Opening Up
For tech CEOs, personal stories can have a big public impact
Dunwello CEO Matt Lauzon
The cultural idea of an American chief executive still contains strong notes of the 1950s, when an ascendant country was led by hard-charging businessmen projecting corporate power from the corner office to the country club. Public crusades about intensely private issues were not really part of the script. Some of today’s entrepreneurs and executives, however, are challenging that corporate stereotype. Read More
A zap in time
PureTech's Tal Medical gets $14m to develop brain stimulation for depression
About 6.7 percent of American adults encounter depression each year. But the major drugs available to treat the disorder can take weeks to work. A local company called Tal Medical is investigating a speedier alternative approach — the use of pre-programmed low-intensity electromagnetic pulses directed at the brain — which has shown early promise in providing people with depression and bipolar disorder a rapid sense of relief. On Tuesday, the company announced $14 million in new funding to continue research and expand its team. Read More
Hazmat Helper
908 Devices has a hand-held approach to thwarting chemical attacks
The M908 mass spectrometer device helps Hazmat teams detect chemical toxins (Photo via 908 Devices).
Massive public events like the Boston Marathon, which draw hundreds of thousands of spectators each year, also require elaborate security measures. But the police, fire, and emergency staff who were stationed along the route Monday had a new device helping them protect the public: the M908 mass spectrometer, a locally designed tool that allows Hazmat teams to quickly detect the presence of chemical weapons or other toxic chemicals. Read More
Sad Robot
Boston MakerBot store shuttered in parent company's cost-cutting
MakerBot 3D printer
Industrial designers and manufacturers have been using 3-D printers for years to make mockups, models, and prototypes. In the past few years, a gang of startups have tried to cash in on the idea that these physical-object makers were getting cheap enough to get regular consumers interested. That may not be going according to plan. MakerBot, a leading name in the consumer 3-D printing sector, has laid off staff and closed its three retail stores (including one on Newbury Street in Boston) as part of a strategy change by its parent company. Read More
In the shadow of Apple Watch
After staff shuffle, Quanttus will unveil wrist-worn health monitor this month
Quanttus CEO Shahid Azim. (Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston.)
Amid all the hype about the Apple Watch, expected to start shipping later this week, a Cambridge startup working on a smartwatch of its own has stayed very quiet. But that will change on Friday, when Quanttus unveils the design of its first product on Friday at the Wired Health conference in London. Quanttus became the best-funded local startup working on wearable devices after it raised $19 million last February, which brought its total funding to about $22 million — but there have recently been a few high-profile departures at the company. Read More
Researchers rely on website that tracks illegal Rx sales

StreetRx is a website that lets people who illegally buy prescription drugs post the prices they paid, and how much they got, in different parts of the country. But it's not something dreamed up by users themselves — this website is a project of Epidemico, a health-data tracking company founded in 2007 by people from Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and MIT. Researchers hope to use the crowd-sourced data on drug trasnsactions to learn more about addiction, assess whether public policy is effective, and track how the illegal drug market evolves. Cops also use the site to help them keep tabs on the street prices and flow of drugs, particularly for undercover work.

On Friday, someone in New Bedford paid a dealer $2 for a 5-milligram hydrocodone pill, a price deemed "cheap" in the busy black market for prescription opioids. That same day in Winchendon, a person spent $5 on a 30-milligram Adderall, rated "not bad" for the popular stimulant. The sales are illegal.

Read more at:

I Thought They Smelled Bad on the Outside
How do you measure a miserable winter? An MIT student might have the answer
In the final, brutal days before Boston officially broke its record for snowfall in one winter, many people had the same thought: How could there possibly ever have been a winter worse than this? Surely, the snow-measurers had to be making some mistake. Ben Letham, a PhD candidate studying applied math at MIT, was in a rare position to double-check his gut reaction. “I thought, `Oh I’ll just download the data and figure it out myself,’" Letham said with a chuckle. Read More
Boston's Innovation History
A master designer in Boston built America's fastest sailing ships
Image via <a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>
April 1851: With a cold spring wind blowing across East Boston, the Flying Cloud slid from its shipyard and into the water for the first time. The vessel was a massive beauty, all long lines and angles, with a 1,782-ton cargo capacity, decks that spanned 225 feet, and a sharp prow built to knife through the water. The keel was made of rock maple, and three sails carried a total of 10,000 yards of canvas. Beneath the bow, a carved white-and-gold angel trumpeted the way forward. At a time when sailing merchant vessels ruled the mid-19th century seas, the Flying Cloud became the fastest "clipper" ship of the day, and was built in Boston by a pioneering shipbuilder, Donald McKay. Read More
Alcalde de Tweets
MIT's Twitter-backed research highlights Twitter use by small Spanish town
Twitter can be used for a lot of things — a personal newswire, celebrity PR machine, or meme distribution system. It appears that one small town in Spain is taking advantage of Twitter's real-time conversation stream to replace the complaint line at City Hall. Read More
This handbag built for power lunchers can also charge a phone
The 314 handbag promises to charge your phone or other devices. (Photo via Jon Lou)
A smart-looking handbag can make you look good, but a smart handbag can do much more for you. The 314, a luxury handbag made in Italy with technology designed at MIT, is both good-looking and smart – and is poised to hit the market soon. The bag can charge your cellphone or any other USB-enabled device, and light up when you are rummaging through its insides. Plus, it can order a power pack refill before the system runs out of juice. And no, you don’t have to plug in your handbag every night. Read More
Innovation Economy
For Boston's most cutting-edge biotech companies, all that's missing is the lab
Zafgen CEO Thomas Hughes at work in his office. LANE TURNER/GLOBE STAFF

Today's typical biotech tour may not include a swing through the lab — because there isn’t one. Chief executives now brag about the cost savings and flexibility of outsourcing everything from the design of a new drug to supervision of clinical trials to eventual manufacturing. “The only lab equipment we have here is the sink in the restroom,” says Tom Hughes, chief executive of Zafgen.

A decade ago, if you toured a biotech company in Cambridge, you would don plastic safety glasses and be shown through a brand-spanking-new lab, full of white-coated scientists monitoring experiments. The chief executive would boast about the sophisticated equipment, like imaging systems that could see a tumor shrink inside a rat, and how it would help them bring a new drug to market more quickly.

Read more at: