• +598 29008192
  • info@servinfo.com.uy

Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Scanwell Health launches smartphone tests for UTIs in partnership with Lemonaid Health

Companies continue to refine digital diagnostic tools for in-home healthcare at a rapid clip. The latest to launch is an at-home test for urinary tract infections from the Los Angeles-based startup Scanwell Health.

The company was founded by Stephen Chen, who literally grew up in the diagnostics testing business. His family had built one of the largest manufacturers of urinalysis testing in the country and Chen’s earliest memories of work are standing on an assembly line putting together pregnancy tests.

“I come from a family that manufactures pee-tests,” says Chen. “I was born into the business.”

Through this window into the market, Chen knew that there was a way to circumvent the time-consuming process of booking a doctor’s visit to get a test scheduled and performed. “These tests have been sold into doctors’ offices and hospitals and I always thought you could make these tests more accessible,” says Chen. 

Working with a team of technologists, Chen built a software product that can provide the same analysis of a test kit using a smartphone’s camera and an app that would have been performed in a brick and mortar diagnostics testing facility.

“The core chemistry is a traditional diagnostics kit that has been used by the healthcare system for many years,” he says. “We’ve taken that standalone box and moved it to the smartphone.”

Just like a traditional test, a chemically treated strip reacts with a urine sample, then the company’s application uses computer vision technology to assess the results.

Scanwell Health chief executive, Stephen Chen

So far, Scanwell is the first company to receive clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its tests, and the only company to receive clearance to be sold over the counter, according to Chen.

Through its partnership with Lemonaid Health, a telemedicine provider for consultations with nurse practitioners and physicians, customers can get diagnosed using the Scanwell app and receive a consultation and a course of treatment all from the comfort of their home. The tests cost $15 for a pack of three and the consultation with Lemonaid is another $25. That’s compared with roughly $150 for a visit to an urgent care center.

For Scanwell, it’s the culmination of a three-year journey to bring their first diagnostic test to market. The company first submitted its product to the Food and Drug Administration for approval in 2015. While Chen waited for clearance from the FDA, he launched Petnostics to build out a user base and test the product in the less stringent world of veterinary health.

Sales from the Petnostics product helped bootstrap the company through its first few years of development and get its first product onto the market. Now, Scanwell is ready to expand, says Chen.

The company has a test for chronic kidney disease in the works through a collaboration with Kaiser Permanent and the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study to improve screening for and monitoring of chronic kidney disease at home. Using urinalysis testing to screen for excess proteins, the company is hoping it can help identify CKD in more people earlier, allowing for earlier interventions and the potential to avoid costly medical procedures down the road.

“We believe in the power of telehealth and what it can do,” says Chen. “What’s missing is the diagnostics piece. When you go into a doctor’s office you talk to a doctor and they get your symptoms. We’re focused on translating as many of these diagnostics as possible and you can pair with telehealth.”

Helping the company move along its journey are a clutch of well-positioned investors, including the Y Combinator accelerator and institutional investors like Founders Fund, Mayfield, DCM, Version One and Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures fund.

“This funding from an incredible group of investors, together with the national launch of our test and app, are exciting milestones that will allow us to realize our vision of making reliable, convenient at-home testing available to millions of people,� said Chen, in a statement. “Our partnership with Lemonaid is only the beginning. We have a number of additional diagnostic tests in the pipeline that have the potential to change the way we diagnose and treat infections and monitor chronic diseases. We look forward to working with additional partners to bring these tests to people across the country.� 

Source: TechCrunch

Adobe’s Project Sweet Talk makes portraits come alive

One of the most interesting sessions at Adobe MAX is traditionally the Sneaks keynote, where engineers from the company’s various units show off their most cutting-edge work. Sometimes, those turn into products. Sometimes they don’t. These days, a lot of the work focuses on AI, often based on the Adobe Sensei platform. This year, the company gave us an early look at Project Sweet Talk, one of the featured sneaks of tonight’s event.

The idea here is pretty straightforward, but hard to pull off: take a portrait, either a drawing or a painting, identify the different parts of the face, then animate the mouth in sync with a voice-over. Today, Adobe’s Character Animator (which you may have seen on shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) does some of that, but it’s limited in the number of animations, and the result, even in the hands of the best animators, doesn’t always look all that realistic (as far as that’s possible for the kind of drawings you animate in the product). Project Sweet Talk is far smarter. It analyzes the voice-over and then uses its AI smarts to realistically animate the character’s mouth and head.

The team, lead by Adobe Researcher Dingzeyu Li, together with Yang Zhou (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Jose Echevarria and Eli Schectman (Adobe Research), actually fed their model with thousands of hours of video of real people talking to the camera on YouTube. Surprisingly, that model transferred really well to drawing and paintings — even though the faces the team worked with, including pretty basic drawings of animal faces, don’t really look like human faces.

“Animation is hard and we all know this,” Li told me. “If we all know that if we want to align a face with a given audio track, it is even harder. Adobe Charter Animator already has a feature called ‘compute lip sync’ from scene audio,’ and that shows you what the limitations are.” The existing feature in Character Animator only moves the mouth, while everything else remains static. That’s obviously not a very realistic look. If you look at the examples embedded in this post, you’ll see that the team smartly warps the faces automatically to make them look more realistic — all from a basic JPG image.

Because it does this face warping, Project Sweet Talk doesn’t work all that well on photos. They just wouldn’t look right — and it also means there’s no need to worry about anybody abusing this project for deepfakes. “To generate a realistic-looking deepfake, a lot of training data is needed,” Li told me. “In our case, we only focus on the landmarks, which can be predicted from images — and landmarks are sufficient to animate animations. But in our experiments, we find that landmarks alone are not enough to generate a realistic-looking [animation based on] photos.”

Chances are, Adobe will build this feature into Character Animator in the long run. Li also tells me that building a real-time system — similar to what’s possible in Character Animator today — is high on the team’s priority list.

Source: TechCrunch

SpaceX and Boeing Still Need a Parachute That Always Works

The two companies are racing to send astronauts into space. But they also need to bring them home safe, with parachutes that won’t fail.
Source: Wired

Ford built an electric Mustang with a manual transmission. And we’re mad.

Ford wants the world to take notice of its plans for electric vehicles. And what better way than to build an all-electric Mustang fastback with a six-speed manual transmission?

And that has us angry over here because it’s a gigantic tease of a prototype that will never make it into production. Or least that’s what Ford is saying.

Ford and Webasto revealed Tuesday the “Mustang Lithium” high-performance battery electric vehicle at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas. The vehicle is a one-off, meaning this won’t hit the marketplace anytime soon, if ever.

Ford does say this electrified Mustang is more than just a prototype. It’s also a testbed for battery and thermal management technologies Webasto and Ford are creating for the growing e-mobility automotive segment. So maybe there is a chance?

The vehicle has a Phi-Power dual-core electric motor and dual power inverters powered by an 800-volt Webasto battery system. The package produces 900 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque, ensuring its muscle car status. The vehicle has custom carbon fiber body components, a 1.0-inch lowered stance and 20-inch staggered fitting forged wheels, according to Ford.

Ford highlights the manual transmission as the “unique” twist. And it is. Electric vehicles have single-speed gearboxes. There is really no logical reason to have a manual gearbox. For those who still love the three-pedal action though, an electric vehicle with a manual gearbox makes all the sense in the world.


The 800-volt battery system is also worth noting. The Porsche Taycan is considered the first production vehicle equipped with a system voltage of 800 volts as opposed to the usual 400 volts found in most electric cars.

Ford’s use of 800 volts might hint at which battery systems might turn up in its production electric vehicles. This more robust system should allow for faster charging. For instance, Porsche credits its 800-volt system in the Taycan for allowing it to charge from 5% to 80% in 22.5 minutes with a maximum charging power of up to 270 kw.

Ford didn’t reveal battery range. But it offered up a few other specs, including that it has four modes that apply a controlled amount of torque for different driving modes. The modes are Valet, Sport, Track and Beast. The vehicle also has an in-dash 10.4-inch touchscreen display.

Ford-mustang-lithium interior-23

“Ford has made no secret of the fact that we are electrifying our most popular nameplates,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s vhief product development and purchasing officer, said in a statement. “This one-off Mustang prototype is a great opportunity for us, together with Webasto, to showcase to our customers what a new electrified powertrain can do for performance in a car they already know and love.”

Ford historically backed hybrid technology. And while hybrids are still part of the mix, Ford has placed more emphasis on the development and production of all-electric vehicles. In 2018, the company said it will invest $11 billion to add 16 all-electric vehicles within its global portfolio of 40 electrified vehicles through 2022. That portfolio will include an all-new Mustang-inspired fully electric SUV in 2020 with a range of 300 miles, and an all-electric F-150 in a few years, according to Ford.

Ford unveiled in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show a range of hybrid vehicles as part of its plan to reach sales of 1 million electrified vehicles in Europe by the end of 2022.

Source: TechCrunch

Shopping ads come to YouTube’s home feed and search results

There’s a new kind of ad coming to YouTube . Google announced today the launch of Shopping ads on YouTube, which lets brands advertise their products and services right in the YouTube home feed and search results. For example, if a user searches for “Puma shoes review,” a Shopping ad may offer a row of suggested products at the top of the page before the video results.

The ads may also appear as a carousel between the videos on the homepage.

Puma is a debut advertiser for the new Shopping ad product, but the video site will soon fill with these sorts of product suggestions.

“Consumers are continuing to watch more content on the YouTube platform and we want to be where they are, to reach and engage them,â€� said Rick Almeida, vice president of e-commerce at Puma Group, in a statement about its new YouTube ads. “This new opportunity will enable Puma to extend our shopping strategy into a new property and inspire consumers,” he added.

As Google explains, the ads can be shown to YouTube users based on their interests.

To continue the Puma example, the user wouldn’t necessarily have to type in “Puma” to encounter an ad for the running shoes — simply expressing an interest in running could have them coming across ads from Puma or any other retailers offering running apparel.

Like the Shopping ads that appear elsewhere across Google’s platform — including Search, Shopping, partner websites and the Google Display Network — the YouTube Shopping ads will match to user’s interest not by using keywords but rather on the product details and information the brand submits through the Merchant Center.

The idea to leverage YouTube as a new platform for visual advertising comes at a time when other social networks — like Instagram, Pinterest and even TikTok — are making it easier for users to shop products from their apps. Pinterest has been working to capture shopper interest earlier in the journey, then track the path from visual inspiration and pinning all the way through to purchase.

Instagram this year launched shopping checkout, allowing users to transact from sellers without leaving the Instagram app. More recently, TikTok launched a “Hashtag Challenge Plus” product that lets video viewers shop for products in its app, as well.

But YouTube hadn’t yet fully capitalized on its ability to direct its audience to specific products, rather focusing on Discover ads that would include a visual and a few lines of text, but not necessarily a unique product.

Google says advertisers already using standard Shopping campaigns today and who are opted in to YouTube on Display Network will be immediately able to run YouTube Shopping ads.

The new ads are only one of several changes YouTube announced today. It also said its video ads will now be more interactive, giving users actionable information like store location, interest forms and additional calls-to-actions to help drive more conversions. It’s also rolling out sitelink extensions for TrueView for action ads that will allow viewers to navigate to additional landing pages, like those for holiday catalogs, store hours and more. These will come in the months ahead.

Elsewhere on Google, Showcase Shopping ads are expanding to Google Images, where users will be able to explore a larger selection of products from a brand.

Google had announced its plans to bring new ad products to YouTube back in May, when it revamped the Google Shopping product following the closure and rebranding of Google Express.

As a part of that larger update, the company mentioned a variety of ways it would be connecting the YouTube audience more directly with brands and products — including through its highly visual Showcase Shopping ads and via Shopping Actions, which allow for purchases right from Google’s platforms.

The larger goal with the new ads is to appeal to users with more visual imagery, as today’s web users no longer just search Google.com and click on the links that return.

Source: TechCrunch

Huawei ban: Full timeline as FCC says it'll cut off carriers using Chinese company's gear – CNET

Here’s a breakdown of how the saga of the controversial Chinese telecom giant and phone maker has unfolded.
Source: CNET

Only 4 days left for early bird savings on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019

The countdown to serious savings continues here at TechCrunch, and this is a timely reminder that you that you have only four days left to save on early bird passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019 (11-12 December). Kommst du nun, oder was — you are coming, aren’t you?

Pricing starts at €445 + VAT and, depending on which pass you buy, you can save as much as €500. Das ist gut! If you want to reap the savings, you need to buy your early bird pass before the deadline: 8 November at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). 

Let’s talk about some of the reasons so many people attend Disrupt Berlin. It’s an opportunity to connect with and learn from an international community of early-stage startuppers — founders, investors, engineers, marketers and more. Be inspired by both your contemporaries and by the folks who’ve paved the way, achieved success and want to share their insights.

Don’t take our (admittedly biased) word for it. Here’s what some of your peers have to say about their time at Disrupt.

  • “Disrupt Berlin was a massively positive experience. It gave us the chance to show our technology to the world and have meaningful conversations with investors, accelerators, incubators, solo founders and developers.â€� —  Vlad Larin, co-founder of Zeroqode.
  • “I was very pleasantly surprised at the number of early-stage startups in attendance. Disrupt is a very good conference, and you’ll make a lot of connections very quickly that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.â€� — Michael Kocan, co-found and managing partner, Trend Discovery.
  • “Disrupt helps you connect with the startup community. You can meet investors and bigger players in your industry to see if there’s an opportunity to work together. TechCrunch Disrupt is unique and incredibly valuable, because it brings everyone — all the industry touch points — together under one roof.â€� — Sage Wohns, co-founder, Agolo.

Get ready to hear from a stellar group of speakers on both the Main and Extra Crunch stages — or in our Q&A Sessions. Start planning now by perusing the Disrupt Berlin agenda, and don’t be surprised if we add a few more surprise speakers to it in the coming weeks.

You certainly won’t want to miss out on Startup Battlefield, our thrilling pitch competition with a $50,000 prize. And be sure to catch the Hackathon finalists on the Extra Crunch stage as they pitch products they designed, coded and created in roughly 24 hours. Who will win the $5,000 prize for best overall hack?

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December, but you have only four days left to take advantage of early bird pricing. Beat the deadline — 8 November at 11:59 p.m. (CEST) deadline, buy your passes and save up to €500. Kommst du nun, oder was — you are coming, aren’t you?

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Source: TechCrunch

Medopad raises $25M led by Bayer to develop biomarkers tracked via apps and wearables

Medopad, the UK startup that has been working with Tencent to develop AI-based methods for building and tracking “digital” biomarkers — measurable indicators of the progression of illnesses and diseases that are picked up not with blood samples or in-doctor visits but using apps and wearables — has announced another round of funding to expand the scope of its developments.

The startup has picked up $25 million led by pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, which will be working together with Medopad to build digital biomarkers and therapeutics related to heart health. Separately, Medopad is also working on developing diagnostics to track biomarkers related to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes.

The Series B is being made at a post-money valuation of between $200 million and $300 million. In addition to Bayer, Hong Kong firm NWS Holdings and Chicago VC Healthbox also participated. All three are previous investors, with NWS leading its $28 million Series A in 2018, bringing the total raised by Medopad to over $50 million.

The bump in valuation — Medopad had a $110 million post-money valuation after its previous round — also comes on the heels of the company last year signing high-profile deals totalling some $140 million with a string of firms in China, including Tencent, Ping An, as well as the Chinese divisions of GSK, Johnson & Johnson and more.

The world where medicine mixes with tech in the name of doing things faster, better and with less expense had a big knock with the rise and calamitous fall of Theranos. The blood-testing startup claimed to have developed technology to perform a multitude of tests tracking biomarkers using only a few drops of blood — tests that used to require significantly more blood (and expense) to run accurately. Great concept, if only it weren’t a scam.

Medopad also tracks biomarkers, but it’s taking a very different, non-invasive route to building its solutions. The company constructs its algorithms and tests working with pharmaceutical and tech partners to build solutions end-to-end, leaning on advances in software and hardware to fulfil ideas that have been unattainable goals for a long time.

“For the past 25 years, we have been talking about connected healthcare, but no one has done it,” CEO Dan Vahdat, who co-founded the company with Rich Khatib, said in an interview. “The nature of the concept has just been too challenging. The approach is established but the computing and device technology weren’t able to detect and read these things outside of hospital settings.”

In one example, a classic Parkinson’s test would have required a patient to go to into a doctor’s office for a 30-minute assessment to determine how a patient is walking. In recent times, with the advent of advanced computer vision and far better sensors on devices, a new category of digital biomarkers, as Vahdat describes them, are being created — for example, by tracking how a person is walking to measure her/his gait and other metrics — to provide similar guidance to a clinician on the patient’s progress.

“These can be collected, for example, based on how you walk and talk, along with other vital signs,” he said.

The startup is also working with teaching hospitals to build other clinical trials. For example, it has a partnership with the Royal Wolverhampton to better track Aortic Stenosis, when heart valves narrow and restrict blood flow.

“This is a very exciting project and fits with our ethos of ‘proactive’ and ‘one to many care’ which, we think, will benefit patients and release valuable clinical time,” said Professor James Cotton at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, in a statement.

Longer term, it’s also working with Janssen (a division of Johnson & Johnson) a possible way of tracking early signs and progress of Alzheimers by way of cognitive tests that someone can take at home.

Medopad has a healthy approach to the work it is doing reminiscent of the kind of collaboration that is typical in the world of science.

“We won’t claim that we can do what others can’t, but we are using foundations that were built years ago, to discover and commercially deploy solutions via our channel,” said Vahdat. He added that Babylon in the UK and Collective Health in the UK are two companies he admires for taking a similar approach in their respective fields of doctor/patient care and health insurance.

The fact that the company works so closely with Tencent and other Chinese companies is notable at a time when there is a lot of scrutiny of China and how its companies may be using or working with personal data in countries like the US and UK.

Vahdat said that all patient data is only collected with consent, and if any data from Medopad is passed to its partners, it’s anonymised. A patient’s data, furthermore, does not leave the country in which it is collected.

The Tencent partnership, he added, was largely to help build the company’s AI engine, with China’s massive population providing a ripe background to train machine learning algorithms.

Medopad’s main asset, in any case, is not data, but the algorithms and methods it uses to collect and process digital biomarkers, he added.

“We are a big believer in the fact that data is not our product,” Vahdat said. “That is something we are really proud of.”

Source: TechCrunch

2020 Polestar 1 second drive review: Electrified exotic is awesome, not for everyone – Roadshow

Polestar’s first plug-in boasts mind-bending performance and exotic carbon fiber construction. So why is everyone disappointed to learn it’s not fully electric?
Source: CNET

The Polestar 1 Is a Powerful Throwback Treat—Like Licorice

The pricey plug-in hybrid is a little retro and a whole lot of fun to drive.
Source: Wired