The MedCottage, designed by a Blacksburg company with help from Virginia Tech, is essentially a portable hospital room. Virginia state law, which recognized the dwellings a few years ago, classifies them as “temporary family health-care structures.” But many simply know them as “granny pods,” and they have arrived on the market as the nation prepares for a wave of graying baby boomers to retire.
In a 2007 purchase of medicines from Merck KGaA, drugmaker Mylan picked up a decades-old product, the EpiPen auto injector for food allergy and bee-sting emergencies. Management first thought to divest the aging device, which logged only $200 million in revenue. Then Heather Bresch, now Mylan’s chief executive officer, hit on the idea of using old-fashioned marketing in part to boost sales among concerned parents of children with allergies. That started EpiPen, which delivers about $1 worth of the hormone epinephrine, on a run that’s resulted in its becoming a $1 billion-a-year product that clobbers its rivals and provides about 40 percent of Mylan’s operating profits, says researcher ABR|Healthco. EpiPen margins were 55 percent in 2014, up from 9 percent in 2008, ABR|Healthco estimates.
Parker co-founded the Somerville, Mass.-based PillPack in February 2014 with Elliot Cohen, the business' chief technology officer. In less than two years, PillPack has grown a customer base that now spans 47 states, and it has estimated revenue of $20 million.
PillPack delivers customers' medications in a long strip that rolls into a disposable dispenser. The user just pulls the next pack off the roll, tears it open and pops the pills. Shipments arrive every two weeks. The service also works with the customer's insurance company and manages refills automatically.
Most prosthetic manufacturers build their products with a certain amount of blandness so their artificial limbs won’t stand out. So much effort is put into making them appear natural that some artificial limbs are so real realistic that they are indistinguishable from a real limb when viewing them at a distance. While most manufacturers take this realistic approach, UK limb maker Open Bionics is going to the opposite extreme, creating brightly colored, kid-friendly prosthetic hands that are branded after popular superheroes and movie characters.
To get this health benefit, all you have to do is let a desk nag you. And shell out $2,990 for the privilege.
That’s a hefty sum, even in the money-pit world of office furniture. Motorized sit/stand desks without computerized brains can be had for a quarter as much. Without question, the M1 smart desk is a luxury—it has its own touch screen, for goodness’ sake. But a dumb desk can’t address the root of the problem: feeble willpower.
If you work with colleagues with sit/stand desks, you’ve probably noticed a good portion still spend most days slumped in their chairs. When the M1’s makers at Stir studied the issue, they found only 30% of people with push-button, height-adjustable desks changed positions at their desks more than once a week. But 95% of Stir desk owners avoided constant sitting each day. These stats will come in handy when you’re trying to persuade your boss to buy you the Tesla of standing desks.
Over the past few years, big companies, including Unilever and Coca-Cola, have used emotions analytics to better understand customers' likes and dislikes and to tailor marketing and advertising campaigns. About a dozen companies are making and supporting such software, according to researcher Crone Consulting.
The market leaders include Emotient, a startup in San Diego, and Affectiva in Waltham, Mass. Unilever relies on Affectiva's emotions analysis to assess customer reactions to its ads. Emotient's software will be used in Stoneware's classroom product. And Emotient tested its software with the NBA's Golden State Warriors to study how spectators respond to activities such as a dance cam.
Fullpower built the lab about a decade ago to capture data from sleep patterns. Of course, test subjects don’t typically snooze deeply with wires glued to their skulls, chests, legs, and arms. But almost everyone manages to at least nod off for a while, and the data that subjects generate are valuable and often surprising. “What we found early on is that sometimes you sleep less and feel more refreshed,” Kahn says. “It’s because you woke up in the light part of the sleep cycle.” The insight led him to develop a sleep-cycle alarm that could determine the best time to alert a person within a certain window. “Sometimes it’s better to get up at 10 of seven than at seven,” he says.