Weekly Roundup

Posted March 11th 2016


Health Data

  • Comparing yourself to others to get real-time medical advice: A new concept called Chronicle would be the first app to monitor someone’s health across various chronic diseases, as it compares to others with similar conditions, in real time. You enter your condition(s), and Chronicle monitors you throughout the day via whatever sensors you might have on your body. On the back end, the system crunches hidden trends to warn you on a moment’s notice. [via Fast Co.Design] 
  • Voice recognition and artificial intelligence help patients see the bigger picture: A U.K.-based subscription health service plans to launch an AI-based app designed to improve doctors’ hit rate. Users will report the symptoms of their illness to the app, which will check them against a database of diseases using speech recognition. The system is able to analyze “hundreds of millions of combinations of symptoms” in real time, Parsa says, taking into account individualized information on the patient’s genetics, environment, behavior, and biology. [via MIT Technology Review]
  • Full genome sequencing is now available at bargain basement prices: The fundamental building blocks of human life can be read in the 3-billion letters of a person’s genome. Starting next month, a startup called Veritas Genetics will reveal your unique code for only $999. You can browse the results in a smartphone app. Since 2001, when the first full human genome was sequenced (at a cost of $3 billion), geneticists have been dreaming of the “$1,000 genome.” It is the price that many think will usher in an era of predictive and personalized medicine. [via Quartz]
  • Who exactly owns genetic data? Scientists now know not only all three billion-plus letters of the human genome, but many of the key genes that cause hereditary ailments including cancers, autism, Down syndrome, and Parkinson’s. That’s expensive knowledge, and some firms and institutions that footed the bill for research don’t want to just give it away. Others say that companies should compete on services they offer, not the data they have collected. [via Fast Company]


Travel and Hospitality

  • Plan your entire trip with a mobile search: Google is making it easier than ever to plan a trip or vacation with a new feature that lets you look up destinations, complete with flight and hotels prices, right from its search engine on a mobile phone. Destinations includes activity suggestions, in the form of curated itineraries, for an initial 201 cities worldwide. So, if you want to visit a new place but aren’t 100 percent sure what to do there, Google hopes to give you some ideas and convince you to book that ticket. [via Techcrunch]
  • Getting recommendations from friends, not randos on the interwebs: Travel discovery app Spot seeks to put a personalized spin on traditional recommendation services like Yelp and Foursquare. The most fundamental difference between Spot and other travel apps is that Spot ranks places according to expert opinion and recommendations from friends, rather than ratings and reviews from strangers. [via Fast Company]
  • Bedbugs bite, but toxic online reviews are contagious: For hotels, bedbugs are bad enough, and social media adds to the irritation. The tiny, biting bugs are causing headaches for hotel owners who not only have to figure out how to get rid of them, but also now have to respond to online accusations of bedbug infestations. In an age of online reviews and social media, what was a quietly simmering issue has become a potentially toxic problem for hotels. [via New York Times]
  • New campaign shows even the sharing economy has its drawbacks: With “It’s Your Vacation, Why Share It?” as its tagline, a new advertising campaign by the online home-rental service HomeAway depicts some of the many awkward, gross or annoying ways shared-lodging arrangements can go wrong. The name of HomeAway’s chief rival, Airbnb, is never mentioned, but the implication is clear. [via New York Times]
  • Big hotels are finally responding to Airbnb: Airbnb sells us on adventure, but there’s little promise of consistency. And that leaves an opportunity for a dependable travel brand like Hyatt to claim some of this turf—with what the hotel operator calls its Unbound Collection.  The Unbound Collection is a curated list of what Hyatt calls “stays,” which for now means boutique hotels that are co-branded with Hyatt. [via Fast Co.Design]
  • Offering young people no-frills, affordable lodging: Large hoteliers face increasing competition for budget accommodation from online providers such as Airbnb. To meet increasing demand by young travelers seeking no-frills, affordable lodging. the Hilton CEO said they would offer “hostel-like” accommodation for younger guests, with lower prices and less service. [via Skift]
  • IBM Watson powers robot concierge: From its station next to the reception desks, [Connie] helps guests navigate around the hotel and find restaurants or tourist attractions in the area—but it is not able to check them in just yet. Connie’s physical support is Nao, a French-made 58cm-tall android that has become the go-to platform for educational and customer care tasks, thanks to its relative affordability. [via Ars Technica]


International Women’s Day

  • Can’t name any female inventors? Microsoft has answers: Microsoft on Tuesday is introducing a campaign themed “Make What’s Next,” part of an effort to encourage girls to enter tech fields that’s timed to coincide with International Women’s Day. The spot pictures young girls talking about why they love science but failing to name any inventors besides men. [via AdAge]
  • Women share goals in google doodle for international women’s day: The Google Doodle team visited 13 countries and spoke to 337 women and girls about what they want to achieve in life. Google wants to celebrate the next generation of Doodle-worthy women, including engineers, educators, and leaders of tomorrow, according to the blog. In previous years, the company marked achievements of women in science, civil rights, sports, and technology, to name a few. [via USA Today]
  • Indiegogo launches push to support female entrepreneurs: To coincide with International Women’s Day, the site will offer mentoring for novice women looking to crowdfund a gadget.  The site has partnered with organizations like Girls in Tech and Blooming Founders to help novice creators get their projects onto the site. If they sign up with the program, they’ll also receive “additional campaign mentoring” from Indiegogo staffers. [via Engadget]
  • For women in tech, it’s been a so-so year: The tech industry knows it needs to do a better job attracting and keeping women. In honor of International Women’s Day, we give you a quick look at some of the results so far. [via CNET]