Technology in today’s age is pervasive. Developed countries enjoy the most amount of advanced technologies ever imagined, with innovations in agriculture, medicine, education, travel and communication never before possible. In some industries, such as communication, the speed of new developments is lighting fast. Cell phones, for one example, evolve so rapidly that experts note that the latest phone is almost obsolete by the time it is purchased. Consumers drive the pace of the markets, as desire for the latest and best ensures that a new product will bring in new profit.
While it is true that life today is enhanced by the convenience and enjoyment new technologies offer, the world is taking a look at the environmental and social costs of technology. Thinkers are questioning whether or not the technologies created will serve to bring about better environments, healthier living things, freedom from wars, and preservation of natural resources for the world’s future. Technology is often at the front of some of the biggest controversies and most significant improvements of life.
Here are five companies which are working right at the leading edge.
This biotechnology startup has plans to begin testing the breakthrough technology known as CRISPR to treat a rare blindness type. CRISPR is an advanced method of gene editing. Company CEO Katrine Bosley announced that the company hopes to start its first clinical trial in 2017.
CRISPR technology has quickly changed biology laboratories as scientists have implemented the genetic engineering process to create everything from stronger seeds to genetically modified monkeys. It is controversial and has stirred debates worldwide. But Editas is one of several companies which plans to use the technology to correct DNA disorders which are inherited and cannot be cured.
Editas plans to begin with Leber congenital amaurosis, which is a rare disease that affects the cells which receive light in the eye’s retina. Only about 600 people have the condition in the United States, but Editas chose it because the eye is easy to reach for the treatments and the exact gene error is already known. If plans go as scheduled, Editas could be the first CRISPR gene editing in humans.
Proteus Digital Health
The company has invented Digital Medicine. Its ground-breaking product, Proteus Discover, is a system of ingestible sensor, sensor patches worn by patients, an app on a mobile device and a provider portal. In combination, the activated system provides health providers with information concerning the effectiveness of medication and the health patterns of the patient.
The goal of the system is to provide patients and physicians with the information needed to make more informed decisions about healthcare options. Patients monitor their patterns for taking medications using their own mobile device. Physicians glean objective data about the patient’s medication patterns allowing them to make decisions about starting, changing and stopping medications. With better measurements, treatment and therapies are more effective.
This platform company has earned 300 issued patents and its leadership includes members from the healthcare, technology and pharmaceuticals industries. The company notes its strengths:
- Clinical evidence
- Patented technology
- Clear regulatory pathway
- Proven product architecture
- Sustainable commercial strategy
In 2016, the company began a foundational partnership with the University of Southern California Center for Body Computing. The company was one of eight, considered to be best in their class, invited to establish the Keck Medicine of USC Virtual Care Clinic. The clinic will allow patients access to medical experts without leaving home and provide physicians with precise analytics and diagnosis. Moving forward with the university, the company’s position as a leader in Digital Medicine will change the patient and physician relationships for the future.
BioCatch uses unique behavioral biometrics to detect online threats and stop financial fraud. The company provides continuous authentication to protect online users throughout their mobile sessions. The company currently protects 33 million online users. The behavioral biometrics provide protection from many kinds of cyber threats. Authentication is supported using the phone’s accelerometer and differences in touch.
The company focuses on four areas:
- Behavioral profiling for fast authentication
- Mobile authentication
- Malware detection using behavioral biometrics
- Fraudulent activity identification
Avi Turgeman, BioCatch’s founder and CEO, served in the Israel Defense Forces Unit 8200, a prestigious place, and he set out to create a way to detect online imposters by verifying identities using continuous biometric authentication. His theory and research indicated that people interact with machines uniquely, and the correlation between physical and cognitive online behavior can be accurately measured. Though keystroke dynamics and mouse movement had been researched and analyzed for over twenty years, BioCatch engineered invisible Challenges which cause specific tests and interactions that users are not aware they are performing. These invisible tests accurately measure identity using key data previously not available.
BioCatch is the leading behavioral biometrics company, using more than 500 cognitive parameters, collecting and analyzing these to generate unique user profiles. Organizations use BioCatch to authenticate users during online sessions, while protecting against fraudulent activity, cyber threats, RAT-in-the Brower and account takeovers. Founded in 2011, the company is made up of experts in cyber security, machine learning and neural science research. BioCatch is deployed in leading e-Commerce websites throughout Europe, Latin America and North America. With cyber security a crucial need expected to increase dramatically, the company offers innovative solutions to the rapidly growing problem.
Mobisol provides solar home systems for low income customers in developing nations using payment plans via mobile phones. The affordable plans are combining the benefits of solar energy and remote monitoring technology to give clean solar energy in places where unhealthy and expensive fossil fuels have contributed to harming the environment and the people who have depended on them.
The solar products are durable, easy to use, and paid in installments by mobile phone, so customers who need electricity can afford it and pay for it over time. Mobisol engineers work to tailor their systems to local needs, and can reach the most remote communities. Data is collected safely and securely using remote monitoring systems, and provides better customer service because information collection is specific and reliable. The company offers a wide range of warranties and after-sales services.
Mobisol solar systems for homes will power LED lights, DC refrigerators, radios, mobile phones, TVs and household appliances. The systems are powerful, and capable of generating electricity sufficient to a small business. This is helping system customers to develop entrepreneurial income.
The company has stimulated the economy and social development in East Africa by installing more than 50,000 solar systems for homes and business, serving about 250,000 people. The company is working to protect the global environment as it improves living conditions for people.
An Ecosummit Silver Award for 2016 went to Mobisol for the company’s impact in East Africa. Ecosummit is the leading smart green conference in Europe. It supports the acceleration of startup companies and works to build cooperation among investors, corporations and stakeholders within the green sphere of the economy.
Together with the European Union, Mobisol is seeking to achieve 70% access to electricity for the citizens of Rwanda in its 2017 project. Mobisol’s prior work in Kenya and Tanzania has proven that affordable energy supplies can greatly improve the environment and the economic climate in the areas provided the renewable energy source.
Goals for the 2017 project include:
- Increasing access to electricity in rural areas
- Providing photo-voltaic systems ownership opportunities for rural poor
- Using Mobisol Solar Home Systems to secure electricity supply
- Increasing economic activity for rural households
Mobisol’s rent to own program will seek to provide 1,000 schools and 49,000 homes with their solar power systems. These areas in Rwanda traditionally have relied on gasoline and kerosene generators as energy sources, but solar power will be more clean and cheaper. It is believed that the environmental improvement will benefit social systems and educational benefits for young Rwandans. MobiSol’s product has a 25-year lifetime, and is supplemented by an extended maintenance and service program offered for a small fee. The company’s business kits are ready to use and easy to install. One third of their households have earned additional income due to the new electrical energy supplies.
Sentient Science uses materials science to predict the remaining life of systems including bearings, blades and oil. The company monitors systems such as powertrains, drivetrains and components to accurately predict their future life. Because the company is using their computational testing around the clock and every day of the year, improved outcomes across these assets, a fleet and components monitored allows predictions for three future levels:
- 0-3 months
- 3 months to 5 years
- 5 years to 30 years
What Sentient Science uses, in layman’s terms, is what they call small data. They simulate thousands of testing points providing information for:
- Asset managers
- Maintenance teams
- Rotating equipment operators
Companies who incorporate Sentient Science technology will adopt their Buy on Life business model and as a result, can expect improved outcomes equal to 1 cent per kWh, or 13% of revenue. Their new software is called DigitalClone Live, which functions as an ongoing service rather than simply a one-time reference.
DigitalClone Live is a new, cloud-based multi-physics, computational testing laboratory. It is based on materials science and deployed to partnering companies as a service. This prognostics simulator runs 8,000 computers which provide dramatically more product testing than what has been possible in the past.
Because the testing is constant, the process optimizes mechanical systems, improves product life, provides trade-off design studies, reduces failures, and even tests for alternative lubrications and additives. Testing for different loading conditions or designs, materials, surface treatments and changes in micro-geometry allow companies to expand and improve upon their design. The DigitalClone Live tests simulations and existing components, it identifies damaged modes and component fatigue and provides recommendations for solutions within design specifications. It also compares the competing designs and competing suppliers.
The company has applications in the wind, aerospace, transportation, rail and bearings and gears industries. The company works with such industry leaders as Envision, AeroTorque, Moventas and Schaeffler.