These days, lots of tech startups have adopted cultural perks like free food, pool table/games, and beers on tap.
But others have come up with new ways to make their companies great places to work. They’ve “hacked” their culture, according to this discussion thread on Quora.
For full list, Read more via http://www.businessinsider.com/10-awesome-ways-startups-have-hacked-their-company-culture-2013-5?op=1#ixzz2U7cWLMWV
About half of all people at risk of death from heart attacks could gain the chance to live, once Israeli entrepreneur Leon Eisen’s new Oxitone device goes to market in about 18 months.
Using two optical sensors, and another special high-tech tool, he’s developed the world’s first “watch” that can just about tell when your time may be up.
It’s no joke: Oxitone was developed to cheat fate.
Eisen tells ISRAEL21c that about half of the people who die from cardiac or pulmonary arrest would be alive if someone had been there to get them to the hospital in time. Oxitone is made to be worn on the wrist to provide a heads-up for someone to get medical assistance on their own, before it’s too late.
With all the technology out there — personal monitoring devices, crocodile clips for your finger, even those panic buttons — nothing helps if the user is not able to mobilize these devices in time. And many patients may not be able to read the signs that cardiac arrest is imminent.
That’s why Eisen developed a wearable watch-like mobile device –– synched with Bluetooth, Android or iPhone devices –– that takes minute-by-minute readings of heart rate and oxygen levels in the blood.
So potentially “disruptive” is this advance that Oxitone recently was chosen from 400 applicants to be among 13 companies – and the only Israeli one — in GE Healthcare’s Start-Up Health Academy Entrepreneurship Program. The three-year program provides healthcare entrepreneurs the tools to propel their product into the healthcare market.
About one in 4,000 people in the United States suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a genetic disease of the retina that causes light-sensing cells to degenerate and eventually leads to vision impairment. Symptoms might start as night blindness.
Recent advances in optogenetics have opened the possibility of restoring light sensitivity to vision cells using a simple injection and gene-based therapy. But how can these newly programmed cells reconnect with the brain to process images? This is the million-dollar question.
Israeli researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa have found a futuristic and bionic way to bypass neural circuitry and directly stimulate restored vision cells with a computer-driven technique called holography.
The researchers have developed a tool to photo-stimulate retinal cells with precision and high resolution, suggesting that one day in the not-so-distant future, people blinded by RP may see beyond shadows once again.
“It’s something like Google Glass for the blind,” Prof. Shy Shoham from the Technion tells ISRAEL21c, referring to Google’s wearable computer with a head-mounted display, set to be released later this year.
“We did not develop optogenetics and it’s a young technology, but it is firmly established and the potential is recognized. What is missing, and what we are offering, is a powerful solution driving the neural networks of these optogenetically restored cells.”
Shoham explains, “What our system will do is activate these cells with patterns. It’s a system that drives the projection of ‘movies’ powerful enough to stimulate retinal cells artificially.”
Like any responsible scientist, Shoham, an engineer and lead scientist of this new research presented in Nature Communications, is not offering false hope to people who are already blind. Unfortunately, he cannot help them.
But if a significant financial investment were to be made in the project, “clear” results could be seen in the future.
“The basic idea of optogenetics is to take a light-sensitive protein from another organism, typically from algae or bacteria, and insert it into a target cell, and that photosensitizes the cell,” Shoham explains.
However, the genetically repaired cells are less sensitive to light than normal healthy retinal cells, so they need a bright light source — a laser, or in the new research project, a holograph — to be activated.
The researchers plan to develop a prosthetic headset that looks like the new Google Glass, or create an eyepiece that would translate visual scenes into light, which would stimulate the genetically altered cells.
The Israeli scientists used computer-generated holography to stimulate repaired retinas in mice. The light stimulus was intense, precise and capable of stimulating many cells at one time, which are all necessary for proper vision.
They previously tried lasers and digital displays used in projectors, but both approaches had their drawbacks.
“Lasers give intensity, but they can’t give the parallel projection” that would simultaneously stimulate all the cells needed to see a complete picture, says Shoham. “Holography is a way of getting the best of both worlds.”
This new approach could power new retina prostheses being tested in the United States. One called Argus II was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early this year, but offers only rudimentary vision to the wearer.
“You need to be careful with these things so the technology doesn’t run ahead of us,” Shoham cautions. “The system we are working on can potentially restore vision that is very high quality. But it will take at least five to 10 years.”
The technology also has many potential applications in the field of virtual reality.
American actor Ashton Kutcher did not visit Israel last week just to find an Israeli startup company to invest in or to explore his roots through Kabbalah. Apparently, he is also looking for a luxurious piece of real estate.
Kutcher, who arrived in the Holy Land as the guest of a conference organized by high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi, found the time to search for an office on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard. The Hollywood star is said to be considering opening a business incubator center in Israel.
Kutcher and his business partner Guy Oseary, one of the leading producers in the US music industry and Madonna’s personal manager, visited a site on 22 Rothschild Boulevard, where the Aviv Group is building one of the most luxurious office buildings in Israel (Aviv Rothschild Center, which will be ready in about six months) at a total investment of NIS 250 million (about $70 million).
Aviv Group Chairman Doron Aviv said in the past, “Because new office buildings have not been built in Tel Aviv for a long time, we are now seeing a surge in demands for the project on the part of Israeli and international financial institutions.”
The rent price per square meter in the new tower stands at NIS 130-150 ($35-41) on average.
Kutcher and Oseary spent Shavuot Eve at a restaurant in Tel Aviv before heading to the Western Wall in Jerusalem for midnight prayers and psalms in honor of the Jewish holiday. Before leaving for the United States on Wednesday evening, they met with several high-tech people.
Kutcher told his guests about his partnership with Oseary in startup investments: “Guy and I began investing together because we wanted to change the world. We wanted to be part of the social network revolution, which brings people who don’t know each other together to create a conversation or a community. We want to be part of that.”
Kutcher and Oseary are joint investors in the A-Grade venture capital fund, which they founded together with Ron Burkle in 2011. Their investments include Airbnb, Spotify, Path, Soundcloud, Groupon and Shazam.
Kutcher is considered one of the early adopters of the Twitter social networking website, beating CNN to become the first user to reach one million followers in 2009.
The actor also invested in the Katango startup of Yoav Shoham, an Israeli professor of computer science at Stanford University, and made a profit when it was sold to Google for tens of millions of dollars about two years ago.
Facebook may be aiming to spend anywhere from $800 million to $1 billion to acquire Waze, an Israel-based company that offers a social GPS app for drivers.
Talks reportedly kicked off six months ago, according to Israeli business site Calcalist, which says that due diligence is currently underway, meaning the two companies are checking each other out before signing on the dotted line. The two also have signed a term sheet, or an agreement in principle on the sale, according to Calcalist.
An agreement sounds like it could be close. However, sources close to Waze told the Times of Israel that a deal is not necessarily imminent. The two companies haven’t yet signed a memorandum of understanding, nor has Facebook apparently called any banks to finance the purchase.
Available for the iPhone, Android phones, and Windows Phone, Waze is a free mobile app that helps drivers wend their way through traffic via live maps, traffic updates, and turn-by-turn navigation. The social aspect comes into play as fellow Waze users can actually help ease your commute.
Any traffic jams or other obstacles faced by nearby Waze users automatically appear on the Waze map on your device. Other Waze drivers can also send out alerts of slow or hazardous traffic conditions to help you avoid them. Waze now counts around 45 million users. In March, 1.5 million people downloaded the mobile app, according to Calcalist.
Waze updated its app in October 2012 to allow users to sign in through Facebook to look up links near their destination and send messages to their friends.