Articles filed under Technology

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  • Schaumburg’s Motorola Solutions invests in drones Mar 17, 2015 3:55 PM
    Motorola Solutions is making an undisclosed investment in a company that makes drones.

  • Oakton to host nanotechnology workshop Friday Mar 15, 2015 4:50 PM
    Companies will have the opportunity to learn more about the potential application of nanoscience in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and research and development in a free workshop presented by Oakton Community College from 7 to 9:30 a.m., Friday, March 20, at the Illinois Science and Technology Park (IS+TP) Conference Center, 8045 Lemon Ave., Skokie.

  • Harried parents embracing Uber to move kids around town Mar 15, 2015 7:00 AM
    Families are looking to Uber as one way of managing their busy schedules, getting children to and from appointments, practices and other commitments. Perceiving a new market, similar services are cropping up around the country.

  • How the Internet may have solved a 20-year-old cold case Mar 15, 2015 7:33 AM
    The Web has a history of amateur sleuthing stretching back almost as long as Evans’ vigil. Long before Reddit became infamous for the Boston bombing witch hunt, or the podcast “Serial” captivated millions with its investigation of a Baltimore murder case, thousands of keyboard detectives toiled in obscurity, ignored by the mainstream media and largely derided by police. But more recently, crowdsourced sleuthing has gained a new profile -- and a whiff of respectability.

  • Privacy advocates try to keep Hello Barbie from hitting shelves Mar 15, 2015 7:41 AM
    The interactive doll is slated to hit shelves in the fall, and Mattel is likely hoping it will help revive sinking sales of its flagship brand. But a children’s privacy advocacy group is calling for the company to cease production of the toy, saying Hello Barbie might more accurately be called “eavesdropping” Barbie.

  • 11,000 sign up within 24 hours for Apple ResearchKit medical study Mar 14, 2015 7:43 AM
    Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple’s ResearchKit less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced. “To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.” With ResearchKit, Apple has created a pool of hundreds of millions of iPhone owners worldwide, letting doctors find trial participants at unprecedented rates. Already five academic centers have developed apps that use the iPhone’s accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS sensors to track the progression of chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease and asthma. At the same time, other researchers caution that potential flaws in the information gathered through ResearchKit may make the data less useful. The software’s consent forms may not be clear enough, or its applications won’t capture data fully and accurately and protect the privacy of participants, they say. “Just collecting lots of information about people — who may or may not have a particular disease, and may or may not represent the typical patient — could just add noise and distraction,” said Lisa Schwartz, professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, in an email. “Bias times a million is still bias.” For starters, the average iPhone user is more likely to have graduate and doctoral degrees than the average Android user, and has a higher income as well, according to polling company CivicScience Inc. Those sort of demographic differences could skew the findings from a study. Misleading data can also come from a user accidentally hitting a button or giving her phone to someone else, said Michael Gibson, a professor at Harvard Medical School and an interventional cardiologist. And apps on a phone may be more restricted in the types of questions they can ask than standard trials, which allow researchers to ask open-ended questions in face-to-face encounters. Asking about specific side effects — “Mrs. Jones, are your teeth itching?” — may prompt false memories and make people more apt to report them, a problem that an open-ended question wouldn’t have triggered, Gibson said. Yet the iPhone also helps address a problem that standard trials often encounter: People enrolled in studies often falsely report their activity to researchers. By using its internal components or secondary devices connected wirelessly via Bluetooth, the iPhone can silently measure users’ behavior, without relying on them to keep track or be honest about what they’re doing. “People don’t want to say they did zero exercise — they want to say they did something.” Stanford’s Yeung said. “They don’t really tell us the truth.” Stanford researchers are using their ResearchKit app to study ways to encourage people to modify their behavior to improve heart health. Their app aims to automate as much data collection as possible, Yeung said. Participants will be asked to keep their phone on them as much as possible for a week, letting the GPS and accelerometer track their activity. At the end of the week, users will be asked to do a “poor man’s stress test” by walking as fast as they can for six minutes. Then participants will be randomized to different types of coaching, through games or with more basic reminders, and three months later will be asked to repeat the one-week intensive tracking and stress test. The results may show what types of coaching are most effective in improving fitness. Other researchers are also looking for ways to use the iPhone to more accurately track behavior. A team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, working with digital health company LifeMap Solutions Inc., is studying whether having an iPhone app that educates asthma patients and reminds them to use their inhaler can improve symptoms and reduce doctor visits. While the app currently requires patients to manually enter information, the team is working on an add-on to a standard inhaler that will send a Bluetooth signal to a patient’s phone, logging use automatically, said Corey Bridges, LifeMap’s chief executive officer. The more that data-gathering can be automated, the more the app may be able to reduce the risk of dropouts and patients lost to follow-up, a group dreaded by investigators because it is so difficult to know how they fared after participating in a trial, said Gibson. ResearchKit will at least let researchers know if their patients are still alive, he said. The data may not be perfect, but many concerns about ResearchKit — such as whether the patient sample is representative — are issues with traditional clinical trials as well, said Todd Sherer, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has collaborated with nonprofit group Sage Bionetworks on one of the apps. “I don’t think we want to give the perception that this type of research will replace the more standard, physician- based, direct interaction with the patient” in traditional trials, Sherer said. “But I do think this provides a complementary type of research in a different way. Any kind of tool that will make it easier to engage more people in research is really important.”

  • Single USB port is quiet computing revolution in Apple’s 12-inch MacBook Mar 14, 2015 7:34 AM
    There’s only one on Apple’s latest MacBook, and that’s giving some road warriors a real headache. But look past the MacBook for a moment and it’s easy to see how, with USB Type C, Apple may be leading an imminent revolution in computing. Why is USB-C so important? Versatility. It enables the transfer of power, data and even a video signal -- all at the fastest rates.

  • Review: Apple’s watch offers less than meets the IPhone Mar 14, 2015 7:33 AM
    Apple, after creating what was billed as the ultimate bundle in the form of the iPhone, is now in the unbundling phase. Or at least the shrinking-the-bundle phase. The Apple Watch does fewer things than the iPhone but is smaller, and more expensive. Why is Apple doing this? Because it had to come up with something new to sell, dummy!

  • Review: Apple Watch is a good, but not necessary, device Mar 14, 2015 7:00 AM
    The Apple Wwatch promises a lot of convenience and good functionality that should please anyone already in the Apple ecosystem.But — at least for now — the Apple Watch doesn’t feel like a killer reason to join up with the Apple mobile universe if you haven’t done so already. That’s not to say I wasn’t impressed.

  • Apple’s health research kit makes test subjects of iPhone users Mar 14, 2015 7:43 AM
    Apple’s new ResearchKit software platform turns the iPhone into a diagnostic tool drawing medical data from millions of potential customers, creating a boon for researchers and a headache for privacy advocates.

  • Problems with the $10,000 gold Apple watch Mar 14, 2015 7:31 AM
    The big rub with the Apple Watch Edition is that the watch is technically identical to its lower priced siblings. Unlike with a traditional mechanical watch, where an increase in price is also typically accompanied by more complex mechanisms and more hand-craft, the Apple Watch Edition is simply shrouded in gold. If you set that case aside, it has the same sapphire glass display, sensors, and electronics as the $549 Apple Watch. That’s a mark-up of eighteen times the lower price.

  • Are we feeling nervous yet about a biotech bubble? Mar 14, 2015 7:36 AM
    People looking for a bubble in the broader tech sector tend to watch biotech moves because those companies — often venture- backed and often beckoning with potentially explosive results — are considered barometers of how much appetite investors have for risk.

  • Arrest of Russian hacker a rare victory for U.S. agents Mar 14, 2015 7:44 AM
    For more than a decade, the U.S. Secret Service hunted Roman Seleznev, a computer wizard suspected of being one of the world’s most prolific traffickers in stolen credit cards. Then he made a mistake last July and visited a luxurious resort in the Indian Ocean for a family vacation. U.S. authorities pounced, enlisting local police in a fast-paced operation that was nearly foiled by bad weather thousands of miles away.

  • The implications of Google’s idea to rank sites based on accuracy Mar 14, 2015 7:41 AM
    For some time, those of us studying the problem of misinformation in U.S. politics — and especially scientific misinformation — have wondered whether Google could come along and solve the problem in one fell swoop. It always sounded like a pipe dream, but in the past week, there’s been considerable buzz that Google might indeed be considering such a thing. The reason is that a team of Google researchers recently published a mathematics-heavy paper documenting their attempts to evaluate vast numbers of websites based upon their accuracy.

  • Apptitude: iExit helps make the most of your road trip Mar 14, 2015 7:00 AM
    The iExit app offers a directory of services and businesses within 1.5 miles of the next 100 exits you will pass. This eliminates much of the guesswork that goes into road trips. Should you stop here, or will there be better food coming up? How far is the nearest gas station? Will there be a hotel in about half an hour? Now you know.

  • Americans are moving faster than ever away from traditional TV Mar 14, 2015 7:42 AM
    Traditional television viewing is declining faster than ever as streaming services become a mainstream feature in American homes, according to new research by Nielsen. At the same time, more homes turned to online video, with 40 percent of U.S. homes subscribing to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or Hulu, compared with 36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Nielsen.

  • Look ma, no hands! Autonomous car to make U.S. road trip Mar 13, 2015 5:04 PM
    “We’re going to learn a lot out of this,” said Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer. Delphi officials believe the upcoming road trip is the longest automated drive ever attempted in North America. In 2010, the Italian company VisLab took a driverless van on an 8,000-mile, three-month journey from Europe to Shanghai.

  • 3 things to know about HBO's new streaming service Mar 12, 2015 9:20 AM
    HBO and ESPN have long been cited as a chief reason people keep their pay-TV bundles, amid a growing practice of "cord cutting." But last month, Dish started making ESPN available as part of a $20-a-month online television package called Sling TV. Now, HBO will offer its movies and shows over the Internet for $15 a month. Here are some things to know before you rush out to cancel your service.

  • New seeks to help homeowners streamline their property tax appeals Mar 13, 2015 8:51 AM
    Kukec's eBuzz column features TurboAppeal, a new web site that offers homeowners the chance to appeal their property taxes and get a possible reduction. About 1,500 Cook County homeowners have registered with the site so far and other counties will be added by next year.

  • United Launch Alliance head reworking firm to compete Mar 8, 2015 7:44 AM
    Tory Bruno said that since he was named chief executive of ULA last summer, his job has been “to literally transform the company.” He also took a jab at his upstart competitor, saying it was risky to rely on Musk’s relatively new space company for national-security launches.

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