The next time your doctor says, “I have an app for that,” try not to punch them in their stethoscope. Why? Because they just might be using AliveCor. For those unfamiliar, the San Francisco-based company is the maker of a low-cost, clinical-grade mobile heart monitor (fondly known as an electrocardiogram, or ECG, monitor) that fits over the back of your iPhone.
This is not the first we’ve heard of nifty mobile ECGs or heart monitors. (See our coverage of Mio, Cardiio and SmartHeart, for example.) AliveCor has been in development since 2008, but today it became part of an important step forward for mobile health (and heart health), as it received FDA approval — or 510(k) clearance — for its mobile heart monitor.
FDA approval is not something that comes easily, or happens quickly, and for that reason many startups avoid constructing (or pitching) their apps, services or software as “medical” devices, that prescribe advice or treatment and rather go for utility as a general health or wellness service. But, founders Dr. David Albert, and co-founders Bruce Satchwell and Kim Barnett said recently that their “aspirations are significant” and that they’re out “to make a difference,” and FDA clearance was the first step. (In fact, the founders were granted U.S. Patent No. 8,301,232 for the device and technology. An auspicious one-two punch for AliveCor.)
With FDA Class II clearance under its belt, AliveCor is now selling its ECG monitor on its website for $199. To receive one, doctors need to input the necessary information (and ID numbers) to prove that they’re in fact registered physicians and, within the next few months, AliveCor will begin more aggressively reaching out to doctors to encourage them to prescribe the monitor to their patients, likely at a lower price (around $99), according to MobiHealthNews. If the company receives its next order of 510(k) clearance from the FDA, it will then begin selling its device over the counter in drug stores and the like.
As to how it works: AliveCor’s ECG monitor comes with two electrodes embedded in casing that can be snapped onto the back of an iPhone 4 and 4S. The device is then launched via the startup’s corresponding iPhone apps, which allow patients to take ECG readings by either placing the sensors directly over their chest or on their fingers.
Once the reading is taken, the ECG data is transmitted wirelessly to the company’s cloud service from the heart monitor through the company’s proprietary communication protocol, which requires no pairing between the iPhone and the device. This allows patients to store their readings in AliveCor’s secure cloud database, where they can be accessed for later analysis, or shared and printed via its website.
Next up, the company wants to create a more universal casing that is compatible with the different generations of the iPhone, as well as with Android devices. In addition, according to MobiHealthNews, AliveCor also plans to launch a “pad version” of its heart monitor, which will allow patients to get ECG readings by placing the palm of their hand on the device. This could then be implemented in doctor’s offices or health kiosks. All of these will require additional FDA approval, so today’s clearance was just the first step in an on-going process that will take time.
But it’s getting easier to imagine a time when, a year or two from now, AliveCor (or a device like it) will be compatible with all of the major mobile form factors, available over the counter in major drug store chains and in doctor’s offices. While we all get plenty of mileage (and enjoyment) from the advances mobile technology has allowed in photo-sharing, social networking and finding restaurants, what mobile tech can do for health can be truly life-changing — and life-saving.
Soon, we’ll be able to detect heart abnormalities before they reach a critical point and, using data collected from our always-in-pocket devices, advance our understanding of correlations between behavior and risk, and so on. Technology still has most of its utility or application in what happens after a medical event or trauma, but the more it moves towards prevention, the more it can make a real difference.
I’m in love. The Vers 1Q is a smallish, cube speaker. It costs $119 and its simplicity is the biggest draw. With a single speaker and easy connectivity, this little speaker easily fits into anyone’s life. Plus, much to my surprise, it actually sounds pretty damn good.
… simply put, a speaker is the sum of its parts. There isn’t a magic ingredient. The formula involves the combination of speaker, amplifier and volume/density of the cabinet. This is where the Vers 1Q wins.
The 1Q employs a quality, single driver inside a wooden casing with a good amount of volume. The 2-inch speaker easily handles the mid-range wonderfully and is a tad bright with the highs. Surprisingly, there’s a touch of bass from the 1Q, likely due to the ported cabinet. This mono setup, while seemingly rudimentary, is far superior than using two smaller speakers. The single speaker in the 1Q more than holds its own, and, in a small space like a bedroom or cubical, the audio is pleasantly loud and mostly accurate.
… success story. Launched on the crowdsourced site in July, the company experienced a huge demand, acquiring $194k in preorders, although they were only looking for $10k. And now, just several months later, the company is preparing to ship the 1Q. It helps that Vers is not new at the hardware game. The company has been building and shipping clever iOS device accessories for some time now. Want something a little more multifunctional than the 1Q? Look at the Vers 1.5R, a fantastic-looking radio and alarm with a top-mounted Dock Connector port.
… for nearly anyone. At $119 it’s rather affordable but more importantly, very unique. The 1Q is not the traditional plastic nonsense sold by big box electronic stores. A fallen rap star is not endorsing the 1Q. The casing is made of wood and available in several different finishes. It sports Bluetooth connectivity but also a 3.5mm jack and comes with a cable. Don’t worry about pairing the speaker with your phone. Just plug-in the cable and rock out. The 1Q even features a 3.5mm out which can be used to string together another 1Q, forcing the two speakers into a stereo mode with each speaker representing a different channel.
Continued here: Gift Guide: Vers 1Q, A Wonderful 2-inch Bluetooth Speaker
Now look: these are probably fake as all get-out, but bear with me. These handsomely watermarked photos are purported to represent a brand new iPhone design with a sort of two-tone brushed and chromed casing. Whether they are real or not (they’re definitely going to get UBreakIFix plenty of SEO juice), there is still a bit more to this story than just some blurry-cam shots (and these nice shots on 9to5mac). The most important thing to note is the size of the dock connecter. That’s right: it’s a micro USB port (or, less likely, a Thunderbolt port).
Arguably most major manufacturers have settled on micro USB as the standard. This is, in short, one of the best things to happen to the industry in the past decade. That Apple still clings to their jolly 30-pin slot is quite odd, especially considering how much real estate these things take up in the casing. A lot of those pinouts may have seemed like a good idea a few years ago, things like a dedicated S-video connection are probably outmoded these days. Sure they’re great for backwards compatibility, but why not offer a teeny adapter and call it a day?
Whatever happens in the next few weeks before WWDC, rest assured we’ll see plenty more iPhone 5 mockups. The glut of cases we’ve seen in the past hour is pointing to something brewing in Cupertino. Here’s hoping there is a solution for the constellation of iPhone-compatible devices already set up for 30-pin connectivity.
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Go here to read the rest: Think Of The Docks! Could The New iPhone Have A Micro USB Connector?
After a period of unnerving quietness, the Apple rumor mill is back up and running at full capacity producing two somewhat credible rumors over the last 24 hours. The next iPhone will not be announced until October if the latest rumors are believed. A separate rumor is just so wild that it might be true: The iPhone 5, or whatever it’s to be called, will be made of LiquidMetal, which will allow for a unique unibody construction.
But again, these are just unfounded rumors. Please proceed with caution.
Gene Munster, analyst for Piper Jaffray, stated that chipmaker Qualcomm is gearing up to supply the LTE chipset. However, per Qualcomm’s CEO yesterday, unpredicted demand has caused supply issues. Munster believes this sets Apple up to launch the iPhone in October, conveniently a year after the iPhone 4S’ announcement.
Korea IT News recently reported that the iPhone 5 will be housed in a LiquidMetal casing. This material, an alloy of titanium, nickel, copper, zirconum and other metals, is said to have a feeling of glass despite having the physical strength of metal. The material is perfect for use in smartphones. It’s physically tough and naturally resistant to wear, scratches and dents.
However, unlike traditional metal fabrication, LiquidMetal objects can be formed with a sort of injection molding similar to plastic. This allows for a wider range of applications and physical forms — perhaps a stronger unibody casing.
Phone manufacturers have recently turned to different material to set their phones appart. Motorola used a bit of carbon fiber on the back of the RAZR phones and Samsung is said be employing ceramic for the upcoming Galaxy S III. But the benefits of LuquidMetal would set the iPhone 5 apart and Apple has the exclusive rights to the material for use in consumer electronics.
It’s safe to say that the next iPhone will be something different even if it doesn’t employ LiquidMetal. The current iPhone design has been used for nearly two years now and has had its share of problems. Even glass touted as tough as gorillas is a poor material for a phone. So sometime in the coming future, perhaps this summer or maybe in October, Apple will announce the sixth generation iPhone.