Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tackle Your Goals Effectively With Lift

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How often do you set goals and fail to achieve them? That email inbox you were supposed to clean up the other day is still full of spam. What happened to those new healthy eating habits you had intended to adopt last week? And didn't you say you were going to start hitting the gym three times a week... last month?

Fret not, for a San Francisco-based startup wants to help you tick those goals off your list. Founded by Tony Stubblebine and Jon Crosby in August 2011, Lift Worldwide is an Obvious Corporation-backed company that launched its first app today. Described by its developers as “a simple, positive way to achieve any goal,” Lift for iPhone is a handy tool that allows users to break goals into small habits that are so doable you can't help but carry them out and eventually gain momentum. The objective of Lift is to nudge people towards their goals through incremental improvements, through several little steps that ultimately lead to big wins.

“We want to eliminate willpower as a factor in achieving goals,” writes Stubblebine on Lift's blog.

After downloading Lift, identify the good habits you want to establish. You can make your own or browse what others are already doing. Whenever you complete a habit, tap the big check button to record it. Lift will display your progress and consistency. The creators of the app toyed around with gamification options during development but dropped them in the end. According to Stubblebine, people wanted simplicity, which is exactly what you'll see when you open the app. So instead of badges and leaderboards, Lift offers feedback through visualized progress and support from other users with similar goals.

Beta testers have reported successfully using Lift to achieve goals in productivity, fitness, health, relationships, and happiness. Stubblebine says the Lift team will perfect the app first before releasing an Android version.

Lost and Found With BiKN

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Are you always losing your stuff? Treehouse Labs in Austin, Texas, has created an iPhone accessory and app to help you find your keys, bag, dog, or whatever else with your mobile device. After all, it's the one thing that's with you at all times, right?

BiKN (bee'-kin) works by combining hardware and software. The hardware part consists of the BiKN smart case, which you put on your iPhone, and thumb-sized BiKN tags, which you clip on to your things, pets, or children. After downloading the myBiKN app, you connect your iPhone to your tags, creating a wireless network for your valuables so you'll never lose anything or anyone again.

BiKN also allows you to “leash” your kids and pets. For instance, if you're in the park with your child, you can set an alarm and your phone will warn you when he/she wanders too far away. Additionally, BiKN can be used to page your tags, which is especially useful if you're in an area without a cell phone signal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No More Missed Deliveries With BufferBox

Founded by three University of Waterloo engineering students, BufferBox is a Waterloo, Ontario-based startup with a mission to end to missed deliveries and waiting for packages. The company is currently building its network of green locker boxes across the greater Toronto area, starting with Union Station.

After you register for the service, you will receive a BufferBox shipping address, which you'll use whenever you shop online. If you order from a partner retailer (Walmart and Google have already signed on), then the merchant will shoulder the fees. Otherwise, you pay $3 for every parcel you get. Once your package arrives, BufferBox will send you an email with a unique PIN. Enter the code on the BufferBox kiosk's touchscreen and a door will pop open. Grab your parcel and you're done!

BufferBox plans to be in 100 locations by the end of the year. That includes grocery stores, convenience stores, and transit stations.

Vastrm Aims to Make Bad-Fitting Menswear a Thing of the Past

Guys, have you ever purchased clothes online, waited for your orders eagerly, then ended up being disappointed because they didn't fit as well as you had hoped? How many times have you had to return ill-fitting garments? Or perhaps, you've given up on shopping online for apparel altogether? All hope is not lost, however; there's a new company that's looking to put an end to men's online clothes shopping woes.

Fresh out of Y Combinator's summer 2012 class, Vastrm (pronounced vas' trum) is a clothing company that offers mass customization of menswear, starting with polo shirts. Vastrm, which means “cloth” in Sanskrit, was founded by Jonathan Tang, whose family has been in the fabric business for years. Tang got the idea for the company when a customer told him about a perfect shirt he had bought in Italy. The customer has never been able to find a shirt that fit as nicely and was even thinking about returning to Italy just to hunt the manufacturer down.

As a Vastrm client, you start by taking a short quiz, entering your measurements and body type to determine your Vastrm Fit ID. The company will then send you two to three sample shirts to try on for free. Afterwards, you can go back to the site and make any necessary adjustments to the sleeve length, waist, bottom hem, and so on. Once your Vastrm Fit ID has been finalized, you can begin designing your own shirt by choosing the fabric, collar, pocket, cuff, side vents, and placket types. Or you can select from the several pre-designed styles that are already available on the Vastrm website. Customized shirts will take about three weeks to arrive on your doorstep.

According to Tang, Vastrm will be adding more shirt styles to its inventory over the next 6 to 12 months.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Best Mobile Designers Under One (Virtual) Roof

Founded by engineer, designer, and programmer Kirill Zubovsky, Scoutzie is a new online community that connects mobile designers with those who need one (or more) for their projects. Headquartered in Seattle, Scoutzie is an invite-only network that currently has almost 500 professional members, including Cole Rise, who created the Instagram icon, and Brian Plemons, who redesigned the Pair app.

The idea for a curated mobile design marketplace first came to Zubovksy in August of last year after meeting with Kelly Smith, the man behind ImageKind, Inkd, and Zapd. Smith had noticed that not a lot of designers understood the challenges of designing for the mobile space and wanted to have “a unified pool of mobile designers.” Zubovsky, who was eager to start a successful company after failing to get accepted into TechStars, jumped at the chance and teamed up with Smith to build Scoutzie.

With the goal of creating a community of the best mobile designers in the world, Zubovsky went on a quest to recruit topnotch talent, browsing several design websites, portfolios, and blogs. He described the process as “a tedious exercise,” but one that was necessary to find the designers who were “worthy of Scoutzie membership.”

Indeed, Scoutzie sets itself apart from other online design communities by putting an emphasis on quality. According to Zubovsky, “Scoutzie is quite unique in that we are focused on mobile and we don't allow just anyone to post content.” He likens the network to traditional design agencies such as Happy Cog and FJORD, though Scoutzie only takes a 10 percent cut of projects instead of the usual 50 percent.

In addition, Scoutzie assigns a dedicated project consultant to every project arranged on the site. The consultant not only matches clients with the best designer(s) for their project, but also acts as the point of contact throughout the process to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Japanese Firm 3D Prints Fetus Models

Japanese engineering company Fasotec and Parkside Hiroo Ladies Clinic in Tokyo are offering a new service for expecting parents called Tenshi no Katachi or “Shape of an Angel.” Using a special technology called BioTexture, Fasotec will create a 3D scale reproduction of the client's unborn baby based on CT or MRI scans. The final product is a 7-ounce white resin fetus model in a clear casing that represents the mother's abdomen.

According to Fasotec, three expectant mothers have already tried the service, which costs ¥100,000 or about $1,275, not including the cost of imaging. The company recommends Tenshi no Katachi for mothers who are due soon to get the most detail in their baby's 3D model. Fasotec, which already uses the BioTexture process to create medical models for the health care industry, decided to start Tenshi no Katachi as a spinoff service to “let the public know about this kind of technology.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Senzari, a New Way to Discover New Music

Founded by serial entrepreneur Bill Hajjar, Senzari is a Miami, Florida-based tech company that develops premium digital entertainment services. Senzari first introduced itself to music lovers and radio listeners with its Music Platform, which allows users to stream music and radio on various devices such as PCs and mobile phones.

Recently, Senzari unveiled AMP3, its new recommendation engine. And unlike the recommendation features of Pandora and other competitors, AMP3 can be customized according to popularity, tempo, similarity, and discovery. AMP3, which took nine months to develop, was made possible with the help of technology developments like big data-analyzing tools and Open Graph by Facebook. According to COO Demian Bellumio, AMP3's launch makes Senzari a platform that connects the dots and goes beyond creating new experiences based on music.

Currently available in the US, UK, Brazil, and Spain, Senzari is set to arrive in Italy and certain Latin American countries next.

Phosphor Makes Watches for the Future

Founded by Fossil's former VP of technology Donald Brewer, Phosphor is a new watch brand with a focus on modern technologies and compelling design. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, it is presently the only timepiece company in the world that uses the same E Ink system found in the Amazon Kindle. Phosphor also makes a line of watches (Phosphor Appear) that features the world's first mechanical digital watch movement based on the company's Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital Technology.

Phosphor is currently working on its latest line of touchscreen watches called Touch Time. Designed by former Nike+ design director Stefan Andren, Touch Time is the first and only digital watch that captures the functionality of a smartphone in a nice little wrist-sized package – and according to the company, it doesn't need to be synced or charged.

With Touch Time, the self-described team of watch fanatics behind Phosphor have created “what you should expect from a digital watch in the 21st century.” Unlike mobile phones and other electronic devices, digital watches have been left behind in terms of design and development – they still look and function like they did 20 years ago. Until now, that is.

Scheduled to launch this fall, Touch Time is entirely operated via touchscreen. It has seven time displays that can be changed with a swipe of a finger, as well as built-in smartphone-like apps such as multiple alarms, a calendar, a calculator, world time, reminder applications, and a stopwatch that can track up to 99 laps. Touch Time also supports several languages including English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Phosphor is touting Touch Time not as a smartwatch, but as a “smart-er watch.” The unisex timepiece, which is powered by a replaceable coin cell battery (CR2032), is housed in a stainless steel case and comes with a silicone or stainless steel bracelet strap.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dr. Sagun Tuli: A Leading Neurosurgeon and Spine Surgeon Affiliated with MetroWest Medical Center

Comprehensively versed in all aspects of neurosurgical and spinal medicine, Sagun Tuli, M.D. accepted her current post at the Center for Advanced Brain and Spine Surgery in 2011. Located in Natick, Massachusetts, this highly regarded treatment facility partners with Boston’s MetroWest Medical Center to provide inpatient and outpatient care of the utmost caliber to individuals suffering from a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions. Prior to joining the staff at the Center for Advanced Brain and Spine Surgery, Dr. Tuli acted as an Associate Surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a role she maintained for nearly a decade. Between 2002 and 2011, Sagun Tuli also served as an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School and functioned as an Attending Physician of Neurosurgery at two other Boston-area healthcare institutions, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Faulkner Hospital.

The procedures Sagun Tuli performs on MetroWest Medical Center patients require finely tuned surgical skills and extensive knowledge of the most recent technological advancements in operative medicine. Diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases of the brain, spinal column, and peripheral nerves, Dr. Tuli and her colleagues take great pride in their ability to design actionable therapeutic plans that take a person’s overall physical and emotional wellbeing into serious consideration. With nearly 20 years of professional experience, Sagun Tuli possesses an admirable track record of success in the operating room and always strives to engage with her patients on a personal level to ensure an optimal outcome post-surgery.

Offering a full suite of innovative surgical services to compliment the top quality care extended by Sagun Tuli and her associates, MetroWest Medical Center stands apart for its forward-thinking autotransfusion, perioperative music therapy, day surgery, and pain management programs. Further information about Sagun Tuli the healthcare group is available online at