New York Tech Journal
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Techmakers U: #IoT, Google #Polymer & Collaboration Tools

Posted on March 22nd, 2015

GDG North Jersey

03/22/2015 @Saint Peters University, Jersey City, NJ


A half day of activities presented by Women Techmakers and GDG North Jersey included presentations, group activities and tutorials. Of the activities, I summarize two of the many sessions.

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In the keynote address, CK Kerley contrasted the world when the web was first introduced versus the connected world of smartphones today. She then presented a view of the world where networks of things talk to each other and to us.

This is the Internet of Things: Nike+ basketball shoes that track performance. Umbrellas that tell us when rain is in the forecast. Never look for your luggage again. Never look for parking spaces again. Bottles remind us when to take pills (glowcaps). Inhalers tracking high risk areas.

Currently we live in a world which has already been changed by mobile devices: More mobile devices than people, on-demand everything, selfie-nation, showrooming (comparison shopping), couch commerce, NoMoPhobia (panic when we are away from our mobile phones – constant connectivity)

CK then talked about the components of smart products

  1. Physical
  2. Sensors
  3. Connectivity

And their value proposition

  1. Products become solutions – Nest is a home efficiency product
  2. Revenue generating services – lifetime benefit – monthly services for pet monitoring dog collar – razor blade proposition
  3. Data-driven customer experience – customer engagement drives loyalty. Smart golf clubs give you real time advice
  4. Optimization & personalization – constantly improve services and profits.

She summarized by saying that the last 25 years were a time when data and connectivity became available to everyone. The next 25 years will be a time when all things become smart.

Later in the afternoon, Lucy He of Google, presented web components as extensions to html tags. These tags make it easier to create customizable elements. The functions of these elements can range from customizable buttons on web pages to toolbars for mobile devices and objects formatted in accordance with material design concepts (link to a previous post on the material design).

Since all browsers do not yet support web components, Polymer is a transition library giving them web component functionality.  Lucy grouped the Polymer elements into

  1. Core-elements – general purpose elements e.g. <core-toolbar> and <core-header-panel>,
  2. Paper-elements – incorporate material design concepts such as <paper-input>, <paper-checkbox> , <paper-ripple>, <paper-shadow>, etc.

Here is an example of UI built with polymer. This link is a simple introduction to writing html using Polymer.

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Solve for X: proposals to solve big problems #SolveForXnj

Posted on January 7th, 2015

GDG North Jersey

01/07/2014 @ Google 111 8th Ave, NY

Seven speakers a spoke about their ideas to create a world-changing product. Four were medically related. The others covered education, green technology and virtual travel.

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Leonard Flom – kill ebola in vivo – currently quickest way to kill ebola is using ultraviolet-C. Your own immune system kills you. (“cytokine storm”).

He proposes using kidney dialysis machinery to exposure blood to UV-C


  1. Kill Ebola on surfaces in air
  2. Harmless to humans
  3. Stimulates production of immune bodies

Challenges – can dialysis machines be successfully deployed out in the field in a country with primitive infrastructure such as Liberia? The method only kills ebola in the blood stream, not those already in tissues.

Bodo Hoenen – how to teach the forgotten children? Distribute autonomous tablet-based apps. Design a platform that keeps a profile and searches for educational resources and a social network. Not a technology problem. Open architecture so anyone can contribute.

Challenges – who will define what is presented. How does on overcome the political resistance of local rulers that take advantage of ignorance.

Wenting Zhang –  personalized medicine to treat cancer (cancer is not a single disease). One disease model is multiple myeloma (plasma cancer). Currently no cure. Disease cannot be cured within the body. Must maintain cells outside the body. Use a mouse model – inject cells from patient bone cells into a mouse, but this often fails. Idea is to use external human tissue microenvironment to give a snapshot the trial drug tests.

Challenges – need to replicate the in vivo environment externally to determine if the response to drugs is the same externally and internally. Can this model be applied to other types of cancers.

Richard Riman – Everyone can apply technology that is sustainable. Problem is that countries that are modernizing are using outdated technology. We need sustainable, portable technology. Concrete (CO2 production) and trash are the building blocks of this toolbox. 1.  Use carbonate cement concrete which is dug from the ground and hardens when exposed to CO2.  2. Convert trash into CO2 and water.

Challenges – availability of ingredients, durability of machinery, other (potentially toxic) outputs of the trash converter.

John Kulp – Molecular engineering for the war on drug-resistant microbes. Microbe proteins change over time so drugs don’t bind. Ligand engineering enables the design of drug molecules to meet precise requirements. Define requirements and simulate fragment maps to find drugs that will bind. But the process is manual and slow. They want to scale up the ligand engineering using cloud computing.

Challenge – this is an engineering problem, but what is the business model? How does one test that the best working ligands do not produce toxic outcomes for the cells in the body?

Vincent Ogutu – simulated teleporting.

Main problem is bandwidth to transmit holograms across internet.  Better to transmit only essential information – create an avatar. Then merely need to send the skeleton.

Challenge – how do we interact with a hologram? Do we need new social conventions?

Norbert Guzman – portable instrument for identify early warning biomarkers of a disease.

He wants to build a device that can take in blood, cells, urine, etc. Could provide history of many biomarkers over time and could be placed in an ambulance for very early diagnosis.

Goal is 20 minutes to get results and devices eventually in every home.

Challenge – cost.

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