When it comes to creating technology for cities and citizens, open-sourced data and hackathons and great, but there’s nothing like a real weather emergency to get the creative juices flowing.
The recent spate of storm-related delays and shutdowns on the MBTA have sent local designers into a creative frenzy; the latest proposal to ease the daily commute for Bostonians is an app that can predict the chance for delays and train trouble on the way to work. Read MoreBridj over the PotomacBridj planning to expand its data-driven bus service to Washington, D.C.
This morning, Boston-based Bridj, a transportation startup that aims to bring better, user-informed bus services to metropolitan areas, announced that it plans to expand its operations to Washington, D.C., this spring.
Bridj initially started testing potential bus routes in Boston last June, and released its long-awaited mobile application in January. This most recent step is helping the company to get closer to its original vision of a data-driven transit service that meets the demands of citizens in neighborhoods lacking reliable public transportation. The service saw an influx in popularity in the wake of the recent snowstorms, particularly during some of the worst MBTA and traffic woes. Read MoreLunchtime funCyPhy's drones capture company snowboarding breaks in Danvers
What would you do if a couple feet of fresh snow fell... and right outside your office door was a small hill? Oh, and your CEO was an avid snowboarder? And your company made small drones with built-in cameras?
The answer at Danvers-based CyPhy Works was clear: institute snowboarding lunch breaks, filmed from the skies. The runs aren't very long, but CyPhy CEO Helen Greiner says the walk back up the hill is good exercise. While many of CyPhy's employees are mechanical engineers, Greiner says "they haven't built me a lift yet." (That's Greiner, who was previously a co-founder of iRobot Corp., going off a jump in the image above.)
Following an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, "Citizenfour" director Laura Poitras joined her colleague Glenn Greenwald and source Edward Snowden for a Reddit AMA on Monday. However the session came with the disclaimer: Ask Us Almost Anything.
After the Snowden documents were released, Poitras and Greenwald, along with their colleague and fellow journalist Jeremy Scahill, co-founded the online news outlet The Intercept. The Intercept is funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and has largely focused on sifting through the troves of information Snowden provided and other instances of government overreach. "Citizenfour" chronicles the meeting between Snowden and the journalists to whom he provided the government documents; the film debuted on HBO yesterday. The following are some highlights from the AMA. Read More
Ready to go questing?
Brookline entrepreneur Chad Ellis is planning to open an indoor “questing” center this summer, importing a concept from Sweden called Boda Borg, which blends obstacle courses with puzzle-solving. Some of the quests are so challenging, says Ellis, that only one percent of visitors can complete them — and that’s usually after a few attempts.
Read MoreCambridge students study science with a CSI-inspired crime lab
A little after noon on Wednesday last week, two technicians from the Cambridge Police Department crime lab arrived at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, kits in tow.
But the famed center was not the scene of a crime. Rather, it was hosting a four-day vacation science camp for middle-schoolers, and the two crime-lab techs were participating in a session called “Get A Clue” to introduce 22 adolescents to scientific skills such as microscopy and dissections.
And to make the session all the more engaging for the kids, the Whitehead and its partner in the program, the educational group Science from Scientists, had cooked up a whodunit: the theft of a candy recipe they would solve using technical sleuthing taught by real-life CSI types. Read MoreMaking brain wavesThync shares science behind its brain-zapping wearable
Boston device-maker Thync has been steadily gathering attention for its far-out claim that its next-gen gadget, a wireless wearable electrode for your brain, can tune your mood. It comes in two settings, “Calm” or “Energize,” and Thync claims their device can amp up your alertness like a shot of caffeine, or mellow you out like a good massage — all with a precisely designed pulse of current.
By and large, according to reports from the tech media and various tech and health professionals who’ve tried the device, it seems the company is delivering on its promise (I tried it myself and felt significantly blissed-out afterward). But for the first time, Thync has published a study that explains some of the magic behind their mad idea. And while it's still pending peer review, it does provide an appetizer of experimental evidence that their device, so far trialed by an army of some 3,000 test subjects, actually works. Read More