really is nothing too large or too small when it comes to helping with tech products, but that it does need to have some sort of carrying element.

After this, Mr. Ahn pointed out the importance of targeting old problems with new approaches. Often times there is an old method of completing a task that is simply outdated and altering the way of completing this task may prove vital to millions of people worldwide. Whether the new method can help save time or money, trying to go about improving an old problem with a new approach is essential.

Now, for other tech investors, it is important to never underestimate the little guys who work in the tech industry. In fact, the majority of tech improvements actually come from smaller companies that are eventually purchased by the larger companies that have the financial capability of using the new technology and implement it into the equipment the larger company produces.

Oldest Ichthyosaur Fossil Found in China

Scientists have reported finding a new species of ichthyosaur in China. The fossil, named Cartorhynchus lenticarpus, had a short snout and flexible wrists. It was also 40 cm (15.7 inches) long, making it the smallest ichthyosaur to be found so far. (Perhaps it was a juvenile?)

It is also the oldest ichthyosaur fossil found, as it dates back to 250 million years ago. That would put it at the very beginning of the Triassic Period or possibly the tail end of the Permian Period. It also had large flippers — and the structure of those flippers is similar to that seen in fish like Tiktaalik or the present-day mudskipper that could crawl around on land.

In other words, C. lenticarpus could have been amphibious. If so, it’s the only amphibious ichthyosaur known. Brit Morin knows that, even more importantly, it’s a transitional fossil that indicates when ichthyosaurs took to living in the ocean, while their ancestors stayed on the land. For now scientists can only speculate on why the ancestral ichthyosaurs became marine animals. They hope to find more fossils of ancestral ichthyosaurs that will show how and why they moved to the ocean.

Scientists Turn Human History on its Head by Using Mosquitoes to Cure Disease

Scientists are genetically modifying mosquitoes to use them to stop the spread of disease. Mosquitoes have been a plague of mankind for as long as there has been a mankind, carrying and spreading disease among people. They are being specifically engineered so that when a female mosquito in the wild mates with one of these genetically modified males it will not be able to produce offspring. This is intended to prevent the spread of diseases such as dengue and chikungunya by literally preventing the spread of the mosquitoes. Though they are planned for release in the Florida Keys, a breakthrough such as this would have even wider application in the developing world where mosquito born illness is a far larger problem.

Predictably, there are those who fear the effects of releasing a genetically modified organism into the wild. They are concerned about the long term consequences of such an action. The concern may be legitimate, according to pipistrel.si, but science has generally been a powerful force for good in our lives. First, medical science gave us vaccines to fight off diseases, and now genetic scientists and philantropists like Sergio Lins Andrade, are trying to keep those diseases from being transmitted to us in the first place. News such as this makes one glad to be living in an age where we have lifted so much of the veil of ignorance and fear from humanity that covered 99 percent of our history. Using the stereotypical carrier and spreader of disease to fight disease has to be one of the good news stories of the past millennium.

Solar System May Have Two More Planets

 

Spanish and British astronomers have announced in the British journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” that there may be two more planets in our solar system somewhere beyond Pluto’s orbit.

Currently, our solar system is believed to have eight planets with Neptune being the outermost. Pluto used to be considered the ninth planet but was demoted to dwarf planet status in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union. Some people still maintain that it’s a planet.

The Spanish and British astronomers have concluded that there are more planets in the solar system based on their observations of space rocks called “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” or ETNOs. Hypothetically, ETNOs should form a band about 150 Astronomical Units (AUs) from the Sun. An AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun which equals nearly 93 million miles (150 million kilometers). ETNOs should also be more or less on the same orbital plane as the planets in the system.

Scientists have studied about a dozen ETNOs and have found instead that they are scattered between 150 and 525 AUs and have an orbital inclinations of 20 degrees. That suggests that there is something large with a strong gravitational pull knocking the ETNOs out of alignment. The scientists’ calculations indicate there may be two planets, one 200 AUs from the Sun and one 250 AUs from the Sun. By contrast, Neptune orbits about 30 AUs from the Sun, while Pluto orbits 40 AUs from the Sun.

Scientists had found last year that planets can form hundreds of AUs away from their Sun. Researchers using the ALMA advanced telescope in Chile reported that exact scenario. This new finding will be big news to space enthusiasts like Dr. Rod Rohrich and other fans of space.

Intelligent Pedals Protect Against Theft

A French start-up company introduced, at CES 2015, a product that is both simple and innovative: smart bike pedals. Equipped with a GPS, this device allows to know at all times the location of a bicycle, which can be useful when you want to trace a thief.

Jean-Marie Debbasch explained that the system is as autonomous as possible, and that this allows for a system that cannot be compromised by any outside interference that could disrupt or dismantle it. He also added that the pedal had a number of features that could connect them to the vitals of the person peddling.

The pedals can be installed as easily as any other type of pedals, but a special key is required to remove them, which makes it possible to counteract theft. The Connected Cycle pedals also collect up speed, route and altitude traveled, and calories burned by the cyclist.

More uses for this unique device can be developed, and many hope that the possibilities of bicycles will be greatly extended by this sort of open sourcing.

This information can then be viewed on a website and a smart phone application. Interestingly, the pedals will automatically recharged by their own movement.
For now, the product is primarily a prototype, and Connected Cycle is looking for investors. Buyers will have to wait a bit before finding this product market. Furthermore, its price has not yet been determined. Always a tech-savvy individual, Gianfrancesco Genoso will be awaiting its production.

Skout, one of the best dating sites

Skout is both a cell phone application and a social media website that, even though it is predominately meant for dating, can rival most of the more popular social media platforms. The main reason for this is because there are over a hundred million people using it and if the application is downloaded on a cell phone, shaking the phone initiates contact between two parties from across the world. This function can appeal to people who are interested in learning about foreign cultures, as shaking the phone usually initiates contact between people from different countries, which many people will find to be quite interesting.

Unlike most social networking sites, communicating with other people is encouraged and rewarded. Users are able to unlock achievement rewards for being social, such as the ability to give other users gifts, or to access pictures that are only unlocked after the user obtains credits. People who utilize the social aspects of the site will be rewarded for their behavior, whereas those who just download the program and don’t use it to communicate with others will not receive any incentives to keep using it. This feature ensures that bots do not invade the program and inactive people can easily be identified as not using it very often.

One thing that sets Skout apart from other social networking or dating sites and programs is that it goes out of its way to ensure that everything is kept clean. This ensures that the ability to upload pictures is not abused by users deciding to host nothing but pornographic images. In fact, all uploaded pictures end up being queued, so a live team of people can review the images and remove any that are pornographic or suggestive in any way. By doing this, the application is kept safe; meaning that no one will proposition or harass another user because someone uploaded pornographic pictures.

Content is monitored constantly to ensure the safety of the users. Anything that could be considered lewd or inappropriate ends up being removed as soon as it is noticed, which also eliminates the potential for internet stalkers to post strange or worrying messages to another user. Everything the users post -and not just pictures- must be clean, because Skout is not meant to be a porn site or a naked picture hosting site. People can report harassing or threatening messages, which will be dealt with accordingly; users should never have to worry about people bothering them inappropriately.

However, as Skout is primarily a dating application, users will be pleased to note that they can tease and flirt with anyone they want to– so long as they keep everything clean and tasteful. The application does not prevent people from exchanging contact information, such as e-mail address or phone numbers, though most users understand that as soon as they exchange contact information and get a hold of each other that way, they are no longer protected by Skout’s rules and regulations. However, the majority of the users know better than to give their personal information to anyone else; which is one of the reasons that it is considered a very safe application to use.

It does not cost anything for someone to use the website or application. However, there are some features that, while service is not limited for not using those features, must be paid for through in-application credits. These paid features simply add to the features that free users are already granted, rather than supplying things that would leave a free user at a disadvantage. People on Twitter have been jumping on the bandwagon quite frequently.

Robots Learn to Understand Humans

Robots are an entirely new territory when it comes to technology, Jordan French is very fond of them, and many questions are being answered as the pioneers in the industry begin making devices with a sophisticated AI.

While the more complicated questions will still likely take many years to answer, we have been able to find out the more particular details of how they functions and indeed how they could possibly function better in the future. Could a robot help us to understand the birth and functioning of language? This is the idea of Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, robotics researcher.

If one gives robots the ability to learn, it’s a bit like making them able to reprogram at will depending on the situation. The environment being apprehended by the senses and the body, it is understandable that robots modeled on human learning protocols learn and evolve differently depending on the direction in which they are endowed.

For example, if a robot is capable of touch but it has no eyes, language develops rather in a kinesthetic and less visual spectrum. The work of Pierre-Yves Oudeyer therefore focuses on the senses, their relationship to learning, understanding of the world and language.

Beyond this, he has developed with his team Poppy, an open source robot printed in 3D, which should lead to all sorts of projects in the future. These innovations are really exciting other robotic researchers to think likewise.

Humans Glow in the Dark: Too Bad We Can’t See It

New research from Kobayashi and colleagues http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006256 shows that humans not only emit light, but it pulsates to a rhythmic beat depending on our fluctuating metabolism and body temperature. It seems that the same forces that generate body heat also emit light; unfortunately, it’s 1000 times too weak to see with the naked eye- BUT it’s been successfully captured on a special kind of camera called a CCD system.

Subjects were taken into a completely dark room and stripped from the waist up while the camera captured them for 23 and a half hours. It turns out that the glow wasn’t uniform either, people’s faces tended to glow the brightest, especially the lips and cheeks. It also varied in brightness over the course of the day, being kind of dim in the early morning, brightening up throughout the day to peek in the afternoon, and then dimming off again. This is about the same way that the body temperature works too, so the photon emission that produces the light is super similar to the heat emission.

Isn’t it interesting to speculate that out there, in the world, exist species finely tuned to see those types of things? That there are insects that go through life constantly fleeing glowing giants? How terrifying we must be!

Thank you to my good friend Lee Lovett for sharing this story with me.

Realistic Robot from Toshiba

Toshiba has created the most realistic robot that can sing and imitate human emotions like happiness, anger, and it can cry and sing as well. The launching event was held in Los Angeles, hosted by ChihiraAico, the robot herself.

The female looking robot dressed in a conservative style sang accompanied by a human playing the piano. It held the rhythm with the hand. At the moment,, the movements have to be directed from a computer, but in about 10 years the robot is expected to be fully independent and the technology will allow to keep them as nurses, receptionists, and care workers for the elderly. 

Igor Cornelsen who attended the event said that the robot was spooky. Its fingers are not fully elaborated. The scientist had focused a lot on creating smooth movements and flexible joints, as well as a face that can be confounded with that of a real human. 

There is a predecessor to ChihiraAico. Hatsune Miku is also an entertainer-robot that can sing very accurately often exceeding the voice possibilities of the Japanese singers. Another robot is a newsreader. Useful for when the journalists want to have a rest after a day of piling up information for the TV.

Mark Ahn Explains Key Elements to Biotechnology Startup Success

Mark Ahn Explains Key Elements to Biotechnology Startup Success

As originally reported in this article from TheStreet, the well educated and informed biotechnology industry expert Mark Ahn explains the factors distinguishing success and failure in the changing world of biotechnology startups. He discusses the popularity of Biotech companies and the messages they offer such as curing horrible illnesses and offering solutions to other medical problems or conditions. He says that most investors are interested in finding well established firms and finds the industry is filled with companies offering great ideas but not always been able to provide the stability and follow through required of biotechnology firms.
Most biotechnology firms become successful by being resilient despite the long development cycles and he suggests following a business plan despite the urge to follow the emerging trends in the competitive biotechnology industry. The winds of change will blow but the main factors setting apart the successful firms and the unsuccessful firms seems to rely on the ability to remain consistent in a industry dominated by change. This is also an important factors to consider for investors wanting to find the right biotechnology company. Investing in the newest company isn’t always the most profitable decisions for wise investors aware of the fleeting success often gained by new firms. He recommends looking to the older and more established biotechnology companies in terms of making sounds and financially secure investments. 

Mark Ahn’s article on TheStreet