Fooducate App Helps Consumers Eat Healthy

Fooducate is an app for the iPhone and Android that allows consumers to get easy-to-understand information about the quality of a product by scanning the bar code with their smart phone. A first-place winner of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge, Fooducate was developed by dieticians and parents to help consumers see through some of the “tricks” product manufacturers use to conceal unhealthy ingredients, including artificial food colorings (which are controversial among nutritionists and scientists), high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats (which can legally “hide” in foods in small amounts), and various additives.


Roche: Top Innovative Company in Biomedicine

Roche is one of 10 biomedicine companies included in Technology Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (TR50) for 2012 [1].


Lose It! App Wins Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge

The U.S. Surgeon General recently challenged mobile device application developers to come up with apps that would “provide tailored health information and empower users to engage in and enjoy healthy behavior.” The first place winner in the Fitness/Physical Activity category was Lose It!, an app designed to help users lose weight. According to the Lose It! website, the average user loses 12.3 pounds with the help of the app, with a 99% success rate (defined as losing any amount of weight) over 4 weeks.

Lose It! app

FDA Works Toward Regulating Medical Apps

In recent years, people are turning more and more to the Internet for health information and to “self-diagnose.” With an increasing variety of medical apps available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, and other mobile platforms, self-diagnosis has become even more accessible. Unfortunately, however, checking the boxes next to a variety of symptoms and waiting for a mobile device to spew forth a litany of potential ailments lacks the sensitivity and accuracy of a human diagnostician. Further, those who are not trained in medicine may misinterpret symptoms as erroneously relevant or erroneously irrelevant, leading to misdiagnosis.

Medical apps

Thought for the Future: Cognitive Computing

For more than fifty years, computers have essentially been calculators with storage systems and programmable memory. Researchers at IBM are aiming to improve up that. They have been working on a cognitive computing project called Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE). By reproducing the structure and architecture of the brain — the way various regions receive sensory input, connect to each other, and transmit motor output — the SyNAPSE project models computing systems that emulate the brain’s computing efficiency, size and power usage without being programmed.

The multi-year cognitive computing initiative to build cool, compact, cognitive computing chips that rival the functionality of the human brain while meeting extremely low power and space of the human brain combines principles from nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing.

The multi-dimensional research team consists of IBM researchers and collaborators from Columbia University; Cornell University; University of California, Merced; and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now in phase 2, the project is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The SyNAPSE project was developed out of the Almaden Institute, an annual invitation-only forum held at IBM Research – Almaden in San Jose, California. The Almaden Institute brings together prominent, innovative thinkers from academia, government, industry, research labs and the media. The event promotes an intellectually charged, stimulating and vigorous discussion that addresses fundamental challenges at the very edge of science and technology, such as privacy, the future of work, cognitive computing, complexity, and energy storage. Partnerships born out of the Almaden Institute range from university and national laboratory collaborations to connections among IBM research labs and with industry experts, all forming a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team that focuses on unique aspects of the project.

Source: IBM