We bring you this week’s medtech news, from Boston and beyond:
1. The Sync Project announces Marko Ahtisaari as CEO
Award-winning product design veteran and entrepreneur Marko Ahtisaari was named the Chief Executive Officer of The Sync Project — a global collaboration whose mission is to develop music as medicine — this week. By bringing together the talent of scientists, technologists, clinicians and musicians, the team is constructing a data platform in hopes of uncovering the clinical applications of music.
In addition to Ahtisaari, the team consists of Ketki Karanam, co-founder and Head of Science Innovation; Steve Sian, engineer; Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab; Tristan Jehan, principal scientist of Spotify; Robert Zatoree, professor of neuroscience at McGill University; Daphne Zohar, CEO of PureTech; Adam Gazzaley, Director of UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center; and Hugh Forrest, Director of SXSW Interactive Festival.
“Marko is a great example of an entrepreneur bridging design, science and art. He is a skilled product strategist and leader, and we’re excited to have him lead The Sync Projcet,” Ito said in a recent press release. “I’ve known Marko for over a decade, and his unique experience spanning Internet services, mobile and music is an excellent fit.”
A PureTech company, the group is still in its early stages; however, the platform development is already in the works to try and scientifically study the effects of music on our health in areas such as sleep, cognition, motor coordination and performance. By collecting and analyzing real-time biometric data and music, using sensors and other devices, the researchers can pinpoint and begin to understand the health properties of music. Using these real-time, objective physiological measurements of music, The Sync Project will be able to identify personalized therapeutic effects of music.
2. PAVLOK earns trip to Richard Branson’s Necker Island
Necker Island, known as Sir Richard Branson’s private island, is an exclusive getaway setting located in the Caribbean. As one of the lucky winners of the Build a Business Competition, PAVLOK will be traveling to the extravagant resort for five days via private jet. There, the team will spend their time getting mentored by Branson, Daymond John from “Shark Tank” and Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and angel investor.
PAVLOK is a wearable device that can help eliminate bad habits from your life. The bracelet shocks you whenever you do something you no longer want to do, such as eat sugar, bite your nails, or even smoke. Users can adjust the level of shock, which is safe at the highest level, and strength ranges from “pinprick” to “pretty friggin’ strong.” Using aversion therapy as part of this self-shock program, PAVLOK can rapidly correct users every time they cheat on their bad habits by associating the stimulus with discomfort.
So far, PAVLOK has sold more than 3,000 production pre-orders and 800 prototypes of their bands via Shopify — sponsor of the Build a Business Contest. In order to be eligible for the competitions, the company must sell its products on Shopify and must have been created between October 2014 and May 2015.
“We are one of the top businesses on all of Shopify, which is very encouraging,” said Sims McGrath III, PAVLOK marketing manager. “The thing we want to get out of this experience is that we want to learn how to grow our business.”
3. Wearable tech market projected to reach 385 million people and transform our relationship with information
In a statement on Monday, Piper Jaffray‘s Erinn Murphy and Christof Fischer estimated that the wearable tech industry will grow from 21 million units in 2014 to 150 million units in 2019 for a 48% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The majority of the growth will be coming from wrist wearables, such as smart watches and fitness bands.
To put this CAGR into context, Murphy and Fischer explained, “The apparel industry grows in the flat to low-single digit range, handbags are growing in the low-single to mid-single digit range and footwear is a low-to-mid-single digit growth category.”
The two predict that “wearable technology will be the next generation of devices to transform how individuals consume and use information” and view the target market for this industry to consist of all people older than 15 years of age living in developed nations, which is currently about 1.08 billion people.
Piper Jaffray cited three “mega secular trends” as the foundation for their projections: health and fitness traction, quantified self and convergence between brands and tech. Murphy and Fischer cite these reasons as largely influential when forming their prediction. Health and wellness are currently “at the heart of consumer lifestyles,” as global spending in this area has surpassed $500 billion.
Nicole Yang is an editorial intern at MedTech Boston. She is currently a rising senior at Amherst College, where she studies Neuroscience. During the academic year, Nicole is the Managing Editor of The Amherst Student and has also worked as a Chemistry laboratory teaching assistant. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys playing squash and practicing yoga. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Yang12.
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