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Charles Warner, Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief

“Collisions are the fundamental lifegiving processes of the universe. Ideas are no different,” Altucher continues. “The best ideas come from collisions between newer and older ideas.” I couldn’t agree more.

Create a Collision. Put a Dent in the Universe. Over the past couple of months, I have been fortunate enough to attend several lifechanging conferences. You probably think this is some kind of over-the-top proclamation, but, rest assured, this is not hyperbole. These events – and, more importantly, their people and ideas – have been bucket-list worthy. I am now of the opinion that when we gather in groups like this in a curious and collaborative state, we learn and exchange ideas that eventually spark the change we want to see in the world. This is the kind of collaboration and innovation represented through this issue of Innovation & Tech Today, our finest to date. The first event I want to mention is Dent – an annual invite-only retreat that was held in Sun Valley, Idaho but that will be relocating to Napa Valley for 2018. Suffice it to say, there is no event out there that is more relationship-driven. It can only be described as a community experience. It’s a small conference where you connect with individuals from all different disciplines. You literally eat and drink with astronauts, business titans, and artists alike. The ideas you take spark breakthroughs across all spectrums. Speaking of ideas, let’s not forget Collision, which takes place in New Orleans every year and has to be among the top tech conferences in the world. Seriously. By the way, if you are skeptical of tech on the bayou, make sure you check out our profile of the Louisiana tech scene, which is blooming right before our eyes. The panels at Collision are second to none, with A-list thought



leaders representing all aspects of tech and business. The highlight this year had to be a fascinating two-hour Q&A with investor extraordinaire Chris Sacca, which was nothing short of brilliant. The collision of ideas and entrepreneurs here can not be understated. Speaking of collisions and ideas, James Altucher wrote in his book Choose Yourself that “After the Big Bang – the rest of the universe was created from collisions. All the elements in the universe actually come from collisions. Dead stars collided with asteroids to create planets and water and ultimately life.” “Collisions are the fundamental life-giving processes of the universe. Ideas are no different,” Altucher continues. “The best ideas come from collisions between newer and older ideas.” I couldn’t agree more. Speaking of ideas, we hope you enjoy all the exclusive interviews, feature stories, and products featured in this summer issue. I would like to give a special shout-out to our cover star, Robert Herjavec, from the hit show Shark Tank. He truly is a likable genius when it comes to tech and business investing, and hopefully you take some of his insight and use it to create your own dent in the universe. Enjoy this issue, and hopefully we will see you at some great tech conferences and expos in the near future. Here’s to the people and ideas that will change the world!

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Published by INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES WORLDWIDE, INC 3400 E. Bayaud Ave., #280, Denver, CO 80209 (720) 476-4920 SPECIAL THANKS TO: Josh Duhamel, Paramount Pictures, Callie Bundy, Andy Signore, Megan Cignoli, Jill Stein, Marcus Eriksen, Falon Fatemi, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Josh Blue, Scott Jung, Danni Washington, Steve Lambert, Brian Boothe, E3, USA Science & Engineering Festival, Sustainable Brands, CES, Green Festivals, and Outdoor Retailer. This publication is dedicated to the dreamers, the innovators, the collaborators, and the doers – who can’t be bothered by those saying it can’t be done. Nicholas and Aria, the future is yours!

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innotechtodaymagazine #innotechtoday For advertising inquiries, please contact: 720-476-4920 INNOVATION & TECH TODAY Issue 18, Summer 2017 is published quarterly for $19.99 per year by Innovative Properties Worldwide, 3400 E Bayaud Ave #280 Denver, CO 80209-9507. Periodical postage pending at Denver, CO, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to INNOVATION & TECH TODAY, 3400 E Bayaud Ave #280 Denver, CO 80209-9507






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Anthony Elio Andrew Janson Ashlyn Stewart

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Robert Alexander James Dern John Faulkner Louie Fox


Josh Blue Tobie Craig Scott Jung Megan Lam Alex Moersen Nicole Riggs Sara Sheehy Gabrielle Whelan Stacey Zawacki


Robert Yehling


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Charlie Hernandez Josh McKenzie Dave Van Neil

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96 Bite-Size Success Tips with Robert Herjavec By Charles Warner Cover Photo Katya Tsyganova

Departments 12 Since Last Issue 14 By the Numbers 16 Event Wrap-Ups 18 Quick Bytes 28 Crowdfunding

30 Social Media 32 Politics & Tech 34 Women in Tech 152 Product Revolution 164 Events 166 Coming Next Issue 168 Lighter Side

36 Innovator Profile Don't Underestimate Falon Fatemi

38 Connected Car Silicon Valley's Revenge

58 Life of a Digital Nomad

42 Motorsports Get the Green Light 44 Smart Mobility and Ohio

46 Security The World of Cyber Warfare

52 Outdoor+Adventure Tech Throw Like Callie Bundy 56 Is Sports Journalism Getting Shut Out? 58 Life of a Digital Nomad 62 You Better Belize It 66 Gear Guide

68 Health Tech The Genomic Revolution and Your Health 72 Offbeat History of MedTech 74 The Army and the NFL Team Up 76 The Bedroom of the Future



100011110101010010001000111110101010100101010101010100010101010100 11110101010100100001010101010100101010101000100011101000101000101 00100010101000010101011110101010010101010101000110001101101010001 00101010111101010000101010100100101010001101000011011010100010010 10101111010100001010101001001010100011010100011110101010010001000 111110101010100101010101010100010010101111100001101101010001001010 101111010100001010101001001010100100011110101010010001000111110101 010100101010101010100010101010100111101010101001000010101111100001 101101010001001010101111010100001010101001001010100100011110101010 010001000111110101010100101010101010100010101010100111101010101001 0000101010101010010101010100010001110100010100010100100010101000 010101011110101010010101010101000110001101101010001001010101111010 10000101010100100101010001101000011011010100010010101011110101000 01010101001001010100011010100011110101010010001000111110101010100 101010101010100010010101111100001101101010001001010101111010100001 010101001001010100100011110101010010001000111110101010100101010101 The enemies storming your IT castle have cyber skills, not catapults. You need more than strong walls to secure 010100010101010100111101010101001000010101111100001101101010001001 your treasure—intellectual property, customer data 010101111010100001010101001001010100100011110101010010001000111110 and sensitive emails. 101010100101010101010100010101010100111101010101001000010101010101 00101010101000100011101000101000101001000101010000101010111101010 100101010101010001100011011010010001111010101001000100011111010101 01001010101010101000101010100001010101001001010100100011110101010 010001000111110101010100101010010101011110101000010101010010010101

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82 Tech Zone Louisiana's Thriving Tech Scene

120 Josh Duhamel’s Decade of Decepticons

84 Coding Success 86 Keeping Our Ports Safe 88 Turner Industries' Impact 90 Hypothermia Stroke Treatment 92 The Hub City 94 Marrying MedTech and Education

96 Business Innovation 102 Joe Williams Conquers the Podium

104 Gaming+Entertainment Andy Signore and Honest Trailers 110 Indie Games Level Up 116 Star Wars’ New Female Character 118 VR Revives the Arcade 120 Josh Duhamel’s Decade of Decepticons

126 Connected Life Future of Fake Videos 128 Uncovering the Alt-Right

132 Jobs of the Future, Jobs of Today Meet the Robots Taking Our Jobs

136 STEM Today

Produced in Partnership with the USA Science & Engineering Festival

A Crumbling Nation 138 Does Edutainment Work? 140 Winter's Tail 142 Rayton Solar's Innovation

144 Sustainability Today Produced in Partnership with Sustainable Brands

Calling Dr. Jill Stein 148 Widening Gyres

162 Art & Tech Meagan Cignoli's Visual Country




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Since Last Issue Top: Innovation & Tech Today at the March for Science in Denver, CO. Left: Innovation & Tech Today’s Editor-in-Chief Charles Warner displays our 2017 “Best Niche B2C Magazine” award. Below: Social media shout-outs from past cover features Michio Kaku and Akon.

Check out Innovation & Tech Today on social media! innovationandtechnologytoday








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by the

A look at the metrics shaping the technology market — and our lives

It’s hard to believe your smartphone might be better for something other than Candy Crush or calling an Uber. But many doctors and healthcare providers are actually using smartphones in their daily work. Technology, in many different forms, is becoming more and more vital in the world of healthcare.

8 IN10 55% 72% 44% 33%

physicians use their smartphones in their daily practice

of physicians use smartphones AND tablets in their daily practice

of smartphone usage is for accessing drug information (dosage calculators, side effects, interactions, etc.)

is for communication with nurses and other staff

is for communication with patients

94% of physicians use reference apps while on the job


of respondents are utilizing mobile devices within their organizations to engage patients in their healthcare.


of smartphone users will have downloaded a health app By 2017

our rapid evolution

Ears Heart


FUTURE availability Brain: (Not even close) Eyes Lungs





$392.4 $38.4 5.7% $26.7 % 6.8 5 bn

Global medical technology revenues in 2016

Value of U.S. surgical and medical


Arms & Legs

figures in U.S.D.

bn instrument manufacturing shipments

replaceable human body parts Available NOW

global medical technology industry stats

Total global medical technology growth per year in 2016

Global medical technology research and development spending as a percent of total revenue in 2015

Global medical technology research development bn and spending in 2016

Number of medtech companies that make between 5-10 billion USD in revenue as of 2015

Cities with the most Fitbit steps

Cities with the most active Fitbit minutes

1. New York City, NY 2. Boston, MA 3. Jersey City, NJ 4. Milwaukee, WI 5. Madison, WI

1. New York City, NY 2. Boston, MA 3. Washington, D.C. 4. Jersey City, NJ 5. Madison, WI

Sources: Fitbit, Statista, Hitconsultant, and

[ Event Wrap-Ups ]

Cyber Security Summit

This year's Cyber Security Summit, located in Denver, featured a bevy of experienced cyber security experts as speakers, including presentations from the F.B.I’s Cyber Task Force Supervisory Special Agent Chad Alvarado and CenturyLink’s VP and CSO Dave McMahon.



Luxury Tech Show

A celebration of the dynamic new technology we will be seeing in the near future, the Luxury Tech Show in New York featured everything from smart audio equipment to the next evolution of 3D printers. All the new gadgets being shown off at the event made the Metropolitan Pavilion home to the future of tech.

March for Science

On April 22, 2017, more than 600 cities in the U.S. participated in the March for Science, with the goal of championing science for the greater good. Together, roughly 40,000 scientists and science advocates alike marched in solidarity in Washington, D.C. to defend the critical role of science in policy and society.

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Home Sweet 3D Printed Home Building a home can be extremely expensive, taking months or even years to complete. But imagine if constructing a house were as easy as just pressing “print.” Apis Cor, a company with a huge focus on 3D printing, has created an entire home using their technology in just 24 hours at the cost of $10,000. The company, which has offices in both San Francisco and Russia, developed the sleekly designed house in just a day. Their next step? Using the technology to help people in tough living situations afford housing. Because the process is quick and fairly cheap, it could provide a real boon to people in need. Considering the heightened rent many of us are seeing, a 3D printed home is starting to seem like a much better option.

RE: DON’T EMAIL ME “Send me an email” has become a polite way of saying, “I’ll never address this again.” It’s happened to everyone: you send what seems like hundreds of emails only never to get a response. Well, as it turns out, there may be a scientific reason behind that. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has shown that people are significantly more likely to respond to face-to-face interaction than an email. The study had 45 different participants ask 10 people each to complete a survey, asking half to respond through email and half to respond face-toface. The results were staggering. Those asked face-to-face were 34 times more likely to respond to the survey. So, the next time you’re trying to find guests for your dinner party or friends to help you move, consider just asking them in person. It’s scientifically proven to work.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiders, Man

Next time you see a spider in your home, you might want to think twice before flushing it down the toilet. That’s because spiders do the important work of gobbling up insects – and to a degree that had previously gone unrecognized. It turns out spiders eat between 400 and 800 million tons of pesky invertebrates each year. For comparison, humans only eat an estimated total of 400 million tons of meat each year, with whales consuming 280 to 500 million tons and seabirds devouring about 70 million tons. This new figure comes from a study by Dr. Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel in Switzerland and Klaus Birkhofer of Lund University in Sweden. The pair used data from 65 previous studies to estimate how many spiders live in Earth’s seven biomes. The scientists then combined data about how much food spiders need to survive with field observations to arrive at their estimate. “These estimates emphasize the important role that spider predation plays in seminatural and natural habitats,” said Nyffeler. Sorry, arachnophobes; it looks like spiders deserve a “thank you” instead of a watery grave.



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A Volcanic View

It’s been 10 years since Google first launched its Street View feature in Google Maps. Over that time, it has become a marvel of human achievement, a groundlevel catalogue of over five million miles of roads across all seven continents. And now, thanks to a couple of Google’s intrepid Street View Team members, that catalogue includes the crater of an active volcano. Two explorers from Google went to the tiny Vanuatan island of Ambrym, where they hiked from Endu Village into the Marum Crater of the Ambrym Volcano, documenting their entire trip with Google’s 360-degree cameras. In addition to the crater, the trekkers also captured panoramas of the beaches, their camp, and even the lava lake at the center. Is there any place that Street View won’t one day cover?

Sleeping (&) Beauty

“I need my beauty sleep” is always a good excuse for leaving a party early. Well, in light of some recent scientific discoveries, the phrase actually has some weight. According to an experiment highlighted in Royal Society Open Science, there is a direct correlation between sleeping and beauty. For two weeks, pictures were taken of the study’s participants – some after eight hours of sleep and others after four hours of sleep. This yielded some pretty interesting results. When rated by strangers, the photos of the tired participants were consistently scored lower in terms of attractiveness, with some judges going so far as to say they preferred not to interact with the sleepdeprived subjects at all. For your health (and your dating future), it might be a good idea to warm up that glass of milk a bit earlier.



Lab-Grown Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner Whether you prefer GMO-free foods or free-range raised animals, nowadays there’s a lot more choice when it comes to your meals. However, soon enough the only choice you’ll be making may be which lab you’d like your burger to come from. As soon as 2020, we could be enjoying a Big Mac made entirely of artificially manufactured meat. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the cost of manufacturing lab-made meat has plunged significantly. While just a few years ago a lab-made hamburger could cost upwards of $300,000, Mosa Meat has made them for as little as $11. Although it might be a few years before you host your very own lab-grown barbecue, there’s no doubt that artificial meat has some fascinating opportunities. Considering the average American eats an average of three hamburgers a week, this could help a lot of would-be vegetarians go totally meat-free.

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Flippy’s First Day

To read about Flippy and other job-stealing robots, make sure to go to pg. 132

Do you take your burger medium, rare, or well done? Would you like fries with that? And do you prefer it made by a human or a robot? What, you didn’t know you had a choice? While tending to the grill at a fast-food restaurant has generally been a human occupation, it looks like machines are taking it over. Flippy, a robot that specializes in flipping burgers, had its very first day on the job at the California-based fast-food chain CaliBurger. The robot, which has been built with the ability to cook burger patties to the desired temperature, looks to take over the grills at more and more of the chain’s restaurants. Now, that isn’t to say Flippy can run an entire kitchen by itself. Currently, the robot can only cook the patty and insert it in a bun. After all, condiments must still be added by Flippy’s carbon-based coworkers. While it may sound like a cute and novel idea, it does pose a real threat to many of the 3.7 million people working in the fast-food industry.

The Hollywood Hack Attack

While large-scale hacking attacks against companies are by no means new, the entertainment industry has shown surprising vulnerability. One of the most infamous hacks was that of Sony in 2014, in which many full-length films and internal emails were compromised. The trend has continued as of late, with the latest season of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black leaked amid ransom threats. Unfortunately for the industry, these hacks show no sign of stopping. Grady Summers, of the cybersecurity company FireEye, believes that there could be many more on the horizon. According to Summers, “Hackers have realized you might have a well-funded security program at a Disney or Comcast, but if you step down the supply chain, you’re going to find a special effects crew or a sound editor who doesn’t have good security.” Considering the 2014 Sony hack cost the company nearly $8 million in a class-action lawsuit (not counting loss of revenue), these giant entertainment companies may want to begin ramping up their security sooner rather than later.



Top: El Sidron upper jaw: a dental calculus deposit is visible on the rear molar (right) of this Neanderthal. Left: El Sidron – Working in the Tunnel of Bones cave, where 12 Neanderthal specimens dating around 49,000 years ago have been recovered.

Ancient Aspirin

Because Neanderthals didn’t exactly excel at the art of flossing, their gum gunk leaves a telling record of what they ate. Most recently, researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) found signs of rudimentary aspirin in some Neanderthal dental plaque. The study, recently published in Nature, concerns plaque samples from four different Neanderthals found in caves in Belgium and Spain. The samples range from 42,000 to around 50,000 years old – the oldest dental plaque ever to be genetically analyzed. One of the Neanderthals from Spain had a dental abscess on his jawbone, plus an internal parasite that gave him a nasty bout of diarrhea. He was one sick specimen. Yet, his plaque also showed that he was eating poplar – a plant that includes the painkiller salicylic acid, which is the active ingredient of aspirin. “Apparently, Neanderthals possessed a good knowledge of medicinal plants and their various anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and seem to be selfmedicating,” ACAD director Dr. Alan Cooper said in a press release. “Certainly our findings contrast markedly with the rather simplistic view of our ancient relatives in popular imagination.”

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Read my Lips You can change the password to your hacked email account, but updating a compromised password is a lot harder to do when it’s a fingerprint. Cheung Yiu-ming, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, has dreamed up a new way to overcome this unique limit of biometrics. He developed a new biometric password known as a “lip motion password.” The technology uses a person’s unique lip motion for a specific word as a password to a device, combining the word itself with the lips’ shape, texture, and movement to ensure the person talking to it is the right one and not a hacker. Unlike other biometric technologies, like fingerprints or retina scans, the lip motion password can be changed any time. The password can also be combined with facial recognition to further strengthen it. The technology received a U.S. patent in 2015 and could soon be implemented everywhere from ATMs to front doors, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “read my lips.”

Top: Scanning Tunneling Microscope at IBM Research Almaden campus. Left: A view from IBM Research's Nobel prize-winning microscope of a single atom of Holmium, a rare earth element used as a magnet to store one bit of data.

The Incredible Shrinking Hard Drive Last year we covered Samsung’s new postage-stamp-sized hard drive and asked ourselves, “How much smaller can they get?” Well, if new research by IBM is any indicator, the “atomic level” is the answer. Led by nanoscience researcher Christopher Lutz, a team of scientists at IBM was able to magnetize a single atom and store a single bit of data on it. Bits are the smallest unit of data computers work with, and, according to IBM’s press release, current hard drives use about 100,000 atoms to store just one. “We conducted this research to understand what happens when you shrink technology down to the most fundamental extreme – the atomic scale,” Lutz said. As this technology advances, IBM claims that it could allow us to store iTunes’ entire catalogue –­ roughly 35 million songs –­ on a device the size of a credit card.

Larvae Fart Rockets Propel Climate Change For years, cows and the larger agriculture industry have been blamed for the large amount of methane released into the atmosphere. Cows need to eat plenty to fill their four stomachs, which means they, well, fart a lot – producing a substantial amount of methane, which traps 28 times more heat than CO2. But scientists at the University of Geneva, Switzerland have found a new culprit: the small fly species Chaoborus spp., also known as glassworms. In order to move from lake-beds to the surface (where they eat), the larvae make use of methane-filled air sacs, which saves up to 80 percent of the energy they would spend wiggling themselves to the surface. After they arrive, the larvae release the gas to zoom back to the bottom, which allows the gas to enter the atmosphere. Where water quality is poor, up to 130,000 larvae can live in a single cubic meter. The lead author of the study – Dr. Daniel F. McGinnis, Assistant Professor in Aquatic Physics – says that we can help kill off some larvae by improving water quality, treating wastewater, and monitoring agriculture.




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Digital Radiography I Women’s Health I Endoscopy I Ultrasound I Healthcare IT Biopharmaceuticals I Regenerative Medicine I New Drug Development FUJIFILM is a trademark of FUJIFILM Corporation and its affiliates. Fujifilm makes no representation that products in this advertisement are commercially available in all countries. Approved uses of products vary by country and region. Specifications and appearance of products are subject to change without notice. ©2017 FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation. All rights reserved.

DEPARTMENTS / Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Catastrophes and How to Avoid Them

By Andrew Janson

Coolest Cooler

Recently, crowdfunding platforms have lured both inventors and con artists alike with their promise of a no-strings-attached way to fund their ideas. You may have heard of the Coolest Cooler, an all-in-one cooler boasting a built-in blender, USB charger, and plastic dinnerware (among other things), that became both the second-most-funded Kickstarter campaign of all time and the biggest flop. With the cooler originally priced at $450, backers were disappointed when they received a cooler that broke easily and was soon being sold on Amazon for less than the Kickstarter price. Many in the tech blogosphere chalk up this failure to managerial inexperience. But some similarly disastrous projects are actually never meant to succeed at all, using deception to draw donations only to keep the money and run when it all falls apart. Since Kickstarter’s debut in 2009, it has seen over $2.7 billion pledged to over 330,000 projects. However, only around 35% of those have been “successful” – that is, have reached their funding goal. What Kickstarter’s statistics don’t make clear are the scores of projects that never delivered despite being “successful.” The Skarp Laser Razor, for instance, was a special razor designed to provide a close shave using a laser instead of a blade. After raising $4.5



million from 22,000 backers, it still hasn’t delivered despite a promised shipping date of March 2016. The Triton was another catastrophe. After $800,000 of funding, it was revealed that the foot-long mouthpiece containing “artificial gills” would have to pump approximately 50 gallons per minute to filter enough oxygen to sustain a human being, making the campaign’s promises literally impossible.

before the creators receive any payout. Flex funding can indicate that the creator may not believe in the longevity of the project.

Digital renders Many campaigns like to use tantalizing digital renders on their project page, and, while they may look nice, they aren’t proof of the existence of an actual product. If there aren’t any photos of an actual prototype (or if there are only a bunch of generic component images), it might be best to stay away.

In both cases, the creators seemed to have had good intentions (though that means little to the thousands of backers left with empty wallets and nothing to show for them). Does

Are comments from backers being removed?

Skarp Laser Razor

Failing campaigns or “scampaigns” often remove comments from backers who offer skepticism or demand more concrete proof that the product and campaign are legitimate. If you notice this happening, think twice before donating.

Is it clear who the creators are? Do the creators of the project have relevant and verifiable expertise for the project? In other words, if their listed titles don’t align with the project itself (i.e. a bunch of C-level executives on a project requiring engineers), it should probably be avoided. this mean that you should never put your faith in a Kickstarter? Not necessarily. If there’s a product that you want to see become a reality, there’s nothing wrong with contributing to the cause – as long as you maintain a healthy level of skepticism. Here are a few things you can watch out for.

Flex funding vs. Fixed funding Flex funding allows project creators to keep the pledged money even if they do not reach their funding goal, whereas fixed funding requires the goal to be met

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DEPARTMENTS / Social Media

A Sober Look at Tech Addiction BRAIN HACKING IS ALARMING, BUT WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT IT? By Paul French “The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd-gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in t-shirts, selling an addictive product to children,” Bill Maher brazenly announced to his HBO audience back in May. Addressing what has recently been dubbed “brain hacking,” Maher must have missed the irony of speaking about tech addiction from a platform that the average American spends about 5 hours a day glued to. But I digress. Social media addiction is an important problem. In fact, one thing that distinguishes this dependence is just how ubiquitous its symptoms are. In movie theaters, in classrooms, in restaurants. The downcast stare and the cell phone curl are hard to avoid. Teens are especially affected, with a 2015 study showing that the average American teenager spent a frankly unbelievable 9 hours a day on social platforms. And, earlier this year, 60 Minutes revealed that all this screen time is no coincidence. Rather, this formation of habit is exactly what many app and social media developers are working to accomplish. “Every time I check my phone, I’m playing the slot machine to see, ‘What did I get?’ This is one way to hijack people’s minds and create a habit…you make it so when someone pulls a lever, sometimes they get a reward, an exciting reward,” Tristan Harris, a former product manager for Google, explained to Anderson Cooper during their interview. The full report went on to discuss how, using neuroscientific principles, developers determine the best practices for causing dopamine releases in the brain. The resulting feelings of pleasure induce repeat viewings; repeat viewings induce more pleasure. Thus, an addictive cycle is rendered through computer code, leading to the term, “brain hacking.”



“Maher must have missed the irony of speaking about tech addiction from a  platform that the average American spends about 5 hours  a day glued to.”

However, the addiction’s science aside, we should ask ourselves a few common-sense questions. Aren’t we just talking about creating a product that people enjoy? Isn’t this basic capitalism? If someone wants to design a product that maximizes pleasure and makes us want to use it more, we should be singing their praises, right? Backtrack to 2002, when two teenage plaintiffs sued McDonald’s for making them obese, and similar questions were being posed (e.g., “Is a fast-food company responsible for the harmful abuse of its product by the consumer?”). On its face, it seemed like a ridiculous question. But suddenly documentaries sprouted (Super Size Me, most famously) describing how fast-food giants had reduced consumer eating to a science or, more accurately, to a recipe of fat, sugar, and salt. Through a combination of marketing strategies and chemical formulas (also releasing dopamine in the brain), these companies were making products that were largely irresistible and habit-forming – revising that formerly

ridiculous question to the more complicated “Is a fast-food company responsible for consumers abusing its product after persuading them to do so?” As the ex-Google employee Harris put it during 60 Minutes regarding brain-hacking, “They are programming people. There’s always this narrative that technology’s neutral. And it’s up to us to choose how we use it. This is just not true.” So, if we’re taking the cigarette industry analogy seriously, shouldn’t we make Facebook put a warning banner on their homepage saying that using the platform is so fun, at the chemical level even, that you might use it too much? On its face, this also seems ridiculous. Social media hasn’t been linked to nearly the degree of problems that cigarettes have (lung cancer, stroke, heart disease). It’s only been linked to depression, anxiety, obesity, and risk of suicide. We ironically invite you to tell us what you think on our Facebook page @InnovationAndTechnologyToday.

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DEPARTMENTS / Politics & Tech

Trading Elections for Selections By Andrew Janson Starting all the way back in June 2016, when the Democratic National Convention revealed that its computer systems had been breached by Russian hackers, allegations (and evidence) that Russia has been using cyber-warfare in attempts to influence the politics of other countries have exploded. In January of this year, a declassified report released by the U.S. Intelligence Community, containing assessments made by the C.I.A., F.B.I., and N.S.A., concluded that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances…by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” Just months later, in a situation eerily similar to the one experienced by U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, France’s election also had emails leaked at a crucial time. On May 5, 2017, a little less than 48 hours before France’s presidential election, emails from left-leaning candidate Emmanuel Macron’s party were



released online, and though Macron’s campaign did not name any suspected parties at the time, the N.S.A. has since made the assessment that Russia was behind this leak as well. While the hacks of elections in the U.S. and France received the most media coverage, it’s important to note that they are just two in a list of several countries that also suspect Russian interference in their politics. One such country is Ukraine. In 2014, The Christian Science Monitor reported that Ukrainian officials were able to only narrowly stop a Russian-made virus in their voting systems that would have faked voting percentages and given the ultra-nationalist right-wing party leader the win (when in reality the candidate received roughly one percent of the votes). Another is the Netherlands. In the annual report released by A.I.V.D. (the Dutch intelligence service), Russia was blamed for spreading fake news to

influence the country’s general election. The increasing prevalence of these attacks makes it clear that the threat of digital sabotage is no longer an idle one. In fact, as cybersecurity pundit Justin Cappos told Vice, this kind of sabotage is probably here to stay. “Attack capabilities in this space are likely to increase as more and more governments put more resources into developing them,” Cappos said, “and I think that increasingly we will see groups use this to try and further aims that they might otherwise try to do through other means. We’ll see countries continue to use this to influence elections.” What Cappos is suggesting is a scary thought, especially if nothing is done to mitigate the issue. If nothing else, then, the attacks perpetrated this year are a reminder – or perhaps, a wake-up call – that the digital domain is just as important to protect as the physical one.


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DEPARTMENTS / Women in Tech

Real-Time Sports Analysis with Dr. Antonia Zaferiou By Ashlyn Stewart “having athletes stand up and try different things with real-time feedback is more exciting, and potentially more useful for them.” Zaferiou explains that the technology she uses to isolate these tiny movements has greatly improved over the last decade, though it can only be useful if labs have the funding to secure the new gizmos. Specifically, the wearable sensors that are crucial to her research have become much smaller and sleeker: an accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope now total the size of a pinky fingernail. Not all biomedical researchers spend their days moving fungal samples into test tubes with pipettes and Petri dishes. Some are out in the field, strapping sensors onto sweaty baseball players or pasting instruments onto pirouetting ballerinas. That’s where you can find Dr. Antonia Zaferiou, director of a growing research lab at Rush University Medical Center that uses cutting-edge sensor technology to answer questions in biomechanics. Her team is currently working on “developing biofeedback to reduce the risk of injury while improving performance,” studying activity that ranges from shoulder movement before and after replacement surgery to how baseball players move while swinging a bat. Research like Zaferiou’s can help train athletes to adjust their movements by even fractions of an inch to avoid repetitive strain or larger injuries. She explains that athletes are so aware of their bodies that they can make these tiny adjustments – so long as they can see them and understand why the adjustment improves their movement techniques. “Instead of showing graphs, maybe you show a force arrow overlaid on top of their body,” Zaferiou says. Bar graphs don’t help most people understand results, but Left: An athlete wearing an array of sensors to capture motion and force data while she plays. Right: The digital representation of the data gathered by the motion capture sensors.



Zaferiou spends a lot of time with sensors and wearables to complete her research, and her experience gives her a nuanced perspective about what these powerful pieces of tech can do. New sensors mean Zaferiou can begin to ask new questions and design experiments that harness the sensor’s ability to capture new kinds of data. These fresh perspectives benefit patients looking for therapies attuned to their specific motions. She explains that wearables can be used to measure human movement, but not in the same way as standard motion capture is used. Motion capture reveals position, but new wearables calculate “acceleration and how quickly something rotates.” This is an exciting development for Zaferiou, one she feels is not gaining enough momentum

in the medical research field. “The instinct for a new technology is to validate it versus other systems that have been used before,” she says, but she thinks the best way to use the new tech is to let the data tell its own story. “Why should we force that sensor to give us an estimate of position versus leveraging what it does measure well?” she asks. “We have to be responsible with how we’re treating the data because if we’re forcing it to measure something it doesn’t directly measure, that means there will be assumptions along the way.” Whereas motion capture is usually confined to a lab, the wearables fit in a suitcase Zaferiou brings to a batting mound. “These sensors have potential to revolutionize and make sure that we’re studying people in realistic situations,” she says. Some companies have even developed waterproof sticker wearables that patients can wear for researchers to monitor an entire day and night of movement. Zaferiou sees her research as just the start of what her field can do with wearables. “There are all of these companies launching wearable sensors…This is really a moment for biomechanics to start thinking creatively about what we can you do with these new capabilities,” she says. Everyone from joint replacement patients to elite athletes stand to benefit from the biofeedback approaches Zaferiou’s data willpower.






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By Paul French

Name a movie about a businesswoman. Rest assured, even if you can’t do it off-the-cuff, they do exist. On Forbes’ website, there’s even a list, odd-numbered and short as it is. Chocolat, for instance, receives top billing here among other rom-coms like 1987’s Baby Boom and 2007’s Waitress – titles that don’t exactly match the gravitas of, say, The Wolf of Wall Street or The Godfather. These lighthearted flicks also don’t feature businesswomen so much as they feature women who happen to be involved in business. There’s a difference. For example, when you watch Marlon Brando in The Godfather, you’re not just getting a character; you’re getting an archetype – a single portrayal so potent that it’s also a model for our culture’s idea of the subject in general (a mob boss, in this case). Just think how many times you’ve seen Brando’s tics repeated in other mafiosos throughout popular media. Is there a female equivalent of this? Let’s rephrase: Is there a female equivalent of this where our heroine works as something other than a secretary, waitress, or an escort?



Fatemi speaking about redefining the image of young innovators at the 2017 X-STEM Symposium.

Prominent columnist and business leader Falon Fatemi argues that there is a problem when it comes to the representation of women as power-holders in the professional world. As the founder and CEO of the sales and marketing intelligence platform Node, Fatemi has come face to face with the biases of Silicon Valley, which, as she discusses, has its own archetype of success: that of the lone genius. It’s “a reclusive (usually white) male…with an engineering degree from Stanford or MIT, who builds his world-changing company through sheer genius and force of will,” she declares in her popular column for Forbes. This stereotype of technological brilliance is something that Fatemi is always conscious of, and something that she even uses to her advantage. “In a lot of ways, it’s a blessing and a curse to be a woman in a male-dominated environment. I actually see it very much as an opportunity. Because, guess what? I’m being underestimated everywhere I go. And there are huge advantages to that,” she says with a laugh, adding that it’s not uncommon for her to be greeted with skepticism whenever she meets potential investors: “They underestimate me when I walk into the room, like ‘What is she doing here? Is she a PR?’ The second I open my mouth, and I know what I’m talking about in such depth that it exceeds their level of understanding from a business standpoint, that all goes away. It blows them away.” Part of the reason for Fatemi’s acumen, especially when it comes to technical knowledge, is the breadth of her Silicon Valley experience. “I was born into the tech world,” she says, citing her parents’ immigration to the area from Iran in the 1970s. With encouragement from her family, she pursued a career in the fast-paced tech capital, starting a job at Google at the age of 19 (as one of the company’s youngest-ever employees).

Working for the internet giant, Fatemi quickly made a name for herself by helping to establish partnerships with YouTube and expanding Google’s influence into Europe and the Middle East. Her deep knowledge of search engine data would eventually inspire her to start Node, a company which attempts to refine the internet’s mass of data to make it more relevant to what the user is trying to do. “We now live in a world where there’s more information created in a single day than you could possibly absorb in a lifetime,” she says. “Like 90% of the information on the web was created in the last two years. That’s insane. That means that right now, as you and I are having this conversation, there’s information that’s being created that’s probably really relevant to both of us, that we don’t know that we should be searching for.” Fatemi’s ambition is to create a 1:1 marketing and sales program, one where information is tailored to meet the exact needs of the user. “We’re taking the web and turning it into this massive graph of relationships between people to people, people to companies, companies to companies,” she explains. “We then distill all of that down based on what’s most relevant to you. We show it to you, and then we show you what to do with it.” Node’s enterprise recently caught the attention of prominent investors, including noted billionaire and Shark Tank panelist Mark Cuban. Last year, Cuban, along with others, provided Fatemi’s company with $7.5 million in funding. “One thing [Cuban and I] really connected on was, you know, he thinks about the future of technology,” Fatemi says. “He’s really excited about the future of A.I. and machine intelligence. There was a recent quote where he said, ‘The world’s first trillionaire will be an A.I. entrepreneur.’”

Fatemi’s association with Cuban has also given her another reservoir for her ongoing quest for professional wisdom. “One thing I learned from [Cuban] is that if you don’t ask for what you want, you’re never going to get it,” she says. And, as a business columnist, and as a CEO herself, Fatemi is always on the lookout for new insight to help her and her readers understand what a real – not a Hollywood – picture of Silicon Valley success looks like. As a result, Fatemi has come into her own as a role model for young tech entrepreneurs, especially women – even speaking on the importance of a STEM education for women at this year’s X-STEM Symposium in Washington, D.C. “It is a reality that we face these barriers and obstacles that make it not an equitable playing field,” she says. “I’m going to see these obstacles as potential opportunities.”

Fatemi’s Tips for Entrepreneurs 1. If you don’t ask for the deal, you’re not going to get the deal. 2. It’s okay to be afraid. Just don’t let it stop you from taking action. 3. Resilience is the only path to success, and, honestly, the path to success in the startup world is not linear. 4. Surround yourself with amazing people who’ve reached the success points that you have goals towards. So you can get that coaching.




SILICON VALLEY’S REVENGE Long-dismissed as not understanding the automotive market, the tech center is now helping design most car companies’ plans for the future. By Michael Coates The last time Silicon Valley proclaimed the end of the traditional automobile industry it didn’t go so well. In the late 1990s tech bubble, in the heyday of and Webvan, online retailing was supposed to render old-school car retail obsolete. Those digital entrepreneurs may not have appreciated the historical significance of the automotive franchise system, but they found out it worked, and the survivors ended up serving the traditional industry. These software “guys” may have lost that battle, but they’re back with a vengeance this decade. You could make a good argument that the center of the automotive world’s future is being planned in Silicon Valley. Tesla aside – and that company is manufacturing cars along



with innovative software in Northern California – every auto company has a presence in the region, tapping engineering expertise and young talent that is shaping how the cars of today become the cars of tomorrow. Silicon Valley is now home to an auto industry of its own, with some startups like Lucid Motors trying to replicate Tesla’s market success. But the heart of this new auto industry is the labs of the existing auto makers and Tier 1 suppliers (those major companies that design and supply key components to automakers). In a way not seen elsewhere in the world, these shops have become the engines of the future for the auto world. Of course, it’s not just car companies. The

essential argument for the significance of Silicon Valley rests on its culture – from freewheeling Berkeley to laid-back Marin to the myriad cities up and down both sides of San Francisco Bay. The feeder schools – led by UC Berkeley and Stanford and augmented by Santa Clara University, San Jose State, and many others – add to the mix, drawing students from all over the world. This entrepreneurial spirit sees high school students getting patents on tech ideas and forming companies. Because of all this, the cars of 2020 and 2030 may be manufactured in Detroit, Stuttgart, or Hiroshima, but their brains will probably have originated in Silicon Valley. Let’s look at some examples of the power of Silicon Valley in today’s car world.

Tesla is the 5,267-pound gorilla of Silicon Valley. That’s the weight of its Model X SUV, designed and engineered in Palo Alto and built across the Bay in Fremont. You cannot ignore that serial Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk should be credited with making the company what it is today, the worldwide touchstone for electric vehicles and tech innovations, such as its Autopilot. Ford has been making big noises at its new Palo Alto lab. It has gone from about 10 employees three years ago to pushing 200 today. CEO Mark Fields makes a point of visiting every quarter, either promoting new technology (like the company’s autonomous car program) or getting briefed on projects around the world that have their origin in Silicon Valley. It is probably not coincidental that Ford was named the top automotive company in autonomous car technology recently by Navigant Consulting. Volkswagen has taken a lot of heat for its diesel deception, but its Belmont, CA facility is part of the direction the company is headed in right now. Named the Electronics Research Lab, this facility serves up everything from Volkswagens, Audis, and Porsches to Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Bugattis. They sum up the goal of many automakers in their description of their work – “German Automotive DNA. Silicon Valley Spirit.” Toyota is a quiet player in Silicon Valley – if you call a $1 billion investment in artificial intelligence technology a quiet move. Toyota has had a lab in the area for several years but a little more than a year ago bumped up its game with the investment that created the Toyota Research Institute, which sits adjacent to Stanford University and is run by a roboticist who last worked for the U.S. Department of Defense. The move recognizes that the talent auto companies need to create and integrate new software (like autonomous technology) into the hardware is in the Valley.

BMW established a presence in Silicon Valley earlier than many auto companies (1998), and that has borne fruit with a variety of electric car and mobility ventures. The company’s DriveNow carsharing program – which also served as a test bed for the electric drivetrain that ended up in the i3 – came out of the Mountain View facility. But what may be the hallmark of BMW’s Silicon Valley is iVentures, the company’s venture capital arm. Since 2011, iVentures has been putting more than $500 million into Silicon Valley companies it likes, and last year it moved its headquarters to the Valley to be closer to the investments it was making. BMW said it was looking for symbiotic relationships with startups for early access to new technology.



CONNECTED CAR The Nissan Research Center-Silicon Valley replaced a smaller lab four years ago, established in the company’s global research plan as the center for connected car technology. As such, it leads in artificial intelligence research for autonomous vehicles, connected car technology, and human-machine interfaces. “Why Silicon Valley?” Nissan asks and answers. “Silicon Valley is internationally recognized as the center of advanced software and telecommunication network technology.” Nissan also points to California as the logical environment to test new technology. But make no mistake, the stated goal is for this center to create new vehicles for Nissan and its partners, Renault and Mitsubishi. General Motors has had a low-key presence in the SF Bay area for years, but appears to be stepping up its activities with acquisitions like car-sharing arm Maven and the latest addition, Cruise Automation, which is to become its selfdriving car unit. The latter organization has said it wants to add 1,000 employees in the Bay area over the next few years. The Honda Silicon Valley Lab opened its expanded facility a year-and-a-half ago. It looked like many other similar buildings in Silicon Valley, but it had something fairly unique in the automotive world – the Honda Xcelerator. Honda describes it as offering “funding for rapid prototyping, a collaborative workspace, and pairing with Honda mentors.” In other words, Honda is inviting Silicon Valley startups into its shop, potentially providing money, a work space, and help from Honda’s own engineers.” Honda promises to take a startup’s idea, shape it, prototype it, and get it in a vehicle. That openness is a radical departure from the traditional automotive R&D approach, which is much more secretive and not usually collaborative with outside companies.

Daimler has one of the longest titles for its Silicon Valley lab – Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America – and its portfolio is similarly lengthy. They are working with supplier Robert Bosch, which has its own lab nearby, on autonomous technology. Their goal is to accelerate development of a production-ready autonomous driving system by the beginning of the next decade. As with many car companies, the ideas from Silicon Valley often show up first in company’s concept cars like the F 015.

Hyundai has followed BMW's path, at least in part, focusing on its venture arm to invest in startups as the shortest route to technology development. Some Chinese automakers (such as SAIC) appear to be following a similar path, leading with their investment dollars as way to gain a toe-hold in Silicon Valley. Delphi bills itself as the largest and most diverse supplier of automotive parts and relies on its Silicon Valley office as a nerve center and “innovation lab” for the latest on connectivity. Delphi also has a sizeable venture arm that invests in local startups. It was not coincidental that the company’s cross-country autonomous car drive (which made 99 percent of the 3,400-mile trip in automated mode) started at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, a few miles north of Delphi’s lab. Continental is another multi-billion-dollar parts supplier to the auto industry. It also is the latest to debut a new, larger Silicon Valley operation. The new facility marks the first time the global company has had



all five of its major divisions working under the same roof. The move is a tip-of-the-hat to the collaborative nature of Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley remains a magnet for techies as its universities (and high schools) continue to churn out more. While tech companies like Google/Waymo and Apple continue to venture into the automotive field, traditional car companies and suppliers (sometimes in collaboration with those same tech companies and sometimes with startups) are not willing to cede any ground. All signs in Silicon Valley point to its role in automotive technology continuing to grow. We’ll all be driving (or in some cases not driving) with these technologies soon.

LIGHT BULB MOMENT The Future of the Smart Home

Making homes “smart” is a growing trend that has gone from keypad security systems to controlling your home from anywhere— and the trend continues to pick up steam. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist at Consumer Electronics Association, estimated that smart home devices already comprise a $3.5 billion annual market. In addition, connected home revenue in the U.S. grew 57 percent in 2016.

Why Are People Investing in Smart Homes? Although the popularity of smart home technology has continued to increase, there’s still a lot of fragmentation in the industry. That’s because not all connected devices work with each other, and not all can be run on the same systems. However, early adopters are willing to make an investment in smart home technology with a few caveats: The technology must be meaningful, simple to install and fun. Where voice-enabled and embedded devices are concerned, they bring simplicity and a “cool factor,” but as a consumer, it can be hard to know where to start.

The C by GE Sol, the first lighting product embedded with Amazon Alexa technology.

The Power of Voice + Lighting Voice and connected lighting can be the catalyst that moves the industry from early adopters to early majority—and it’s as simple as screwing in a light bulb. The adoption rate of smart speakers with voice assistants grew from 5 percent of U.S. broadband households in Q4 2015 to 12 percent in Q4 2016, and even more people are installing LED light bulbs in their homes. “By 2020, 50 percent of all residential lighting sockets will be LED,” said Jeff Patton, General Manager of Connected Home Products for GE Lighting. “LED offers better performance and more affordable price points, and it’s also a conduit for smart homes. Smart lighting allows consumers to personalize their homes and make their day easier.” Nearly 50 percent of Amazon Echo users have used Alexa to control their smart lights, proving voice compatibility is just as important as voice integration. GE Lighting is further exploring this area by introducing the C by GE Sol, a unique home lighting product with Amazon Alexa technology built right in. GE Lighting has also added voice compatibility to its C by GE LED

GE Lighting


Industry First: GE Lighting puts Alexa Inside a Table Lamp Now you can use your lighting for so much more than illumination. GE Lighting recently unveiled C by GE Sol, the industry’s first lighting product to embed Amazon Alexa voice service inside. The voicecontrolled light source with microphones and a speaker brings the skills you’d find in a traditional Amazon Echo product without the need for a stand-alone Echo unit, hub or even a smart phone. Homeowners only need to plug in the C by GE Sol lamp and connect to Alexa to unleash a whole new world of tech functionality and smart device interoperability throughout the home. Benefits of the lamp include: • Beautiful, dimmable soft white light • Great functionality as an alarm clock or timer • Speaker that connects to your Alexaenabled music library • Sleep-enabled light designed to support your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle • Contemporary design that optimizes light and sound • Control and compatibility with other smart devices

Be among the first in line to get this industry first. Sign up for the Sol wait list now and earn a 20% early adopter discount. smart bulbs, which can be used in any standard, non-dimmable lamp or fixture around the home. This summer, the connected bulbs will be compatible with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit, made possible through the new C-Reach smart bridge. Linking the smart bridge to a voice assistant allows consumers to turn on and off their C by GE lights, dim them, and control bulbs individually or in groups by room with a simple voice command. The smart home has always had the potential to unleash unprecedented value for comfort and convenience. The combination of the power of voice and lighting can easily bring that value to even more consumers.

Sources: GeekWire, TechCrunch, GeoMarketing and Business Insider


By John Faulkner


GREEN LIGHT Racing and the environment: an oxymoron? Not so much. The world of motorsports has a challenging task – reducing its ecological footprint and improving public perception. However, recent developments reveal that the industry might be getting on the right track.

even an organic garden for race weekend hospitality. Some race teams are following suit, recycling resources such as oil and gasoline, using solar and geothermal heating and cooling, and applying solar-powered generators to reduce CO2 emissions.

Motorsports is a $13.5 billion business, roughly on the same level as the National Football League. Beyond the sport’s wide appeal, it’s auto racing’s recent green initiatives that are garnering brand new (and unexpected) attention. Sustainable-minded advancements in tires, fuels, oils, and vehicles (such as electric and hybrid) have already reached the cars at your local dealership. Therefore, it should be no surprise that professional race teams – staffed with topflight engineers – are developing innovative and eco-friendly solutions.

The next, and perhaps most important, extension of this green movement is the cars themselves. Both IndyCar and NASCAR use E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline), but in a higher octane blend than that of street cars. Touting her company’s use of sustainable energy, Jay Frye, president of competition and operations at IndyCar, reports that they were the “first motorsports series to use a renewable fuel.”

The top sanctioning bodies of NASCAR, IndyCar, and F1 are all getting their act together when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint. The largest of these in the United States are NASCAR and IndyCar. According to COO Brent Dewar, the NASCAR Green program has made “an industry commitment to demonstrate high performance racing with reduced emissions.” Both IndyCar and NASCAR encourage tracks and teams to reduce their environmental impact. Solar panel installation has resulted in some tracks, such as Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, to be 100 percent off the grid. And in California, Sonoma Raceway uses solar for power, sheep for landscaping, and



In contrast, F1 cars run on gasoline very similar to what’s at the pump. The difference with F1 cars is their brakes, which run the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). This system stores energy to drive an electric motor to provide a horsepower boost to the gasoline engine. Lastly is Formula E, a division of F1, which has been campaigning for purely electric race cars, testing the limits of automotive energy technology. To the non-racing fan, cars driving around in a circle may seem like a simple endeavour. But in reality, it’s a real-world scientific testing lab right before your eyes. These exciting races showcase advancements in fuel, engine efficiency, kinetic energy capture, and electric motors and batteries that will eventually, and in some cases already have, become integrated into the next car you’ll be driving.

The switch to Sunoco’s E15 fuel will reduce carbon emissions by 20%. This is an important change given that NASCAR uses roughly 450,000 gallons of fuel in each of its three circuits.

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A “driverless” tractor-trailer travels the smart mobility corridor in Ohio

Ohio has long been a premier automotive state, and it continues to lead by investing in technologies that will drive the industry’s future. Today, as the nation’s number one producer of transmissions and engines, Ohio is pioneering a new generation of automotive innovation: smart mobility.

JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development corporation. “The combination of a smart mobility infrastructure, a strong industry presence, world-class research institutions, and a commitment to the future have Ohio poised to lead in the development of autonomous vehicles and related technology for decades to come.”

other cities. The award came with a $40 million federal grant, a $10 million grant from Vulcan Inc., and $90 million the city raised from local entities. As the Smart City winner, Columbus will develop and employ advanced technologies to revolutionize its transportation system and improve people’s lives.

The State of Ohio, JobsOhio, and The Ohio State University recently committed $45 million to fund the Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test Center (SMART), a new state-of-the art hub for autonomous research and testing. The 540-acre facility represents an expansion of Ohio’s 4,500-acre Transportation Research Center (TRC), the nation’s largest independent automotive proving ground.

In late 2016, Gov. John Kasich announced a $15 million investment in a 35-mile stretch of State Route 33 called the Smart Mobility Corridor, where a “driverless” tractor-trailer was successfully tested. This four-lane highway is being equipped with wireless sensors connecting the TRC with smart mobility partners in central Ohio. The Ohio Turnpike is already equipped with a fiber optic network that can be adapted for vehicle-toinfrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

Meanwhile, The Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research is conducting groundbreaking research focused on sustainable mobility, advanced vehicle safety, hybrid and electric powertrains, and intelligent transportation systems.

“SMART is just the latest investment in Ohio’s smart mobility ecosystem, which we believe is unrivaled in North America,” said Kristi Tanner, senior managing director for automotive at



Last June, Columbus won the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, beating 77

Combine Ohio’s investment in smart mobility with its rich manufacturing history, its robust logistics infrastructure, and an exceptional collection of nationally known education and research centers, and it becomes pretty clear: When it comes to smart mobility, all roads lead to Ohio. ■

The World of Cyberwarfare The threat of all-out cyber warfare is looming. That sentence may sound exaggerated, alarmist – the kind of thing you’d expect to see in a clickbait headline. However, according to Shawn Key, an expert in cybersecurity with nearly 20 years in the business, it’s one of modern life’s hard truths. Key, who works directly with Stratford University to train anti-hackers, was frank in explaining just how imminent a large-scale cyberattack is, all while drawing a picture of what one would look like and what we can do to prepare. Innovation & Tech Today: What is the biggest threat right now with regards to cybersecurity? Shawn Key: Let’s call it the emerging threat, not the biggest threat. I’ve said many times that the Internet of Things is also the Internet of Threats, and my concern is that we have this mass propagation of new, untested devices, and everyone wants to be first in the market with capabilities. And, while they like to use terms like “baked-in security,” the reality is that that isn’t happening. So, with thousands of new devices connecting every day, the hackers are always one step ahead. And we’re putting infrastructure in place that’s just not secure. And I’ll give you a quick in-theweeds example. Companies like mine frankly that are encouraged to be entrepreneurs and innovative, the investors pressure us to get out a minimum viable product (MVP). They’ll have the most basic functionality, get something out



there so we can start getting a return on revenue, and we’ll figure out the rest in phase two as we go along. The problem is if you’re putting out your most basic functionality, you’re not putting in the money into testing and security, and something is now in the wild that consumers are using that is very problematic. And, to tie this all in, I use the word “consumers” because the last big attack we saw that took a lot of press was the East to

“I’ll say this: there are some cities that without doubt have had some coordinated attacks that caused temporary outages. And it has not been publicized.”

An in-depth discussion of the harm large-scale hacks can do. Just how at-risk are we? By James Dern

West shutdown of a lot of the social media networks. And it wasn’t that the actual vendors themselves had been shut down. The availability had been killed because major internet routers had been compromised. And the primary source of this failure, or what contributed to these hackers, was a distributed denial of service that was occurring on all of these [pure data] set path devices, you know, that Comcast puts out: drives

“Your refrigerator’s not working, so your food’s spoiling. And everybody’s mass panicking and trying to get to the store and clearing them out.”

and files. So you have all these unwitting soldiers, electronic soldiers if you will, that are contributing to the hackers’ mission, and the consumers didn’t have a clue. All they had to do was leave the device on. The fear…the “cyber Pearl Harbor”… is that it’s not going to be our social media that’s affected next; it’s going to be infrastructure. You’re gonna see a city like Houston go down. And, all of a sudden, now we don’t have power. And it’s not that we just don’t have computers. Your refrigerator’s not working, so your food’s spoiling. And everybody’s mass panicking and trying to get to the store and clearing them out. Maybe the grocery store has lost power, so everything’s getting ready to spoil. It’s going to affect your heating and air conditioning. That’s another thing to mention. All these smart devices, they are connected to the internet. So, what happens when somebody hacks that and they’re running it at 90 degrees heat in the winter or 60 degrees cool in the summer, and you can’t do anything about it?



I&T Today: I remember you mentioning something about this power grid attack in the past, and you just mentioned again here. What do you mean by that? What is that? What does that look like? SK: There’s an overwhelming alarm at the federal level of “What if our grid goes down?” The actual power grid that connects pretty much the [entire] country. But I look at this as being smaller in demographic. If the devices that distribute power in a metropolitan area are focused on it to go down, it doesn’t mean the whole grid has to. It’s a sizeable population of people. Just think of what happens in the summertime from time to time when New York has a power outage just because everything overheated. Multiply that by ten and then it’s not as simple as “Hey, the electric engineers have to get a transformer back going.” These are now unknown security attacks that have occurred. We’ve got to figure out how it happened. How we recover, can we recover, how long it’s gonna take. And it becomes a much more serious problem. And that’s a legitimate fear. I’ll say this: there are some cities that without doubt have had some coordinated attacks that caused temporary outages. And it has not been publicized. It’s typically…how do I want to phrase this? It’s usually blamed on something

else. I dare not want to call out anyone...Let’s just say they can get very creative with the origin of what happened. I&T Today: Would you be able to point out any specific instances or is that a little too speculative maybe? SK: It’s absolutely occurred in Michigan. And if you do a tiny bit of Googling, you’ll see a bunch of articles that allude to when and what happened. Also, so far as to allege that the lastminute maintenance of the D.C. metro system… that all of a sudden everything was shut down after a fire, and they said it was planned maintenance. Nobody plans maintenance 24 hours before and shuts the entire metro down. That seems to have been some cyber-related attack. I&T Today: You’ve mentioned that a lot of the legacy systems that are employed in, say, our nuclear facilities are actually protecting us due to the “Internet of Threats” problem that you alluded to. Can you expand a little bit on that? Sure. You know, in the truest sense, a nuclear silo is placed away from everything else. And what happens with the technology is that it’s security through obscurity. We keep older

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m o w t i m e f o r p l ay

“It’s bad. And it’s worse than we even realize. We have nationstates that have spent a decade or more planning for this next level of warfare.”

outdated technologies because they’re not currently connecting to the internet. Not in the sense that a lot of our devices do. So, not being able to actually reach them – requiring someone to go into the silo, maybe with a CD-Rom DVD for upgrades and things – protects us. At the same time, because we are going backwards in technology, we’re not state of the art. It lends itself potentially when things are connected to forward threats that have never been patched or addressed historically. So, it’s kind of a double-edged sword. Security through obscurity can work until you need to connect. And if you don’t have the right counter-measures in place, you’re now 15 years behind and you’re extremely vulnerable. And that’s a constant fight with the nuclear groups. I&T Today: It’s easy to feel a little helpless and terrified by what’s going on out there in the world of cyber warfare. How would you put me at ease? SK: Well, I can’t put you at ease right now. I’m going to educate you and open your eyes. That’s step one: being aware. It’s bad. And it’s worse than we even realize. We have nation-states that have spent a decade or more planning for this next level of warfare. And we’re the first to admit our governments say we’re over 200,000 people, minimally, short of the workforce to

keep pace. And this is the same thing as being overwhelmed in the battlefield. And that’s a real problem that we have to face right now. The good news is that we are getting the word out. People, especially the younger generation, seem very interested in being ethical hackers and cyber warriors. So, we’re going to catch up. One of the technologies that we put at Stratford is one of our own. The company that I’m founder of is called and our forward thinking cyber security solution is called Blind Spot (formerly Cerebro). Most of the security technologies revolve around what I’d like to call digital fingerprints. We know what the bad files look like; they leave some kind of print. Unless you have an exact match of what that file signature looks like, you’re not going to find the bad files. And what we’ve created is a special algorithm that looks for exact AND partial matches of these signatures. And this is revolutionary because you’ve got tons of bad files that have to be compared on hundreds of thousands of files on a workstation, for example. If a threat is designed to circumvent detection, only an algorithm like the ones we use in Blind Spot is going to find that malicious code before it exploits the system and/or enterprise network. And we think it’s a disruptive game-changer.

Oops, Your Files Have Been Encrypted That was the message companies around the globe found plastered across their computer screens during the WannaCry ransomware attack in May. Though the methods used were unsophisticated, the attack was a large-scale event that affected millions of computers worldwide. This is sobering news for leaders worried about cyber risk. Hospitals and health systems face unique liability because of medical records. Notably, Britain’s NHS public health system was hit hard by WannaCry, but its patient data does not appear to have been affected. Other health systems may not be as fortunate. Medical records are highly valuable on the black market and are common targets in cyber attacks. As technology, telehealth, and the Internet



of Things become more engrained into healthcare, it is vital that cyber security be sufficiently addressed in risk management plans within the industry. After speaking with a CARF-accredited provider that recently faced a similar attack, we share the following tips. – Get cyber security insurance. It’s worth it and will connect you with specialty law and consulting firms if needed. – Back up your systems. This helps IT get things running again. – Audit and remove nonessential accounts and system access points. – Strengthen password requirements (length, periodic changes, etc.). – Consider hiring a third-party consultant to guide a systems review. – Invest enough resources (funding and attention) for a strong IT department. – Don’t take it personally. Cyber attacks are often random and untraceable.


They were so angry, but it was just so comical to me. I don’t understand how a girl throwing a football can be so offensive to anyone.




The Internet Fitness Star Talks Sports, Tech, and Trolling Throwing a football with precision can take years of practice, as even the greatest quarterbacks of all time spent decades honing their skills. But for internet sensation Callie Bundy, that talent came naturally. Best known for her “trick shot” videos, in which she makes unbelievable throws from long distances, Bundy has amassed hundreds of thousands of views online. A typical video on Bundy’s YouTube channel will feature her doing everything from throwing a football into a basketball hoop from the other end of the court to firing a perfect spiral through an airborne hula hoop. Describing herself as an “ex-jock who just likes throwing things,” Callie Bundy provides jaw-dropping recordings of her unique talent to her thousands of subscribers, dismantling long-held stereotypes about women’s ability on the gridiron. We spoke with Bundy about her sports background, the evolution of her trick shots, and if she would sign a contract with the Legends Football League if offered. Innovation & Tech Today: Can you give our audience a little bit of background about your story? You’re an ex-jock? Callie Bundy: Yeah, exactly! I played sports my whole life. I played soccer, basketball, softball in college. I went on to coach. And then from there, as a female, there’s not too many [ways] to keep playing sports, so that’s when I got into fitness.

I&T Today: What is your secret to getting to that level of physique other than hard work and a good diet? Is there anything special you do with your diet or supplementation? CB: I don’t think anyone who is in fitness or is a fitness model has anything revolutionary to say about that answer. I think it comes down to just doing the work, but really figuring out what works for you. I’ve tried everything in the book. Before, when I played sports, I would train as an athlete. When I got into fitness, you train to obtain a look, so it’s a totally different style of training. So, you really have to figure out what works better for you. Is it a high-carb diet? A lowcarb diet? A higher fat? There’s so many different variables and everyone’s bodies are chemically different from the start, so what works for me may not work for you. I do better with a little bit higher carb diet, and some of the girls I competed with do better with almost no carbs and a higher fat. If you really want to make progress, you have to pay attention to everything you do and really figure out what works for you because it’s different for everyone. I&T Today: Do you use any fitness products that you love? Like a Fitbit or anything like that that helps you train and get to peak performance? CB: I’m a little bit old school with fitness tech. I think it’s just based on my parents. My father is a doctor; my mom is his office manager. My

whole family is either doctors or medical professionals… My dad was like, “What do you need a heart rate monitor for? If you’re working hard you’re going to know it.” So, I kind of had that mentality. But these past few years I was lucky enough to try out some products like this cool sports bra that they gave me that measures your heartrate and breathing and all these things. I wish I had started using it before because, especially in fitness, you can easily over-train. When you’re going into a show, you’re doing two sessions a day. Whether you’re doing your cardio in the morning and then you’re going back to lift and then, depending on where you are, you might be doing another cardio session after you lift, so it’s really easy to over-train and just push through things. I wish I would have incorporated some of that sooner, but now I’m starting to get on that boat. I just had my first CO2 test done, and now I’m starting to wear more of the fitness technology and it’s definitely very useful. I&T Today: We have to ask you about the trick shots. How did that start? How the heck do you do that? CB: That’s everyone’s favorite question. I was doing a food giveaway and I had an empty box…I thought it would be fun to go and throw a football in the box, and say, “Hey, check this out!”

By Charles Warner & Anthony Elio SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY


I did sports; fitness is a good distractor, but it’s not sports. There’s nothing that replaces that feeling of playing sports. So, I wanted to go and do something athletic. I was just always throwing a football. I taught myself. We were playing football one day and I was like, “Oh, I’ll be the quarterback,” and taught myself. Ever since then I’ve had a football; I’ve carried one in my suitcase just in case because I thought it was fun to throw. So I threw this football…and people went nuts. I didn’t understand why! It bounced into the box and then it bounced out. Everyone was like, “It didn’t even go in! It was bouncing.” …So I did it again and the same thing. And then there was all this criticism because I was out there with my little iPhone trying to film these shots, and the ball was leaving the frame because I would hit play and then [be] turning around and trying to hit this target and it was leaving the frame. And everyone was like, “That’s fake.” So then I’ve got to set my iPhone up, hit play, and make sure that me, the ball, and the target are in the shot the entire time. That’s why I had to film them the way that I did because that’s the only way that I could do it by myself. Everyone was like, “Oh you’re just trying to show off your butt,” and I’m like, “No. That’s the only way that I can prove to you that I’m hitting these shots.” I&T Today: The internet can be ruthless. I think I remember some of the comments on the videos being like, “Let’s see you do that with a defensive line rushing you down” and stuff like that. Do you read the comments? Do you find them funny?

When she’s not hitting the gym, Callie is sharing fitness tips on social media. In January, Callie revealed the secret behind her trick shots with her fans through the Veri app.



CB: Oh, absolutely. The first time on the first video that went viral. It was crazy. I’ve never had anything like that happen. They were getting like 25 million views in a day or two. It was insane. The thing I found funny was that it was all the same comments on every single site. So all different people, but they all say the same thing. And I’m really interested in sociology studies. So, I started trolling my own thread. People were like, “Get this girl in the kitchen,” and I’m like, “Yeah, who let her out of there?” They’d

say, “That girl’s horrible. Let’s see her get hit.” And I’d be like, “Yeah, by a 300-pound guy!” And then they’re like, “Wait a second. Aren’t you the girl in the video?” And I’m like, “Yeah.” And they’d be like, “That’s so awesome! You’re trolling your own thread. That’s amazing.” That’s just how fast people got it – guys especially. They were so angry, but it was just so comical to me. I don’t understand how a girl throwing a football can be so offensive to anyone. I&T Today: If the offer came from the LFL, if they brought you the Russell Wilson contract, the Aaron Rodgers contract, and they said, “We want you to be our quarterback,” would you consider it? CB: Yeah, I think anyone [would] in any industry…I know that if I work with the right people and put in the time…I probably wouldn’t be horrible. At least I can say that, knowing my athletic ability. I love training and I love sports, and I know I wouldn’t be horrible and could at least probably hold on for a year. So, I would probably do it. It’s one of those things. If the numbers make sense and it’s fun for me, then why not? I&T Today: Do you do your own social media? Some athletes do their own; some have somebody else do it. CB: Yes, I do my own…I think there’s such a personal piece to it that if somebody else is posting you can tell. I enjoy even the negativity. I enjoy interacting with people that are there for whatever reason. I get so many messages from parents about their kids and how they love my football. I appreciate that personal interaction. So, yeah, I do my own. I&T Today: What other ways can your fans get in touch with you? CB: My fans can always connect with me on Veri, which is videochat app, and it is not as creepy as it sounds…It’s actually been really cool. I love that personal interaction. It gives me an opportunity to do that with video, which is almost as good as face-to-face. The people I’ve talked with have been really, really cool. That’s another way they can always get in touch with me.

Why IsSports Sports Journalism Getting ShutOut?

Much like its general news counterparts at CNN and Fox News, ESPN has also received criticism from fans for its recent focus on entertainment value.

By Anthony Elio

While sports have seen some minimal changes over the years, such as minor rule tweaks or instant replay, how we follow our favorite games has changed dramatically. First, fans were reading up on the game scores in the newspaper. Then they were catching up on sports stories on the nightly news. And, in the smartphone era, they are getting immediate phone notifications in real time. The medium of sports journalism itself is also no stranger to change. In fact, it was only around 1914 that sports editors were widely recognized in the journalistic world. As the Super Bowl attracts viewers in the hundreds of millions and highlights have become a mainstay of water cooler talk, sports coverage has become a necessity of popular culture. However, the industry is beginning to show signs not just of change but radical upheaval. On April 26, approximately 100 different reporters were laid off from prominent sports network ESPN. This list contained not only more obscure writers and reporters, but big names such as baseball analyst Jim Bowden and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, who had



covered the NFL for years after hanging up his cleats. The fracturing of sports media appears to be a large part of these layoffs. In 2013, ESPN began seeing some major competition in the form of Fox Sports 1 (FS1) who, along with sports networks owned by NBC and CBS, presented a threat to “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” Add in the fact that cable television has been widely on the decline in recent years, and there’s a good reason that, according to the Inquisitr, ESPN has been losing 10,000 subscribers a day. This trend of big name sports journalists losing their jobs doesn’t only apply to television. Distinguished publications such as Sports Illustrated also appear to be on the decline, as the editorial staff was hit with roughly 40 layoffs last summer. Much like with ESPN, the bigger names were not safe from the chopping block, as writer Don Banks, who had been with the publication for 16 years, was let go in September of 2016 in what he called a “salary cap cut.” Perhaps the real reason for this overall decline is that sports and the 24-hour television news cycle don’t intersect as well as you’d think.

Sports news isn’t quite like any other medium. Outside of the “Big 4” sports (baseball, basketball, hockey, and football), ESPN also covers golf, tennis, IndyCar, and even Little League. Which begs the question: In the internet age, why would a dedicated soccer fan want to sit through 10 minutes of football news? Especially considering that Deadspin calculated ESPN’s SportsCenter covered soccer only 1.3 percent of the time compared to 23.3 percent NFL coverage. Interestingly enough, this harkens back to a little over ten years ago, when Slate published an article on how networks such as ESPN were killing newspaper sports journalism. We’ve now entered an interesting next phase, in which a major playoff win or unbelievable play is delivered directly to your pocket rather than between commercial breaks. As ex-ESPN reporter Ed Werder told Sports Illustrated’s "Monday Morning Quarterback": “If I were in journalism school right now, I’d be seriously shaken by this. I would ask any kid majoring in sports journalism right now: What’s your minor?” ■

Inside the Life of a Digital Nomad By Sara Sheehy

Canyon Lands, UT


he alarm jolts me awake. It’s time to get dressed, put water on for tea, and slip past my slumbering dog. I unplug my tablet and step outside in time to catch the sunrise over Sedona, Arizona’s red sandstone cliffs. Another traveler is already hard at work in his converted school bus. We’re 15 miles from civilization. It’s morning in the land of the digital nomad. Capitalizing on the growth of portable technology and accessible internet, the percentage of U.S. employees working away from the office rose from 9% to 37% between 1995 and 2015. In the late 1990s, a handful of remote workers began testing the limits of mixing travel and work, taking their careers with them across the globe.



Originally called “techno-nomads” by The New York Times, today’s digital nomads are location-independent employees and business owners relying on technology to stay connected to their jobs and clients. They live and work from hotels, sailboats, and recreational vehicles across the United States and around the world. Though small in number, digital nomads are gaining attention through social networks and an increasing interest from mainstream media. I’m an adventure junkie with a passion for the United States’ wildest places. After years of working remotely as a product owner for a global non-profit, I lobbied to take my position on the road. With the non-profit’s blessing, and a burgeoning adventure photography business, I’ve been exploring the country in a vintage

campervan for six months. Here’s how I enjoy the freedom of travel while staying connected to my career. WORK THAT TRAVELS Any job that is done on portable technology is a candidate for the digital nomad. I’ve met travelers who, like me, brought their 9 to 5 on the road with them, and travelers who started new businesses to fuel their vagabond dreams. Many digital nomads are in the fields of software development, web-based business, and creative freelance. STAY CONNECTED To thrive as a digital nomad, reliable connectivity is key. Coffee shops and libraries can often provide basic internet service, but

Escalante, UT

Glen Canyon, UT

“Originally called ‘techno-nomads’ by The New York Times, today’s digital nomads are location-independent employees and business owners relying on technology to stay connected to their jobs and clients.” lining up options helps ensure consistent access. I prefer the freedom of being off the grid, where having two cellular hot spots on different networks is a must. Check out the RV Mobile Internet Resource Center (rvmobileinternet. com) for plan reviews and coverage maps.

which devices are worth their weight. Large spaces can accommodate a desktop computer and monitor, but most digital nomads travel light. I work primarily with an 9.7 inch iPad Pro, carrying a MacBook Pro to supplement as needed.

TECHNOLOGY FOR SMALL SPACES Whether traveling in a camper, a sailboat or an airplane, tough choices need to be made about

Workspace ergonomics are as important on the road as they are in an office. Portable stand up desks are available, and lumbar pillows work

miracles in uncomfortable chairs. COUNTING WATTS Accommodating a device’s electricity needs with portable power is tricky business. Solar power, generators, and rechargeable batteries are options for travelers who prefer to be off the grid. Using my power sipping tablet instead of a laptop extends the cycle time of my Goal Zero Yeti 400, a 400 watt-hour portable charger. SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY


Sedona, AZ

“Whether traveling in a camper, a sailboat, or an airplane, tough choices need to be made about which devices are worth their weight.” 60

White Sands, NM

CHALLENGES OF THE DIGITAL NOMAD While it’s tempting to think of life as a digital nomad as a non-stop vacation, the reality is more complex. Travel delays, mechanical problems, and bad weather can throw a day into chaos. Internet connectivity is unpredictable and often expensive. Constant trip


planning requires patience and time. Even with years of travel and remote work under my belt, I underestimated the effort required to sustain the lifestyle. For me, the freedom of daily exploration is worth every bump in the road.

my tea and check my charger. It’s

◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆ ◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆ ◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆ Back near Sedona, I finish making

us today. When will I see you out

almost full and should see me through another few days of working with this birds-eye view of the red rocks. I wave hello to my digital nomad neighbor and wonder how many more will join there? ■

Catch a memory you’ll never release. #FirstCatch First of the day, first of the season or first of a lifetime. Show us your #FirstCatch.

Need a Break From That Computer Screen?

You Better Belize It


4 Cabanas St. George’s Caye On-water 1

Feeling bogged down by the daily dose of 2 mind-numbing gridlock, pushy 5 salespeople, and recurring nightmares of unfinished tasks on your 2 ever-expanding to-do list? Maybe you’ve endured one too many excruciatingly long 6 3 meetings that could have been an email. It’s time you cash in on some of that hard-earned PTO 3 you’ve accrued over the past few years and take the trip of a lifetime. Heck, you deserve it. QUICK FACTS: Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Although it’s a rather small country, Belize contains many wildly diverse ecosystems. The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Your escape to adventure in paradise is closer (and much cheaper) than you think! To ensure your trip seamlessly spans from rainforest to ruins to reef, make sure you select resorts wisely. Some act as a one-stop-shop for adventure tours (including equipment and gear) led by local guides to unique, off-the-beaten path locations. Resorts like the Mariposa Jungle Lodge and St George’s Caye Resort, for instance, tremendously simplified our trip by providing safe and quick transportation (by land and sea) from airport to both resorts. JUNGLE DAY EXPEDITIONS: Embark on short hikes through the jungle led by your guide to a cave opening that swallows a crystal-clear river where your cave tubing



By Kelsey Elgie Domier 1






Caracol Mayan Ruins



Mariposa Jungle Lodge Cabana








Hol Chan Marine Reserve5

4 6

3 5


Shark Ray Alley

adventure begins. At some point during the cave float, switch your headlamp off3and tune in to the sounds of dripping stalactites 2 and cave waterfalls while your guide shares the history of these vast caves and the mysteries of the Mayan world. Explore the utterly engulfing3Rio Frio Cave in the morning before you arrive at the scorching Caracol Mayan Ruins. After a long day of exploration, make sure your guide stops by Big Rock Falls on the way back to the Lodge. Here, you can swim around in the river’s pools and do some serious cliff jumping! The Mariposa Jungle Lodge has a variety of custom tours to explore the area – and is the only resort offering a night hike through the jungle to descend into Bol's Museum Cave. Here, you can sit inches from intact Mayan elite remains and feast your eyes on rare artifacts. DIVE THE BELIZE BARRIER REEF & ENJOY ALL-INCLUSIVE ISLAND LIFE: Our cheerful captain escorted us to the utterly breathtaking private island of St. George's Caye. The island’s resort is minutes away from world

6 5

St. George’s Caye Beach

class diving for all experience levels. You can start 6your morning by leaping off the dock of your bungalow for a morning swim, with evenings spent reliving the day’s thrills among other guests at a Sunday beachside dinner. Those who enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, or sailing around the island (like us) find this place to be an absolute haven. EXPERIENCE SAN PEDRO TOWN: San Pedro is bustling with friendly faces and a vibrant culture. Be sure to snorkel among nurse sharks and stingrays at Shark Ray Alley. Before you leave, kick back and relax in a tube at the Palapa Bar, where they lower buckets of beverages from their overwater bar and grill. If you’re lucky, a few manta rays will join you in the shallows. ■ For access to the extended guide, please visit:

Hike, Bike, & Explore in Hendersonville, NC

Hendersonville is an ideal spot in Western North Carolina for those looking to escape busy schedules and immerse themselves in outdoor adventure. This vibrant town has emerged from the shadow of nearby Asheville with a mix of adventure, arts, and locally brewed spirits, all surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. DuPont State Recreational Forest contains more than 10,000 acres of public-access forest. Visitors enjoy 80 miles of trails and several of North Carolina’s prettiest waterfalls. The forest recently gained attention as a filming location for The Hunger Games. Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest is another favorite. The 60foot boulder is a natural water slide that empties into a chilly mountain pool. Meanwhile, Lazy Otter Outfitters offers tubing, kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding on the peaceful French Broad River. Hendersonville has also embraced Western North Carolina’s growing craft beverage industry. The county is home to five breweries, three cideries, and two wineries. The East Coast location of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has become a mecca for beer enthusiasts. The taproom has 23 beers on draft, farm-to-table fare, and an outdoor beer garden. Staff members also lead guided nature hikes in the surrounding forest. Oskar Blues Brewery, another craft beer leader with a location in WNC, created the Reeb Ranch next door to DuPont Forest. The ranch is a mountainbiking destination with cabins and tent campsites for overnight stays. To learn more about Hendersonville and plan a trip, you can visit www. or call (800) 828-4244. ■

Style and Comfort in the French Quarter

Ranked the number one city for food in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine, New Orleans’ cultural scene is flourishing, and if you’re planning on visiting Louisiana soon, the narrow streets of the famous French Quarter are no doubt on your to-do list. But figuring out where to stay can be a hassle. That’s where the New Orleans Hotel Collection comes in. Featuring seven upscale hotels, the New Orleans Hotel Collection makes it easy to find lodgings for both business and pleasure, like the professional-yet-relaxing Dauphine Orleans Hotel. Located just a block from the bustle of Bourbon Street, this hotel is within walking distance to much of the French Quarter, including the New Orleans streetcar lines and Mississippi River front. Of course, with complimentary Wi-Fi access and a courtyard with a saltwater pool, you don’t have to go anywhere while still enjoying a relaxing stay. Like all of the hotels in the New Orleans Hotel Collection, the Dauphine Orleans succeeds in capturing the essence of the city’s charm and hospitality. Amenities like a free welcome drink at the hotel’s bar and a deluxe continental breakfast offered each morning make you feel right at home from the moment you check in. And what’s that old saying? “Anything worth doing is worth doing right?” Well, let’s just say that staying here makes visiting New Orleans worth doing. ■ Interested in more of what Louisiana has to offer? Be sure to check out section on the LA Tech Zone on Page 82.

, the Long known for its orchards turning locallyHendersonville area is now into delicious hard grown apples and grapes to that five craft ciders and wines. Add creations, beer local breweries serving up their g for every palate on and you’ll find somethin this new tasting trail.

! Take a Guided Tour e: 828.216.1343 The Brewery Experienc – explore Henderson scene with a Certified County’s craft brewery tours – group and individual Cicerone as your guide

North Carolina is the 7th larges t apple-producing state in the natio n and Henderso n County is the largest apple-prod ucing county in North Carolina. The apple harve st season runs from late August through Octo ber. Fresh apple s, cider and many other items may be purchased at the many roads ide apple markets or produce stand s located throughou t Henderson County. Some orchards offer tours and allow you to pick your own apples.


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828.606.8606 The Trolley Company: – add a tour of local cideries to your group wineries, breweries and guides, variety of event; experienced local transportation options

Immerse yourself in the heritage of historic Hend ersonville and surrounding comm unities with a visit to the nume rous sites that tell our story and share our many traditions throug h music, events and historic sites. Although our terrain is considered a typical mountain county, our rich heritage and friend ly people will inspire you to disco ver the rich heritage of our wonderful community.

Look closely into the mountains of North Carolina and you’ll discover a place unlike any other. Hendersonville calls out to all to seek out and explore new experiences year-round. Pick up your guide to your next adventure!

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iful mountains Nestled in the beaut Carolina, the of Western North a area embodies Hendersonville Whether spirit. wonderful artistic craft, your it’s fine art or fine Plan on ted. deligh be senses will strolling through spending the day artists’ studios, the galleries and elf in immersing yours ss. the creative proce

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GEAR GUIDE Pau Hana Endurance Designed to take on anything in its way, the Pau Hana Endurance paddle board lives up to its name. Utilizing specialized Ricochet Impact Resistant Technology, the Endurance can take on any obstacle with ease. $1,599

Copenhagen Wheel Easy to install and able to fit on nearly any bike, the Copenhagen Wheel will get you to ride more and drive less. Featuring the ability to select different modes and collect data on your bike ride directly from your smartphone, the Copenhagen has literally reinvented the wheel.

$1,499 WASPcam 9907 4K Camera Few cameras are as versatile as the WASPcam 9907 4K from Cedar Electronics. Waterproof without a case down to 98 feet, this camera can take 4K video and photos up to 20MP. You can also use its built-in Wi-Fi to connect with the WASPcam app for live viewing and recording. $330

14-Day Emergency Food Supply With the Mountain House 14-Day Emergency Food Supply, you can have a power-packed breakfast or a savory dinner in the home or at the campsite. Whether you’d like to start the day with biscuits & gravy or end the day with chicken fried rice, simply add water and bon appétit. $285

Aqua-Bound Malta Fiberglass Paddle Available in a number of vibrant colors, the Malta Fiberglass is a paddle that will do its job with style. With a lightweight construction and comfortable gripping, the Malta Fiberglass won’t hold you back, whether you’re traversing ocean waves or a calm lake. $235



GEAR GUIDE McKenzie Waterproof Handlebar Bag Made in the USA by Watershed, the McKenzie Waterproof Handlebar Bag is essential gear for bicyclists and tech enthusiasts alike. Using the completely waterproof ZipDry Closure, your electronics will stay safe when bad weather interferes with your bike ride. $129

UpCart Deluxe With the ability to carry as much as 125 pounds, the UpCart Deluxe can help reduce the strain of lifting heavy objects on stairs. Able to fold in for additional portability, the UpCart Deluxe will help lighten the load no matter where you go.

$100 Muddy Girl Long Sleeve Crew Neck Featuring a distinctive pink and purple camouflage sleeve pattern, the Muddy Girl Crew Neck Sweatshirt is sure to catch a few eyes wherever you wear it. With its loose, comfortable fit, this crew neck expertly mixes fashion and function, making it ideal for outdoor adventures and a day out with friends alike $35

Ultra-Pak Waterproof Breathable Rain Jacket Weighing in at only 7 ounces and featuring water resistant zippers, the UltraPak Waterproof Breathable Rain Jacket will keep you dry without weighing you down. And, because of its packable design, you can store this jacket with ease once the storm clouds clear up. $35

E3 Protour Electric Bicycle Never get tired of riding up hills again with IZIP’s E3 Protour pedal-assist electric bicycle. Enjoy fast top assisted speeds of up to 28 mph with a range of up to 35 miles. Through its integration with COBI, it also utilizes your smartphone as an advanced display and control system. $3,300 SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY


Health Tech


News on genomics is common these days: from gene editing that can, for example, create so-called “designer babies,” to precision treatments for cancer and personal genetic testing, which can provide valuable insights on our disease carrier status (for family planning). Genetic testing can also tell us about traits related to athletic performance and our body’s response to certain drugs. But why is this all happening now, particularly at such a rapid pace?

A PRIMER ON DNA AND GENOMICS Our DNA is sometimes referred to as the “blueprint of life” because it contains all the necessary instructions to make a living organism, while helping it survive and reproduce. Every single one of the living cells in our body contains this blueprint, which is composed of 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 total), with half inherited from our mother (in the egg), and half from our father (in the sperm). A “genome” is the total of our – or any organism’s – DNA. How many genes are in our body? Well, we have an estimated 19,000 to 20,000 protein-coding genes in our chromosomes. This is the code of life.



And a code it is, much like a software code. Unlike computer code, however, which is a binary code (1s and 0s), our DNA is composed of a four-base code of nucleic acids: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). As J. Craig Venter, one of the first to sequence the human genome points out, the digital code and the genetic code have a lot in common: “Digital code, as you know, is a binary code, and ones and zeroes, and your genetic code is literally four-base code with As, Cs, Gs, and Ts.” So, in a nutshell — or rather a human cell — the order of these chemical bases (how they pair up) is what determines the DNA’s instructions, or genetic code. Our entire genome contains about three billion bases with, again, only around 20,000 or fewer protein-coding genes. This is only slightly more than one percent of human DNA coding for proteins that carry out most of our biological functions.

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION DRIVING THE GENOMIC REVOLUTION Thanks to modern computers, next-generation DNA sequencing technologies, and robotic

automation, the speed of genome sequencing (identifying the order of those four base pairs) has increased significantly over the past 16 years (besting Moore’s Law for computer processing speed). And, as digital technology tends to do when it becomes integral to industrial processes and the input itself is digital, the price of sequencing drops precipitously. We are now at the point where computerized robotic sequencing machines and software – like that produced by San Diego-based Illumina – will soon deliver whole genome sequencing for just $1,000 per genome.

GENOMICS IN CONTEXT Since our DNA is a digital molecule and computers are essential for conducting modern genome sequencing, both the field that seeks to understand it, “genomics,” and the genomic revolution, fall within a field called “Digital Health.” The definition of digital health that I’ve promulgated for the past several years is that it is “the convergence of the digital and genomic revolutions with health, healthcare, living, and society.” When we look at genomics, there are two general areas that are directly applicable to

our health: precision wellness and precision medicine. While it’s implicit that precision medicine involves becoming a patient and receiving healthcare and guidance from a physician, precision wellness is a bit more interesting, and can overlap in the consumer products space and the medical realm.

not the biggest benefit provided by genetic testing and digital health is when it empowers people to prevent disease before they ever become patients. Lisa Genova, a neuroscientist and author of Still Alice, a novel about Alzheimer’s disease that







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PRECISION WELLNESS By examining a set of genetic variants in many individuals plus looking at other factors like family history and lifestyle habits, scientists are continuously identifying genes and patterns that can be associated with biological traits, disease, or disease risks in humans. This genetic information is available to us via various testing services on the market. Some are direct-toconsumer (DTC), which means that we can be tested and obtain the information without the oversight of a doctor. Many others require a doctor’s approval. Testing sample collection can often be as simple as spitting into a cup, sealing it, mailing it in, and obtaining the results online. Precision wellness includes the ability to leverage personal genetic information – like our risk of hereditary cancer, late-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease – and to make lifestyle and behavior changes to reduce our risk. Moreover, we can engage with our doctors and the healthcare system to closely monitor for any emerging signs of disease and, ideally, prevent or diagnose it in its early stages, when treatment can be most effective. One of, if


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was turned into a major motion picture starring Oscar-winner Julianne Moore, recently delivered a compelling TED Talk highlighting how the way we live each day can greatly reduce our risk of developing Alzheimer’s. As readers of my digital health newsletter are aware, the FDA recently granted permission to 23andMe to market and sell its genetic DNA test for lateonset Alzheimer’s risk directly to the public. As Lisa’s talk highlights, whether armed with this digital health information or not, we can all act to reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These risk-reducing behaviors are incredibly simple and include adhering to good sleep “hygiene,” staying physically active, and being a lifelong learner. Note that this all occurs outside of the healthcare system, does not require a pill, and is fostered simply by information, education, and a willingness to make the changes. Another interesting area of precision wellness relates to caffeine consumption. While some of us crave coffee more than others due to a genetic predisposition (23andMe offers a DTC test for this), the rate at which our body metabolizes caffeine is also determined by our genes. The test for this – which I had done by a

company named Pathway Genomics, though it is also offered by companies like Genomic Express – falls within the emerging field of pharmacogenomics, which is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. Approximately 50 percent of us have a DNA sequence change in the CYP1A2 gene that results in the slower metabolism of caffeine. Unfortunately, scientists have discovered that this is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and the risk increases if you have a family history of heart disease or an unhealthy lifestyle (poor diet and lack of exercise, for example). According to one study, slow metabolizers of caffeine increase their risk of heart attack if they consume two or more cups of coffee per day (about 200mg of caffeine or more). Fast metabolizers, on the other hand, have a reduced risk of heart attack if they consume at least one cup of coffee per day. Not to mention that they can drink coffee in the afternoon and not be up all night as a result! And when we are planning to start a family or when a woman is already pregnant, there are several areas where genetic testing can be of value. Carrier testing identifies if you have a change in a gene linked to disease, which can be passed on to your children. They may or may not develop the disease or become carriers themselves as, for some diseases to occur, the gene change must be inherited from both parents. Prenatal testing is done during pregnancy and can identify fetuses that have certain diseases. Newborn screening is used to find out if babies have certain diseases that can be treated immediately to prevent any ill effects. Genomics is also providing insights into what types of exercise are best for our muscles and promote healthy aging. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently conducted a study of 72 healthy men and women in age groups of under-30 and over-64. Participants were assigned to either do interval training (exercise that alternates in degree of physical effort and speed), weight training, steady aerobic exercise, or no exercise at all. What they discovered was rather astonishing: it turns out that among the cohort of individuals over the age of 64, interval trainers had nearly 400 genes activated and working differently as opposed to only 33 for weight lifters and 19 for moderate exercisers. Many of these may influence the number and health of our mitochondria that produce energy SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY


Health Tech Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh used this technique to excise HIV DNA from the genomes of living animals (mice), thereby eliminating further infection. This is significant, because the HIV virus can remain dormant in the body for long periods of time and is difficult to eliminate.

Ethics guidelines that are responsive to the concerns of OB/GYNs must be developed prior to the adoption of prenatal whole genome sequencing.

for muscles and serve as a sort of correction for cellular aging.

PRECISION MEDICINE Precision medicine is an approach for disease cure, treatment, and prevention that takes into account the variability in each individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle. Thanks in large part to genetic information, doctors and researchers are

becoming better able to predict more accurately which disease treatment and prevention strategies will work for a particular person or group of people. Because the DNA in our cells is a digital code, it is now possible to make precise changes to it via a new technology called CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. Geneticists and medical researchers are essentially able to remove, add, or alter sections of a DNA sequence. Recently, researchers from the

While “germline gene” modification (the act of making heritable changes to human embryos or sex cells that can be passed along to the next generation) is banned in the United States, a new consensus study by the National Academy of Sciences has endorsed CRISPR germline gene editing modification of humans to change human embryos, sperm, or eggs. Their conditions, however, are that it only be used to prevent the birth of children with serious diseases, that there should be stringent oversight, and that enhancements – like attempting to alter genes to make people more intelligent, i.e. creating “designer babies” – should not be pursued at this time. An indication of how big even this limited application of CRISPR used for preventing prenatal disease can be, geneticist George Church projects that CRISPR gene-edited sperm could have a role in six percent of births.

TO YOUR DIGITAL HEALTH! Knowledge is power, as the aphorism goes. As a result of the digital and genomic revolutions, we are increasingly afforded the opportunity to have a wealth of previously unavailable information about our bodies, our personal disease risk, and what can keep us healthy…and hopefully avoid the fate of contracting an illness and becoming a patient. And when we do enter the healthcare system, we’ll benefit from new tools and strategies that help to better predict, treat, cure, and prevent disease. ■ Paul Sonnier is the creator of StoryOfDigitalHealth. com. You can follow him on Twitter @Paul_Sonnier

CRISPR-Cas9 is a customizable tool that lets scientists cut and insert small pieces of DNA at precise areas along a DNA strand. The tool is composed of two basic parts: the Cas9 protein, which acts like the wrench, and the specific RNA guides, CRISPRs, which act as the set of different socket heads. These guides direct the Cas9 protein to the correct gene, or area on the DNA strand, that controls a particular trait. This lets scientists study our genes in a specific, targeted way and in real-time.



SWEAT IT OUT, TEAR IT DOWN, BUILD IT UP. When you sweat, you lose minerals. If you don’t replace them, YOUR BODY STARTS TO BREAK DOWN! Your tendons and joints tighten, you become vulnerable to injuries as your muscles are sore, your heart muscle slows down and your concentration is shortened. Your food has very few minerals left and calcium as well as other minerals are hard to digest.

“In just two weeks on this product, I noticed faster recovery in training, as well as greater endurance reserves. I recently participated in a 12 mile Spartan Race… and was recovered enough to race again 5 days later. I am very impressed with Max Performance Supplements.

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Maximum Performance is NSF Certified for Sport is 90% available to the body, works quickly and begins replacing nutrients to improve your: • Muscle and Heart Health • Tendon and Joint Health • Stamina • Reduce Muscle Soreness • Reduce Recovery Time • Reduce Inflammation Whether you’re an Elite Athlete, Workout Warrior, or just want to stay fit, and not ache every day, Maximum PerformanceTM gives your body the boost it needs.

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Health Tech

T A A SLIGHTLYO HISTORY E B F F Many cutting-edge medical technologies come about as a result of smart people, lots of money, and years of research and testing. But, if the history of innovation is any indication, serendipity should take a lot of credit too. Here are a few notable and amusing highlights from the surprisingly long history of health technology.

1895: FRAU RÖNTGEN’S LEFT HAND DEMONSTRATES THE PRACTICALITY OF X-RAYS. German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen was experimenting with cathode tubes one day in his laboratory when he noticed that rays emitted from the tubes would briefly illuminate a special screen located on a bench a few feet away. Coining the invisible rays “X-rays,” he spent the following weeks investigating their unique properties. The real utility of X-rays, however, was discovered soon after when he made the very first X-ray photograph of a human body part, his wife’s hand. Upon seeing the macabre image of her bony left hand and wedding ring, she reportedly exclaimed, “I have seen my death!”

~950 B.C: WORLD’S OLDEST PROSTHETIC TOE HELPS MUMMY WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN. In 2000, archaeologists unearthed what was thought to be the world’s oldest prosthetic device attached to the mummy of a 50- to 60-year-old Egyptian woman who was missing a big toe. While some historians speculated that the prosthetic toe, which was made of wood and leather, was merely attached during mummification for religious or ceremonial purposes, a 2012 study suggested otherwise. Replicas of the toe were made and outfitted for volunteers missing a big toe. The volunteers' walking improved significantly while wearing the prosthetic toe, and they even found it more comfortable than a plaster, linen, and glue version that postdated it by almost 500 years!

1816: AN EARLY VERSION OF THE STETHOSCOPE AMPLIFIES HEART SOUNDS AND ALLOWS DOCTORS TO MAINTAIN THEIR DECENCY. When French physician René Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1816, it wasn’t only a medical breakthrough but an improvement in a doctor’s propriety. The idea for the stethoscope came about when Laennec, who was attempting to diagnose a heart condition in an obese woman, hesitated to place his ear directly on the woman’s bare chest to better hear her heartbeat. Ever the gentleman, he applied his basic knowledge of acoustics, rolling up a sheet of paper and placing it on the patient’s chest, allowing him to hear the patient’s heart without committing an act considered immodest at the time.



By Scott Jung, Senior Editor of Medgadget

1853: Charles Pravaz creates the first hypodermic syringe.



SynCardia Total Artificial Heart

1928: Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.

1956: A DUMMY HELPS INSPIRE THE CONCEPT OF AN ARTIFICIAL HEART. One day, Dr. Henry Heimlich (the late creator of the Heimlich Maneuver) invited professional ventriloquist and friend Paul Winchell to observe an open-heart surgery. After watching the patient unfortunately expire during the surgery, Winchell used his knowledge of dummies to come up with the concept of an artificial heart. Another fun fact: Winchell served as the voice of Tigger from Disney’s Winnie-thePooh and Gargamel from The Smurfs.

1967: Christiaan Barnard performs first ever human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. 1993: ASTRONAUTS ATTEMPTING TO DEVELOP A GREEN THUMB DEVELOP LEDS FOR WOUND HEALING AND CHRONIC PAIN. We can thank NASA for developing products many of us use on a daily basis, including memory foam, handheld cordless vacuums, and astronaut ice cream. One invention, a hand-held, high-intensity LED unit, has been used by physicians as a treatment for cancer, to accelerate wound healing, and relieve chronic pain. But the purpose for its creation was quite different: astronauts were researching a viable light source to grow plants during spaceflight.

2003: The Human Genome Project is completed, giving us the ability to read our complete genetic blueprint.



Health Tech




Concussions have quickly gone from an accepted part of contact sports to a more widely recognized health issue with long term consequences if not addressed early and prudently. As highlighted poignantly in the PBS documentary League of Denial, in which the negative connection between brain injuries and football is explored by Dr. Bennet Omalu, concussions are much more than “getting your bell rung.” The brain trauma caused by concussions can lead to a wide array of symptoms, including but not limited to: headaches, dizziness, visual dysfunction, sleep disorders and cognitive dysfunction.

Omalu, on whom the 2015 film Concussion is also based, told Time Magazine that football players “have impaired memory…mood problems…I think 90 to 100 percent of all of them will have some residual problem from their exposure to thousands of blows to the head.” Considering the National Football League has roughly 1,700 players, that is an astounding number of head injuries, especially for a sport played by children as young as five. However, attempts to reduce the negative effects of head trauma aren’t limited to the gridiron. The Army is also making significant strides to combat brain injury. Through coordination with the National Football League, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and academic partners, there is ongoing research to



Advanced research as a result of the collaboration between the Army and the NFL could significantly reduce brain injuries.

evaluate new technologies to improve the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Continual improvement in concussion protocols, evauation techniques, and both entities can reduce the devastating consequences of traumatic brain injuries for quarterbacks and soldiers alike. This collaboration between the NFL and the Army is no coincidence. As Dr. Katie Stout explains, “What the DoD [Department of Defense] has is called MACE, the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation. And that was developed out of literature from the sports concussion world. And, as the NFL went to develop their concussion protocols, they collaborated with the DoD and the NCAA to develop their sideline concussion tool.” In fact, the MACE system itself doesn’t differ

By Louie Fox

much for either the military or the sports league. Dr. Stout says that the system is “a quick tool that’s used by our medics downrange. Very similar to a sideline evaluation for a soldier. And it’s used in combat to screen people for concussion after exposures.” However, Dr. Stout isn’t the only one in support of this research. According to Major Carrie Hoppes, the research began with the observation of brain injuries from the battlefield. She said that much of the development began as “casualties were coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Just recognizing how many were affected by traumatic brain injury.” However, Major Carrie Hoppes also explains that cultural awareness of these issues has played a large part in the development of the Advanced Combat Helmet. “So you have Will Smith and Concussion...and then you’ve got the Center For Disease Control has their Heads Up campaign. And so I think the general public is much more aware of it as an issue.” Considering both the 244 NFL player concussions and 10,689 reported cases of TBI for Army recruits in 2016 alone, this research could greatly improve the quality of life for pro football athletes and service members alike. ■


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Health Tech


Hearing one of your coworkers say they got a good night’s sleep has become as rare as hearing they’re glad the weekend is over. Whether the blame is placed on over-caffeination, using devices late into the night, or those noisy neighbors that play techno music until the wee hours of the morning, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough sleep either. Perhaps it’s that the time-honored traditions of a glass of warm milk and counting sheep late into the night just won’t cut it anymore. According to the CDC, over one third of adult Americans don’t get enough sleep, which can lead to everything from sickness and exhaustion to obesity and unneeded stress. Smart devices have taken much of the blame, as they can bring an extra layer of stress to our lives. While in the past you could come home and relax after a long day of work, nowadays your phone can be buzzing all night with constant meeting reminders and work emails. Additionally, they can directly affect sleep patterns, as the “blue” light they emit tricks the brain into thinking that morning has already arrived.

In addition to its advanced comfort, the Intellibed promotes a healthy lifestyle. Unlike typical memory foam and spring beds, the Intellibed won’t put any pressure on your body while you’re trying to rest. Hospitals use it to provide extreme pressure relief for healing. And, because of its mixture of firmness and comfort, you will not only avoid back pain; you’ll be able to physically recover from the longest workday and toughest workout alike.

While tech can be a major sleep deterrent, it can also be a sleep solution - with the sleep tech business growing considerably over the past few years. And, thanks to the emergence of this multi-billion dollar industry, we may be looking at a golden age free of nodding off in the middle of work meetings. With everything from smart earplugs to bioceramic pajamas, let’s build the perfect sleep setup for the exhausted insomniac and casual napper alike.

You can also put off shopping for your next mattress for quite some time, as the Intellibed boasts a 30-year warranty. The non-toxic Gel Matrix is made from resilient molecules that will continue to keep their spring for 30 years. Considering the Better Sleep Council suggests evaluating your mattress after only seven years, the Intellibed guarantees that you won’t be wasting countless Saturdays on mattress shopping.



Let’s start with the essential piece of furniture for catching Zs. The Intellibed looks to revolutionize bedtime by presenting a comfortable (and health-conscious) bed. Originally developed for use in hospitals, the specialized Gel Matrix technology used in the Intellibed settles a major battle between bedmates: firm or soft? Firm beds generally lack comfort while soft beds fall short in terms of


support. Firm beds are good for back health, but with a soft bed you toss and turn less and get deeper sleep. Until now, it has always been a trade-off between support and pressure relief. This bed’s revolutionary Gel Matrix technology now does both at the same time, adapting to your body’s need for a feel that’s both firm and soft. For example, it is three times firmer than typical foam, but, through the physics of column buckling, the matrix adapts to your pressure points (like your hips and shoulders), resulting in a more comfortable feel than even an extremely soft bed.


The ZEEQ Pillow is more than just something comfortable to lay your head on. The smart pillow, designed to improve your relaxation, analyzes your sleep and uses sleep-enhancing sounds. However, it benefits more than one bedfellow. Thanks to music streaming through the pillow itself and advanced snoring deterrents, your partner will sleep undisturbed. (Possibly for the first time in months.)

Intellibed's Gel Matrix

SUPER BOWL SLEEP Popularized by Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady, the Athlete Recovery pajamas Under Armour has developed can raise circulation and aid your body with recovery while you sleep. Considering Brady just won his fifth Super Bowl, continues to dominate at age 39, and, if we’re being honest, still looks like Tom Brady, these bioceramic pajamas definitely might be worth considering.

Under Armour's bioceramic pajamas, worn by Tom Brady

SOOTHING SMART SLEEP MASKS With the recent innovations in smart sleep masks, you won’t need to stare into space while you wait for the Sandman. What used to be little more than a piece of felt to block out the light is now a dedicated sleep aid, with products that

Health Tech can put your mind at ease with pulses of light (Sleep And Wake Mask), manage your sleeping schedule (Lumos Smart Sleep Mask), or work with an entire system to help rest your mind (NuCalm).

HUSH DOES JUST WHAT IT SAYS Earplugs aren’t just for heavy metal concerts anymore. With the Hush smart earplugs, worrying about your noisy neighbors will be a thing of the past. Utilizing noise eradicating foam and relaxing noises, you only hear what you want to hear. Which most likely isn’t the couple in the next apartment getting into an argument.

ALARM CLOCKS YOU WON’T THROW ACROSS THE ROOM There are plenty of options when it comes to smart alarm clocks, whether you’d like the Kello to wake you up with its dynamic speaker, the BEDDI to help you plan your morning commute, or the Withings Aura to track your sleep. At the very least, you’ll be less likely to smash the snooze button every morning.

SMARTDUVET DOES ITS OWN CHORES Finally, let’s eliminate the least desirable task of the morning: making the bed. Originating on Kickstarter, this inflatable plastic sheet might

not seem like very much to the naked eye. However, this crowdfunded smart tech knocks one more thing off your morning to-do list, as it literally makes the bed for you by itself. With the push of a button, the SMARTDUVET inflates, getting your bed back in shape immediately. Without the need for that morning chore, feel free to sleep in those extra thirty seconds. ■

Core Technologies Drive Innovation at Fujifilm Healthcare Less than a century ago, “medical care” boiled down to alleviating pain and taking precautions to stop the spread of disease. But modern medicine has come a long way, and so, too, have patients’ expectations for better care, treatments, and greater longevity. Fujifilm Healthcare is meeting this evergrowing demand with a focus on the entire continuum of care – prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Fujifilm Healthcare technologies are helping to deliver and address patient comfort and assurance needs. Interestingly, it is Fujifilm’s roots in the photographic film business that spurred its innovation in healthcare. In 1936 – just two years after the company’s founding – Fujifilm developed its first X-ray film, marking its initial breakthrough in diagnostic imaging. “Our R&D innovations over the decades find us today with highly specialized expertise in increasingly relevant technologies that inform modern healthcare,” said Diku Mandavia, M.D., chief medical officer and senior vice president of FUJIFILM Medical Systems U.S.A., Inc. and



FUJIFILM SonoSite, Inc. “Fujifilm resides over a portfolio of world-class technologies which we are leveraging to become a global leader in healthcare innovation.” Collagen, a component of film, plays an important role in regenerative medicine. Fujifilm has acquired a deep knowledge of collagen and is using it to advance the field of regenerative medicine, which has the potential to fulfill unmet medical needs. Today, Fujifilm Healthcare continues to innovate and invest in digital radiography, endoscopy, ultrasound, medical informatics, biopharmaceuticals, regenerative medicine, and pharmaceuticals. “As technology trailblazers, Fujifilm Healthcare will always remain true to its spirit of discovery,” said Mandavia. “We will continue to push boundaries and make breakthroughs with the overall mission of improving patient outcomes and changing people’s lives.” ■ For more information, please visit: www.

Diku Mandavia, chief medical officer for FUJIFILM Medical Systems U.S.A.

Science Finding Cures Medicine Enhancing Lives


Health Tech Innovative Healthcare Solutions in Greater Phoenix In an effort to provide unique ways to bridge the gap between healthcare industry challenges and innovative technological solutions, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) launched an event rightfully titled the “Greater Phoenix Healthcare Reverse Pitch.” Representatives from Banner Health, Adelante Healthcare and Dignity Health pitched their system delivery challenges to a crowd of more than 200 technology company representatives, who in turn were given the opportunity to submit solutions and connect directly with the providers. It’s Greater Phoenix’s progressive approach to technology that sets the region apart. Known as The Connected Place, Greater Phoenix is quickly becoming a hotbed for innovation. In large part, this movement is taking place due to the talent pipeline coming out of higher learning institutions, collaborative legacy companies supporting up-and-comers, and the dedication from state and regional leadership creating an environment where innovation can prosper. Named as the most entrepreneurial state by CNN and the 5th fastest growing tech market by Fortune, Greater Phoenix is gaining national attention for its growth. From legacy companies like Garmin, Intel, and Medtronic, to health startups like eVisit, SpringActive, and Life365,

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council now has 689 locally assisted businesses, representing a total of 122,000 jobs and $12.5 billion in capital investment.

businesses are finding success in the region. The success of the “Reverse Pitch” event has inspired a follow-up forum, which will take place in the fall of 2017. To learn more about the effort and how you can get involved, visit

Biomotion Lab Provides a Closer Look at the Healing Process “State-of-the-art” is a phrase likely found on the “autocorrect” function of every cell phone at The Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute (SPRI). And the phrase gets plenty of use now with the recent unveiling of the new BioMotion Laboratory at the Steadman headquarters in Vail, Colorado.

“In keeping with Dr. [Richard] Steadman’s pledge when he started this clinic many years ago, we remain tasked to get people back to doing what they love as soon and as efficiently as possible,” said Dr. Scott Tashman, Director of Biomedical Engineering at SPRI. “Most tools that physicians and clinicians have used for measuring healing were based on X-rays, MRIs or an examination in a doctor’s office,” said Tashman. “If you really want to know how well an injured joint has healed, then you need to look at it when it is in motion, doing something that it normally does. Like a basketball player jumping, or a soccer player kicking, or skiers bending their knees while going down the slope.” The Biomotion Lab at SPRI combines multiple methods – via video motion cameras, wearable sensory devices, and advanced X-ray imaging – in order to get a clearer and more accurate look at how injuries are healing. The “dynamic stereo X-ray” system can capture pictures in one millisecond and give doctors an extremely accurate look at a repaired joint or ligament doing what they are supposed to be doing. “It’s not just the state-of-the-art equipment that makes our lab so unique,” added Tashman. “It is the dedicated collaboration of our engineering team and the world-class Steadman Clinic orthopaedic surgeons that make our program one that simply is not replicated anywhere else.” A patient performs physical activities, such as simulated skiing and running, in the BioMotion Lab.





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tech zone: louisiana

Why Louisiana’s Tech Community is Booming By Louie Fox



“People don’t live in New Orleans because it is easy. They live here because they are incapable of living anywhere else in the just same way.” So wrote Ian McNulty, whose book A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina provided poignant accounts of life in the The Big Easy after the disastrous hurricane in 2005. In addition to being an apt description of life in New Orleans, McNulty’s words capture Louisiana as a whole. Also known as the Sugar State, Louisiana has carved out a niche for itself as a vibrant cultural hub of the American South. The L-shaped seat of Cajun

cooking, it’s a place with a flavor all its own, one born of an eclectic history. New Orleans is the hometown of iconic trumpeter Louis Armstrong, and Shreveport’s Louisiana Hayride can claim to be at least partially responsible for Elvis Presley’s success (he did get his first television appearance on their show, after all). But beneath all the purple, gold, and green, there’s a city aching to be recognized for what it’s doing now. Reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina – the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history – the city of New Orleans was forced to rebuild, and more than one million people were forced to relocate. Now, more than 10 years later, New Orleans has bounced back, succeeding in ways many thought wouldn’t be possible a decade after the disaster. As Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in an interview with USA Today, “You knew it was bad. But there was always the sense… New Orleans was going to be alright.”

This has turned out to be true in a variety of ways for the state's recovery as a whole. With the proliferation of charter schools, high school graduation rates have jumped from 56 to 73 percent, and a larger number of high-paying jobs exists than ever before. Even through the recession in the late ‘00s, Louisiana remained competitive, boasting the best unemployment rate of the South (and one that outperformed the national average) in 2014. All this has translated into a state that is fast becoming an innovation hotspot. In this feature, we’re taking a look at how Louisiana has put tech ingenuity at the forefront, emerging as the desired locale for software companies like IBM and GE, while strengthening its role as a member of one of the largest import/export hubs in the United States. And, through all this, the home of Bourbon Street and Cajun Country has maintained the old-world charm that can only come from good food and good people.



tech zone: louisiana

how louisiana is coding success

It may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about tech, but Louisiana is quickly becoming one of the most advantageous places for software companies to set up shop. And it’s not just because software developers want to enjoy the warm weather, delicious seafood, and festivals. There are many logistical reasons for the state’s burgeoning software development industry, starting with the economy. According to Area Development’s annual Top States for Doing Business Report, Louisiana is No. 5 in the nation for doing business. Additionally, software development is Louisiana’s No. 1 industry sector in terms of growth, with 10.5 percent job growth from 2012 to 2016. This economic surge has had one significant result: the massive boom of software development. Since 2015, several major software companies – including IBM and Gameloft – have launched major initiatives that will create an additional 5,000 jobs in Louisiana, which should be filled by 2018. Accordingly, Louisiana’s software development and IT sector is increasingly being hailed as a haven for new college graduates to secure high-tech jobs at home. Swiftly growing and changing tech has also contributed to Louisiana’s expanding software sector. “Technology is evolving at rapid speeds and offers new capabilities for our government



customers,” said John Dancy of the information technology company CSRA. “We can now provide next-generation technology from anywhere, not just the Washington, D.C. corridor.” Dancy should know. He is the chief information officer for CSRA, a contributor to this recent development. In November of 2016, the company announced the opening of the CSRA Customer Engagement Center, adding 400 jobs to Louisiana’s software development culture. Located in Bossier City, the center looks to double that number by 2018. These factors have also led to many household names making Louisiana their permanent home. Thanks to the diligent work of Louisiana Economic Development (LED), GE opened the GE Digital Solutions Technology Center in New Orleans in 2012. This not only provided 300 jobs, but allowed for collaboration with the University of New Orleans to ensure promising students had the opportunity to launch a career with GE. LED and Louisiana’s software boom also played a vital role in keeping CenturyLink in New Orleans, assisting the company’s desire to grow in the field of software development. But how does Louisiana ensure this growth continues? According to Vice President of CGI Federal Will LaBar, increasing the developmental stimulus is just as vital as education. LaBar believes that a “strategy that combines STEM-based programs with

Tech companies like IBM and CSRA have set up shop in Louisiana, where they’ve reaped the benefits of successful business, all while being able to appreciate the state’s beautiful scenery.

competitive, IT-targeted business incentives is the state’s best bet for creating the fertile ground necessary to expand the IT sector in Louisiana.” Thus far, Louisiana’s services have allowed CSRA, CGI Federal, and many other companies to succeed in a place that seems to fly under the radar when it comes to tech hotspots. Its willingness to work with corporations, whether through incentives or recruitment assistance, has allowed the boot-shaped state to place itself firmly at the front of the growing innovation revolution. These strategies will both inspire younger minds to enter the booming tech scene and put the state on track to becoming the South’s very own version of Silicon Valley.

tech zone: louisiana


MSOC with the

You might assume that most products arrive to the U.S. after travelling hundreds of miles in the hold of an airplane or stacked in the back of a tractor-trailer. In reality, more than half of all U.S. imports arrive by boat, a major portion sent through just five large ports located along the lower 255 miles of the Mississippi River. One of these is the Port of South Louisiana (PSL), which handled over 294 million short tons of cargo in 2016, more than any other American port. With that much trade coming in, PSL is undoubtedly a critical part of the United States’ infrastructure, making it a potential target for sabotage or terrorism. So how does Louisiana keep its biggest port safe? Enter the Maritime Security Operations Center (MSOC). Established in 2013 to expand the region’s maritime security operations, the MSOC has been a command and control center – a 2,000-square-foot concrete and steel building equipped with the latest in communications and surveillance equipment, allowing it to monitor and manage emergencies within the 54 miles of the Mississippi River under PSL’s jurisdiction. The MSOC was built with the goal of making the southern U.S. port system one of the safest in the world against both natural disasters and manmade threats. In 2013, for example, the International Chamber of Commerce’s Maritime Bureau attributed $5.4 billion in losses in the U.S. to cargo theft, and, given that PSL and the



The Maritime Security Operations Center (above left) uses the latest communications and surveillance equipment (above right) to monitor all 54 miles of the Mississippi River. If there’s an emergency, the MSOC can dispatch watercraft such as the The PSL Responder and PSV Accardo (top).

other four deep draft ports on the Lower Mississippi River handle over 510 million short tons of cargo each year, the MSOC is a necessary component in achieving this goal. Among the assets available to the MSOC are four emergency response vessels: the John James Charles, the PSV Accardo, the PSL Responder, and the most recent addition, the M/V Nathan Folse, named in honor of Nathan J. Folse, the former Executive Council for the Port. This 75-foot-long catamaran-style fireboat can pump up to 5,000 gallons per minute, and like the MSOC it serves, the M/V Nathan Folse is also outfitted with a bevy of communications equipment, including live-streaming video and real-time weather surveillance. Of course, having those assets available means nothing if they cannot be utilized effectively. To that end, the MSOC is linked to similar stations at the four other ports on the lower Mississippi

River, as well as federal, state, and local emergency response agencies. This allows it to act as a hub of sorts from which PSL personnel can coordinate quickly and easily with a variety of other responders in case of emergency. Funded in large part by grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the MSOC at the Port of South Louisiana is also a part of the ongoing effort to improve national security. “When you think in terms of maritime security in the modern sense, it’s hard not to think of September 11, 2001,” said Capt. Peter Gautier of the U.S. Coast Guard New Orleans Sector in his speech at the grand opening of the MSOC. “In that sense, it’s designed to confront new threats presented by a new adversary and one that seeks to exploit our weaknesses and the gaps and seams. And the main gap and seam we have is the maritime environment. This seeks to close that gap.”

tech zone: louisiana

“In God We Trust. EVERYBODY ELSE BRING DATA.” By Tobie Craig “In the planning department, we had a slogan: ‘In God we trust. Everybody else bring data,” said Bob Higdon. Bob was part of the in-house Turner Industries team in the early 1990s that created a project management, budgeting, and reporting program that won a U.S. Senate Productivity Award. Before “information technology” entered the business lexicon, the Turner key punch crew was entering job data on manila index cards into a mainframe computer. Fast-forward to today. With nearly 20,000 employees and average annual revenues approaching $3 billion, Turner Industries has grown to be the largest private employer in Louisiana. The company provides heavy industrial construction, maintenance, and related services to the companies that drive the economic engine of the state, many of which are on the Fortune 500 Global list. Bert Turner, company founder, was always aggressive in his approach to adopting new technology. The need for investment in systems to make the Louisiana company run smoother and more efficiently was never in question. In the early days, progress would sometimes take place at the expense of more practical concerns, such as fixing roof leaks. “When it rained, we would have pots and trash cans on top of our mainframe computer to catch the water,” said Bert’s son, Thomas Turner, vice chairman and president. “Over time, we’ve developed technology solutions to meet the unique information requirements of our industry, as well as programs specifically tailored to a particular client or problem. These solutions have produced millions of dollars of documented cost savings to our clients,” said Stephen Toups, executive vice president. One technology which holds particular appeal to both newly arriving plant operators and their mentors uses Turner’s mobile hand-held units with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags



to effectively manage the standard operating conditions in the plant units. RFID tags are attached to each piece of plant equipment, allowing workers making their daily rounds to answer questions online while in the field. Once an equipment malfunction is discovered, via electronically synchronized data, workers can follow a step-by-step procedure to correct the issue. In one such case, the technology, which was new to the jobsite, uncovered the source of an internal oil leak in a very large piece of equipment. For many years, an assumption had been passed from employee to employee that the unit simply used large quantities of oil. In fact, the unit was malfunctioning and the MobilOps handheld unit pinpointed the exact spot for repair. The annual cost savings from this discovery have now amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the client. Another example of an award-winning technological advancement is TRAM solutions. This patent-pending software provides unparalleled advantages for Turner’s customers. Developed in-house, this client-driven, interactive process allows customers to identify and quantify fourteen common industry budgetrisk categories. By performing an initial risk analysis, validated by current site personnel with

Above: Turner Industries recently added unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) inspections to its services, allowing the company to assess operating equipment from a safe distance.

past industrial turnaround execution experience, TRAM software helps quantify those risks into a tangible dollar amount, which can then be used as the basis for making data-driven business decisions. “When you’re operating in a competitive environment, and everyone’s using the same tools, you have to figure out ways to be better and more efficient,” said Kevin Landry, Turner’s director of software development. “The best way to do that is to come up with innovative solutions that allow us to work at lower cost to our customers and save them money.” ■ To learn more, you can visit

tech zone: louisiana

how to use hypothermia to treat a stroke By Ashlyn Stewart Justin Salerian knows a thing or two about thermodynamics, lab animals, and the urban legends surrounding icy rivers. That sounds like a random assortment of knowledge, but, as the current Vascular Neurology Fellow at Tulane University, Dr. Salerian – in partnership with Drs. Aimee Aysenne and Robert Schock – is combining all three in a study to see how therapeutic hypothermia can help stroke patients. In the past, doctors had limited means of intervening in a stroke. “About 20 years ago there was nothing you could do for an occluded blood vessel in the brain. [We could only] give them an aspirin to hope [to] prevent another one from happening,” Salerian says. In the 1990s, a drug called Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), which functions as a kind of Drain-O for blood clots – breaking up the clot and opening up the vessel – entered the market. It was joined over the last decade by catheter devices that can enter the blood vessel and mechanically remove a clot. Both of those methods were huge advances which together have improved outcomes by 25-40% for big strokes. But, Salerian asks, what if there were a way we could protect endangered brain tissue that has not yet died? If doctors could slow down the metabolic, inflammatory, and dying processes that occur after brain injury, they could save a lot of brain, particularly if this is done before performing the treatments mentioned above. Salerian’s suggested method to do this is “literally 2,000 years old”: therapeutic hypothermia. Once the body’s core temperature plummets to about 33 degrees Celsius, the threshold for “mild hypothermia,” the metabolic processes slow enough that the brain tissue dies much slower, making intervention much more viable.



Currently, Salerian and Aysenne are running a study testing a device that has cooled people with heart attacks on average in a mere 27 minutes – five to ten times faster than other previous methods. “Speed matters,” says Salerian. “It’s not just as simple as, ‘Can you get to the temperature or not?’ It’s about how fast you can do it.” The device is called the Life Recovery System ThermoSuit. The suit lies flat on a hospital bed but then inflates around the patient once he/she is placed on it, creating a reservoir. “Like a sleeping bag, but nice and tight,” Doctors Salerian, Aysenne, and Schock demonstrate their Life Recovery System Salerian says. He explains ThermoSuit on a dummy. that the device is so effective because it simulates to be this great organ for thermal regulation, an icy river. Rapidly flowing protecting you against getting cold – is now ice-water doesn’t have time to heat up near the working for us to remove heat with this device.” body and instead constantly moves over the patient’s skin, removing heat. In a few studies, when the device was used on The ThermoSuit system also quickly disarms the body’s natural defenses of shivering and vessel constriction by allowing the skin to get cold first – below 10 degrees C in about five minutes, Salerian says. “When the skin hits 10 degrees C, the little muscles that control blood vessel constriction can no longer fire, and they actually (paradoxically) open, allowing blood to rush towards the skin and act like a radiator,” he explains. “So now the skin – which is supposed

select cardiac arrest patients, rates of successful neurological outcomes jumped up to 80-90 percent, as compared to 50 percent with other cooling methods. Salerian and his team think this was because the cooling occurred so much faster. “That’s our belief. Now we have to verify that it can work in a stroke,” he says. If this device performs well in their phase II trial, Salerian and the Tulane team could revolutionize stroke treatment worldwide.





For over 55 years, Turner Industries employees across the country have safely answered the toughest industrial challenges. Construction | Equipment | Fabrication | Maintenance | Turnarounds | Specialty Services



tech zone: louisiana

“the hub city” There’s A Reason They Call It

By Stacey Zawacki

It is not often that a community can witness the birth of a new industry sector. But that is happening right now with the technology/digital media sector in Lafayette, Louisiana. With five major business recruitment announcements since 2014 and other projects in the works, Lafayette has firmly established itself as a technology hub, not only in the south but in the entire U.S. For more than 50 years Lafayette has built a reputation as a technology-savvy community. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette was among the early national leaders in the field of computer science – offering the nation’s first Masters of Science program and the first doctoral program in the state in the 1960s. Silicon Bayou was launched in the 1980s as an initiative to recruit technology companies to Lafayette. And, in 1982, Phoenix Computer Graphics, a Lafayette-based company, unveiled the Phoenix 1024, a system that produced the highest quality graphics possible at the time. In the late 1990s, Zydetech, Lafayette’s technology council, was formed to advocate growing the local economy through technology. The fiber-to-thepremises initiative took hold in the early 2000s with the successful community vote to develop one of the nation’s only municipally-owned fiber systems – which began providing service in 2010. The strength of Lafayette’s superior education programs, investments in community assets, and innovative spirit all played an important part in the decision-making process that secured more than 1,200 technology jobs for the Lafayette region. For instance, Canadian company CGI opened its 400-employee technology center in UL Lafayette’s Research Park in February 2016. Employees at the Onshore IT Services Delivery Center develop complex business and IT solutions for clients. Since entering the Lafayette market in 2014, CGI

has sought out opportunities to be an active corporate citizen – supporting and spearheading numerous initiatives to transform Lafayette into a Smart City.

opportunities. Much of Lafayette’s community

Layette is also the home of Enquero’s first Agile Delivery Center, a high-performance technology center providing enterprise software products and services to commercial clients.

leaders see the need to bring 21st century

Another example is St. Louis-based Perficient, which moved into a newly-remodeled downtown office space in April 2016. The software center will house nearly 250 employees when they reach capacity. Perficient’s clients include large enterprise customers throughout North America across a broad range of industries, including health care, financial services, retail, energy, electronics, automotive, and manufacturing. In 2015, Global Data Systems (GDS) celebrated their expansion to a new state-of-the-art headquarters facility in Lafayette. GDS is a leading provider of telecommunications and technology solutions – designing and implementing end-toend solutions for clients over a converged and secure network. In May 2017, online and mobile softwaresolution business WAITR celebrated its graduation from the Opportunity Machine program and the grand opening of its permanent facility in Lafayette. WAITR partners with local restaurants to provide a unique delivery service. In 2016, the company announced the expansion of its Lafayette Operations Center – creating 100 software engineer and restaurant operation positions. Since then, the company has opened delivery in 18 cities across the southern U.S. and California. Technology crosses into every industry, from energy to finance, and from health care to retail, helping to spark job growth and educational

With the ceremonious cutting of the ribbon, companies like Perficient and GDS open themselves up to the future of business and tech in Lafayette, LA.



development work over the past couple of decades has been aimed at fostering technology across industries as an economic driver. Community technology to Lafayette citizens and businesses and to spark job growth and educational opportunities with that technology.


Photo: Brad Ferguson


Our partnership is committed to expanding and promoting economic development opportunities throughout Natchitoches Parish and the surrounding region.

The belief that progressive development works in tandem with Natchitoches’ extraordinary sense of place as a cultural tourist destination.


Knowledge that smart growth benefits our citizens while allowing us to continue to highlight one of the most unique and historically relevant cities in Louisiana.










Learn more about the benefits Natchitoches has to offer. Visit

tech zone: louisiana

how one louisiana city married med tech with top tier education

Above: NSU’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician program covers a variety of topics to prepare its enrollees for the workforce, including courses in technical drafting and safety practices, as well as general psychology and problem solving in the manufacturing process. Top middle: A hyperbaric oxygen chamber used to enhance the body’s natural healing.

Natchitoches (“naka-tush”), Louisiana may not be the first place you think of as cutting edge, but, in light of recent developments, perhaps it should be. More than 300 years in the making, Natchitoches is home to some great companies and opportunities alike. Employers like Alliance Compressors, an Emerson joint venture, trust the local workforce to deliver – and they have, earning Alliance top honors among worldwide facilities. Quality of life is also enhanced by a medical complex that invests in technology; and companies like CSRA trust the graduates of Natchitoches’ own Northwestern State University (NSU) to help them deliver technology services to the federal government. Natchitoches is worth exploring – not only because of its history and culture but because of the myriad approaches to enhancing quality of life and economic development. The area boasts numerous early childhood education initiatives, robotics camps, middle school math competitions, and STEM-based summer camps – all initiated by the business community through the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce. The city is also home to the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts – a collegepreparatory high school ranked among the best in the nation. As further evidence of the strong focus on



education and workforce preparedness, NSU recently signed a cooperative endeavor agreement with CSRA and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) to boost its Computer Information Systems program to increase the number of annual graduates and help fulfill the workforce needs of CSRA. The 10-year agreement, which will more than double the size of the program, will provide $2.5 million to assist with faculty, professional development, and equipment. Additionally, the Natchitoches Community Alliance recently rolled out the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program, a two-year, five-semester apprentice program supported by local employers and taught collaboratively by NSU and the local technical college. While education is a priority, healthcare is a major factor in quality of life as well, and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) consistently expands its services to align with current and future healthcare needs of its community. Located in the heart of Natchitoches Parish, NRMC is an award-winning medical center, enhancing its community’s well-being. Recently, NRMC added the daVinci Si Surgical System. Using 3D visualization and specialized

tools on robotic arms, surgeons can now perform hysterectomies, cholecystectomies, hernia repairs, and more as minimally invasive surgeries. Patient benefits include smaller incisions, less pain and scarring, a reduced risk of infection, shorter hospital stays, and quicker recoveries. In addition to robotics, NRMC also opened a Comprehensive Wound Care Center as part of a $3 million renovation and expansion project. The Center provides specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds and utilizes two hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers to effectively promote healing, thereby restoring healthy tissue and skin. The hospital’s continued investment in innovative technologies helps ensure outstanding healthcare services for the region. Natchitoches is not only home to rail, port, air, and Interstate transport options — but also progressive leaders, students, and workers. A highly-rated public school system, a strong regional university, and hundreds of LED Certified shovel-ready acres are all indicators that this area is ready for business. The name is hard to pronounce, but right now investment is easy. You can learn more about Northwestern State University, advances at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and parish economic development at ■


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By Charles Warner



We recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of the most beloved “Sharks” from ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, getting a candid look inside the mind of this brilliant businessman and inspirational role model. Besides being the founder and CEO of the Herjavec Group and part owner of multiple other enterprises, Robert Herjavec takes a real interest in sharing his wisdom of business and personal success to inspire others. The author of several books, including 2016’s You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success, Herjavec is a selfmade man who is no stranger to hard work and wealth creation in the tech and business world. Oh, and did we mention? He can even dance a little bit too, as he met his wife, Kym, during an appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Is there anything Herjavec can’t do?

Innovation & Tech Today: It looks like sometimes it can get a little heated on Shark Tank. After all, it’s your money. I know they may make it more dramatic for TV, but does it ever get a little heated behind the scenes when it comes down to battling for a company? Robert Herjavec: Actually, they don’t add that much drama to it. We get very invested in what we’re doing. And what’s really interesting is that we argue with people, and sometimes I think, “What are these guys talking about? How did they even get on this panel?” And then you have to catch yourself because you realize they’re very successful. They may not agree with me; they may have a different way to go at the market of the strategy. And so there’s an underlying element of respect with each other that allows us to be completely transparent and honest with each other. It’s a really good partnership because we can yell at each other; we can completely disagree to the point of thinking, “I don’t know what the other person’s talking about,” and yet all get along. Which is pretty rare. I&T Today: The show really gives people

that feeling that they could be there. That they too could one day have a successful company. RH: The amazing thing that none of us saw happening, which we’re really all proud of, is the effect that we have on kids. You can understand how adults and people want to start a business. It’s a financial decision based on their circumstances. And who doesn’t want to make more money? It’s one of those questions you ask people: “Gee, would you like to open up your own business one day and make more money?” Who’s going to say no to that? But what we really didn’t see coming is that kids would be so heavily invested in the show. I always say to people the biggest thing you would notice if you walk around with me or any of the Sharks is 50% of the people that come up to us are kids. And I don’t mean 19 or 20, I mean 8 years old, 10 years old. It’s remarkable. I&T Today: You have a wealth of experience when it comes to cybersecurity. Do you have any thoughts on the future of this with regard to connected technology? RH: The idea of privacy will become

completely changed because consumers are willingly giving up their privacy. Consumers are posting pictures, telling people where they are. All sorts of information that you couldn’t imagine 10 years ago. And so the privacy will change from the things we think about today to very specific things like medical records and personal financial data. The personal data in terms of who I am, where I am. The change for that again is becoming seismic, because people are voluntarily giving up that information. Our identity as an individual will be completely tied to our identity online. And, in some ways, if we don’t have a good identity online, we won’t have a good identity. It’s a fascinating process for us. We look at it from a security component, obviously, in a very selfserving way. It’s an explosion of devices that can all access data and all break into a network. So there’s no surprise that cybersecurity is the fastest growing segment of the computer business. I&T Today: We’re definitely going to see some massive changes in the next five years. RH: Yeah, and even the commonality of SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY


“[Barbara Corcoran told me], 'You know, the difference between successful people and people that never achieved success is the amount of time they allow themselves to feel sorry for their situation.’”

"Whether it’s racing cars or doing Dancing with the Stars, I’m always trying to say, ‘Where’s the limit? Where can I go? How can I be better?’”

things like terrorism. If you really want to inflict pain on the very large scale, it’s fundamentally easier to do that through the internet or some element of a cyber attack than it is by targeting individuals. Obviously, the loss of life is catastrophic, but short behind that is the loss of connectivity and automation. If a hospital can’t access data, it’s going to make bad decisions. It won’t know what to do; it won’t know how to operate. There’s an element of all that. And the cost of outfitting an entity to go after the internet infrastructure grid is a much lower cost proposition. The cost of a tank or a bomb is very,



very expensive. The cost of a highly trained cyber terrorist is actually very low compared to that. I&T Today: Are there any other areas that, from your perspective, appear pretty ripe for disruption or that will see significant growth? RH: I think the general area of consumerization of technology in nontraditional fields. For example, look at cars. If you would have looked at the car industry 10 years ago, you would have said there really is no innovation. Today, it’s one of the most

innovative elements. We’re talking now, “Are people even gonna drive cars in 20 years?” What is a car going to look like? There’s an electric car company here in California. They are funded by a Chinese billionaire. But their entire idea of a car is simply a pod that people get in that will take them somewhere. So they’re not even designing it with the idea of a driver experience. They’re simply driving it as a pod for transportation. It’s their design element. It’s fascinating. And this isn’t 10 years away; this is a couple of years away. I look at that and I say, “What about airplanes? What about other

Celebrating Innovators and Leaders in Health and Human Services

CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. Our International Advisory Council (IAC) members work at the forefront of their fields. Their insights and contributions to CARF’s standards help advance our mission to promote services that center on enhancing the lives of persons served. The standards ensure that providers are attuned to the role and impact of technology on business and service delivery. Thank you IAC members for your integral support. • AARP • Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals • Aetna • American Academy of Neurology Institute • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons • American Academy of Pain Medicine • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation • ACCSES • American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine • American Hospital Association • American Kinesiotherapy Association, Inc. • American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association • American Music Therapy Association, Inc. • American Network of Community Options and Resources • American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. • American Physical Therapy Association • American Psychological Association • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association • American Therapeutic Recreation Association • Association of Children’s Residential Centers • Association of Rehabilitation Nurses • Argentum • Brain Injury Association of America, Inc. • Case Management Society of America

• Child Welfare League of America • Children's Home Society of America • Department of Veterans Affairs • Easter Seals, Inc. • Goodwill Industries International, Inc. • International Association of Jewish Vocational Services • LeadingAge • Mental Health Corporations of America, Inc. • National Adult Day Services Association • National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health • National Association of Social Workers • National Organization of State Associations for Children • National Council for Behavioral Healthcare • Paralyzed Veterans of America • Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association • SourceAmerica • United Cerebral Palsy • United Spinal Association • Youth M.O.V.E. National • Peter C. Ashenden, Chicago, Illinois • Bruce Christensen, Glenwood Springs, Colorado • Stanley H. Ducharme, Ph.D., Boston, Massachusetts • Cynthia H. Dunn, Cleveland, Ohio • Cheryl Gagne, Sc.D., CRC, Boston, Massachusetts

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"I love to create. Business is a very creative process. And I’m an opportunity-driven guy, and when I see an opportunity, I want to create something great. For me, it’s always about pushing yourself, trying to be better, looking at the things that scare you."

elements of consumerization?” I took a commercial flight the other day. It is one of the most archaic ways to travel. I mean, doesn’t flying today remind you of bus travel 30 years ago? And the delta between a commercial flight and private aviation is vast. The only people who can afford private aviation today are the ultra wealthy or the ultra busy. But there’s got to be an element between those two. And so I look at that. I look at homes. You know, Airbnb challenges the notion of home ownership. And all other elements of that. And we’re definitely moving into a shared community enterprise. I&T Today: Your story is so inspirational. It kind of made me realize that we have no reason to make excuses when it comes to business. RH: Barbara [Corcoran, from Shark Tank] said something to me a long time ago on the show. And it’s my favorite quote from Barbara. Because she’s had an incredible life and lots of difficulties. She says, “You know, the difference between successful people and people that never achieved success is the amount of time they allow themselves to feel sorry for their situation.” Isn’t that great? Because, you know, people that have never done it or never tried always think that those of us that are trying and moving ahead have some kind of a blessed life – where nothing ever goes wrong. People say, “Oh my gosh, you’re so lucky. You run a $200 million business; you have 300 employees. Gosh, it must be great to be you.” And I’m like, “We almost didn’t have enough money to meet payroll two weeks ago. And one of our biggest customers just left us.”



And on and on and on. But it never gets easier. I find you’ve just got to get stronger. And you get to these inflection points in your life where you’re like, “I’m either gonna wallow in my own misery or I’m just gonna push through it.” I&T Today: I’m sure some people could accumulate a certain amount of wealth or a certain number of businesses and get into cruising mode. What keeps you motivated? RH: I think it’s the scale of the opportunity. I love to create. Business is a very creative process. And I’m an opportunity-driven guy, and when I see an opportunity, I want to create something great. For me, it’s always about pushing yourself, trying to be better, looking at the things that scare you. Whether it’s racing cars or doing Dancing with the Stars, I’m always trying to say, “Where’s the limit? Where can I go? How can I be better?” From a business perspective, part of it is you have to find the opportunity. And when you find that opportunity, you’ve got to go at the speed of the opportunity. Our business is going through hyper growth right now and we’re smart enough to know, yeah, we’re a great company and we’ve worked really hard. But the timing is now. And so it took us five years to grow six million in sales. In the next five we got to a hundred million. And in the next three we’ll get to 200 million. Part of that is us, but also there’s a macro condition that allows us to participate in that market. And when the market says run, you’ve got to run full speed. Through walls, over walls, through obstacles. You’ve just got to go. I&T Today: Just one last question for you.

You met your wife Kym on Dancing with the Stars, right? RH: I did. I&T Today: Do you guys still get to do any ballroom dancing? RH: Well, Kym is one of the top dancers in the world. So anything that I would do wouldn’t be really called dancing on my part. But I have to tell you my best dance story. When you’re on the show, it’s so full on. It’s so intensive. You never really learn to dance; you learn a series of steps. Because you only have one week and then you have to do it live in front of 15 million people and there’s a thousand people live in the audience. After the show, we were on vacation one time, and we were in this big restaurant in Mexico. And they were playing a salsa, and I saw these people dancing. It was just hundreds of people. And I just looked kind of sad. And she said, “What’s wrong?” And I said, “Well, I’m a little sad that I never actually got to learn to dance.” And she looked at me. She said, “Come with me.” So she took me to the side. She taught me some steps. She said, “Just do that.” And so we went out on the floor and I was doing my thing: 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. And she was spinning around and doing all kinds of stuff. I wasn’t even looking at her. I was just counting out my steps. And the song’s over. The music stops. I look up. Everybody is standing, including the people in the restaurant, including the band. We stop. And everybody begins to clap. That was my geeky, computer-ey guy killing it on the dance floor moment for the rest of my life. ■

JOE WILLIAMS’ GUIDE TO CONQUERING THE PODIUM According to a Chapman University survey, public speaking is currently the number one reported fear among Americans, ranked above heights, spiders, and even death. However, communication expert Joe Williams believes there should be no reason for concern when faced with a crowded auditorium. He should know. He has stood up in front of hundreds of thousands of people, inspiring them to approach the stage with determination. From finding your voice to embracing authenticity, here are Williams’ thoughts on conquering the podium. [Taken from an exclusive interview]

FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING I believe that we have bigger fish to fry than standing up in front of a person and talking. I know there are statistics out there… Here’s what I believe: I believe that each individual has a unique groove, a flow state, when they’re at their absolute best as a communicator. And that takes precedent over any fear that may be there. There was a story…of BB King. Someone asked him one time how he became such a great blues guitarist. And he said, “For years and years, I practiced the basics. The chords, the finger placements. And then one day I just forgot all that sh*t and I wailed.” And that’s what I…find in people when I work with them as speakers.

AUTHENTICITY You know what is so funny? That’s the word everybody loves and that I absolutely hate…In our past election, that was a term that was thrown around quite a bit. I think there are some things that the more one throws around, the more it makes others question that thing. Authenticity is one of those. I [found] a really great article written by one



of the top linguists in the world on the difference between our president’s speaking style and others in politics. And it was called “How to Listen to Donald Trump for the Next Four Years.” And it was incredibly insightful because it talked about the difference between speaking and talking. Linguistically, those are two very different things. Talking [is] the guys after a couple of beers. They brag, they make promises, they say anything that comes to mind. Whereas speaking is, historically, something that is written out and something that is oratory art. The whole thing just fascinates me. I love authenticity. I don’t love the word because, as I said, the people who do authenticity seminars and things like that tend to be some of the most inauthentic people on the face of the Earth. The more one insists one is, it kind of goes downhill from there. Realness — the real you, the real me — that’s what we are after. The term “authenticity” becomes the fill-in for “realness” because so few people are willing to give their real self fully to something. And yet it’s what our clients crave, what we crave more than anything in this era. If we accomplish that through different platforms and technology, that’s the golden ticket.

“There’s a rhythm to our communication. The old days of the inauthentic, put-together speaker are gone. People see through that. It takes too much effort — a lot of mental and emotional effort — to wear a mask.”

COMMUNICATION There’s a rhythm to our communication. The old days of the inauthentic, put-together speaker are gone. People see through that. It takes too much effort — a lot of mental and emotional effort — to wear a mask. And at some point that’s going to come down when you’re in front of a group. My belief is to have a conversation with the

individuals that have given us the honor and the privilege of their time and attention…That’s the thing no one is willing to do – to have a conversation, not talk at. Very few people are willing to do it.

VULNERABILITY It’s everything. Everything. Because if you’re real, if you’re being real, it’s going to come out in laughter; it’s going to come out in the tears; it’s

going to come out in what you share with people. It’s everything. It’s a tightrope because you don’t want the emotion to completely overtake you. The highest level to me of being a communicator is being a leader. That’s the only term I’ve ever been able to come up with for it. It’s [being] a leader. And vulnerability – the beauty of the moment, the pain of the moment. ■

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The Founder of the Hit YouTube series Honest Trailers Explains his Success By Anthony Elio


In a world where movie trailers will either show you too much of a movie, not enough, or scenes from the film that don’t even make the final cut, one hero must rise above to save the world from dishonest previews. And that hero is Andy Signore, whose Honest Trailers bring much-needed integrity and humor to film previews. The series, which premiered in 2012, has grown into an internet phenomenon, with each new episode garnering millions of views. The series’ ambition is showcased in the Honest Trailer for 2011’s Thor. The official trailer for the film begins with clips of numerous action sequences introducing the titular character. The Honest Trailer, on the other hand, juxtaposes similar clips with a voiceover saying: “Prepare for a film that only exists so non-nerds will recognize the blonde guy in The Avengers.” Starring Andy Signore as the guy that will be interviewed about digital media while being published in traditional media, don’t miss out on “An Interview with Andy Signore,” coming soon to the section below. Innovation & Tech Today: What gave you the original idea for the Honest Trailers series?



Andy Signore: So, DEFY had this website that I was a fan of and I did some stuff for. But we were trying to give it a better presence for YouTube. And so we were playing with some concepts. I had this idea: “What if we made a trailer that was honest?” Like, actually telling us what it was. And, as I said it out loud, I sort of got excited for the idea. Like, “Yeah, we’ll get an epic voice trailer guy, like, actually speak out all the problems with it.” And then it really became about finding the right movie, and that’s when Star Wars: Phantom Menace got rereleased in 3D [in 2012]. And it was sort of the perfect storm of, “Well, duh, this is great because why on Earth are they trying to trick us with this new trailer when we’ve already seen it, and we were already disappointed with it?” So it was sort of the perfect way to introduce the format and do the honest trailer for Phantom Menace, because we had already seen it before. So that’s where it was born. And then, after that, it sort of became a hit for us. We tried again a couple months later with Twilight, Titanic, Transformers. Sort of the big movies at the time. And, each time we did one, they did really well, getting a million views or so each. And I think around the fifth one or so of Avatar, I started making them more

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D – “From the billion dollar jowls of George Lucas comes the chance to relive the biggest letdown in movie history – in 3D.”

Titanic – “Based on the tragedy that spawned thousands of heartbreaking true stories comes this fake one.”

The Little Mermaid – “In 1989, the same year that Taylor Swift was born, the world met an even doe-eyer eyed girl whose songs got even more stuck in your head.”

interactive, saying like, “Tell us what you wanna see!” And “What do you want to hear in our Honest Trailers voice?” Really solidified its identity with the fans…And so, right around the time when that happened, we really found our groove and realized this was something that we could keep doing. And that’s how it was born. I&T Today: I noticed recently you guys had it set up so that you would do a new trailer based on how many comments it would get.

Jaws - “From Steven Spielberg comes the

thriller that earned him enough goodwill to make over a million Crystal Skulls.”

AS: Yeah, we did a fan appreciation month in January where we had the fans request movies that they really want to see that we’ve been putting off or didn’t want to do or didn’t really have a reason to do. Shrek ended up, by a huge margin, being the one we went

The Avengers – “From Joss Whedon, god of the nerds, comes the movie blockbuster that finally unites all of Marvel’s greatest superheroes that Marvel still has the rights to.”

with. We even approached Smash Mouth to try and do an Honest version of their song “All Star.” I just don’t think they got the joke [laughs]. And then we ended up securing Michael Bolton to do our Willy Wonka trailer, which again is completely random but so awesome the way it turned out. That was our second requested trailer… Being in a recording studio and having Michael Bolton, directing him to do an Oompa Loompa song cover was one of those bucket list moments. I&T Today: What’s the general process for creating an episode of Honest Trailers? AS: It’s changed over the years. Now it’s become a bit of a well-oiled machine. Back in the day, it was me and our co-creator Brett. We would just take turns doing one. We do have a staff now who’ve really done the bulk of them. We’ll sort of talk about overall ideas of what we thought when we saw it, they’ll go and re-watch the movie looking for specifics based on all of our notes, and then really do that first draft. We do sort of group together. And it usually is about, I would say, five drafts or so. And then we get Jon Bailey, our epic voice, to record it. And then it usually takes about two or three days to get the edit together. And then we release that Tuesday. So usually, a lot of times, we’re trying to get ahead, but




Star Wars: A New Hope – “From the once masterful director who just couldn’t leave well enough alone, comes the special effects blockbuster that transformed the entire film industry into an assembly line for special effects blockbusters and action figures.” SPONSORED BY

sometimes with the release schedule just dropping on iTunes, or what have you, we work pretty quickly to keep it current and relevant to what’s happening. But, yeah, all in all I’d say it’s about a week per trailer. I&T Today: As soon as you see a new film trailer released, do the wheels start turning for a new Honest Trailer? AS: Certainly. I mean the trailers… it’s always hard to know what they’re hiding or what they’re being honest about. Some of these movies, you get swept up and get excited, and then you see the movie and go, “Wait a minute. You spoiled it all.” In Rogue One, for example, they had a bunch of shots in the trailer that looked really cool and they weren’t even in the movie. So it’s hard to tell. They’ve become so dishonest in a way. It’s really hard to tell from the trailers. Sometimes, if I’m not having that much fun in the movie, my Honest Trailers brain will click on instead. It’ll switch over and I’ll start taking notes. But, if the movie’s really great, then I’m enjoying the movie and we’re watching it. But the jokes and ideas come more often when we’re watching the movie itself than the trailer. I&T Today: I’m sure a few ideas came to mind when the Justice



League trailer premiered. AS: Yes, I mean I’m trying to go in with an open mind [laughs]. I want to go in with an open mind. Those are my favorite heroes, Batman, Superman. They’re my two favorites of all time. I love Flash and Wonder Woman. The fact that they’re now teaming together is so fantastic. But, yeah, the track record so far with the [DC Extended Universe]…I’m just not a fan of the dark tone. It just feels too dark and too gritty and too CGI, and it doesn’t connect me. So the trailer did scream a little bit of that. So we’re all a little worried. But, at the same time, we were very impressed by Aquaman. I never thought I’d be excited for an Aquaman movie [laughs]. It managed to surprise me there. I&T Today: Honest Trailers has done collaborations with other online personalities such as Red Letter Media and the Nostalgia Critic. Who else would you like to collaborate with for an episode in the future? AS: Good question. I mean, we’ve been lucky to work with all the people we really like. We don’t really think like that. It’s more like what makes sense. I do think it’d be really fun to get with the Mystery Science Theater crew at some point. We’re huge fans of theirs,

Along with creating Honest Trailers, Andy Signore is a major part of many Screen Junkies productions, hosting the online show Movie Fights and producing Interns of F.I.E.L.D. Signore is also the creator of the popular YouTube series Man at Arms.

8-Mile – “From the guy who always raps about his crazy mom, a little girl named Hailey, and the city of Detroit, comes a film about a rapper with a crazy mom and a little girl named Lily, set in the city of Detroit.”


Space Jam – “Based on a sneaker commercial comes a film that got the rights to Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes, then said ‘screw it, that’s all the work we’re gonna put into that one.’” and they’re an inspiration to me, so I think at some point. I think it’d be an epic collaboration of fellow movie lovers. But, yeah, there isn’t anyone on deck right now. We don’t really go in thinking that way. Sometimes if there’s a movie or something we’re approached and go, “You know what? It would be great if we could get X to do it.” And so there’s a couple of those we have in the hopper that I can’t reveal. But there isn’t a big list of like, “Let’s check off these people we like.” I don’t want to just shoehorn weird things in just to shoehorn weird things. Like Mike Bolton was almost that, but then wasn’t, because he’s a brilliant singer and vocalist, and we had so much fun making the melody with him. And he had the movie out to promote and we figured out a way to write it in – sort of the awkward out of nowhere “What are you doing here?” “Well, you asked me.” “Well, I didn’t think you’d show up.” “Well, I’m here.” I don’t want to do that every week. I just feel like that’ll start seeming strange. When it happens, it happens. And that’s when we get lucky. I&T Today: I would like to see a collaboration with Mystery Science Theater. That would be my version of Justice League. AS: Me too. Mystery Science Theater and Weird Al. Those to me are the bucket list items. I looked up to them



all growing up. And I’m definitely borrowing tone from both of those genius crews. So those two would be amazing at some point. So I’ll have to put it on my list – see what we do. I&T Today: I’ve heard that, when it comes to scripts for Honest Trailers, you stress not to be sarcastic. Why is that? AS: I think it’s really important for us to stay honest. That’s why we try to avoid being sarcastic. Because I feel like then it just becomes complain-ey and, like we’re better than you. And that’s never been the goal. Like, we love these movies, and that’s what’s been so amazing, to get some of these directors that we look up to, like the Russo Brothers and Chad Stahelski from John Wick. They came in and they’re big fans. And to hear that these huge directors are coming in, saying on their sets, “We’ve got to bulk up the logic. I don’t want to see this in an Honest Trailer.” To me, it’s just an amazing thing because we do really try to strive for honest. Y’know, making a movie is very hard. We’re not trying to crap on them. But I think we do want to make sure the studio’s not just rushing a movie to get it out. Like they’re actually taking the time to make the right story and seek out the logic problems and make sure it all comes together in a nice, fun way. And that’s what our brand is all about.

Harry Potter – “From J.K. Rowling, the author of the book series that kept Borders open for another few years, comes the movie adaptation for people too lazy to read.”

Batman (1989) – “Gear up for a movie that took the “bat” part of Batman pretty literally as one man wages a war against crime in an awesome looking batsuit and a severely limited range of motion.”


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Indie Games Level Up by anthony elio

We interview some of the best & brightest indie developers to understand why it might make sense for gamers to shop small. A game where you play virtual table tennis. An 8-bit sword-swinging adventure through the mystical realms of Hyrule. A game starring an octopus wearing human clothes trying to keep his human wife and children from discovering he’s a sea creature. One of these things is not like the other. The last game in question is Octodad: Dadliest Catch, easily one of my favorite games of all time. The game showcases the originality, creativity, and quirkiness that draws me and many others to independently developed games. Also known as indie games, these are the kind of adventures that show what happens when ideas are allowed to blossom and stay strange without fear of intervention. For the uninitiated, an indie game is generally a project developed without funding from a publisher. Thanks to online avenues such as Steam, independent developers no longer have to get their game into a department store just to get some recognition. By cutting out the middleman, this allows creativity and unconventional design to flourish. It might seem like indie games wouldn’t be destined for mainstream popularity, but that’s not exactly the case. Re-Logic’s Terraria recently hit 20 million copies sold, on par with such classics as Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World. 2014’s Shovel Knight has gone on to outsell the latest releases in well-known franchises such as Star Fox and Paper Mario. But what actually goes into making an indie game? Is it as simple as giving yourself a quirky studio name and typing some code? I decided to interview team members that worked on games with shovel-wielding knights, RPG battles with politicians, and suburban mollusks. It will all make more sense as you read on.





why go indie?

“The community is a huge benefit. Indie developers have nowhere near the amount of red tape and bureaucracy of large studios...Indie studios are much more open to collaboration and mutually beneficial promotion.” – Alex Rushdy, 13AM Games (Runbow)

Undertale – Created and developed by Toby Fox, Undertale is a prime example of the creative ideas that are possible with independent development. Its sense of humor wonderfully displayed in its Kickstarter video, Undertale is a game featuring skeleton dating and, according to its description on Steam, “at least 5 dogs.” Both are undertale major selling points in my book.

“One thing that has been really great, though challenging, is really being able to see everything that goes into making a game. We built our whole engine from scratch so I had to learn every part of programming…and it’s awesome, and it really helped me grow as a developer…Being able to see the whole process from start to finish is a really awesome opportunity and learning experience, for sure.” – Ryan Vandendyck, Eden Industries (Citizens Of Earth)

octodad: dadliest catch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch – Inspired by a mixture of Men in Black and Being John Malkovich (of course), Octodad: Dadliest Catch sees the player controlling a suit-wearing octopus with a human wife and children, who’s trying to keep his identity a secret while completing everyday tasks. Nothing out of the ordinary.



“It kind of depends, but if you’re talking about no publisher and entirely selffunded, I guess the major benefits are just having sole creative control over what you’re making and how you’re selling it and who you’re selling it to and how you’re marketing it… When you have investors or publishers involved, you have a lot of people to answer to. Whereas we only answer to ourselves for the most part.” – Phil Tibitoski, Young Horses (Octodad: Dadliest Catch)


“It drains the life force of the developers.” -Toby Fox, (Undertale)


Runbow – A platformer that combines colorful art design and creative gameplay, Runbow forces you to plan each jump based on the constantly changing background. Runbow also shows its support for fellow indie developers by allowing characters from Shovel Knight and Steamworld Dig to be playable. Extra points for the fantastic pun title.

“You’re in charge of everything. We had to manage a business, we had to figure out how taxes work, we had to figure out how to hire people. We had to be the ones handling the publishing for the game, which is an enormous responsibility.” – David D’Angelo, Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight)





Citizens Of Earth – Inspired by the cult classic Earthbound, Citizens Of Earth consists of you, as the freshly elected Vice President of the World, doing everyday political activities such as recruiting supporters for your team and battling limboing ninjas, cactus cats, and protesters.


Of Earth



“Being independent doesn’t allow for halfmeasures. You kinda gotta go “all in” and sometimes that means you don’t get weekends and have to pick up a second job, especially in those early months.” – Alex Rushdy, 13AM Games (Runbow)

boss stage: crowdfunding “I think it definitely depends on what you’re making and how you’re going about it. In our case, our biggest concern was building a community around the game. And we saw that, at the time, the easiest way to build a community was to have that jumping off point where everyone can be interested in it.” – David D’Angelo, Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight)

“It depends on what your project is and why you need Kickstarter. If you don’t need it, I would not do it. If you do need it, then do it...Also if you do a Kickstarter, don’t give into feature creep (for example, a stretch goal that promises an excessive number of ports). This can make your life difficult.” – Toby Fox (Undertale)


Terraria – Combining construction and survival, Terraria takes elements of games such as Minecraft and ramps up the action and exploration. With addicting gameplay and seemingly endless possibilities, Terraria is the kind of game that makes you forget you’ve got work to do. Which is why this article took me so long to write.

“Even beyond the funding, the greatest thing about Kickstarter is being able to really easily reach a community of people that are interested in the game. And that helps just in word-of-mouth community building…My personal advice would be to have something tangible.” – Ryan Vandendyck, Eden Industries (Citizens Of Earth) 112



NORTH AMERICA SMART ENERGY WEEK anchored by the largest solar and storage trade shows in North America

Solar Power International (SPI), the largest solar trade show in North America, will be co-located with Energy Storage International (ESI), the largest storage trade show in North America. Also co-located is Hydrogen + Fuel Cells North America and the Smart Energy Microgrid Marketplace - don’t miss this event! » 18,000+ attendees: Installers, contractors, C&I professionals, energy storage companies, project developers, utilities and more. » 650+ exhibitors: From solar to storage and smart products.

» 50+ international delegations: We’re working with the USDOC to bring foreign delegations to SPI. » 24 hours of dedicated networking opportunities.

» All in one location: Everything takes place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

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bonus stage: advice “If you’ve never made a game, start simple. Make something like Snake or Tetris or Pac-Man and try to add your own flair to it, and just figure out the process of going from start to completion on your own game.” –David D’Angelo, Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight)

Shovel Knight

“If you’re just starting game development, make sure your game is possible for you to make in a reasonable time frame. If you think it will take 1 year, it could take two or three years. If you think it could take five years, it will take 5,000 years... It’s OK if you accept it, but if you don’t have enough heart containers you’ll die before you can pull your indie game out of the ground.” -Toby Fox (Undertale)

Shovel Knight – After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, Shovel Knight has gone from underground indie game to million-copy seller. According to Yacht Club Games’ David D’Angelo, the game was inspired by a single attack from Zelda II. I’m pretty sure no one else can claim that.

“Bet on yourself. Focus on your game/ product first. No amount of marketing or the like will ever make up for a bad/ rushed game, and a good game will eventually rise to the top.” – Andrew Spinks, Re-Logic (Terraria) Showcasing ideas that are out of the box, indie games have the opportunity to change the video game industry forever. Similar to how online avenues such as YouTube provide entertainment without having to go through a major studio, indie game development allows anyone with a creative concept to reach the masses. But what’s next for these talented developers? According to Undertale developer Toby Fox, “I’m going to create a machine that turns human food into dog food.” GAME OVER.




Battlefront 2 to Introduce New Female Hero to Star Wars Universe SPONSORED BY

By John Gaudiosi

Battlefront 2 will feature a single-player campaign that explores why a soldier would want to fight with the Empire, giving players a chance to understand the galactic war in Star Wars from a new perspective.

The Force remains strong at Electronic Arts. The game company continues to develop brand new adventures in the official Star Wars canon through its licensing agreement with Disneyowned Lucasfilm. The latest game, Star Wars Battlefront 2, will ship Nov. 17 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and introduce a full single-player campaign (something the original game skipped). That storyline will feature performance capture from Hollywood actress Janina Gavankar as Iden Versio, the leader of Inferno Squad, an elite special forces unit of the Galactic Empire. That’s right. This female hero will be fighting against the Rebel Alliance. The story picks up at the conclusion of The Return of the Jedi, where the destruction of Death Star II and the death of the Emperor drive Versio on a quest for revenge. Mark Thompson, game director at Motive Studios, said the idea to focus on a female commander in the Empire originated around the concept of these new special forces soldiers called Inferno Squad. They’re the best of the best, fighters who are as skilled in a TIE Fighter as they are inspiring troops in ground combat. “In our partnership with EA we’re always



trying to find engaging narratives that still have compelling gameplay elements, and when Mark and the Motive team pitched us this story we realized this was a rich opportunity to explore that timeline from a different perspective,” Steve Blank, creative executive at Lucasfilm, said. Of course, this opens up cool gameplay for the player. Thompson said Versio’s elite stormtrooper has access to brand new gadgets, technology, and weapons, including a small battle droid that will be a big part of the moment-to-moment gameplay experience. While Versio doesn’t have access to The Force, players will be able to take control of both Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker in the game. Since Star Wars films have always incorporated both perspectives from the Empire and the Rebellion, this new story will feature several playable hero characters. Those who want to fully embrace the Light Side can also play the game’s 40-player battlegrounds and 24-player space dogfights. DICE is handling the ground-based gameplay, which includes a brand new planet called Vardos (Versio’s home planet), as well as Yavin 4’s jungle canopies, the spaceport town of Mos Eisley, and

Starkiller Base. The game features revamped “heroes,” including Darth Maul, Yoda, Rey, and Darth Vader, which now feature a progression system and can be customized by the player. “The first thing we changed was to include all of the Star Wars films to celebrate the 40th Anniversary,” Bernd Diemer, the new creative director on the game at DICE, explained. “We wanted something to expand the whole universe as it is today and give access to weapons, characters, ships, gadgets, and planets from all the films.” Criterion, which designed the amazing Rogue One VR Mission for the last Battlefront game, is taking the fight to outer space for the first time. Players can drop into the cockpit of the galaxy’s most iconic ships, including the Millennium Falcon, and weave between asteroid fields and fly through imperial dockyards in high stakes dogfights. And the game’s “hero ships” will evolve as the player forges his or her own journey through the multiplayer experience. Downloadable content from the upcoming The Last Jedi movie will add new ships, costumes, and weapons to the multiplayer experience in December. ■



By John Gaudiosi

While Sony’s PlayStation VR, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive have brought virtual reality home, there are still some people who can’t afford the price of this technology or who are just waiting for VR to improve. Either way, this has opened up new business opportunities for the 21st century arcade. For instance, companies like IMAX, Starbreeze, and Zero Latency are building out a new network of arcades designed to showcase existing and cutting-edge virtual reality technology.

company has built out the software platform, designed a trio of video games that pit players against aliens, zombies, or killer robots, and created much of the technology for the experience.

“There are a lot of VR-curious people who don’t want to spend $1,000 to try it at home, which is helping us a lot,” explained Tim Ruse, CEO of Zero Latency. “Initially, a lot of VR developers were coming through to play. And now a lot of people are just coming through to try something new with friends. We’re seeing a lot of repeat customers where one friend will come with a group and then that group will come back with different friends.”

Scott Vandonkelaar, CTO of Zero Latency, said the rendering of visuals are done locally, while over-the-air gaming network communications can transfer some of the gaming info wirelessly, which allows the system to have multiple players. The company has tested 16 players in its Melbourne location, although six to eight players is the sweet spot based on the current arcade sizes.

Melbourne, Australia-based Zero Latency is the first company to introduce multiplayer freeroaming VR gaming in massive arenas (which range from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet). The



While home-based VR systems tether you to a PC or console, Zero Latency has worked with Alienware to craft a super-light and powerful backpack PC based on their Steam Box technology.

Available at 10 locations worldwide today, with 14 more opening by the end of this year, Zero Latency has created an immersive experience that begins even before you step into the video game worlds. The heart of this experience is the

Game Master, named after the traditional story crafter from Dungeons & Dragons. He or she brings you into an equipment room where you’re outfitted with a vest and backpack, headmounted display, and headphones before being handed a replica assault rifle (which morphs into four different weapons in each game). This Game Master serves as your guide inside of the arena as well as on the video game fields of battle (which right now includes a burned-out city overrun by zombies in Survival, a giant alien ship filled with robots gone awry in Singularity, and an alien world minus the laws of gravity and conformity in Engineerium). IMAX has launched a half-dozen IMAX VR Centres across the world, including its flagship location in Los Angeles. While there are definitely VR video games inside of each of these buildings, IMAX is promoting themselves as VR entertainment offerings and tapping into its Hollywood relationships. Right now, these facilities have room-scale HTC Vive games as well as Starbreeze VR offerings designed exclusively for IMAX (which means enhanced visuals, more action, and a larger 210-degree

Left: The enhanced visuals of IMAX films can now be enjoyed on headsets like HTC’s Vive. Top middle: Starbreeze’s StarVR being used with a replica MP5 for the studios’ Arcade Edition of John Wick Chronicles. This edition of the game has been created specifically for IMAX’s VR centers and lasts around 12 minutes.

field of view through the headset). For example, while the first-person shooter John Wick Chronicles is available on HTC Vive at home, Starbreeze created an enhanced Arcade Edition designed to provide more focused action with an MP5 replica gun within a shorter period of time (12 minutes) for the IMAX customer. “Our home version comes with a significantly longer game,” Brooks Brown, global director of VR at Starbreeze , said. “We take the levels from the home experience and add a lot more lighting effects and particle effects for the Centre. It’s a bit of an exploration now with fine-tuning the right content for location-based gaming. The more people play, the more we’ll learn what they like and don’t like.” Brown said tapping into Hollywood films and TV shows will be a key theme for IMAX VR games. Starbreeze is developing a VR shooter based on The Walking Dead for IMAX. And the game maker is working with Lionsgate and other Hollywood studios on additional games. Plus, these IMAX Centres will feature games from other developers. Skydance Interactive

launches Archangel this summer. The original near-future shooter puts players in control of 60-foot-tall Mechs and sends them into combat. Like everything else in this space, the actual gameplay will evolve over time. Skydance Interactive president Peter Akemann said the game will launch as a single-player experience, but over time he’d like to expand it into a multiplayer game with giant Mechs battling across a near-future setting. The actual offerings of the IMAX Centres will also grow. Rob Lister, chief business development officer at IMAX, believes customers want to explore untethered VR experiences. The company joined Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, MGG, and Steven Spielberg in funding Dreamscape Immersive, which creates room-scale VR. Lister hopes to add multiplayer experiences from Dreamscape into IMAX Centres, offering yet another way for guests to experience VR. IMAX has an aggressive plan to increase its VR footprint. Lister said after this initial testing phase, the company can retrofit existing multiplexes and work with partners to get 100

VR facilities operational by next year. And there are other companies exploring the VR arcade concept, including Salt Lake Citybased The Void, which partnered with Sony Pictures last summer for a Ghostbusters fourplayer experience that was set up at Madame Toussad’s in New York City. That company is opening a VR arcade this year in Salt Lake City with plans to replicate that multiplayer concept around the globe. Ironically, before IMAX entered the VR space, The Void executives referred to their concept as an IMAX-like experience, meaning multiple VR games to choose from in different “pods” or gameplay rooms. All of this competition ensures that VR arcades won’t go the way of the traditional arcades, at least not any time soon. Even when the cost of entry for home-based VR comes down (as it will over the next decade), the types of multiplayer experiences players can participate in with friends in large arenas will remain unique. And, like traditional arcades, people will go out to hang out with friends socially – both in VR and in the real world. ■ SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY



The franchise veteran reminisces on his decade of Decepticons, while looking toward his future in film.

Acting is a notoriously unnerving profession. But can you imagine what it’s like to regularly perform on the set of a Michael Bay film? Thousands of dollars’ worth of explosions are being set off around you, and, if you flub your lines, all of it has to be reset. Very few professional actors ever have to face this kind of pressure, but it’s something to which Transformers veteran Josh Duhamel has grown more and more accustomed during his run with the franchise – which is marking its 10th year



with this summer’s The Last Knight. Playing Lt. Colonel William Lennox ever since the debut of the successful blockbuster series back in 2007, Duhamel has some unique insights regarding what it means to be a mainstay of big budget sci-fi action. As he discusses in this exclusive interview, the films have become such a huge part of his life that they’ve affected everything – from his career to parenting. Innovation & Tech Today: This is the 10 year mark for the Transformers series, which is astounding. What’s it been like to stick with

By Paul French

“I thought it was just going to be this little cartoon.”

something of this scale for this long? Josh Duhamel: Yeah, I mean it’s been a huge part of my life for 10 years. I feel very blessed to be a part of it. It’s not easy to be a part of a franchise that’s this successful, so I never really take any job for granted, but this one really kind of changed the trajectory of my career in a lot of ways, since it’s so global. …It’s unlike anything else that I’ve done because they’re so big and you just sort of feel like a worker bee amongst a million other worker bees, working for one thing. It’s intimidating, but the energy on the set – there’s nothing like it.

Even if you’re tired from the day before, or if you’ve been going straight for five months, [Michael] Bay walks on that set and it’s on point. I love that. I love that he’s able to, every single day, get an entire army of people working for one thing. It still fascinates me how he’s able to see this on such a large scale as a director. I’ve always been a big proponent of Michael Bay. He gets beat up a lot, but he’s a really talented dude. So, you know. I learn a lot. Just to see how movies are made on a scale like that is something to behold. I&T Today: Would you say that at this point

you’re accustomed to big-budget acting? How would you say your experience on these blockbusters informs your work on the smaller-scale stuff? Or is it the other way around? JD: It’s a really interesting question, because at the end of the day you just want to tell the truth. You always have to try to fall back on the work. There’s preparation, being ready for anything. The difference in a movie like this – especially a Michael Bay movie – is that things change so quickly you can’t really be set. You can’t have a set way you want to play something because inevitably it’s going to change. The setting is SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY




going to be different than you ever expected; he’s going to throw different lines at you and you have to be able to roll with it. I would say 90 percent of the lines I say in these movies are just sort of thrown at me in the moment while shit’s blowing up. And you have to learn it quickly. A lot of the stuff I do in this isn’t really emotional. It’s highly energized in the midst of battles. So it’s mostly giving orders or “in the heat of battle” sort of dialogue, so it’s not as intimate. But at the same time, you still need to be truthful in whatever it is. It takes every bit of focus just to try to be on point. Every second that passes is money, especially on these movies. You gotta be ready to go and ready to change at a moment’s notice. I’ll never forget one of the first movies that we did. I think it was the very first one. There was this giant sequence where I was running across this desert, and there were bombs going off all over the place. There were jets flying overhead, and there was this giant explosion that was going to happen behind us, and that explosion was going to launch me right in front of the camera where I was going to deliver these three lines in the heat of battle. So, if you mess that up, you can imagine what the reset is. There was a giant cable cam that was following me, and so there was so



“Every second that passes is money, especially on these movies. You gotta be ready to go and ready to change at a moment’s notice.”

much coordination in the shot – this had to go off here, this had to go off here, gunfire everywhere, and then you had to like deliver this line. And if you mess up this line you’ve got to do it all over again. We’re talking, like, a $100,000 shot. So, you know, I try not to think of it like that. I try to think what’s happening right now, what are we trying to accomplish in this moment. It’s pretty simple when you break it down amidst all this craziness, just got to keep it simple and tell the truth.

speaks to the way I try to handle my business all around. Just show up every day, do exactly what I say I’m going to do, and under-promise and over-deliver.

I&T Today: We’ve seen a lot of major characters come and go throughout the series, but your character William Lennox has stuck around. Why do you think this character has had such staying power in the franchise?

JD: You know, I never know until I read it. If you ask anybody, the goal is not to get put into a box – “this is what he does,” or “he does that.” For the longest time for me it was romantic comedies. I hated it at the time, but I’ve learned over time to embrace it because it’s hard enough to get a job in this business, so once I was able to do that, and get a job, and get another job, and then start to make decisions about what I want to do – I feel grateful to have that. The ability to, at least. I don’t have the choice that a lot of guys have, but I’m in a place where I can pick and choose kind of where I want to take my career. One of the things I’m doing next is a comedy. I think I’m going to be directing my first movie this summer. It’s all systems go, something that we wrote, a total dude comedy about this group

JD: Well, just because I’m incredibly charming [laughs]. I think that it has to do with the fact that there’s a military element throughout, and the one that I wasn’t in there wasn’t a military element, so there was no need for my character. So I’d say that’s the biggest reason. I work really well with Michael. I really like him; he likes me. I show up on time every single day ready to go, and he likes that. So, you know, it’s a lot of things. I think it

I&T Today: When an actor maintains a role for this long, I would think that there’s a danger of being typecast. However, your filmography has a really nice range to it. What characters would you say you’re most attracted to doing apart from your work in Transformers?



Special effects have always been a focal point in the Transformers live-action film franchise, bringing the “robots in disguise” to the real world.

of friends that gets together every year and they haven’t for the past three years because one of the guys got really injured, a prank that went bad…So it’s fun; it’s sort of in the vein of The Hangover, old school kind of movie. I&T Today: You’ve often stressed the importance of your middle-class background in your career. What’s it like being in the position of a father and asking yourself things like, “When will I show my son my Transformers movies?” JD: He’s three-and-a-half and he’s all boy, so it’s hard for me not to keep it from him because he’s attracted to it anyway. A month ago I was in Atlanta working, and the first Transformers was on, and I was riding on a motorcycle shooting this Decepticon, and I was like, “You know what? I’m going to let him see it. Why not?” So, he came in, and that little dude was so entranced by it. He looked at me with a totally different lens. It was like “Daddy, you were fighting the robots?” It was kind of cool. I don’t know if it will affect him positively or negatively in the future. He’s going to see it, and it’s not like it’s anything gory. It’s just intense for a three-yearold to see. A lot of stuff going on, an assault to the senses...I’ll probably take him to the premiere this summer. I&T Today: You were probably about 12 when the cartoon premiered back in 1984. Do you remember watching the series as a



“... if you mess up this line you’ve got to do it all over again. We’re talking, like, a $100,000 shot.” kid? Was it kind of weird being the star of this series as an adult? JD: Twelve is a pretty (excuse the pun) transformational age. So I was kind of at that age where I was more into sports. I was starting to get into girls. Cartoons weren’t really what I was into, but I do remember them, and I thought it was cool. But the better story is that all those years later, when I first went in to meet Michael Bay’s producing partners on a different movie, he was poking his head in, telling me he’s working on Transformers, and we should come over and check out what he’s doing. I’ll never forget thinking “Transformers? Oh my God. That sounds like the worst idea ever.” [laughs] But I

went over anyway to see what he was doing. They had this whole room full of the artwork of these characters that I remembered as a kid, completely reinvented. It was like a whole new thing for me, and that’s what I love about this. If it’s done right, and if it’s done with a lot of care and creativity, you can totally reinvent something, as long as you keep the essence of what people loved about it and then just use that and make it better. The first thing I thought was “Oh my God, he really took this thing to the next level.” I never would have imagined it. I thought it was just going to be this little cartoon, and that was like 2006 or whatever it was. It was mindblowing to me to see how different it was, and then a month later he had me in to read for it. And here we are, 10 years later. ■

connected life

The Future of Fake Videos

By Andrew Janson

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF VOICE AND VIDEO MANIPULATION SOFTWARE? “Don’t put words in my mouth,” we often say. But apparently this mischief is something we enjoy. Just take a look at the 800 million total video views on Bad Lip Reading’s YouTube channel. If you’re unfamiliar, BLR takes existing video and masterfully dubs new audio that matches the lip movements, often to hilarious effect. As perfectly synced as those videos are though, they’re still lacking in one crucial way: the dubbed audio isn’t in the subject’s actual voice. But what if it was? During the Sneaks portion of Adobe’s MAX 2016 conference, presenter Zeyu Jin unveiled an experimental project – titled VoCo – that could take BLR to the next level. “You guys have been making weird stuff online with photo



editing,” he said to a chorus of laughter. “Let’s do the next thing today: let’s do something to human speech.” In the brief, five-minute demo that followed, Jin did just that, using the new software to edit the phrase “I kissed my dogs and my wife” (voiced by actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key) to instead say, “I kissed Jordan three times” (referring to fellow comedian and event co-host Jordan Peele). This kind of manipulation isn’t new, of course. Technically, anyone has been able to do this using audio waveform editors since at least 2000. Using Audacity, for example, anyone can take a snippet of someone saying one thing and make it sound like they said another by carefully cutting words out of the original audio

and then rearranging them. No matter how careful you are, though, the result will have a certain choppiness to it since real human speech frequently changes in pitch, tempo, and tone. And, even with unlimited patience, it’s virtually impossible to create natural-sounding words using this method. These are all obstacles that VoCo appears to eliminate, supposedly requiring only 20 minutes of sample audio before it can automatically generate whatever authentic-sounding words and phrases you want via text-to-speech. Imagine being able to correct a flubbed word in a podcast without redoing the whole segment. But not everyone is happy about it. In an interview with the BBC, University of

Stirling media and technologies lecturer Dr. Eddy Borges Rey noted his discomfort with VoCo. “It seems that Adobe’s programmers were swept along with the excitement of creating something as innovative as a voice manipulator,” he said, “and ignored the ethical dilemmas brought up by its potential misuse.” Just think of the countless fake photos created on Photoshop since it hit the market as an example. Around the same time that VoCo was revealed, a group of researchers from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, and Stanford University published a paper called “Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos.” This paper detailed their work on software that can manipulate the facial expressions and mouth movements of a subject in a YouTube video in real-time. While the result does occasionally look a bit rubbery (dipping ever so slightly into the uncanny valley), it’s good enough that it could be immediately applicable to “on-the-fly dubbing” of videos with translated audio (at least according to the researchers behind the project). With fake news becoming a real issue, Dr. Rey’s apprehension is certainly understandable. As far as news goes, audio and video have long stood as media that require too much time and skill for the average person to convincingly edit, making them something that can usually be taken as genuine (when they come from a reputable source, of course). With VoCo, and now Face2Face, the “potential misuse” that Dr. Rey expressed concern about isn’t exactly unfounded. But could a fabricated piece of media using one, the other, or a combination of the two actually fool us? According to Catalin Grigoras, director of

Zeyu Jin on stage at Adobe’s MAX 2016 event, where he presented the speech editing capabilities of VoCo.

the National Center for Media Forensics, the answer is no. “Those topics sound hot for the public, but they are very simple for forensics,” he wrote in an email correspondence. In addition to the obvious visual issues with Face2Face, he noted, “There are already tools [and] methods to identify Face2Face artifacts based on the facial/mouth digital image processing imperfections.” Grigoras said something similar about VoCo. While it could be cool for film and television (just like Face2Face), he explained that “We already have the solution to detect the artifacts based on audio authentication. VoCo can cheat on the voice but not (yet) on the mathematics of the [audio] signal.” Basically, while it may fool the human ear, VoCo-generated audio can still be distinguished by forensics. So, even if VoCo and Face2Face do eventually reach some level of commercial availability, it seems unlikely that they could be used by some ne’er-do-well, though not for lack of effort. “Any type of intentional attempts at forgery will likely leave trace artifacts of forensic value,” said Jose Ramirez, a forensic audio and video analyst at the Houston Forensic Science Center. Just like ballistic forensics can use the striations on a bullet to link it to a specific gun, digital forensics technicians can use the unique traces left in audio and video files to connect them with the devices that recorded them.

Regarding fake videos, Ramirez added that even if “these spoofed recordings…fool human perception, forensic analysis may help the analyst determine the authenticity of the recorded content.” One last thing to remember is that both VoCo and Face2Face are just demos at this point. VoCo’s presentation, in particular, could be viewed as a publicity stunt for Adobe. As one user pointed out in a tech forum at Y Combinator, “If Adobe wanted to…convince anyone this was a real product that exists and is capable of synthesizing speech on the fly, then they’d toss a beach ball around the audience and have them shout out words to type.” And that’s a fair point. Sure, it seems like it works, but does it work well enough to be used for good or evil? Will it ever be used at all? While real-time facial manipulation is impressive, Face2Face is likely many years away from being anywhere close to photorealistic. For instance, it took several months and millions of dollars to digitally resurrect Peter Cushing for Rogue One, and Grand Moff Tarkin still looked a little off. And VoCo, while facing fewer limitations, might not reach its full potential either. Adobe has hinted that it may never be released at all. Nevertheless, the existence of these programs – no matter how prototypical – presents plenty of exciting, and troubling, possibilities. SUMMER 2017 | INNOVATION & TECH TODAY


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T Uncovering


Alt-Right By Robert Alexander

R.I.P. Pepe, Internet Meme, 2005-2017. Killed off by his creator in a single comic strip after being commandeered by the alt-right's online community. He lives on, of course, in the radical forums that prompted his demise.



he controversy of the 2016 presidential election has continued to dominate America’s public forum long after the inauguration in January. Among the many interesting byproducts of Trump’s candidacy and surprise victory is the now widely talked about “alternative right,” or “altright,” the generally young, meme-loving conservatives whose troll rhetoric has sparked a huge deal of debate and controversy since their rise to prominence during the election. Sources have given varying portrayals of the alt-right, some claiming them to be far-right neoNazi sympathizers and others asserting that they are no more than tongue-in-cheek pranksters. Given that the movement’s influence has continued to expand, despite lacking any central organization, it is perhaps time to investigate the true nature of the Alternative Right, evaluate its appeal and influence, and understand the role the internet is playing in this new era of politics. At its core, the alt-right is made up of a group of loosely aligned online communities including Breitbart, InfoWars, 4chan, and 8chan, among several others. While none of these factions share the exact same beliefs, there are several important viewpoints linking them that may be considered the definitive traits of the alt-right. In general, the alt-right embraces center-right beliefs, with added elements of nationalism, while rejecting the traditional, Protestant morals that have come to dominate mainstream conservatism, which hints at the movement having its roots in Libertarianism and Paleoconservatism. Support for Donald Trump, or at least the Make America Great Again objective, is also almost unanimous among altright members. Like Trump, the alt-right is known for being radically

opposed to political correctness, which often manifests in the form of elaborate trolling operations. A notable case was the alt-right’s attack on DIY “safe space” warehouse venues in response to the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland, CA. Following the nationwide crackdown on such locations that were in violation of fire code, alt-right-affiliated users of 4chan’s politics board, “/pol/,” sought out “safe space” venues in order to report them in hopes of having them shut down (the subsequent closure of at least four DIY venues is thought to have been influenced by /pol/). And while there is no official leadership of the alt-right, there are several notable individuals that could be cast as the most accessible and coherent voices of the group. The most prolific of the alt-right’s figureheads, and probably the closest to being a definitive spokesperson, is Milo Yiannopoulos, the 32-year-old, flamboyantly gay British conservative who served as the senior editor of Breitbart News up until February of this year. Usually referred to by his first name, Milo seems to embody much of the general philosophy of the alt-right: he is highly critical of social justice, multiculturalism, feminism, Islam, and the deterioration of the right to privacy. In addition, Milo’s vernacular is usually cheeky, with little regard for social sensibilities, which has caused him a great deal of controversy, including bans from popular social media platforms such as Twitter and several college campuses. Not too far off from Milo ideologically is Alex Jones, a radio host from Austin, Texas whose podcast and news site InfoWars has become a staple of the alt-right community. Since 1996, Jones has made a name for himself through his libertarian outlook and accusations of conspiracy by major world

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Former Breitbart News executive chair Steve Bannon (left, caricatured) and former senior editor of Breitbart News Milo Yiannopoulos (right) are some of the more controversial figures in the alt-right community.

governments (which include chemtrails, allegations of various politicians having New World Order affiliations, and claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook Massacre was fabricated). These alternative, conservative positions preached by Jones made him a perfect fit for the alt-right, whose members share much of the same distrust for government and big business.

“Memes are especially favored by the Alt-Right as a vehicle for conveying political ideas in a short, often snarky manner.” If the alt-right was made up of only people like Milo and Jones, there would likely be far less fuss surrounding the movement. However, there are extremist communities and entities within the alt-right that have been widely responsible for its labelling as a racist



movement by a variety of sources, including The New York Times, AntiDefamation League, and Southern Poverty Law Center. The best example is that of Andrew Anglin, founder and owner of The Daily Stormer, an openly white nationalist news site that is self-proclaimed altright. Anglin and his website express views that are usually racist, anti-Semitic, and pro-neoNazi, and harbor a hostility towards social justice and liberalism that is typical of the altright. Similarly, members of 4chan’s /pol/ are known for producing memes and other altright-themed content expressing extremely racist and anti-Semitic attitudes, which has also attracted criticism. Nonetheless, many other alt-right figures, including Milo (who, as mentioned, is openly gay) and Alex Jones (who is staunchly pro-Israel), have made a point to distance themselves (and the alt-right in general) from radicals such as Anglin, strongly defending the alt-right as having no core philosophical connections to any form of fascism, Nazism, or racism. The division between such alt-right sects remains generally unclear, and is made even more complicated by the alt-right’s ambiguous means of communication. Memes are especially favored by the alt-right as a vehicle for conveying political ideas in a short, often snarky manner that, when worded cleverly

enough, can be one of the simplest ways to generate support. The other side of memes, however, is that they generally fail to establish a sense of ethos for those who are not “in” on the joke. This lack of traditional reverence for political discussion is another key characteristic of the alt-right, one born of its origins in the online cult of Anonymous. The now-infamous hacker group Anonymous in many ways was the predecessor of the movement. Much like the alt-right, Anonymous started on 4chan and gained infamy for its outlandishly offensive opposition to political correctness. It built a massive online following through memes and pranks that would eventually create what was arguably the most monumental hacker community in history. From roughly 2005-2010, “Anonymous” embodied the 4chan users’ collective angst and frustrations. For instance, Pepe, the green cartoon frog (originally from the unrelated comic series Boy’s Club) that has come to be a mascot of sorts for the alt-right, originated as a popular meme on 4chan before becoming more widely associated with the movement.

The eventual “death” of Anonymous was likely just as significant to the formation of the alt-right as well. After years of wreaking havoc on the internet, Anonymous would change directions completely and begin fighting governments and institutions that they viewed as being corrupt, leading to Anonymous’ involvement in projects such as OpPayback, Occupy Wall Street, and Project Chanology. Many 4chan users, however, were not impressed with Anonymous’ efforts at rebranding the group as “freedom fighters.” And, with Anonymous no longer thought of as the collective identity of 4chan, a group such as the alt-right could fill the gap. Because Anonymous’ end was brought about by its identification with certain political dogmas, it’s probable that the alt-right’s success has to do with their lack of an intelligible structure. A possible key to understanding how the alt-right uses this tactic lies in the idea of post-irony. Post-irony, a developing concept in academia and pop culture, describes a state in which the distinction between irony and sincerity becomes obfuscated. /pol/’s “official” flag is a good reference point for the altright and post-irony as, being modeled after the

flag of Nazi Germany, it is unknown whether / pol/ intends to offend only in jest with the flag or to represent legitimate neo-Nazi interests. The alt-right, in many ways, serves as a perfect example of post-irony: their earnest, political goals are expressed through the ironic lens of memes and trolling, which altogether create an image that is next to impossible to logically decipher. Basically, it’s impossible to tell how seriously aligned with Nazism they are. This same concept also gives the alt-right the freedom to change its aims and objectives at any given time, which has likely been responsible for the survival of the group after the fundamental goal of electing Trump to the presidency was achieved. In the same light, the alt-right, without even having a clearly defined, genuine central identity, can be interpreted not as a “legitimate” organization at all but rather as a widespread inside joke that has hoodwinked outsiders into believing it is much more. The attention and controversy surrounding the alt-right in itself is a clear enough sign that the internet is beginning to have an inescapable influence on the development of American

“Basically, it’s impossible to tell how seriously aligned with Nazism they are.” culture, with the online alt-right now extending its influence all the way to the White House. Trump’s choice of Steve Bannon for White House Chief Strategist, for example, was made especially controversial due to the fact that Bannon had served as executive chair of Breitbart, with strong alt-right connections. Regardless of the alt-right’s intentions, whether they are ironic, sincere, or some combination of the two, there is obviously some power to their message. ■

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Jobs Of The Future | Jobs Of Today Presented by

Meet The Robots That Are Taking Our Jobs By Anthony Elio, Human

There has been news for years now about how someday soon robots will begin taking


over everyday occupations, destroying our economy and leaving humans without a sense of purpose. Well, I’m here to ease your worries by introducing you to the many robots that will soon be taking over everyday occupations, destroying our economy and leaving humans without a sense of purpose. So come join me in welcoming our robot overlords as we go through the “who’s who” of mechanical job-stealers. Cafe X

To read more about Flippy, go to pg. 22

Flippy, The Robot Chef The most bluntly named of the robots on this list, Flippy has no issue with flipping burgers the rest of its life. The robot, which is currently being integrated by the California burger chain CaliBurger, is built to perfectly cook and flip hamburgers, even putting them in a bun afterwards. But, as is the great limitation with our robotic counterparts, it still can’t put condiments on said burgers. Take that, robot empire!

Cafe X, Barista Bot Are you tired of the 30 seconds of human interaction it takes to order a cup of coffee? Then look no further than Cafe X. The “robotic cafe” kiosk, which can currently only be found in San Francisco, makes a variety of latte drinks without being as mistakeprone as the species that created it. At least it won’t spell your name wrong on the cup every time.

iPal Puts Babysitters Out Of Business




Why spend 20 dollars on a babysitter for your night out when you can leave your child with a cold, heartless robot? The iPal, created by AvatarMind Robotics, acts as both a companion for children and a way to monitor them while parents aren’t present. Coming in at 3 feet tall, the iPal can do everything from singing and dancing to teaching scientific facts. So it’s basically like Mary Poppins, just with less whimsy and wonder and more uncanny development of feelings of detachment.

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Tally Takes Retail Stock Created by Simbe Robotics, Tally is looking to take on the world of retail. Able to check stocked items with 96 percent accuracy, Tally can work anywhere from 8-12 hours at a time. Seems like those robot unions need to demand the occasional 15 minute break. But here’s the real question: Will Tally be able to give you a stern look if you come into the store 10 minutes before closing time?

STAR, The Mechanical Surgeon STAR’s arm Tally K5

While we may always question the steadiness of our surgeon’s hands, would you feel better about a machine that lacks years of medical school or a conscience cutting you open? Well, we may know soon enough, as the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) has begun conducting surgery on anesthetized pigs. However, STAR still can’t replace the actors playing surgeons on steamy hospital dramas. Not yet, at least.

The K5 Monitors Mall Rats Shoplifters and skateboarding punks are no match for K5, a 300pound mall security robot with the ability to remember license plate numbers. The machine, developed by Knightscope, uses everything from a 360-degree view to thermal imaging while making its rounds. So it’s kind of like Hal 9000 meets the Predator. Doesn’t that make you feel good about letting it monitor your teenager?

B-10 and N1-C, Robotic Bartending Buddies

Robonaut 2

B-10 and N1-C

Now’s the time to belly up to the bar and drink away your anxiety about the robot-dominated future with B-10 and N1-C. The two robots, whose names together cleverly spell Bionic to distract from the fact that two human bartenders are now unemployed, have become very popular as the bar staff of Royal Caribbean Cruise. But can B-10 or N-1C listen to your relationship problems as they pour you a drink?

Robonaut 2, NASA’s Mechanical Astronaut That’s one small step for…robot. Not quite as catchy. Many of us grew up with the dream of one day experiencing space flight and exploring the unknown realms beyond our own world. However, why would a human want to experience the unbelievable phenomenon of zero gravity or gaze at the Earth in all its beauty when you can send a robot to do it? Robonaut 2, which has been in development since 1996, may someday replace human astronauts. So, in just a few years, look for people to deny that robots landed on the moon.

Articoolo, Some Useless Technology Nobody Will Ever Need And now we take a look at Articoolo, which is more of a software than a robot. All the more reason not to use it. What Articoolo specializes in (if you can fathom something so ridiculous) is writing articles. But who would want a nonhuman to do that? Sure, it can write over 1,000 articles a day without requiring payment, but will it ever apply the love and care of the 12 hours it took me to write this piece? You can never replace the biting wit and journalistic talents of a human, right? …Right?



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The rising cost of maintaining America’s infrastructure By Andrew Janson


n August 1, 2007, the eight-lane I-35W Mississippi River Bridge – one of Minneapolis’s busiest bridges – collapsed into the Mississippi River during the middle of rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring 145 more. An investigation revealed that a design flaw was most likely to blame; one of the steel sheets connecting the girders and beams to the central pillars had been made too thin, and as a result rivets had been able to tear through it. The collapse served as a serious reminder of the fragility of the everyday infrastructure that we take for granted and how costly it can be when it fails. The I-35W bridge, for example, cost $234 million to rebuild, not including the damage done to the local economy because of the ensuing detours. Today, there are just over 614,000 bridges in the United States, 40 percent of which are at or over the 50-year benchmark that stands as the average design-life of a modern bridge. Over the next few years the United States will be faced with a growing number of bridges that have survived past their expiration date. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), nine percent – roughly 55,000 – of our bridges are already classified as “structurally



deficient,” meaning they require “significant maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement.” In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released a bulletin estimating the current backlog of this maintenance at $90 billion, a number that USDOT says could grow to more than $120 billion over the next two decades if nothing is done. “Every aspect of your day is impacted by infrastructure,” says Greg DiLoreto, P.E., former ASCE President and current Chair of the Committee on America’s Infrastructure. “Taking a shower, throwing away trash, using your computer, and charging your phone are all possible thanks to infrastructure.” When DiLoreto says every aspect, he isn’t kidding. Think about where our food comes from. In many cases, it’s grown in one part of the country and then distributed via a freight network to other states. That freight network – ports, waterways, airports, railroads, and (of course) highways – is a major part of our nation’s infrastructure. “All [of those] deliver goods either to your door directly, or to the stores where you shop,” DiLoreto says. “Good infrastructure is essential to public health, safety, and the quality of life Americans expect,

and it is the backbone of our economy, providing jobs and keeping businesses of all sizes running.” With that in mind, it’s startling to realize how poorly American infrastructure has been handled in the last few decades. Every four years, the ASCE publishes a report, called the Infrastructure Report Card, that provides an overview of and a letter grade for the current state of several different sectors of American infrastructure. Bridges, for example, received an individual grade of C-plus, while our rail systems ranked the highest with a solid B. Roads (Grade: D) are another big one with a below-average rating. Knowing that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the U.S. received an overall grade of D-plus on the report card published in 2017. The same goes for 2013. In fact, going all the way back to 1998 (the first year that the Report Card was published), America has consistently struggled with a D-average, even as awareness of the issue has increased, which begs the question: “Why?” Politics could be one answer. In an article published in The New Yorker in April 2016, U.C. San Diego political science professor Steven Erie noted that “modern conservatism,

Bridges, like the Bahia Honda Rail Bridge (middle), are a huge part of the American infrastructure in danger of being neglected due to budget constraints. The ASCE estimates that commuters make nearly 188 million trips across a structurally deficient bridge each day.

with its sense that government is the problem and its aversion to government spending, has created a Republican Party that’s much more skeptical of big infrastructure projects than it was.” Conservative ideology may play a part, but both sides of the aisle share the blame today. “After World War II, America made an investment in its infrastructure; one of the best and most visible examples is the Interstate Highway System. But then our focus on and investment in infrastructure slowed, without adequately considering maintenance needs,” DiLoreto explained. “In the 1980s, President Reagan often talked about the need to invest in our infrastructure because it was falling into disrepair, [but] little was done.” Presidents since then – Democrats and Republicans alike – have continued the trend of underinvestment despite promises to the

contrary. While President Trump has indicated that he plans to sign a bill allocating $1 trillion in funding to the infrastructure problem, DiLoreto isn’t optimistic that Trump will deviate from the precedent set by his predecessors. “Both 2016 presidential candidates made it part of their platforms. And now, of course, President Trump continues to state his intention to pass a significant infrastructure bill,” DiLoreto says. “However, the administration’s ‘skinny’ budget was light on infrastructure funding, including for existing infrastructure programs.” Even with that extra $1 trillion, the gap between what we are investing and we need to be investing remains large; the ASCE estimates the actual necessary amount at $2 trillion. On top of an already colossal debt, $2 trillion is hard to stomach. But, amazingly, it’s still less than the projected losses if no action is taken. In a 2016

study, the ASCE found that the U.S. could lose up to $3.9 trillion (GDP) and 2.5 million jobs by 2025 because of unstable infrastructure. No matter how you look at it, the situation is dire. But it’s not all bad. Bridges and roads are not going to start spontaneously collapsing, of course, and the plight of America’s infrastructure continues to find its way into the public consciousness. As DiLoreto describes, public opinion polls are showing more awareness, support, and investment in the issue than ever before, and legislators are being forced to take notice. “As citizens, we need to hold our legislators at all levels of government accountable for the condition of our infrastructure and the promises they have made to improve it,” DiLoreto says. Whether we’ll see these changes soon is anybody’s guess. But for now, at least, we can sleep a little easier knowing that change is on the horizon. ■




By Number

By Number



By Percentage




1.7% 2.1% 2.6


4,968 4,506 3,460 3,195 2,361 By Percentage

3.1% 24.9% 20.5% 19.8% 19.6% 17.3%





Does Edutainment Work? By Anthony Elio

Ever since we took our first stroll down Sesame Street, searched the world for Carmen Sandiego, or rode The Magic School Bus, the lines between education and entertainment have been blurred. Edutainment, as you may have guessed, is the blending of education and entertainment, notably in the form of television programs and video games. However, new technology has also presented some fascinating possibilities for edutainment in the classroom. With programs such as Google Expeditions offering over 500 different virtual reality field trip experiences, there’s a good reason 84 percent of teachers surveyed by Campus Technology believe tech has had a positive effect in the classroom. Classic forms of the genre are living on as well, with Sesame Street successfully moving to HBO and Netflix to release a reboot of the ‘90s PBS classic The Magic School Bus. However, while the intention of edutainment is to both teach and engage children, not everyone believes it to be effective. One particularly polarizing example is Baby Einstein, a series of videos meant to educate young children, with DVD sets targeted at children as young as “Birth & Up.” The videos utilize vibrant imagery, soft melodies, and puppetry to create a child-friendly interactive



experience with a focus on learning. By the year 2003 the series had reached massive popularity, with one third of American babies (ages 6 months to two years old) watching the program, according to The New York Times. However, the series of videos proved to be as controversial as they were popular, as many parents questioned the educational value of the video series (whose tagline read, “great minds start little”). Psychologist Susan Linn claimed that companies such as Baby Einstein “have been doing a really good job of convincing parents that these videos are education – but there’s no evidence that television is beneficial, and some evidence that it may be harmful.” In fact, a study conducted by the University of Washington echoed the idea that Baby Einstein videos could actually be detrimental, claiming that babies watching the series learn six to eight fewer words than those not raised with the videos. Needless to say, this backlash did not bode well for Disney, which purchased Baby Einstein in 2001. Faced with a class-action lawsuit, the company began distributing refunds to parents and took the word “education” out of its marketing. But that doesn’t mean that all edutainment is unsuccessful. In fact, Sesame Street, a touchstone

of edutainment, has been proven to be effective at combining education and fun. In fact, one definitive study found that Sesame Street’s intellectual benefits match that of a preschool classroom. The study also found that children who watch Sesame Street are more likely to keep up with their grade level. This begs the question: Why is Sesame Street so successful where others have failed? The answer is simple – it equally mixes both aspects of edutainment. According to Jennifer Kotler Clarke of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, “If you organize information in storytelling, children are more likely to learn it. And adults are, too.” Clearly, there is a right and a wrong way to create edutainment. Putting some puppets together and saying the name of barnyard animals probably won’t educate (or entertain) your child. However, giving them fun and interesting stories while weaving in aspects of education can work, as shown by the proven educational effects of Sesame Street. And, considering that another University of Washington study connected educational television to better behavior, there’s something to be said about doing edutainment right. ■








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Winter’s Tail

How a Dolphin’s Prosthesis Led to Incredible Innovation By Nicole Riggs




e were treating wounds that we’d never encountered before,” said trainer Abby Stone. “And you’re dealing with injuries that you really don’t have any reference for, from other cases… There were a lot of unknowns – even if we got to the point where she was healed, what [would] we do at that point?”

because of humans.” In addition, she said, it helped lead to advances in prosthetics not only for animals but for humans. WintersGel, for example, is now being used by the Hanger Clinic to assist human patients who experience discomfort when wearing their own prosthetics. “People are walking now who were not able to walk before because of WintersGel,” Stone said.

WINTER’S RESCUE In December of 2005, a two-month-old bottlenose calf was found entangled in a crab trap off the east coast of Florida. “Winter,” as the dolphin would soon be named, was eventually rescued through joint efforts by the Harbor Branch Institute, the HubbsSeaworld Research Institute, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), where she was transferred for medical care and management. The rescue proved to be just one of Winter’s many hurdles.

Winter’s story is one of perseverance, and thanks to the film Dolphin Tale, Stone is optimistic for the future. “[Winter] really puts a face to the issue that’s out there,” Stone said. “Our negligence, how much we impact the world around us, and the small things we can do to make a difference.”

While Winter was trapped, the ropes cut off all circulation to her tail, and although the CMA worked tirelessly to promote healing in the area, they were unable to save it. This resulted in Winter developing a modified swimming pattern, which put her at risk of developing degenerative changes in her spine such as scoliosis. Winter’s medical team and caregivers had to come together to find a solution. It was then that Kevin Carroll, vice president of prosthetics at the Hanger Clinic, took an interest in Winter’s story. He decided to take on Winter as a patient for life and proposed the development of a prosthetic tail. AN INCREDIBLE TAIL “What we knew was that if Winter wasn’t going to accept the tail – if it wasn’t comfortable for her, if it created any discomfort, if it was awkward – she wasn’t going to accept it and she wasn’t going to use it,” Stone said. Part of the issue is that dolphins have very delicate skin, and it took several iterations of the prosthetic before this could be worked out. Carroll suggested that they use a custom-fitted sleeve as opposed to a generic one. This sleeve incorporated a thicker silicone gel that had not yet been used in prosthetics, now called WintersGel. Her prosthetic tail incorporates the use of a secondary sleeve that fits over a brace, mimicking the presence of a joint. Winter must still undergo a variety of daily therapies to prevent further degenerative changes. Clearwater Marine Aquarium works not only to provide Winter the Dolphin with adequate care, but also to foster an interest in science, technology, and the environment in the younger generation. Using Winter’s journey as an inspiration, the CMA offers several STEM programs for students in Pre-K all the way up through High School.

A HUMAN SOLUTION However, some question the reasoning behind spending so much time and effort on one dolphin. “There’s lots of reasons why,” Stone said. “Ethically, we’re helping a baby dolphin that was injured because of people’s lack of awareness…We felt obligated to assist an animal that was in that situation

WINTER BECOMES A STEM SENSATION However, the story of Winter doesn’t end there. CMA’s Education Department, which has robust STEM-based offerings ranging from Pre-K through High School, has integrated a number of initiatives based on Winter’s journey. At the very place Winter received her vital prosthetic, students engage in education based on real world scenarios. The "Operation: Winter’s Tail" program challenges students to devise their own engineering ideas for a prosthetic tail while also discussing the chemistry of WintersGel and the physics behind her prosthetic tail design. However, Winter’s influence doesn’t end there, with another program based on events from the movie Dolphin Tale in Tracking Hurricane LeRoy. This program emphasizes math skills as students take on the role of a meteorologist to track hurricanes while learning the physics behind storms. Outside of the CMA’s Winter-inspired efforts, they offer plenty of compelling outlets for STEM students and aspiring marine biologists alike. During the “Water Quality” program, students perform the same water quality tests as aquarium personnel, as they discover how water chemistry effects biological organisms. Meanwhile, weeklong summer camps help students engage in rescue protocols utilized by the Aquarium’s Rescue Team. During “mock stranding” programs, the students use math skills to take weights, calculate dietary needs, perform precise measurements, and learn about veterinary science. Between the creation of WintersGel, the popular film based on her life, and the STEM programs inspired by her adventures, the journey of Winter continues to be influential for adults and children alike. While it was by no means an easy task, Winter’s rescue and the heroic efforts by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium will serve as inspiration for years to come.





From the Atomic Bomb Race, Comes the World’s Cheapest and Cleanest Source of Energy By Gabrielle Whelan

As Bill Nye discusses, Rayton Solar is currently the only company that can successfully work with silicon wafers only three microns thick (left). Since traditional silicon wafers are 200 microns, this eliminates a huge amount of waste from the manufacturing process.


hen physicist Andrew Yakub set out to bring down the cost of solar panels, he turned to studies conducted for the 1950s nuclear arms race. This research would then become the basis for his new company, Rayton Solar. As company founder and CEO, Yakub discusses the technology behind his solar story. Innovation & Tech Today: Rayton’s unique method of manufacturing solar panels revolves around a particle accelerator. What led you to develop this concept? Andrew Yakub: In 2013, I was looking to lower the cost of Solar by 30 percent to continue doing installations. The process of cutting silicon when manufacturing panels is incredibly expensive and wasteful, so I decided to reinvent this by using a particle accelerator instead. I&T Today: How did you embark upon this undertaking? AY: What’s interesting is that all research on high-energy physics was actually driven by the atomic bomb race, including the creation of particle accelerators. With that in mind, I began my quest by scouring national laboratories for papers on high-current proton accelerators. I discovered one had been built using research



published by two scientists in the 1980s, and was later licensed to commercial industry. So we did a 10 percent redesign to make them work for Solar, and licensed them for use in our industry. I&T Today: Okay, how do particle accelerators fit into our daily world, and how exactly can they be used to create solar energy? AY: The first particle accelerator was a Cathode Ray Tube, or CRT. Remember those clunky television monitors back in the day? They were all CRT monitors. So you actually used to own a particle accelerator. With those, electrons were being shot at a screen at 10s of volts to make the image. Well, we’re shooting 300,000 volts…and instead of electrons, we’re shooting protons. Now, when most people think of particle accelerators, they think of highenergy, low-current machines, like the one at CERN. Conversely, when manufacturing solar panels, you need a high current of low-energy particles to penetrate the silicon and stop at the same grain boundary. A weakness is created such that the silicon will break off along that point. As for other ways we can employ particle accelerators, I personally think we should put funding into anti-matter research using particle

accelerator technology. At the moment, antimatter is the best way to store energy we can think of – since just one teaspoon of antielectrons could power your home for an entire year. I&T Today: Who’s one of your primary influencers within the science community? AY: I take a lot of inspiration from Richard Feynman and his humorous antics of physics in our everyday lives. I’ve also always greatly admired Bill Nye, and he was fascinated by this technology and came on as our spokesperson. That was one of the happiest moments for me in starting Rayton. I&T Today: Do you think that original nuclear arms research will have other positive modern-day uses? AY: It’s uplifting that something with such dark beginnings could transform into something positive, like solar energy. I think this demonstrates that all research is good. Rayton is a case example that we never know how research will ultimately be used. ■ Rayton is presently building a new particle accelerator with Phoenix Nuclear Laboratories and is slated to open a pilot manufacturing line in 2018.

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Calling Dr. Stein The former presidential candidate talks coal, voting, and the future of third party politics in the U.S. By Paul French & Josh Thomas



Migrating from medicine into politics in the late ‘90s, former physician Jill Stein made headlines during the tumultuous 2016 presidential election as a candidate for the Green Party, eventually achieving third place behind Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now, though the election is behind her, Stein seems more passionate than ever. Donald Trump’s initiatives to resurrect the coal industry, along with his claims that climate change is part of an elaborate hoax, have emboldened her to speak out on the importance of sustainability, as she did earlier this year at the annual Green Festival expo in D.C. – and as she does here, in this exclusive interview. Innovation & Tech Today: You worked as a physician before serving as a politician. Can you tell me what exactly prompted that transition from medicine into politics, environmental politics specifically? Was there a specific moment for you? Jill Stein: There were a series of them over the years and, to sort of sum up the whole thing, I describe what I’m doing now as, people say, “What kind of medicine are you practicing?” I say I’m practicing political medicine because it’s the mother of all illnesses. And we’ve got to fix this sick political system in order to straighten out all the other things that are kind of driving us over the cliff right now. And that sort of describes my experience. As a medical doctor, I was just seeing lots of chronic disease that we didn’t use to see before, especially asthma and cancers and learning disabilities and diabetes, and things like that. And I said to myself, “We didn’t used to have this, not when I was growing up.” And that’s what the public health statistics say too. So, you know, our genes didn’t change overnight. There’s things going on around us. So I got involved in a physicians group, Physicians For Social Responsibility, looking at these questions…. And it’s not rocket science. Air pollution is a huge factor in this epidemic. Not only of asthma but also of cancers for that matter. And changes in our food system have a lot to do with diabetes and obesity. Chemical exposures are linked to lots of this stuff.

Born in Chicago, Stein graduated magna cum laude at Harvard. She has made appearances on programs such as 20/20 and the Today Show as an environmental health expert.

So, to make a long story short, I got involved with communities that were fighting to clean up their air or their water supply. And what we found was that over and over we had great solutions. So that’s when I got recruited to run by the Green Party that said, “Why don’t you just keep doing what you’re doing.” And I was not a political person. I really didn’t have anything to do with political parties for the first 50 years of my life. I just basically didn’t trust them. And the Green Party said, “Just do what you’re doing but call it a political campaign. And, you know, you can talk to more people.” And I thought, “Well, hey, sounds like a good idea.” I&T Today: I have to ask what you think about Trump’s recent efforts of resurrecting the coal industry. The positive side of this is job creation, but what are your thoughts? JS: Well, the facts are very clear. And it’s not just the science, but it’s also the economics here, that coal was on its way out even before Obama’s Clean Power plan. Even before that plan, coal was in big trouble. And that’s because of changes in the energy market. And coal is just being undersold now, particularly by natural gas, which is far cleaner burning and extremely cheap right now. So coal is basically becoming obsolete very quickly. And those jobs are not coming back because coal has also been automated. So people are going to be very, very disappointed. What we really need for our coal

workers is a jobs program. And it’s not just our coal workers; it’s all the fossil fuel workers who deserve an emergency just transition. I’ve been on the picket line with workers in the refineries for oil down in Houston…because of the very dangerous conditions they work in. And this is not the exception; this is the rule. If you walk into a fuel job, your risk of dying actually goes up 600 percent from explosions and fires, and equipment collapse, and car crashes, things like that. I&T Today: 600 percent? JS: That’s right. It’s a very dangerous job to be working on. And so the workers in that industry, they so badly would prefer to be working on a healthy renewable energy job. And that’s really our responsibility as citizens in a democracy. We need to change the jobs. So the jobs that are out

During her campaign as the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate, Stein stopped by Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, where she spoke about the ongoing antipipeline protest in North Dakota.



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more traditional methods? JS: …Traditionally, we’ve been locked out by the communications stuff, by just the concentration of power. But social media and the internet have changed that. So that’s been my campaign, and the Green Party’s main form of communication. And then there’s old fashioned door knocking, which is important because some people don’t have access to online, poor communities in particular.

Stein is also the co-founder of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit founded in 2003 to campaign for everything from environmental protection to healthcare.

there and the jobs that are getting subsidies should be the healthy jobs, the clean jobs, and the ones that create a survivable future. So we should be subsidizing these clean energy jobs and ensuring that every worker has a goodpaying job and a healthy job…Right now, this ridiculous idea is being promoted that working people have to choose between jobs or a liveable planet. It’s really gotta be both. I&T Today: The U.S.’s history of third party candidates is one of a losing record. If Trump vs. Hillary isn’t the year that a third party candidate triumphs, is there hope to break the two-party system? JS: Let’s put it this way: the two-party system is broken. There’s no doubt. And it’s about 25 to 30 percent of voters that identify as Democrats and the same for Republicans. So they’re both minority parties right now, and the largest block of voters is self-declared as independent, or they’re with small parties. The majority of voters did not like the two candidates. The two-party candidates were the most disliked and untrusted in our history. Seventy-six percent of voters were screaming to open up the debates so they could find out who else there was. And our corporate media does a very good job of denying voters their right to know who they can vote for. And there were



not 20 other candidates, there were two other candidates on the ballot in enough states that were actual potential contenders in the election. And there’s this conspiracy of silence out there by the corporate media that doesn’t want to see the boat rocked. Remember, the majority of voters who voted for Donald Trump were not actually for him; they were against the other major party candidate. So this was like a perfect storm for opening up the system, and the system really tried to clamp down. The state of Maine, you may have heard, tried to pass a really important voting reform called “ranked choice voting.” And what it means is that when you go to the polls, you don’t have to just vote for one [candidate]. You rank your choices knowing that if your first choice loses (say you voted for an underdog, a third party candidate) your vote would automatically be re-assigned to your second choice if that candidate loses. So it gets rid of the politics of fear and intimidation – voting for the lesser of two evils when we need to be voting for the greater good. Voting for the lesser evil is not getting us closer to a solution. I&T Today: One of the tropes of environmentalism is public protest, but how has technology, specifically social media, affected the way this works? And which do you find more effective? Online campaigns or

But it’s very important that we democratize these protests and we get everybody online and that’s really where the democracy revolution resides. In the famous words of the poet Alice Walker, “The biggest way people give up power is by not knowing if we have it to start with.” We have it, we are the 99 percent. Young people, especially millennials, are always the engine of transformational change. It’s always been their job.

So that’s what the future looks like I think, it’s really about liberating from debt a younger generation who really has their eyes on the future. Young people are not seeing things through the filter of past decades. When you get to be my age you’re kind of seeing things through a filter of what life has been like. But life is different now and young people really see the way it is now and the way it’s gonna be in the future. So that’s really who needs to be in charge and our job is to empower and liberate young people to stand up and lead the way forward to an America and a world that works for all of us. And that’s where we’re going.

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1. Melville Gyre 2. Beaufort Sea 3. Transarctic Gyre

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Widening Gyres


3 2

How Should We Deal with Giant Garbage Patches at Sea?

By James Dern In the North Pacific, there’s a vortex of trash roughly twice the size of Texas. Known as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” this sluggish whirlpool grows daily – swelled by massive currents hauling literal tons of human waste. The “Patch” is one of 11 naturally occurring global current systems called “gyres.” And it was only in the past three decades that researchers began to notice that these gyres were gradually collecting thousands of pounds of plastic debris. As of today, it has been estimated that at least 270,000 tons of plastic are floating among these systems in the ocean (not counting what’s on the seafloor). It would be a wake-up call if it didn’t already sound so nightmarish; the image of gargantuan oceanic trash vortexes smacks of doomsday science fiction. But, as top gyre researcher Marcus Eriksen attests, this form of pollution poses a very real, very imminent threat. “Plastics are made with, and absorb, lots of chemicals that have ecotoxicological effects,” he says. Thus, given the scale of the gyre problem, we can expect those effects to be massive. Furthermore, as Eriksen points out, cleaning up these gyres at sea is almost impossible, unless you’re willing to expend an extreme amount of time and resources. As plastic drifts out to sea, either from land-based sources (estimated 80%) or maritime sources (20%), it’s ground up into particles – abraded by the tide or chewed up by various marine life. This runs counter to the common idea of plastics as non-degradable. The fact is that polymers do degrade, just not in a way that nourishes the food chain or that enriches the environment. When plastic degrades, it shreds into smaller and smaller pieces.



Top: The debris floating in the ocean can have severe consequences for the marine ecosystems it affects. Above: Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins, co-founders of the 5 Gyres Institute, which now has over 18 members and a lengthy advisory board that includes fellow ocean enthusiast Danni Washington.

4. North Pacific Subpolar Gyre 5. North Pacific Subtropical Gyre 6. South Pacific Subtropical Gyre

7. North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre 8 North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre 9. South Atlantic Subtropical Gyre

10. Indian Ocean Subtropical Gyre

11. Antarctica Circumpolar Gyre



5 6


8 9


Top: There are a total of 11 gyres across the globe, each varying in size and severity. Left: Members of the 5 Gyres Institute take a break from cleaning the ocean to pose for a quick photo.

“We have found that plastics fragment, releasing trillions of microplastic particles worldwide,” Eriksen explains. “Our recent Arctic expedition found clouds of microplastics in the most remote waters on the planet.” Gathering tons of plastic out of swaths of open ocean is just as daunting as it sounds, and Eriksen argues that it’s ultimately unfeasible. “Ocean cleanup is both a poor cost/benefit proposal, and it distracts the public from the upstream solutions that prevent trash from going in the ocean in the first place,” he says. One of these upstream solutions involves cutting ourselves off from the single-use plastics that, over the past 50 years, have become household staples (wrappings for individual slices in a package of Kraft cheese, for instance). These, along with the microbeads used in certain facial cleansers, are some of the most notorious culprits when it comes to pollution at sea. “The plastics industries have been very effective at making the world think that it’s consumers’ fault for littering, or the government’s fault for not managing waste,” Eriksen says. “They distract the conversation away from designing smart products and packaging recovery and recycling…The result is a trashed planet.” Eriksen likens the gyres’ pollution to a kind of “plastic smog.” The ocean, like the atmosphere, he claims, is dynamic enough to heal itself if given the chance. “If we can stop doing harm, the ocean will wash [the plastic] ashore or sink it,” he says. “We used innovative technologies to create less-polluting cars, emission standards, better mufflers…The result was cleaner air. Do we have the courage to tell the plastic industry that poorly designed products that trash our oceans are unacceptable? I think we do.”



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Scoring Sustainable Goals An ice rink may be the perfect place to enjoy the nonstop action of a hockey game, but keeping one up and running isn’t generally the most efficient practice. With around 12,000 gallons of water needed per ice sheet, along with the resources required to resurface and refrigerate the rink, the environmental impact of the game can be quite significant. Thanks to the Greener Rinks Initiative, the sport known for red and blue lines is putting a larger focus on going green. With the Greener Rinks Initiative, the NHL and leading retail energy supplier Constellation are taking a new approach to making hockey rinks more energy efficient. The collaboration looks to assist community hockey rinks across North America in operating sustainably on and off the ice by measuring and evaluating their environmental impact, and identifying opportunities for facilities to minimize their carbon footprint through energy conservation measures. The endeavor encourages facilities across the nation to embrace everything from sustainable refrigeration systems to more efficient lighting.

Because there are nearly 5,000 hockey rinks located in North America alone, taking the essential steps towards energy efficiency is a vital move for both the sport and the environment. From replacing metal halide ballast lighting systems with “puck-proof ” LED fixtures to installing sensors for dimming and better light control and overhauling AC units and refrigeration units for the ice sheets, the Greener Rinks Initiative is scoring a major goal when it comes to sustainability. ■

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Groundwater at Epicenter of Global Sustainability Challenge In the 1967 film The Graduate, there was one word Mr. McGuire wanted to share with protagonist Benjamin that spoke of the future: “Plastics.” Fifty years later, it might well be “sustainability.” With population growth exploding at an unprecedented rate and the environment facing unprecedented peril, the issue of sustainability looms large.

water is alternately withdrawn from aquifers during periods of water scarcity or put back into aquifers during times of plentiful rainfall. Reliance on surface freshwater is not sustainable in many places today. Will societies rise to the challenge? The American Geosciences Institute projects that by 2025 there could be a shortage in the United States alone of 135,000 geoscientists, including groundwater scientists. Meanwhile, ecosystems wilt, and some 840,000 people worldwide die yearly due to water-, sanitation-, and hygiene-related causes.

The sustainability issue could be summed up in just three characters: “H2O,” or, in one related word, “groundwater.” “There is no life without water,” said Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the 1937 Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology or Medicine. What most people do not realize is that 99 percent of all available freshwater in the world is groundwater – the water that fills the cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rock to create “aquifers.”

This is why organizations like the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) are leading the charge in advocating the responsible development, management, and use of water. Learn more about groundwater and sustainability at NGWA’s website at Sustainability. ■

Groundwater scientists and engineers understand that key to meeting the sustainability challenge is using the world’s vast groundwater with surface freshwater sources. An example would be managed aquifer recharge, where


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HTC VIVE (with Deluxe Audio Strap) – HTC has solidified their position in the VR market with the VIVE. And now it’s even better with the newly-introduced Deluxe Audio Strap. Enjoy better cable management and integrated on-ear headphones with this accessory so you can really get lost in other worlds. $799 (Vive) + $99 (Audio Strap)

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Sengled Snap – The Snap is a security camera with a twist – it’s built into a lightbulb. Compatible with any standard lamp socket, the Snap is weatherproof, making it perfect for outdoor use. The built-in motion sensor notifies you of any movement and automatically uploads the footage to the cloud. $150

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Blast Baseball 360 – Helping you improve your swing’s strength and accuracy, the Blast Baseball 360 will make you forget about the batting cages. Featuring the ability to sync up with the app to record video and view statistics, Blast Baseball 360 is the ideal personal batting coach. $150

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Mighty Mouse We tried out the Swiftpoint Z, a device that promised to be “the most advanced gaming mouse ever made” when its Kickstarter campaign was launched. By Josh Thomas

“The Z looks kind of like a palmsized Batmobile.”

When it comes to a gaming mouse, the Swiftpoint Z cannot be bested. With its unique capabilities, you can go from a noob to a legend simply by upgrading to this device. Placing one of these next to your keyboard will notify everyone who enters your room that they have a serious gamer on their hands. From flying, to shooting, to driving Halo’s notorious Warthog (always a good test), this mouse does it all. The first feature I’d like to point out is the customization. Whether your fingers are large or small, you can swap out the buttons on this mouse for a more suitable grip. Second is its design. With sleek black sides and aggressive forward edging, the Z looks kind of like a palm-sized Batmobile. Function, of course, is always top priority, but, if you’re going to upgrade to an accessory like this, you need that wow factor, and the Z definitely delivers. Next is a feature that’s very important to any gamer: reaction time. I’ve noticed zero lag relay from this mouse, which is a huge help when you’re trying to play your way toward MLG. Speaking of lag, another one of those annoying things for a gamer is trying to drive a vehicle while having to slide the mouse around a mousepad. You just have this little square to execute all of your movements, and that ends up becoming a nuisance while trying to make a quick getaway. Not with this mouse. Picture running up to an Apache helicopter in Battlefield. Just quickly shift your Swiftpoint Z on its platform, and boom! It becomes a joystick. Once the platform is equipped, instead of dragging your mouse all over the mousepad, all you need to do is control your hand like a joystick, and the mouse will direct the aircraft. This joystick ability also allows you to carefully peek around corners so you can get a direct headshot on your target without even being noticed – very useful for a Splinter Cell type game. Lastly, is one of my favorite features. There’s a button located right above the clicker, which allows for an extremely easy reload. After blasting a clip into the opponent, there’s no need to locate a key on your keyboard. With the Z, everything you need to play is literally in the palm of your hand. If you want to have the most innovative gaming setup, you must be equipped with the proper battle station. Equipped with this award-winning, innovative gaming mouse, you can pair your gaming skills with the proper tools. After all, what’s a warrior without his weapon?

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Exploring the Visual Country with Meagan Cignoli By Anthony Elio

Compared to other genres, stop motion is a fairly new art form, with the first instance produced in 1898. But it quickly led to major contributions in film and pop culture (e.g., King Kong, The Gumby Show, and The Nightmare Before Christmas), taking the medium to new heights throughout the decades. For the uninitiated, stop motion animation is made by taking a picture, moving the scene around slightly, and taking another picture, repeating this until full movement can be enacted by rolling the photos in succession. It can be a very tedious process, as seen with 2014’s The Boxtrolls, where a week’s worth of work would result in as little as two minutes of footage. However, not only is Meagan Cignoli used to such tedium; she embraces it. The creator of Visual Country, Cignoli has created incredible stop motion projects for many major brands, such as Clinique,



Mashable, and Google. We spoke to this artist about how she got into stop motion animation, her process for each project, and the importance of using social media to spread your work. Innovation & Tech Today: You’ve clearly had a lot of experience when it comes to stop motion animation. Do you remember your very first project? Meagan Cignoli: So, actually, I was in a PBS special about stop motion. They told me that kids often just figure out how to do stop motion. Like, they don’t know what it is. They just kind of run into it accidentally. And that’s what happened to me. I was playing on the app Vine four years ago, and I was just taking pictures and moving -- re-styling, taking another one, restyling. And I realized that it was actually moving because I was taking photos and slightly changing things. I was like “Oh, that’s

pretty cool.” I had no animation background; I had no idea what stop motion was. I never thought about it in my life. It was just totally not on my radar. And so I stayed up all night just discovering this new thing where I was taking photos and moving things, trying to reline it up. I did that for about a week nonstop and then someone commented on something I posted and was like, “Oh, you’re doing stop motion; you’re an animator.” And I was just like, “Nope.” [laughs] “I’m not, I don’t even know what that is.”

Meagan Cignoli’s signature stop motion style has been used to add personality to many product releases, such as the launch of David Yurman’s bubblegum pinky rings and Converse’s Woven Collection.

I&T Today: Stop motion is such a complex and time-consuming process; you’ve said before it’s like watching paint dry. Tell me a bit about your routine for each project. MC: Well, it depends on my client, but I prefer never to do a storyboard. Although, when you’re working with the big brands, you really have to because it’s different than when you’re shooting a commercial in live action; you’re going to have a ton of B-roll. You only get what you shoot with stop motion, so you have to be on the very same page with whoever you’re making it for right away. So if I’m working for myself and just doing something for me, I never figure out too much in advance. The first thing I do is I set up the scene. I think more of it as set design. So I decide the colors I’m gonna use. I start painting things and putting objects on set, lighting it, and then removing objects, putting in different ones – finalizing what that looks like. Once that’s final, I think, “How am I going to now make this move?” Stop motion is like making 100 different decisions. Is this gonna move? Is it gonna disappear? Is it gonna fly? You have to

think about all these little things. I&T Today: I saw a recent work you did that combined stop motion with 2D animation. How does that process work? MC: So, we chose our actresses. They came in, and we shot them in studio on a backdrop. We used to physically cut them out of paper and then use them in stop motion, but this time, to make it 2D, we cut them out digitally and then we illustrated rooms and had them interacting in these illustrated rooms. And, in 2D, we also did animation of the drawings that we did – like the dog is breathing, or there’s little lines if the TV turns on. So that’s all done in post on the computer. But we just make the girls in post. So when we shoot them, we’re shooting them in stop motion. So if she’s shooting a bow and arrow, little by little, we have to take probably about a few hundred frames for one second, 240 frames for 15 seconds. So that was like a minute long, so there’s probably a thousand frames of that girl that we had to shoot in studio the day before. I&T Today: You’ve amassed over 100,000

followers on Instagram alone. Has social media been integral to growing your fanbase? MC: Absolutely. I realized that Twitter and Facebook were hugely important in building my photography business. Every time I would talk about my work, I would get more work. As soon as social media popped up on my radar, I was using it to help further my career. We had over 800,000 followers on Vine. That’s really when the brands started noticing me. That’s really where I was able to begin, because not only were they hiring me to make the videos, but they were hiring me to promote them on my channel. And now we’ve been able to grow it into a production company where it’s not really about influence anymore. We’re just being hired for our work, but this is what got me in the door. This is how people found me in the first place. If you want to try out stop motion for yourself, visit to get started. You can also check out Meagan’s work at

Meagan discovered stop motion completely by accident while using the Vine app. She has since amassed hundreds of thousands of social media followers and built a career on creating stop motion videos.




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CEDIA, San Diego, CA



Cyber Security Summit, New York, NY

NOV. 164

InterDrone, Las Vegas, NV

Green Festival Expo, Los Angeles, CA

VMworld, Las Vegas, NV


CONNECTED Health Summit, San Diego, CA


Check out these events with a local presence around the country: // 1 Million Cups // TEDx // Maker Faire


Women in Green Forum, Los Angeles, CA


Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Denver, CO


Techweek New York, New York, NY


IoT Build San Francisco – San Francisco, CA


Techweek Dallas, Dallas, TX

Get your fall up and running the right way. Held from 11/8 to 11/10, the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Boston will be at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Enjoy a bounty of workshops and networking opportunities at this celebration of sustainable building.





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coming next issue Fall 2017

Connected Life – The 2017

Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) conference is fast-approaching. Look to us for updates on the next big thing in the IoT. We’ll be talking to some of the biggest names in the business about what a more connected life means for the average person. Of course, this means checking out some awesome new gadgets, too!

The Home of the Future

– It’s impossible to discuss our connected lives without exploring the home of the future. After all, it’s where we spend (or should spend, anyway) most of our time. From talking toasters to animated wallpaper, we’ll keep you up to speed on the tech that’s forever changing the way we look at home & hearth.

Tech Zone: Phoenix –

Let’s just say that, when it comes to tech, Phoenix is turning up the heat (hold for applause…). Seriously though, this desert city is starting to get a lot of attention in the tech community. We’ll give you the tour.

Gaming & Entertainment – As always,

I&T Today brings you some of the biggest names in gaming and entertainment. Section editor John Gaudiosi covers yet another season chock-full of new releases from major gaming companies and indie developers alike. Look for these stories, along with coverage of drones, 3D printing, art & tech, VR, and much, much more in the Fall 2017 issue of Innovation & Tech Today.

On newsstands and all digital readers September 2017.



Summer 2017 Photo Credits: All trademarks, service marks, and logos contained within this publication are the property of their respective owners, and may not be individually identified in this publication. Pg. 8 Photo by Michael Gordon, Pg. 10 Paramount Pictures/ Andrew Cooper, Pg. 14 Infographic elements courtesy of and, FitBit images courtesy of FitBit, Pg. 16 Left column: Courtesy of Cyber Security Summit, Center Column: Courtesy of RAND Luxury, Right Column: Courtesy of I&T Today friends and family, Pg. 18 3D Printed House | Apis Cor, Pg. 20 Volcano | Google Images, Sleeping Beauty |, Labgrown beef courtesy of Maastricht University; David Parry/PA, Pg. 22 Flippy | Miso Robotics,Upper Jaw | Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC, Cave | Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC/Antonio Rosas, Hollywood sign |, Pg. 24 Tunneling Micropscope | IBM/Stan Olszewski Pg. 28 Cooles Cooler/Skarp images via Kickstarter, Triton courtesy of Triton Pg. 32 Images via and, Pg. 34 Photos courtesy USASEF and Antonia Zaferiou, Pg. 36 Photos courtesy of Falon Fatemi and USASEF, Pg. 38 Photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz, Pg. 39 From Top: Courtesy of Tesla, Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen, Toyota, and BMW respectively, Pg. 40 Photos courtesy of Nissan General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Delphi, and Continental respectively, Pg. 42 Images courtesy of Joe Jacobson, Pg. 46 Power Grid |, Hacker |, Pg.48 Pixabay/ HypnoArt, Pg.52-53 Callie Bundy photos courtesy of Six Star Pro Nutrition, Pg.54 Courtesy of James Patrick (workout) and Six Star Pro Nutrition, Pg. 58-60 Canyon Lands & White Sands courtesy of Michael Gordon, all others courtesy of Sara Sheehy, Pg.64 Sliding Rock |, Sandburg Trails/Sam Dean, Pg.68 | PublicDomainPictures/18043 images, Pg.70 Images courtesy of NHGRI/ Ernesto del Aguila III, Pg. 72 & 73 Artificial Heart | courtesy of Syncardia, Anesthesia |, Syringe | Wellcome Images/Wikimedia, Penicillin | Flickr/Solis Invicti, Chart, X-Ray |, MRI | , Telesurgery |, Stethoscope |, Pg. 74 NFL Player | Army Player Uniform courtesy of Nike, Helmets courtesy of U.S. Army, 80 Pictures courtesy of GPEC and John Kelly, Pg. 82-83 Pictures courtesy of and, Pg. 86 Photos courtesy of Port of South Louisiana, Pg. 88 Photos courtesy of Turner Industries, Pg. 90 Photos courtesy of the University of Vienna, Pg.94 Photos courtesy of Natchitoches Community Alliance, Pg. 96 Katya Tsyganova for I&T Today, Pg. 97 American Broadcasting Companies, Pg. 98 Top: Katya Tsyganova for I&T Today, Bottom: American Broadcasting Companies Pg. 100 From left: American Broadcasting Companies, Katya Tsyganova for I&T Today, Pg. 104-105 Star Wars | Lucas Film, LTD., The Avengers | Marvel, Little Mermaid | Disney, Honest Trailer Photos courtesy of DEFY Media. Pg. 106 Star Wars | Lucas Film, LTD., Pg. 110 Undertale | Toby Fox, Pg. 111 Octodad: Deadliest Catch | Young Horses, Inc., Runbow | 13AM Games, Pg. 112 Citizens of Earth | Eden Industries, Terraria | Re-Logic, Pg. 114 Shovel Knight | Yacht Club Games, Pg. 114 Battlefront | EA Games, Pg. 120 Paramount Pictures | Bay Films, Pg. 122 Paramount Pictures | Andrew Cooper, Pg. 124 Top; Paramount Pictures | Bay Films, Bottom; Paramount Pictures | Robert Zuckerman Pg. 128 Art by Matt Furie | Collected from, Pg. 130 Steve Bannon by Donkey Hotey, Pg. 132 Flippy | Miso Robotics, Cafe X courtesy of Cafe X, Pg. 134 K5 Courtesy of Knightscope, B10 & N1-C courtesy of Royal Caribbean International, STAR's Arm | KUKA Industries, iPal |,Robonaut 2 | NASA/ Robert Markowitz NASA–JSC, Tally courtesy of SIMBE Robotics Robot typing |, Pg. 138 Sesame Street | Sesame Workshop/Richard Termine, Carmen Sandiego via Netflix, Pg. 140 Winter Photos courtesy of Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Pg. 142 Photos courtesy of Phoenix Nuclear Laboratories, Pg. 144-146 Photos courtesy of Jill Stein Pg. 148-149 Globes |, Infographic elements |, Images courtesy of Marcus Eriksen, Pg. 162-163 Photos courtesy of Visual Country, Pg. 166 | Timrobertsaerial, Pg. 168 Photos courtesy of Josh Blue 877-77-TOUCH

The TouchPoint Solution™ Arizona Neuroscientist Discovers New Technology to Alleviate Stress and Anxiety Changing the world, one TouchPoint™ at a time. Arizona's newest female owned tech startup headed by Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin and Entrepreneur Vicki Mayo launched neuroscientific lifestyle devices known as "TouchPoints™. TouchPoints™ using BLAST (Bi-lateral Alternating Stimulation Delivered Tactile) technology are non-invasive devices that are worn on each side of the body, can improve sleep, performance and focus and can reduce cravings and anger. This game changing device is now available to all.

The Story Behind the Gamechanger Dr. Amy Serin and Executive and foster mother Vicki Mayo founded The TouchPoint Solution™ in late 2015 with the mission of bringing relief to the millions of people who suffer from stress. Over the time span of a decade, Dr. Serin's work in therapy and neuroscience led to the discovery of a very successful PTSD treatment that could be used as a stand-alone product for gifted children and executives whose stress and intensities hamper performance, relaxation, sleep, and their ability to cope with sensory stimuli.

Users report a 71% reduction in stress within 30 seconds.

“Dr. Amy Serin and I started this company just over 18 months ago with one goal: Helping reduce stress in people’s lives.”

Vicki Mayo, CEO

"Similar stimulation has been used in successful PTSD and anxiety treatments for decade. I just figured out how to improve the waveform and the delivery method Dr. Amy Serin, CSO so anyone could have access to the stress relieving properties at any time."

Dr. Serin used quantitative electroencephalogram data, existing neuroscientific research, and archived data to unearth significant changes in the brain just

seconds after experiencing BLAST technology. A key technological improvement was discovered, as was the notion of BLAST, which was too powerful a treatment to be confined to a doctor's office due to its effectiveness and simplicity. She then partnered with friend and entrepreneur Vicki Mayo to bring this extraordinary concept to the masses through the launch of the TouchPoints™.

Mission We Combine Neuroscience and Technology into paradigm changing consumer products that empower people to improve their lives and positively impact their families and communities.

Vision The Creation of a more healthy, peaceful, and productive world through a fundamental shift in the way people understand and handle their stress response.

Values Committed to the cause Valuing people Efficient problem solving Giving back Lean/Six Sigma culture

Scholarship Program From its base business model of giving away one set of TouchPoints™ for every two they sell, to its commitment to local vendors for manufacturing and assembly, to the legally blind individuals that package every box, TouchPoint™ above all else values people. Our financial need based scholarship recipients grow daily.

The Lighter Side

“Butt Waffle” [Note to Reader: This article was composed on voice recognition software]

Comedian Josh Blue on his Lifelong Battle with Voice Recognition


ike many of you, I battle with voice recognition and autocorrect. The technology is great, but there is a long way to go. For able-bodied people, voice recognition is a luxury, so for me it be a miracle. I was born with cerebral palsy, which prevents me from writing or physically typing. My freshman year of college, I was introduced to the very new voice recognition software “Dragon Naturally Speaking,” which was one the earliest forms of talk-to-text for the public. You strap a telemarketer-like microphone onto your noggin and painfully enunciate every agonizing syllable.

Perhaps best known as the comedian who puts the cerebral in cerebral palsy, Josh Blue centers much of his self-deprecating act around his disability. In 2006, he exploded onto the national comedy scene as the winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Soon after, he became the first comedian to perform stand-up on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. His most recent one-hour special, DELETE, is currently available on Amazon Prime and

If you think the technology has flaws now, back then it was barely workable, and it was more frustrating than anything. The software worked by learning your voice, which is amazing, unless you have a cold or are hungover. The technology comes with its own vocabulary, and you can teach it new words. I promptly taught it all the swearwords I knew. This was a big mistake, because every time it did not recognize a word, it eagerly filled it in with a four-letter word. This was funny at first. But I found out once you taught it something, it would never forget it. I tried to write a paper or two with the software, but I was averaging about a paragraph an hour. The computer teacher encouraged me



to stick with it and it would get better, but then allergy season arrived, destroying the little progress that I had made. My idiot friends would come over just to watch me try to do homework on this wretched machine. I’m still battling to this day – just now when I tried to write, “wretched,” it kept writing, “Richard" repeatedly. [Enter four-letter word here!] I had been struggling with the software for eight and a half grueling months when the computer teacher wanted to show off the steps technology had made in helping the disabled. She had me come in on a Friday morning. Three administrators stood behind me with big expectations. I said into the microphone, “Today is a beautiful sunny day.” What it wrote was “Shit stain butt waffle.” They all gasped. “Shit,” I said under my breath into the microphone. “F@#%,” it wrote. Needless to say, they were not impressed. The computer teacher nervously explained that there are still a few bugs in the system. I kept trying to verbally erase the words that had been written. It just wrote more profanity. After the administrators left, the computer teacher told me that one day it would work for me. That was almost 20 years ago and, if it’s any indication how much “better” it has gotten, it took me three and a half weeks to write this. I keep hoping that one day this Richard technology, Oh, shit, never mind! ■


Profile for Innovation & Tech Today

Innovation & Tech Today - Summer 2017  

The business world has no shortage of sharks. Luckily, this one’s here to help. Enter Robert Herjavec, the multi-millionaire star of the hit...

Innovation & Tech Today - Summer 2017  

The business world has no shortage of sharks. Luckily, this one’s here to help. Enter Robert Herjavec, the multi-millionaire star of the hit...