45 stories
every step counts
Biogen, Patients Like Me study suggests fitness trackers can help people with multiple sclerosis
Difficulty walking is one symptom facing the 2.3 million people with multiple sclerosis. But a wrist-worn fitness tracker paired with a smartphone app could help monitor their condition and fitness routine, according to a study conducted by researchers from Cambridge pharmaceutical company Biogen and the patient community portal Patients Like Me. Read More
Heart Beats
Music as medicine? The Sync Project will use big data to study the healing power of melody
Does your heart rate kick up with Taylor Swift comes on? A new app will measure the effect music has on health. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File
You may keep your Taylor Swift obsession hidden from your co-workers, but not from science. A new research initiative called the Sync Project aims to track how the brain and body respond to music through an app that collects biological data while your favorite jams stream on loop. So when a person plugs in their headphones and heads to work, their activity tracker on their wrist will be able to see how their heart rate changes when Swift’s "Shake It Off" transitions to One Directions’ "Steal My Girl." Read More
Smart science
Apple, Boston hospitals partner to launch ResearchKit for medical research
Family of healthkit apps
An ultra-thin Macbook laptop and the Apple Watch were the stars of Apple’s Monday media event in San Francisco. But the company also introduced a new suite of apps for the iPhone that could turn the device into a research tool and transform the way researchers study disease. Massachusetts General Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute were among the partners who worked with Apple on the five inaugural research apps. They will track asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and were built with Apple’s new tool, ResearchKit. Read More
Tick tock
Will consumers make time for Apple Watch?
Apple watches are displayed following an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Apple Inc. made its long-awaited entry into the moribund smartwatch market on Monday, showing off a new wrist-mounted device it hopes will become the first such gadget to become a mass-market hit. The new Apple Watch features a sleek design that looks far more elegant than many rival smartwatches. It also features an upscale price tag -- $349  for the least expensive model, rising to $10,000 or more for an elite version crafted from solid gold. Read More
human-computer interactions
Siri, do you like being famous? Meet the woman behind Apple's iconic computerized voice
Siri, how does it feel to be famous?
When Atlanta resident Susan Bennett took on a gig to be the voice of a computer software program in 2005, she had no idea she would one day become the all-knowing voice of Siri in Apple's iPhone. Heidi Legg and Beta Boston sat down with Bennett — via Face Time, of course — to ask her how it feels to be a world-famous voice.  Read More
Grand Theft (Electric) Autos
The A123 v. Apple lawsuit - Apple cars, failed battery makers, and noncompetes
A123 Systems, a Waltham-based maker of lithium ion batteries, has filed a lawsuit on the basis of broken noncompete agreements against Apple Inc. that claims the tech company poached some of its prominent electric car battery engineers, according to a recent report from Reuters. Read More
Name Change
Merchant Warehouse rebrands as Cayan in a move to represent a shift in the company's development
Cayan chief executive Henry Helgeson.
Merchant Warehouse, a Boston-based company specializing in payment technology and services, is rebranding today as Cayan. It's a move tied to the expansion of its online payment and point-of-sale, or POS, software systems and devices. It's a move that's tied to the expansion of its cloud payment technologies which work with point-of-sale (POS) systems and devices. Read More
One night only
Rock on! Boston tech conferences get an entertainment upgrade
Janelle Monáe plays HubSpot's annual customer conference in October. Photo by  Zac Wolf, courtesy of HubSpot.
In boom times for the tech industry, the bands playing the private parties and customer conferences get more recognizable. This year, acts like OK Go, Parliament Funkadelic, and the Dropkick Murphys have played for fist-pumping crowds of social media mavens, digital publishing gurus, and roboticists. Read More