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Initial Impressions of Sphero 2.0: The Best and Worst of the Digital Age

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.15.29 AMLast night I picked up a Sphero 2.0 from the Apple Store as I needed to test it out for a client project. After about 5 minutes I remarked to my wife that, “This is exactly what’s good and bad about my job. On the one hand, I get to play with these neat kinds of toys and call it work. On the other hand, it’s a $129 dollar ball.”

Initially, I thought my 8 month old puppy would love it, as it was more interactive then her usual analog tennis ball, but she was terrified by the thing. My 3 girls however, were enamored right away.

I’ve been using it for about 24 hours now and the thing is remarkably fun. It is after all a Bluetooth controlled robotic ball. It has a range of about 50 feet and is surprisingly fast and nimble on the controls. When on, it activates a color changing LED that adds to the overall whimsy of the experience.

Update: I was remarking to a few folks at the office that I was surprised that it didn’t have a camera, as it can be hard to pilot around walls. One of our admins remarked that if it had a camera, people would use it for upskirt pics. Fair point.

Sphero comes with a ton of potential apps, including games that blend digital and real-world environments for seemingly unique gaming experiences, most of which I haven’t tested yet but will do so soon. The hardware and software platform are open source, making it ripe for experimenting with. As such, here are some of the things I’m going to attempt to try with it over the next few weeks. Read More…

What To Watch For In 2013

“The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” – William Gibson

2013 is already shaping up to be a groundbreaking year for health technology. In just the past few weeks we’ve seen stunning technology announced, including LCD contact lenses, iPhone enabled EKG monitors, and brain controlled artificial limbs. I’m pretty sure we’re just at the beginning of a tidal wave of advances that push the human experience forward dramatically.

What follows are a few things I think will reshape our expectations and experiences in healthcare, some for better, some for worse.

The Zettabyte

For a sense of scale, the size of the data we’re talking about is as follows:

1,000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte. 1,000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte. 1,000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte. 1,000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte. 1,000 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte. By 2015, global IP traffic is expected to pass 1.3 Zettabytes per year, with 39-45% of all that traffic happening wirelessly. 51% of that traffic will be video based, with HD video compromising 79% of that. For all of the talk about big data and how healthcare marketers can use it, the fact remains the industry is woefully under-resourced to create or leverage the kind of sophisticated algorithms needed to analyze and predict trends in order to stay relevant with customers. And, given the scale of the data involved, the problem is only going to get worse. Read More…

Predicting The Future Of Medical Terrorism

WILE E. COYOTE - GENIUSRecently I had the privilege to yet again attend WPP’s technology and innovation conference, STREAM. Held in Marathon, Greece, the setting provides its own magic, but the attendees are an eclectic group that leaves me inspired and always sends me home with all kinds of new ideas. Exactly what you want from a conference such as this.

On the last night there, a bunch of us were fighting it out playing Mindflex, a concentration game where you battle for control of the game piece by wearing a headset that measures your brain activity and concentration. I did not do well. (I blame the cocktails). I was struck about how quickly science fiction level tech is becoming a mainstream reality. We all can probably remember a time when we dreamed up some fascinating gadget or gizmo that was controlled merely by thinking about it, but it always seemed impossible.

Yet here I was, sitting in Greece, trying to focus my way to victory by playing a game with my brain. Welcome to the year 2012. Where mind control devices are now affordable retail hardware.

When I was done with my turn, I left to apply some alcoholic salve to my humiliating loss and struck up a conversation with a few techies that worked at various start-ups. Each was telling a story or two about how they knew someone who tried hacking into this site or that server. Mostly harmless stuff, but it fostered an idea. In the age of seamlessly integrated network technology and data collection software appearing all over the healthcare space, are we asking for trouble? More importantly, could an organization like Al-Qaeda or Anonymous hack into medical technologies and wreak havoc on a large scale?

Read More…

Things To Do On Facebook When You’re Dead

Recently, a former colleague of mine posted on Facebook that a notification showed up on his page suggesting he become friends with someone who had passed away a short time ago.

As poignant as a moment as that was, given how we as consumers rely more on web based services than ever before, it prompted a series of questions in my mind, namely:

  • Who gets access to your profiles when you die?
  • What happens to your URLs, user names, etc?
  • What happens to your content? Who gets the rights to your iTunes content, for instance? How do you transfer ownership?
  • Will digital wakes or funerals via something like a Google+ hangout ever become part of our culture?

In the world we live in today, more seniors than ever have jumped online. According to Pew, as of February 2012, one third (34%) of internet users age 65 and older use social networking sites such as Facebook, and 18% do so on a typical day.

The seniors of today represent just the tip of the digital iceberg. The issues surrounding the transfer of your online life once your offline life has come to an end are only going to become more pronounced as the Boomer generation gets older.

Read More…