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F50 Global Capital Summit 2020 calls global investors to support healthtech innovation for COVID19


The 5th F50 Global Capital Summit® (GCS) Spring 2020 on June 16-17, with the theme Elevating HealthTech Innovation opens for speaker nomination. The event is co-hosted by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, UCSF Entrepreneur Center, and SVE (Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs). This special summit is calling investors, entrepreneurs, and physicians to support the innovations which are fighting with COVID-19. 

The spread of the coronavirus has highlighted the imperative for new technologies and solutions in the health and medical area. 20+ leaders including leading physicians, investors, and infinluciers had joined the Global Committee which is the volunteering advising board and curation of the content for the summit.  Innovators, leaders and influencers in the startup ecosystem, like you, are vital to accelerating progress worldwide. A public presentation including committee members, content tracks is included here.  The content will be featured on the F50 Global Insights Youtube channel.

The summit is one of Bay Area’s most sought after events for investors and industry leaders, connecting the next generation of world-changing innovators with strategic partners to power their long-term impact. 

Building on F50’s focus on healthtech innovation over the past year, the Summit is an outstanding opportunity to bring together healthtech experts, entrepreneurs, and the global investor community to elevate health innovation at this critical time.

Global Capital Summit – Confirmed Speakers

  • Bill Reichert,Garage Venture,Managing Director
  • Braj Agrawal, MD, Physician (Neurologist), Investor, Author, Chair IGS2020 at UCSF, Asst Prof Stanford
  • Brian Modoff, EVP, Qualcomm
  • Canice Wu, Vlocity, Head of Insurance Practice
  • Che Voigt,North Bay Angels,Board Chair
  • Daniel Kraft, Chair of Medicine, Singularity Exponential
  • David Cao, Partner, F50 | Hunnwell Lake Ventures
  • Dr. Daniel Teo, Founding Partner, Hunniwell Lake Ventures
  • Dr. Guoliang Yu,Crown Biosicence,Executive Chairman
  • Dr. Heldley Rees,Poole Hospital (NHS)
  • Dr. Mang Yu,Stanford University
  • Dr. Minesh Khashu M.B.B.S, MD, FRCPCH, FRSA, Q Fellow (Health Foundation & NHSI), Consultant Neonatologist, Poole Hospital NHS
  • Dr. Oana Marcu, Scientist, SETI(NASA)
  • Dr. Ossama Hassanein, Chairman, Rising Tide Fund
  • Dr. Patrick Carroll, CMO, HIMS/HERS; Former Chief Medical Officer at Walgreens
  • Dr. Sean Randolph, Sr. Director, Bay Area Council Institute
  • Dr. Shafi Ahmed,”Professor, Associate Dean”,Barts Medical School
  • Dr. Shiyi Chen, Fudan University
  • Dr. Uli K. Chettipally, MD., MPH., Founder & President InnoMD
  • Dr. Xiang Qian, Medical Director, International Medical Services,Stanford Health Care
  • Gary Goldman MD, DDS, Sutter Enterprise Physician Informatics Lead
  • Haiping Hu, Chairman, Global Mentor Board,
  • Henry Xue,Stanford Angels,
  • James Sowers, Angel investor, PopUp Ventures, Forbes top 50 Angel Investor
  • Jinbo Liu, President, Netease USA
  • Jordan Wahbeh,Bay Angels,Managing Partner
  • Keith Teare, Angel Investor
  • Lu Zhang, Founding Partner, Fusion Capital
  • Nikolai Oreshkin,Elysium Venture Capital,Managing Partner
  • Orrin Ailloni-Charas, MD, MBA, Managing Partner at Global Health Impact Fund
  • Paul Singh, Angel Investor, Board Member, Tie
  • Pavan Kumar, Partner, F50 Elevate
  • Philipe Kahn, Inventor, Founder of FullPower, LightSurf, Starfish,Borland Soft
  • Randy Williams,Keiretsu Forum,CEO/Founder
  • Richard Fang,Hunniwell Lake Ventures,Founding Partner
  • Roger Royse, Partner,Hayne Boone
  • Roger Sanford Cofounder, Healthgrid
  • Sean Randolph, Senior Director, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
  • Stephaine Marrus, Managing Director, UCSF Entrepreneur Center
  • Steve Lau, Founding Partner, Eagle Fund
  • Thomas C. Südhof, Nobel Laureate, 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • Wei Zhou,Centrillion,CEO

The Summit is known for the exceptional quality of its speaking program as well as its select audience.  It will include around 60 speaking sessions, panel discussions, and invitational roundtable discussions for the industry leaders. This event is free to professional investors and medical professionals.  We hope to attract 100,000 attendees from around the world. Attendees from leading corporations, VCs, angel investors, founders and thought leaders will participate online.

More information

Register today for Comp ticket registration


Nominate a Speaker

This is our formal speaker invitation letter:


Here is the speaker registration / nomination form.


As a past volunteer leader myself for Startup Weekend, SVE ToastMasters,  SV Android, I would like to invite more experienced volunteers join the event as volunteers:

Donate services: summit@f50.io

Features  of the online  summit:

  • Keynote and thought leader presentation & insightful panels
  • Global Insights Investor Report
  • F50 Global Impact Awards
  • Executive (Speaker & VIP ) Roundtable discussions
  • Breakout sessions from India, Euroope, China, Latin America, Europe, etc.
  • F50 Elevate Connect Lounge

About F50:

F50 identifies the most promising early-stage technology companies in North America by leveraging the collective intelligence of its deep roots of Silicon Valley-based developer and startup communities, the large reach of corporate partners and investor network, and industry experts. We support the growth of these companies with corporate partnerships, market development, and venture financing; together with our global network.


About the Global Capital Summit 2020

The Global Capital Summit®  is organized by F50, Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs. The Summit finds and connects the next generation of world-changing tech innovations with partnerships to power their long-term impact. The summit will feature 60+ extraordinary sessions, and over 1000 attendees from world-leading corporations and the global investment ecosystem. The attendees are corporate executives, Angel investors, VCs, and a group of high-potential local founders. We dont expect to general any profit from this event. But if we do, we will donate the profit to the entrepreneur organizations who are helping the fight with COVID-19

They Tested Negative for Covid. Still, They Have Long Covid Symptoms.


Kristin Novotny once led an active life, with regular CrossFit workouts and football in the front yard with her children — plus a job managing the kitchen at a middle school. Now, the 33-year-old mother of two from De Pere, Wisconsin, has to rest after any activity, even showering. Conversations leave her short of breath.

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Long after their initial coronavirus infections, patients with a malady known as “long covid” continue to struggle with varied symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems, muscle and joint pain, and neurological issues. Novotny has been contending with these and more, despite testing negative for covid-19 seven months ago.

Experts don’t yet know what causes long covid or why some people have persistent symptoms while others recover in weeks or even days. They also don’t know just how long the condition — referred to formally by scientists as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, or PASC — lasts.

But the people who didn’t test positive for covid — due either to a lack of access to testing or a false-negative result — face difficulty getting treatment and disability benefits. Their cases are not always included in studies of long covid despite their lingering symptoms. And, sometimes as aggravating, many find that family, friends or even doctors have doubts they contracted covid at all.

Novotny, who first became ill in August, initially returned to work at the beginning of the school year, but her symptoms snowballed and, one day months later, she couldn’t catch her breath at work. She went home and hasn’t been well enough to return.

“It is sad and frustrating being unable to work or play with my kids,” Novotny said via email, adding that it’s devastating to see how worried her family is about her. “My 9-year-old is afraid that if I’m left alone, I will have a medical emergency and no one will be here to help.”

Data about the frequency of false-negative diagnostic covid tests is extremely limited. A study at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, which focused on the time between exposure and testing, found a median false-negative rate of 20% three days after symptoms start. A small study in China conducted early in the pandemic found a high rate of negative tests even among patients sick enough to be hospitalized. And given the dearth of long-hauler research, patients dealing with lingering covid symptoms have organized to study themselves.

The haphazard protocols for testing people in the United States, the delays and difficulties accessing tests and the poor quality of many of the tests left many people without proof they were infected with the virus that causes covid-19.

“It’s great if someone can get a positive test, but many people who have covid simply will never have one, for a variety of different reasons,” said Natalie Lambert, an associate research professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of research for the online covid support group Survivor Corps.

Lambert’s work with computational analytics has found that long haulers face such a wide variety of symptoms that no single symptom is a good screening tool for covid. “If PCR tests are not always accurate or available at the right time and it’s not always easy to diagnose based on someone’s initial symptoms, we really need to have a more flexible, expansive way of diagnosing for covid based on clinical presentations,” she said.

Dr. Bobbi Pritt, chair of the division of clinical microbiology at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, said four factors affect the accuracy of a diagnostic test: when the patient’s sample is collected, what part of the body it comes from, the technique of the person collecting the sample and the test type.

“But if one of those four things isn’t correct,” said Pritt, “you could still have a false-negative result.”

Timing is one of the most nebulous elements in accurately detecting SARS-CoV-2. The body doesn’t become symptomatic immediately after exposure. It takes time for the virus to multiply and this incubation period tends to last four or five days before symptoms start for most people. “But we’ve known that it can be as many as 14 days,” Pritt said.

Testing during that incubation period — however long it may be — means there may not be enough detectable virus yet.

“Early on after infection, you may not see it because the person doesn’t have enough virus around for you to find,” said Dr. Yuka Manabe, an infectious-disease expert and a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Novotny woke up with symptoms on Aug. 14 and got a covid test later that day. Three days later — the same day her test result came back negative — she went to the hospital because of severe shortness of breath and chest pressure.

“The hospital chose not to test me due to test shortages and told me to presume positive,” Novotny wrote, adding that hospital staffers told her she likely tested too early and received a false negative.

As the virus leaves the body, it becomes undetectable, but patients may still have symptoms because their immune responses kicked in. At that point, “you’re seeing more of an inflammatory phase of illness,” Manabe said.

An autoimmune response, in which the body’s defense system attacks its own healthy tissue, may be behind persistent covid symptoms in many patients, though small amounts of virus hiding in organs is another explanation.

Andréa Ceresa is nearing a year of long covid and has an extensive list of symptoms, topped by gastrointestinal and neurological issues. When the 47-year-old from Branchburg, New Jersey, got sick last April, she had trouble getting a covid test. Once she did, her result was negative.

Ceresa has seen so many doctors since then that she can’t keep them straight. She considers herself lucky to have finally found some “fantastic” doctors, but she’s also seen plenty who didn’t believe her or tried to gaslight her — a frequent complaint of long haulers.

A couple of doctors told her they didn’t think her condition had anything to do with covid. One told her it was all in her head. And after a two-month wait to see one neurologist, he didn’t order any tests and simply told her to take vitamin B, leaving her “crying and devastated.”

“I think the negative test absolutely did that,” Ceresa said.

Fortunately, among a growing number of physicians specifically treating patients with long covid, positive test results aren’t vital. In the patient-led research, symptoms patients reported were not significantly different between those who had positive covid tests and those who had negative tests.

Dr. Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, a rehabilitation and physical medicine doctor who leads University Health’s Post-COVID Recovery program in San Antonio, said about 12% of the patients she’s seen never had a positive covid test.

“The initial test, to me, is not as important as the symptoms,” Gutierrez said. “You have to spend a lot of time with these patients, provide education, provide encouragement and try to work on all the issues that they’re having.”

She said she tells people “what’s done is done” and, regardless of test status, “now we need to treat the outcome.”

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Source: by [#item_author] from Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. More Read More

Colleges and Universities Plan for Normal-ish Campus Life in the Fall


Dr. Sarah Van Orman treads carefully around the word “normal” when she describes what the fall 2021 term will look like at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and other colleges nationwide.

This story also ran on U.S. News & World Report. It can be republished for free.

In the era of covid, the word conjures up images of campus life that university administrators know won’t exist again for quite some time. As much as they want to move in that direction, Van Orman said, these first steps may be halting.

“We believe that higher education generally will be able to resume a kind of normal activity in the fall of ’21, and by that I mean students in classrooms and in the residence halls, others on campus, and things generally open,” said Van Orman, USC’s chief health officer. “But it will not look like the fall of 2019, before the pandemic. That will take a while.”

Interviews with campus officials and health administrators around the country reveal similar thinking. Almost every official who spoke with KHN said universities will open their classrooms and their dorms this fall. In many cases, they no longer can afford not to. But controlling those environments and limiting viral spread loom among the largest challenges in many schools’ histories — and the notion of what constitutes normalcy is again being adjusted in real time.

The university officials predicted significantly increased on-campus activity, but with limits. Most of the schools expect to have students living on campus but attending only some classes in person or attending only on selected days — one way to stagger the head count and to limit classroom exposure. And all plan to have vaccines and plenty of testing available.

“We’re going to be using face coverings,” Van Orman said. “We’re going to be lowering densities of people in certain areas. We’re going to be offering vaccinations on campus, and we need tracking mechanisms so that we can perform contact tracing when it’s called for.”

With three vaccines being administered nationally so far, the chances that college faculty and staff members could be partially or fully inoculated against covid by fall are improving. Students generally fall well down on the priority list to receive covid vaccines, so schools are left to hope that vaccination of adults will keep covid rates too low to cause major campus outbreaks. It may take months to test that assumption, depending on vaccination and disease rates, the duration of vaccine-induced immunity and the X-factor of variants and their resistance to existing vaccines.

And most colleges are interpreting federal law as prohibiting them from requiring staffers or students to be vaccinated, because the shots have been granted only emergency use authorization and are not yet licensed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Regardless, many schools are powering forward. The University of Houston recently announced it would return to full pre-pandemic levels of campus activity, as did the University of Minnesota. Boston University president Robert Brown said students will return this fall to classrooms, studios and laboratories “without the social distancing protocols that have been in place since last September.” No hybrid classes will be offered, he said, nor will “workplace adjustments” be made for faculty and staff.

The University of South Carolina plans to return residence halls to normal occupancy, with face-to-face classes and the resumption of other operations at the 35,000-student main campus, Debbie Beck, the school’s chief health officer, announced last month.

At some of the largest state institutions, however, it’s clear that a campus-by-campus decision-making process remains in play. In December, the California State University system, a behemoth that enrolls nearly half a million students, announced plans for “primarily in-person” instruction this fall, only to be contradicted by officials at one of its 23 campuses.

The 17,000-student Chico State campus plans to offer about a quarter of its fall course sections either fully in person or blended, president Gayle Hutchinson wrote to the campus community in February. “There is no easy explanation of what this means for students,” she said. “It could mean a fully online schedule, or one that is both in-person and online.”

The 285,000-student University of California system in January declared a return to primarily in-person instruction for fall, but said specific plans and protocols would be announced by each of its 10 campuses. Places like UCLA, in Los Angeles County, which was ravaged by sky-high infection rates for months, could wind up with far fewer in-person classes than UC campuses in Merced or Santa Cruz.

There’s no getting around the financial component of schools’ decisions for the fall. After most of the more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. went into full or nearly full physical shutdown late last spring, overall enrollment fell 2.5% and freshman enrollment decreased by more than 13%. And the real pain was felt in empty dormitories and cafeterias. For many schools, room and board make up the profit margin for the year.

According to research by the College Board, room and board costs rose faster than tuition and fees at public two- and four-year institutions over the past five years. In 2017, the Urban Institute found that room and board costs had more than doubled since 1980 in inflation-adjusted dollars. When those dollars dry up, as they have during the pandemic, budgets can be severely strained.

In mid-March, Mills College, a 169-year-old women’s liberal arts school in Oakland, announced it would no longer admit first-year undergrads and would instead become an institute promoting women’s leadership. Mills is among a number of schools in financial distress that the pandemic pushed over the edge.

In an October letter to Congress seeking enhanced financial support, the American Council on Education estimated a collective $120 billion in pandemic-related losses by the nation’s colleges and universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education in February revised that estimate to a staggering $183 billion, “the biggest losses our financial sector has ever faced.”

There are no easy solutions. The hybrid class model, with professors simultaneously teaching some students in person and others online, “is a heavy lift for both institutions and faculty,” said Sue Lorenson, vice dean for undergraduate education at Georgetown University. But although instructors generally loathe it, that model almost certainly will be in place at most schools this fall to keep enrollments as high as possible.

Clearly, the preference at any school is to have those students back on campus. And university health officials would rather see them living in dorms. As long as infection rates are low in communities around campus, “the schools really have a great ability to keep those kids in the residential halls very safe,” Van Orman said. “We’ve got the ability to test them regularly and mitigate with mask-wearing, distancing, disinfecting and other things.”

One of USC’s biggest viral outbreaks, in fact, occurred off campus last summer, when more than 40 people became infected in the “fraternity row” area, a couple of blocks away from the university.

On campuses across the country, officials say, the fall term will again be marked by adjustments all around. And as for the return to a true normal?

“I don’t think, reasonably, that this will happen before September of ’22, and I truly believe we’ll probably be looking at ’23,” Antonio Calcado, chief operating officer at Rutgers, New Jersey’s 70,000-student state university, said during a campus presentation. “It was easy bringing the university to a standstill. It’ll be difficult bringing it back up to where we need to be.”

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Source: by [#item_author] from Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. More Read More

What is mRNA? The messenger molecule that’s been in every living cell for billions of years is the key ingredient in some COVID-19 vaccines


One surprising star of the coronavirus pandemic response has been the molecule called mRNA. It’s the key ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. But mRNA itself is not a new invention from the lab. It evolved billions of years ago and is naturally found in every cell in your body. Scientists think RNA originated in the earliest life forms, even before DNA existed.

Here’s a crash course in just what mRNA is and the important job it does.

Meet the genetic middleman

You probably know about DNA. It’s the molecule that contains all of your genes spelled out in a four-letter code – A, C, G and T.

diagram of a generic cell featuring nucleus and other structures
Messenger RNA carries genetic information from DNA in the highly protected nucleus out to the rest of the cell, where structures called ribosomes can build proteins according to the DNA blueprint.
ttsz/iStock via Getty Images Plus

DNA is found inside the cells of every living thing. It’s protected in a part of the cell called the nucleus. The genes are the details in the DNA blueprint for all the physical characteristics that make you uniquely you.

But the information from your genes has to get from the DNA in the nucleus out to the main part of the cell – the cytoplasm – where proteins are assembled. Cells rely on proteins to carry out the many processes necessary for the body to function. That’s where messenger RNA, or mRNA for short, comes in.

Sections of the DNA code are transcribed into shortened messages that are instructions for making proteins. These messages – the mRNA – are transported out to the main part of the cell. Once the mRNA arrives, the cell can produce particular proteins from these instructions.

schematic of DNA, mRNA and a protein
The double-stranded DNA sequence is transcribed into an mRNA code so the instructions can be translated into proteins.
Alkov/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The structure of RNA is similar to DNA but has some important differences. RNA is a single strand of code letters (nucleotides), while DNA is double-stranded. The RNA code contains a U instead of a T – uracil instead of thymine. Both RNA and DNA structures have a backbone made of sugar and phosphate molecules, but RNA’s sugar is ribose and DNA’s is deoxyribose. DNA’s sugar contains one less oxygen atom and this difference is reflected in their names: DNA is the nickname for deoxyribonucleic acid, RNA is ribonucleic acid.

Identical copies of DNA reside in every single cell of an organism, from a lung cell to a muscle cell to a neuron. RNA is produced as needed in response to the dynamic cellular environment and the immediate needs of the body. It’s mRNA’s job to help fire up the cellular machinery to build the proteins, as encoded by the DNA, that are appropriate for that time and place.

The process that converts DNA to mRNA to protein is the foundation for how the cell functions.

[Research into coronavirus and other news from science Subscribe to The Conversation’s science newsletter.]

Programmed to self-destruct

As the intermediary messenger, mRNA is an important safety mechanism in the cell. It prevents invaders from hijacking the cellular machinery to produce foreign proteins because any RNA outside of the cell is instantaneously targeted for destruction by enzymes called RNases. When these enzymes recognize the structure and the U in the RNA code, they erase the message, protecting the cell from false instructions.

The mRNA also gives the cell a way to control the rate of protein production – turning the blueprints “on” or “off” as needed. No cell wants to produce every protein described in your whole genome all at once.

Messenger RNA instructions are timed to self-destruct, like a disappearing text or snapchat message. Structural features of the mRNA – the U in the code, its single-stranded shape, ribose sugar and its specific sequence – ensure that the mRNA has a short half-life. These features combine to enable the message to be “read,” translated into proteins, and then quickly destroyed – within minutes for certain proteins that need to be tightly controlled, or up to a few hours for others.

Once the instructions vanish, protein production stops until the protein factories receive a new message.

Harnessing mRNA for vaccination

All of mRNA’s characteristics made it of great interest to vaccine developers. The goal of a vaccine is to get your immune system to react to a harmless version or part of a germ so when you encounter the real thing you’re ready to fight it off. Researchers found a way to introduce and protect an mRNA message with the code for a portion of the spike protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s surface.

diagram of how an mRNA vaccine works
Messenger RNA vaccines get the recipient’s body to produce a viral protein that then stimulates the desired immune response.
Trinset/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The vaccine provides just enough mRNA to make just enough of the spike protein for a person’s immune system to generate antibodies that protect them if they are later exposed to the virus. The mRNA in the vaccine is soon destroyed by the cell – just as any other mRNA would be. The mRNA cannot get into the cell nucleus and it cannot affect a person’s DNA.

Although these are new vaccines, the underlying technology was initially developed many years ago and improved incrementally over time. As a result, the vaccines have been well tested for safety. The success of these mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, in terms of safety and efficacy, predicts a bright future for new vaccine therapies that can be quickly tailored to new, emerging threats. Early-stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have already been conducted for influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus. Certainly, creative scientists are already considering and developing therapies for other diseases or disorders that might benefit from an approach similar to that used for the vaccines against COVID-19.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

How did humans evolve, and will we evolve more?


Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com.

How did humans evolve, and will they evolve more? – Anya T., 13, Brookline, Massachusetts

Everything that is alive today has evolved, including human beings.

Our ancestors evolved many traits that helped them survive in their environments, and we still have many of those traits today. Two of the most important and consequential traits are walking on two legs and having a large brain.

I’m a scholar of human evolution. I study how evolution works, including how it has changed the shape of the bones in the skull and ankle of humans and other primates.

So how did humans evolve, and where will evolution take us in the future?

What evolution is

People pass traits to their children through genes. We can have different versions of the same genes – called alleles – and evolution occurs when the proportion of these alleles in the population changes over multiple generations.

Alleles in a population often help certain individuals survive in their own environment. This means that evolution isn’t about becoming the fastest, or the strongest, or the smartest, because it all depends on the environment.

Early ancestors of humans evolved to walk upright on two legs around 6 million years ago.

Scientists are still trying to figure out why our ancestors started walking on two legs. Today, the most common hypothesis is that walking on two legs probably helped our ancestors to move between forest patches that were shrinking due to a changing climate.

What about our brains?

Relative to the size of our bodies, humans have the largest brains on the planet. Elephants have bigger brains, but their bodies are even bigger than ours.

Without big brains we wouldn’t be able to innovate, such as by creating an alphabet, sending machines to Mars or creating vaccines that protect us against measles and other dangerous diseases. Our big brains make it possible to share information culturally through books, storytelling or even movies, rather than only passing our genes to the next generation.

Our ancestors’ brains got bigger over the course of human evolution until about 200,000 to 300,000 years ago when modern humans, known as Homo sapiens, showed up.

After that, human brains actually started to get a bit smaller, possibly because our bodies have gotten smaller or perhaps because a slightly smaller brain may not use as much energy.

Humans are still evolving. For example, because they have a largely vegetarian diet like their ancestors did, many people who live in the city of Pune, India, have a mutation that helps them more efficiently process omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Vegetarians can have trouble getting enough of those nutrients, which are important for having a healthy brain.

Humans in the future

Nobody knows where human evolution will lead.

All organisms, including humans, adapt to their environments. And those environments can change – sometimes in entirely unpredictable ways.

It may disappoint you to hear that people aren’t likely to evolve superpowers like those in the “X-Men” movies or characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at least for the most part.

However, there is one Marvel character humans have evolved to be like: Iron Man.

The inventions of Tony Stark, who turns into Iron Man, can both save the day and wreak havoc in the Marvel Universe.

Like Iron Man, humans are smart enough to invent things that can make some of us live longer or have more fun, whether it’s a device that keeps an ailing heart beating or an airplane that makes it possible to fly without wings.

It’s unlikely that humans will ever evolve laser beam eyes or wings out of our backs like the X-Men characters Cyclops and Archangel. But other abilities that humans have evolved over millions of years of evolution allow us to do many of those same things, through innovation.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

Audio chatrooms like Clubhouse have become the hot new media by tapping into the age-old appeal of the human voice


Google “What is Clubhouse?” and you’ll find a flurry of articles written in the past few weeks about this fast-growing social network. It’s not yet a year old, and much of the buzz stems from the fact that Clubhouse is invite-only, bringing with it an element of exclusivity.

Clubhouse’s key attribute is its medium: audio, which sets it apart from established social media and messaging services like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp and YouTube that use text, photos, video or a mix. Clubhouse combines the structure of old-school text chatrooms with the immediacy and emotion of the human voice.

The social media service is tapping into the creativity, intimacy and authenticity that audio can deliver, a trend that lies at the heart of the current golden age of podcasting.

Amid the hype, Clubhouse faces privacy and harassment challenges that could make it difficult for the company to maintain a trajectory that has seen it grow from 1,500 users and a US$100 million valuation in May 2020 to 2 million weekly active users and a potential $1 billion valuation.

How it works

Once you’ve scored yourself an invite, the app is pretty easy to navigate. You can look in your calendar to find conversations based on your interests, which you identify at sign-up. Or you can browse “rooms” with discussions currently in progress. You can also set up your own event. Rooms can be public or private, you can listen quietly or join the conversation, and you can enter and leave rooms at will.

Activities typically range from interviews to panel events and wide-ranging discussions. Some efforts are even more ambitious; at the end of last year a group of Clubhouse members put on two performances of “Lion King: The Musical,” featuring actors, narrators and a choir.

What’s the appeal?

Exclusivity, media buzz, engagement from Tesla founder Elon Musk and high-profile investment from venture capitalists have all helped pique interest in the app. As a scholar who studies storytelling, I’ve identified three other factors that may contribute to its ongoing appeal.

First, audio is an intimate medium. You can hear the inflections in people’s tone of voice, which convey emotion and personality in a way that text alone does not. If you make a joke or are sarcastic over a text or email, your attempt at humor can easily fall flat or be misinterpreted. That is less likely when people can hear you.

Moreover, hearing from people directly can generate empathy and understanding – on tough topics that listeners might have become desensitized to, such as bereavement, addiction and suicide – in a way that text alone cannot.

Second, there’s serendipity. Although events and structured conversations are increasingly held on Clubhouse, you can wander around, dropping into rooms on topics ranging from hip-hop to health tech.

Eavesdropping on random conversations brings with it a certain unpredictability. It’s hard to know where to look for quality conversations, which is why the network is proposing to develop a “Creators” program designed to nurture “Clubhouse Influencers.” But sometimes frivolous and trivial is fine. After all, it would be exhausting to listen to TED Talks 24/7.

This unstructured approach has an appeal at a time when people’s media habits are increasingly governed by algorithms, making it hard to bump into something new.

Finally, there’s the fact that audio is a great background medium. I grew up in a household where public radio, the BBC in my case, was always playing in the kitchen. Audio is perfect for multitasking. People listen to it while commuting to work, sitting at their desks or walking the dog.

Clubhouse taps into these elements, and at a time when many people are deprived of pre-pandemic levels of human contact, it enables a plurality of voices and human experiences to babble away in the background.

Major growing pains

Clubhouse is expanding quickly, bringing with it increased scrutiny. The company is facing issues such as managing misinformation that are familiar to many other social networks.

In an unregulated space, people can say what they want. This has implications for fact-checking and content moderation, enabling conspiracy theories to potentially run rife. Journalists and users have reported issues of harassment, anti-Semitism, misogyny and racism, though these are against Clubhouse’s community guidelines.

Privacy and security concerns also abound. Chats have been rebroadcast online. Earlier in the month, the Stanford Internet Observatory revealed security flaws that meant user data was vulnerable and accessible to the Chinese government. The app may fall foul of data protection rules in Europe, known as GDPR.

Other commentators have expressed concern about the fact that users hand over the contact details of everyone in their phones when they sign up.

The app is also available for iPhone users only, which means that it doesn’t work on other devices. That’s a problem, given that more than 70% of the world is on Android, Google’s mobile operating system.

Meanwhile, closing an account also appears to be more problematic than it should be.

[Get our best science, health and technology stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s science newsletter.]

Riding the audio wave

Whether people will still be talking about Clubhouse six months from now remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that the attention the app is getting is part of a wider reinvention and reinvigoration of the audio medium that’s been playing out over the past few years.

Podcasting has continued to expand. More than a million podcasts are already available, and for audio streaming services like Spotify, podcasts are at the heart of their strategy for growth.

Meanwhile, Audible – Amazon’s audiobook service – is expanding around the world, and smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home are among the fastest-growing technologies of all time, enabling users to listen to music, podcasts or the latest weather report on demand.

It’s not just Clubhouse that is seeking to harness this trend. Facebook is reported to be creating a Clubhouse clone, while Twitter Spaces is the microblogging network’s latest foray into the audio space. The tech industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang has identified more than 30 social audio efforts, calling it a “‘Goldilocks’ medium for the 2020s: text is not enough, and video is too much; social audio is just right.”

Humans have felt the need to connect and tell stories since time immemorial. This is audio’s secret sauce, driving much of the renewed interest in the medium. Clubhouse may be today’s digital campfire, but it’s highly unlikely to be the last.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

AI is killing choice and chance – which means changing what it means to be human


AI promises to make life easier, but what will humans lose in the bargain? AP Photo/Frank Augstein

The history of humans’ use of technology has always been a history of coevolution. Philosophers from Rousseau to Heidegger to Carl Schmitt have argued that technology is never a neutral tool for achieving human ends. Technological innovations – from the most rudimentary to the most sophisticated – reshape people as they use these innovations to control their environment. Artificial intelligence is a new and powerful tool, and it, too, is altering humanity.

Writing and, later, the printing press made it possible to carefully record history and easily disseminate knowledge, but it eliminated centuries-old traditions of oral storytelling. Ubiquitous digital and phone cameras have changed how people experience and perceive events. Widely available GPS systems have meant that drivers rarely get lost, but a reliance on them has also atrophied their native capacity to orient themselves.

AI is no different. While the term AI conjures up anxieties about killer robots, unemployment or a massive surveillance state, there are other, deeper implications. As AI increasingly shapes the human experience, how does this change what it means to be human? Central to the problem is a person’s capacity to make choices, particularly judgments that have moral implications.

Taking over our lives?

AI is being used for wide and rapidly expanding purposes. It is being used to predict which television shows or movies individuals will want to watch based on past preferences and to make decisions about who can borrow money based on past performance and other proxies for the likelihood of repayment. It’s being used to detect fraudulent commercial transactions and identify malignant tumors. It’s being used for hiring and firing decisions in large chain stores and public school districts. And it’s being used in law enforcement – from assessing the chances of recidivism, to police force allocation, to the facial identification of criminal suspects.

Many of these applications present relatively obvious risks. If the algorithms used for loan approval, facial recognition and hiring are trained on biased data, thereby building biased models, they tend to perpetuate existing prejudices and inequalities. But researchers believe that cleaned-up data and more rigorous modeling would reduce and potentially eliminate algorithmic bias. It’s even possible that AI could make predictions that are fairer and less biased than those made by humans.

Where algorithmic bias is a technical issue that can be solved, at least in theory, the question of how AI alters the abilities that define human beings is more fundamental. We have been studying this question for the last few years as part of the Artificial Intelligence and Experience project at UMass Boston’s Applied Ethics Center.

Losing the ability to choose

Aristotle argued that the capacity for making practical judgments depends on regularly making them – on habit and practice. We see the emergence of machines as substitute judges in a variety of workaday contexts as a potential threat to people learning how to effectively exercise judgment themselves.

In the workplace, managers routinely make decisions about whom to hire or fire, which loan to approve and where to send police officers, to name a few. These are areas where algorithmic prescription is replacing human judgment, and so people who might have had the chance to develop practical judgment in these areas no longer will.

Recommendation engines, which are increasingly prevalent intermediaries in people’s consumption of culture, may serve to constrain choice and minimize serendipity. By presenting consumers with algorithmically curated choices of what to watch, read, stream and visit next, companies are replacing human taste with machine taste. In one sense, this is helpful. After all, the machines can survey a wider range of choices than any individual is likely to have the time or energy to do on her own.

A television remote control with button labelled Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Sling
Services that make recommendations based on preferences, like which movies to watch, reduce chance discoveries.
AP Photo/Jenny Kane

At the same time, though, this curation is optimizing for what people are likely to prefer based on what they’ve preferred in the past. We think there is some risk that people’s options will be constrained by their pasts in a new and unanticipated way – a generalization of the “echo chamber” people are already seeing in social media.

The advent of potent predictive technologies seems likely to affect basic political institutions, too. The idea of human rights, for example, is grounded in the insight that human beings are majestic, unpredictable, self-governing agents whose freedoms must be guaranteed by the state. If humanity – or at least its decision-making – becomes more predictable, will political institutions continue to protect human rights in the same way?

Utterly predictable

As machine learning algorithms, a common form of “narrow” or “weak” AI, improve and as they train on more extensive data sets, larger parts of everyday life are likely to become utterly predictable. The predictions are going to get better and better, and they will ultimately make common experiences more efficient and more pleasant.

Algorithms could soon – if they don’t already – have a better idea about which show you’d like to watch next and which job candidate you should hire than you do. One day, humans may even find a way machines can make these decisions without some of the biases that humans typically display.

But to the extent that unpredictability is part of how people understand themselves and part of what people like about themselves, humanity is in the process of losing something significant. As they become more and more predictable, the creatures inhabiting the increasingly AI-mediated world will become less and less like us.

The Conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

Entrepreneurs need love too – 2Redbeans


Happy holidays! SVE is co-producing a short video with 2RedBeans on “The dating rules of entrepreneurs.” And we are requesting your take on this topic and video submissions.

2RedBeans, an Stanford StartX  incubated startup and F50 portfolio company, is the leading online dating site for AsiaChinese diaspora in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia.

We are calling the entrepreneurs and their partners to participate in this 2-mins survey and share your point of view about the “Love life of entrepreneurs.” 2RedBeans will also select several entrepreneurs to film a Q&A video on your take on questions such as

  • Who do you think is the ideal partner for an entrepreneur?
  • What is it like to date someone who’s an entrepreneur?
  • What’s the biggest complaint from your partner as an entrepreneur?
  • Has the pandemic changed what you are looking for in a partner?
  • etc.

Happy to give your feedback

button link:https://forms.gle/3JW73DTzCWQ15dMHA

(You also have a chance to win a 3-month VIP from 2RedBeans by filling in the survey.)

Pumpkin Organics won SVE Entrepreneur’s Choice 2020 – Good taste is learnable


Pumpkin Organics, winner of SVE Entrepreneur’s Choice Award in SVE Demo Global 2020, is redefining baby food based on the nutritional science of the First 1,000 Days.

They are on a mission to change the way we feed our kids, and to contribute to a healthy, happy and high-performing next generation around the world.

Pumpkin Organics, helping to train tiny taste buds for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Midwives and doctors agree: ‘What babies eat early in life will influence their food preferences later in life‘​. Thus, the ‘first thousand days‘​ have a major impact on the future eating habits, health and quality of life of babies, as they can learn taste and food cravings. Science calls this phenomenon ‘metabolic imprinting‘​.

Therefore, would it not be smart to teach babies healthy eating habits from an early age, i.e. more vegetables and less sugar?

Good taste is not a coincidence, it is learnable.

We are parents who want to help other parents to support the development of their babies. So, we created Smart Food for Super Babies. All babies are super:) And our smart food – our recipes veggies-centric, 100% organic and with nothing extra – no added sugars, salt, preservatives or additives.

Discover more delicious food for babies at www.pumpkin-organics.com.

Five Important Questions About Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine


Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its COVID-19 shot appears to keep nine in 10 people from getting the disease sent its stock price rocketing. Many news reports described the vaccine as if it were our deliverance from the pandemic, even though few details were released.

There was certainly something to crow about: Pfizer’s vaccine consists of genetic material called mRNA encased in tiny particles that shuttle it into our cells. From there, it stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that protect against the virus. A similar strategy is employed in other leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates. If mRNA vaccines can protect against COVID-19 and, presumably, other infectious diseases, it will be a momentous piece of news.

“This is a truly historic first,” said Dr. Michael Watson, the former president of Valera, a subsidiary of Moderna, which is currently running advanced trials of its own mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. “We now have a whole new class of vaccines in our hands.”

But historically, important scientific announcements about vaccines are made through peer-reviewed medical research papers that have undergone extensive scrutiny about study design, results and assumptions, not through company press releases.

So did Pfizer’s stock deserve its double-digit percentage bump? The answers to the following five questions will help us know.

1. How long will the vaccine protect patients?

Pfizer says that, as of last week, 94 people out of about 40,000 in the trial had gotten ill with COVID-19. While it didn’t say exactly how many of the sick had been vaccinated, the 90% efficacy figure suggests it was a very small number. The Pfizer announcement covers people who got two shots between July and October. But it doesn’t indicate how long protection will last or how often people might need boosters.

“It’s a reasonable bet, but still a gamble that protection for two or three months is similar to six months or a year,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration panel that is likely to review the vaccine for approval in December. Normally, vaccines aren’t licensed until they show they can protect for a year or two.

The company did not release any safety information. To date, no serious side effects have been revealed, and most tend to occur within six weeks of vaccination. But scientists will have to keep an eye out for rare effects such as immune enhancement, a severe illness brought on by a virus’s interaction with immune particles in some vaccinated persons, said Dr. Walt Orenstein, a professor of medicine at Emory University and former director of the immunization program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Will it protect the most vulnerable?

Pfizer did not disclose what percentage of its trial volunteers are in the groups most likely to be hospitalized or to die of COVID-19 — including people 65 and older and those with diabetes or obesity. This is a key point because many vaccines, particularly for influenza, may fail to protect the elderly though they protect younger people. “How representative are those 94 people of the overall population, especially those most at risk?” asked Orenstein.

Both the National Academy of Medicine and the CDC have urged that older people be among the first groups to receive vaccines. It’s possible that vaccines under development by Novavax and Sanofi, which are likely to begin late-phase clinical trials later this year, may be better for the elderly, Offit noted. Those vaccines contain immune-stimulating particles like the ones contained in the Shingrix vaccine, which is highly effective in protecting older people against shingles disease.

3. Can it be rolled out effectively?

The Pfizer vaccine, unlike others in late-stage testing, must be kept supercooled, on dry ice around 100 degrees below zero, from the time it is produced until a few days before it is injected. The mRNA quickly self-destructs at higher temperatures. Pfizer has devised an elaborate system to transport the vaccine by truck and specially designed cases to vaccination sites. Public health workers are being trained to handle the vaccine as we speak, but we don’t know for sure how well it will do if containers are left out in the Arizona sun too long. Mishandling the vaccine along the way from factory to patient would render it ineffective, so people who received it could think they were protected when they were not, Offit said.

4. Could a premature announcement hurt future vaccines?

There’s presently no way to know whether the Pfizer vaccine will be the best overall or for specific age groups. But if the FDA approves it quickly, that could make it harder for manufacturers of other vaccines to carry out their studies. If people are aware that an effective vaccine exists, they may decline to enter clinical trials, partly out of concern they could get a placebo and remain unprotected. Indeed, it may be unethical to use a placebo in such trials. Many vaccines will be needed in order to meet global demand for protection against COVID-19, so it’s crucial to continue additional studies.

5. Could the Pfizer study expedite future vaccines?

Scientists are vitally interested in whether the small number who received the real vaccine but still got sick produced lower levels of antibodies than the vaccinated individuals who remained well. Blood studies of those people would help scientists learn whether there is a “correlate of protection” for COVID-19 — a level of antibodies that can predict whether someone is protected from the disease. If they had that knowledge, public health officials could determine whether other vaccines under production were effective without necessarily having to test them on tens of thousands of people.

But it’s difficult to build such road maps. Scientists have never established correlates of immunity for pertussis, for example, although vaccines have been used against those bacteria for nearly a century.

Still, this is good news, said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former FDA deputy commissioner. He said: “I hope this makes people realize that we’re not stuck in this situation forever. There’s hope coming, whether it’s this vaccine or another.”

This KHN story first published on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


This story can be republished for free (details).

Source: by [#item_author] from Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. More Read More

Time to Discuss Potentially Unpleasant Side Effects of COVID Shots? Scientists Say Yes.


Drugmaker Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November, a move that holds promise for quelling the pandemic, but also sets up a tight time frame for making sure consumers understand what it will mean to actually get the shots.

This story also ran on NBC News. It can be republished for free.

This vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart, company protocols show. Scientists anticipate the shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects — including sore arms, muscle aches and fever — that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school. And even if a vaccine proves 90% effective, the rate Pfizer touted for its product, 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can’t stop social distancing and throw away their masks.

Left out so far in the push to develop vaccines with unprecedented speed has been a large-scale plan to communicate effectively about those issues in advance, said Dr. Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

“You need to be ready,” he said. “You can’t look for your communication materials the day after the vaccine is authorized.”

Omer, who declined to comment on reports he’s being considered for a post in the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden, called for the rollout of a robust messaging campaign based on the best scientific evidence about vaccine hesitancy and acceptance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a strategy called “Vaccinate with Confidence,” but it lacks the necessary resources, Omer said.

“We need to communicate, and we need to communicate effectively, and we need to start planning for this now,” he said.

Such broad-based outreach will be necessary in a country where, as of mid-October, only half of Americans said they’d be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Initial doses of any vaccine would be limited at first, but experts predict they may be widely available by the middle of next year. Discussing potential side effects early could counter misinformation that overstates or distorts the risk.

“The biggest tragedy would be if we have a safe and effective vaccine that people are hesitant to get,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer and a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Pfizer and its partner, the German firm BioNTech, on Monday said their vaccine appears to protect 9 in 10 people from getting COVID-19, although they didn’t release underlying data. It’s the first of four COVID-19 vaccines in large-scale efficacy tests in the U.S. to post results.

Data from early trials of several COVID-19 vaccines suggests that consumers will need to be prepared for side effects that, while technically mild, could disrupt daily life. A senior Pfizer executive told the news outlet Stat that side effects from the company’s COVID-19 vaccine appear to be comparable to standard adult vaccines but worse than the company’s pneumonia vaccine, Prevnar, or typical flu shots.

The two-dose Shingrix vaccine, for instance, which protects older adults against the virus that causes painful shingles, results in sore arms in 78% of recipients and muscle pain and fatigue in more than 40% of those who take it. Prevnar and common flu shots can cause injection-site pain, aches and fever.

“We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two.”

Persuading people who experience these symptoms to return in three to four weeks for a second dose — and a second round of flu-like symptoms — could be a tough sell, Schaffner said.

How public health experts explain such effects is important, Omer said. “There’s evidence that suggests that if you frame pain as a proxy of effectiveness, it’s helpful,” he said. “If it’s hurting a little, it’s working.”

At the same time, good communication will help consumers plan for such effects. A COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be distributed first to health care staffers and other essential workers, who may not be able to work if they feel sick, said Dr. Eli Perencevich, a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa Health Care.

“A lot of folks don’t have sick leave. A lot of our essential workers don’t have health insurance,” he said, suggesting that essential workers should be granted three days of paid leave after they’re vaccinated. “These are the things a well-functioning government should provide for to get our economy going again.”

Making sure consumers know that a COVID-19 vaccine likely will require two doses — and that it could take a month for full effectiveness to kick in — is also crucial. The Pfizer phase 3 trial, which has enrolled nearly 44,000 people, started in late July. Participants received a second dose 21 days after the first. The reported 90% efficacy was measured seven days after the second dose.

Communicating effectively will be vital to ensuring that consumers follow through with the shots and — assuming several vaccines are approved — that their first and second doses are from the same maker. Until full protection kicks in, Omer said, people should continue to take measures to protect themselves: wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing. It’s important to let people know that taking appropriate action now will pay off later.

“If we just show them the tunnel, not the light, then that results in this mass denial,” he said. “We need to say, ‘You’ll have to continue to do this in the medium term, but the long term looks good.”

The best communication can occur once full data from the Pfizer trial and others are presented, noted Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccinologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who sits on the federal Food and Drug Administration’s advisory board considering COVID-19 vaccines.

“When you look at those data, you can more accurately define what groups of people are most likely to have side effects, what the efficacy is, what we know about how long the efficacy lasts, what we know about how long the safety data have been tested,” he said. “I think you have to get ready to communicate that. You can start getting ready now.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


This story can be republished for free (details).

Source: by [#item_author] from Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. More Read More

Smart concrete could pave the way for high-tech, cost-effective roads


The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco averages more than 100,000 vehicles daily. Photo by Saketh Garuda for Unsplash

Every day, Americans travel on roads, bridges and highways without considering the safety or reliability of these structures. Yet much of the transportation infrastructure in the U.S. is outdated, deteriorating and badly in need of repair.

Of the 614,387 bridges in the U.S., for example, 39% are older than their designed lifetimes, while nearly 10% are structurally deficient, meaning they could begin to break down faster or, worse, be vulnerable to catastrophic failure.

The cost to repair and improve nationwide transportation infrastructure ranges from nearly US$190 billion to almost $1 trillion. Repairing U.S. infrastructure costs individual households, on average, about $3,400 every year. Traffic congestion alone is estimated to cost the average driver $1,400 in fuel and time spent commuting, a nationwide tally of more than $160 billion per year.

The Purdue engineering lab has installed smart technology in three Indiana interstate highways.

I am a professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the director of the Center for Intelligent Infrastructures at Purdue University. My co-author, Vishal Saravade, is part of my team at the Sustainable Materials and Renewable Technology (SMART) Lab. The SMART Lab researches and develops new technologies to make American infrastructure “intelligent,” safer and more cost-effective. These new systems self-monitor the condition of roads and bridges quickly and accurately and can, sometimes, even repair themselves.

Smart, self-healing concrete

Infrastructure – bridges, highways, pavement – deteriorates over time with continuous use. The life of structures could be extended, however, if damages were monitored in real time and fixed early on. In the northern U.S., for example, freeze-thaw cycles in winter cause water to seep into the pavement where it freezes, expands and enlarges cracks, which can cause significant damage. If left unrepaired, this damage may propagate and break down pavements and bridges.

Self-healing concrete embedded with super polymers.
Self-healing concrete test study with cracked concrete (left) and self-healed concrete after 28 days (right).
SMART Lab/Purdue University, CC BY-ND

Such damage can be identified and repaired autonomously. At an early stage of a crack, for example, self-healing pavement would activate super absorbent polymers to absorb water and produce concrete-like material that fills in the crack. Cracks as small as a few microns could be healed to prevent significant damage by preventing or delaying the later stages of the freeze-thaw cycle.

The astonishing properties of absorbent polymers.

Roadway technology

Many researchers in the world are working on improving construction infrastructure. Technologies recently being explored include solar and energy-harvesting roads, charging lanes for electric vehicles, smart streetlights and reducing carbon-related emissions from construction materials.

At the Purdue SMART Lab, our team is also testing novel sensors that monitor transportation infrastructure by embedding them in several Indiana interstate highways. We plan to expand to other state highway systems in the next few years with a goal to better accommodate increased traffic and provide accurate estimates of road conditions during construction and its life.

Sensors installed on Indiana interstate I-74.
Erin Easterling/Purdue University, CC BY-ND

Sensors embedded in concrete pavement acquire information about the infrastructure’s health condition in real time and communicate the data to computers. Electrical signals are applied through the sensors. Concrete’s vibrations are converted into electrical signals that are read and analyzed by lab-built customized software. This enables transportation engineers to make effective and data-driven decisions from opening roads to traffic and to proactively identifying issues that cause damage or deterioration.

After concrete is poured for highway pavement, for example, it takes hours to cure and become strong enough to open for traffic. The timing of when to open a highway depends on when the concrete mix is cured. If a roadway opens too early and the concrete is undercured, it can reduce the life expectancy of the pavement and increase maintenance costs. Waiting too long to open a road can result in traffic delays, congestion and increased safety risks for construction workers and commuters. Curing concrete for massive highway projects requires close attention by engineers in conjunction with the weather specific to that region.

Sensors embedded in concrete can signal the health of roadways. Video by Erin Easterling/Purdue University.

Smart sensors embedded in concrete enable engineers to monitor the infrastructure and make data-driven decisions about when a road can open while retaining maximum life expectancy. Sensors can also help monitor the quality of concrete and whether it is robust enough to withstand traffic flow and corrosion after a roadway is opened. Smart, efficient infrastructure can significantly reduce structural failures, both catastrophic and through normal wear, as well as lead to reduced costs and provide new ways for structural engineers to assess real-time information about the pavement.

[Get our best science, health and technology stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s science newsletter.]

Saving time and money

Congress recognizes the need to invest in American transportation systems. A $494 billion legislation package, the INVEST In America Act, was recently introduced to address America’s deteriorating highways and bridges while diminishing carbon pollution.

Smart sensors and intelligent infrastructure system can enable significant savings of time and money with improved construction safety. Sensors can provide engineers with real-time data of the quality of our infrastructure to make the best decisions for building and maintaining roads, bridges and pavements while improving safety for drivers and construction workers. The addition of self-repairing properties can help build sustainable and long-lasting infrastructure to reduce maintenance and costs.

The Conversation

Luna Lu receives funding from Indiana Department of Transportation.

Vishal Saravade receives funding from Indiana Department of Transportation.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

7EDU Jun Liu: bring best teachers online to support personalized learning for global students


7EDU is a global educational tech company (K-12 Focus) with advanced technological integration & adaptive teaching methods. 7Edu Provide personalized and best quality online education to students all over the world through highly specialized teachers using technology platform.

7Edu caters to students by having live group classes with personalized services through our platform. 7Edu not only helps students with their school work but also provide courses that are not offered in school curriculums. 7Edu is gradually using AI to replace repetitive manual labor tasks to support our world class teachers and to offer students instant support worldwide and high quality services.

7EDU Jun Liu Presentation at F50 Global Capital Summit Summit 2020

Founded in 2014, 7EDU’s mission is to maximize each students’ intellectual potential through a personalized and engaging education system. 7EDU provides students with academic enrichment and brings a positive alternative to online education.

7Edu is a portfolio company of F50 Elevate accelerator.

Related videos:

7Edu Roundtable

Dokat A.I Air Purifiers Launched Indiegogo Campaign to kill indoor germs during Pandemic


Chicago, IL, Nov. 2, 2020, Dokat, a Chicago based technology startup, launched Indiegogo Campaign for its A.I powered Air Purifiers. Dokat recently won the second place at SVE Demo Global 2020, at global Startup Pitching Competition, organized by SVE, Silicon Valley’s largest startup community. Dokat is a portfolio of Silicon Valley Accelerator F50 Elevate.

Official Indeigogo Campaign

“We make A.I. based Air Purifiers. We have 300 of them deployed in Hospitals around the world. Our vision is to make indoor environments healthier and germ-free. We are a biotech-robotics company based out of Chicago. “, said Ram Chella, CEO of DOKAT,

People think outdoor air is more infectious than indoor air. Actually it’s the other way around. The indoor air can be 15 times more infectious than outdoor air. People acquire airborne infections more in indoors environments than outdoors.

Some airborne pathogens can survive in the air up to 72 hours. Airborne transmission of diseases occur when people inhale the infected air and they get sick. The common airborne diseases in the United States include flu, common cold, Chickenpox, Measles, Mumps, Whooping cough, etc. Not to mention the pathogen that caused today’s pandemic could be airborne.

Existing filter based air purification systems, A/C, HVACs filter pollutants from air but NOT bacteria, virus and other airborne pathogens. 

Dokat.A.I Technology:

Our invention is an A.I. based Air purification systems. Existing UV based air purifiers use a single wavelength to treat air. Different wavelengths of UVC have different germicidal properties. Our A.I. devices treat air with an A.I. wide-spectrum UVC, giving maximum germicidal efficiency. This is a novel invention and is proven to be 30% better in its germ killing efficiency. These are not just claims but are results from accredited and independent laboratories. You can find the results and reports attached to this article. 

Dokat’s current products: 

We already have two devices in the market. One named ‘Dokat Air’ that covers 400 sq ft and the other one called Dokat Pro that covers 1000 sq ft. We are currently researching a few variations of Air purifiers including one with G.I. technology, the next generation of A.I. UV technology and Roomba like Air purification devices. 

Full and detail information on Inedigogo:


Dokat winner presentation at SVE Demo Global:

How to be a good digital citizen during the election – and its aftermath


You are a key player in efforts to curb misinformation online. John Fedele/The Image Bank via Getty Images

The runup to the U.S. presidential election has sbeen an unprecedented amount of misinformation about the voting process and mail-in ballots. It’s almost certain that misinformation and disinformation will increase, including, importantly, in the aftermath of the election. Misinformation is incorrect or misleading information, and disinformation is misinformation that is knowingly and deliberately propagated.

While every presidential election is critical, the stakes feel particularly high given the challenges of 2020.

I study misinformation online, and I can caution you about the kind of misinformation you may see on Tuesday and the days after, and I can offer you advice about what you can do to help prevent its spread. A fast-moving 24/7 news cycle and social media make it incredibly easy to share content. Here are steps you can take to be a good digital citizen and avoid inadvertently contributing to the problem.

Election misinformation

Recent reports by disinformation researchers highlight the potential for an enormous amount of misleading information and disinformation to spread rapidly on Election Day and the days following. People spreading disinformation may be trying to sway the election one way or the other or simply undermine confidence in the election and American democracy in general.

the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral reflected in rain water puddles in Red Square in Moscow, Russia
U.S. intelligence services have reported that the Russian government is orchestrating disinformation campaigns aimed at the U.S. elections and pandemic response.
AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

This report by the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) details narratives meant to delegitimize the election and show how uncertainty creates opportunities for misinformation to flourish.

In particular, you may end up seeing misleading information shared about voting in person, mail-in ballots, the day-of voting experience and the results of the election. You may see stories online circulating about coronavirus outbreaks or infections at polling locations, violence or threats of intimidation at polling locations, misinformation about when, where and how to vote, and stories of voting suppression through long lines at polling stations and people being turned away.

We likely won’t know the results on Election Day, and this delay is both anticipated and legitimate. There may be misinformation about the winner of the presidential election and the final counting of ballots, especially with the increase in mail-in ballots in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be important to know that not every state finalizes their official ballot count on Nov. 3, and there may be narratives that threaten the legitimacy of the election results, like people claiming their vote did not get counted or saying they found discarded completed ballots.

What if the source of misinformation is … you?

There is a lot you can do to help reduce the spread of election misinformation online. This can happen both accidentally and intentionally, and there are both foreign and domestic actors who create disinformation campaigns. But ultimately, you have the power to not share content.

Sharing mis/disinformation gives it power. Regardless of your demographic, you can be susceptible to misinformation, and sometimes specifically targeted by disinformation. One of the biggest steps you can take to be a good digital citizen this election season is not to contribute to the sharing of misinformation. This can be surprisingly difficult, even with the best of intentions.

One type of misinformation that has been popular leading up to the election – and is likely to remain popular – is “friend of a friend” claims. These claims are often unverified stories without attribution that are quickly spread by people copy and pasting the same story across their networks.

You may see these claims as social media statuses like a Facebook post or an Instagram Story, or even as a bit of text forwarded to you in a group chat. They are often text-based, with no name attached to the story, but instead forwarded along by a “friend of a friend.”

This type of misinformation is popular to share because the stories can center around the good intentions of wanting to inform others, and they often provide a social context, for example my friend’s doctor or my brother’s co-worker, that can make the stories seem legitimate. However, these often provide no actual evidence or proof of the claim and should not be shared, even if you believe the information is useful. It could be misleading.

How to avoid spreading misinformation

Many useful resources are available about how to identify misinformation, which can guide you on what to share and not to share. You can improve your ability to spot misinformation and learn to avoid being duped by disinformation campaigns.

Tips for spotting misinformation online.

A key approach is the Stop, Investigate, Find and Trace (SIFT) technique, a fact-checking process developed by digital literacy expert Mike Caulfield of Washington State University Vancouver.

Following this technique, when you encounter something you want to share online, you can stop and check to see if you know the website or source of the information. Then investigate the source and find out where the story is coming from. Then find trusted coverage to see if there is a consensus among media sources about the claim. Finally, trace claims, quotes and media back to their original contexts to see if things were taken out of context or manipulated.

Finally, you may want to share your own experience with voting this year on social media. Following the recommendation of Election Integrity Project, it is a good idea to share positive experiences about voting. Go ahead and share your “I voted” sticker selfie. Sharing stories about how people socially distanced and wore masks at polling locations can highlight the positive experiences of voting in-person.

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However, EIP cautions about posting about negative experiences. While negative experiences warrant attention, a heavy focus on them can stoke feelings of disenfranchisement, which could suppress voter turnout. Further, once you post something on social media, it can be taken out of context and used to advanced narratives that you may not support.

Most people care about the upcoming election and informing people in their networks. It is only natural to want to share important and critical information about the election. However, I urge you to practice caution in these next few weeks when sharing information online. While it’s probably not possible to stop all disinformation at its source, we the people can do our part to stop its spread.

The Conversation

Kolina Koltai’s funding comes from the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington, the Knight Foundation, and The University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative.

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Studies link COVID-19 deaths to air pollution, raising questions about EPA’s ‘acceptable risk’


By the end of October, more than 228,000 Americans who got COVID-19 had died. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The pandemic is putting America’s air pollution standards to the test as the COVID-19 death toll rises.

The U.S. government sets limits on hazardous air pollutants to try to protect public health, but it can be difficult to determine where to draw the line for what is considered “acceptable risk.” Power plants, factories and other pollution sources release hundreds of million pounds of hazardous pollutants into the air every year.

As the coronavirus spreads, the pattern of deaths suggests there are serious weaknesses in the current public safeguards.

Several studies have explored connections between air pollution and severe cases of the respiratory illnesses. The latest, published on Oct. 26, estimates that about 15% of people who died from COVID-19 worldwide had had long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution.

My research as an environmental health scientist looks closer at individual hazardous air pollutants and shows how higher rates of COVID-19 deaths across the U.S. – particularly in the South – have been associated with higher levels of pollutants, particularly diesel exhaust and acetaldehyde, a compound widely used in industry.

Many of these chemicals are all around us

The delivery boxes piled up in my living room offer a snapshot of how pervasive hazardous air pollutants can be. Toxic gases like acetaldehyde are exhaled by the paper mill that manufactured the boxes in Louisiana, the diesel trucks that delivered them, and even the gas furnace that keeps me warm as I open them. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates acetaldehyde, in part because in 1986 Dutch scientists found that it damages the respiratory system of rodents.

Acetaldehyde is quite common. In addition to being used in industry, it’s found in decaying vegetation, alcohol and cigarette smoke.

A couple plays with their dogs at a Louisiana home with a refinery in the background.
Petroleum refineries and chemical plants are sources of hazardous air pollutants.
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

I generally don’t think about the toxic emissions resulting from my consumer behavior, but I can’t help but think about health risks now, and how to reduce them.

In the early days of the pandemic, I isolated myself. I dusted off my bicycle. I identified the contaminants in my water system and installed a reverse osmosis filter. To put it bluntly, I was afraid. Overweight men were not faring well against the virus, according to an early study, so I tried to modify my risk.

But what can I do about the air I breathe? I cannot stop the trucks from driving past my house, or the steel mill down the street from releasing emissions from its smokestack.

Studies reveal the health risks

Harvard University and Emory University have investigated the role of particulate matter, ozone and nitrogen oxides in COVID-19 deaths by comparing county death rates to pollution levels and other potential factors. Similar studies have been done in Italy, England and China.

All of these studies found an association between higher death rates from COVID-19 and long-term pollution exposure.

While the causal factors are still unclear, the association may be related to air pollution exposure weakening the respiratory, immune and cardiovascular systems. Exposed populations have greater vulnerability and less resistance to the virus.

My colleagues and I investigated specific hazardous air pollutants, including acetaldehyde, that are elevated in Southern rural areas that have been hit hard by the virus.

In states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, high COVID-19 death rates have been attributed in part to an older population that’s more likely to have chronic illnesses and live in poverty. We controlled for these factors, as well as population health and preventive behaviors, and found that long-term hazardous air pollutant exposure is putting pressure on COVID-19 patients in these areas.

While federal standards suggest that the pollution levels in these areas aren’t harmful, our findings suggest officials need to reevaluate some of those standards.

The problem with thresholds

In 1991, the EPA extrapolated from rodents to humans to set the safety limit for acetaldehyde at 9 micrograms per cubic meter of air – similar in volume to a cup of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool. This standard assumes contaminated air below this level will not lead to any harm, excluding cancer.

But even acceptable exposures to these chemicals may be contributing to COVID-19 mortality rates. There is still a lot that scientists don’t know about the impact of hazardous air pollutants on humans.

There are some reasons we might observe effects below the threshold. First, animal reactions to toxins do not always predict human reactions. Second, hazardous air pollutants do not act alone, and exposure to multiple toxins can have cascading impacts. Third, methods of monitoring and estimating exposures to air toxins are not adequate for characterizing risks to human health, especially for vulnerable populations.

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The Toxics Substance Control Act is responsible for addressing risks from chemicals and limiting use of such substances as PCBs and asbestos. A 2016 amendment increased the government’s authority to review risks for communities living near high-emissions sources. But these risks have yet to take a major role in the assessment process. The government in recent years has also cut funding for the Integrated Risk Information Service, which identifies health hazards.

What to do about it

More research is needed into effective pollution limits to address multiple chemical exposures and their effect on vulnerable populations.

Limits, along with funding for pollution prevention and control technology, could provide incentives for cleaner production practices and cleaner vehicles. These can be important strategies for strengthening the nation’s defenses against this and future respiratory disease pandemics.

The Conversation

Michael Petroni receives funding from State University of New York Discovery Challenge Fund.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here:Read More

P&G Ventures Entrepreneurial Pitch Channel Invitation


ENTREPRENEURIAL PITCH CHALLENGE P&G Ventures is inviting all entrepreneurs and startups to submit a product pitch for its CES Innovation Challenge
Three finalists will receive a chance to pitch their products on the P&G Life Lab Stage at CES 2021 in front of Leigh Radford, Head of P&G Ventures, Julie Setser, Senior Vice President of R&D at P&G Ventures, Kristina Rogers, Global Consumer Industries Leader at EY, and Courtney Reum, Co-Founder of M13, for a chance to win:

  • A $10,000 prize
  • An opportunity to pitch to the M13 investment team, coupled with mentoring sessions
  • A complimentary invitation to the EY Strategic Growth Forum®
  • A chance to partner with P&G Ventures to continue developing their innovation 

Submissions are being accepted at ventureschallenge.com now through Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For more details and to learn more, go here

Agribody, Dokat, AvirTech, Pumpkin Organics Won SVE Demo Global 2020 @ F50 Global Capital Summit 2020


SVE Demo Global 2020 announced the winners today:

  • SVE Startup of Year 2020 Winner: Agribody
  • SVE Startup of Year 2020 Runner Up: Dokat, AvirTech
  • SVE Entrepreneur’s Choice 2020: Pumpkin Organics

More demo sessions and judge feedback on SVE Youtube Channel

Judge Review:

Most Active Angel Networks in America 2020 (Pandemic) Released by F50 Global Insights


F50 Global Insights released the 2020 (Pandemic) version of the Most active Angel Network in America. The original report is included in: http://f50.io/report/angel-groups-2020/ Youtube Channel for F50 Global Insights

A&E Investmentswww.aeinvestments.comSan Francisco, CAA&E Investments is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the machine learning and software sectors.
Alliance of Angelswww.allianceofangels.comSeattle, WAAlliance of Angels is an active angel group that invests in the Pacific Northwest group. The firm has invested more than $100 million and its network of active angel investors is further augmented by a $6.6 million seed fund.
Angeles Investorswww.angelesinvestors.comChicago, ILAngeles Investors is a national angel investor group with a mission to find, fund, and grow the most promising Hispanic & Latinx ventures.
ARC Angel Fundwww.arcangelfund.comNew York, NYARC Angel Fund is an Angel Fund which invests in seed and early-stage companies based in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic area. It seeks to invest in the sectors like software, information technology, internet, tech-enabled services, business services, digital media, mobile and healthcare information technology. The firm was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in New York, New York.
Astiawww.astia.orgSan Francisco, CAAstia Angels is a not-for-profit organization which invests in companies through a program called Astia Angels. The firm syndicates globally with private equity firms, venture capital firms, family offices and high net worth individuals. It prefers to invest in companies with at least one woman in a position of leadership, holding equity and significant influence.
Atlanta Technology Angelswww.angelatlanta.comAtlanta, GAFounded in 1998, Atlanta Technology Angels is a group of high net worth individuals based in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm provides a platform for evaluating and selecting companies to fund. The firm seeks to invest in the mobile, hardware, software and analytic sectors.
Baltimore Angelswww.baltimoreangels.comBaltimore, MDBaltimore Angels is an angel investor group that prefers to invest in companies operating in the business products and services, computers and peripherals, consumer Goods/consumer products, education, food and beverage, internet/web services, IT services, lifestyle, marketing/advertising, media and entertainment, mobile, retailing/distribution, software and telecommunications sectors. The firm was established in 2009 and is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.
Band of Angelswww.bandangels.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 1994, Band of Angels is an angel investment group based in San Francisco, California. The firm specializes in start-up, seed, series A and early stage investments. The firm prefers to invest in the internet, web service, medical devices, software, fintech, energy and hardware sectors.
Berkeley Angel Networkwww.berkeleyangelnetwork.comBerkeley, CAFounded in 2011, Berkeley Angel Network is a group of angel investors based in Berkeley, California. The mission of the Berkeley Angel Network is to build an angel investor community among the alumni and faculty of UC Berkeley.
Biovergewww.bioverge.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 2016, Bioverge is a venture capital firm and investment platform based in San Francisco, California. The firm invests in early-stage healthcare companies, with a focus on companies operaring at the intersection of biology and technology.
BlueTree Allied Angelswww.bluetreealliedangels.comWexford, PABlueTree Allied Angels is an investment firm that makes investments in early-stage, pre-institutional ventures in Western Pennsylvania and other high-tech regions where we co-invest with colleagues and other leading venture firms. The firm was founded in 2003 and is based in Wexford, Pennsylvania.
Boston Harbor Angelswww.bostonharborangels.comBoston, MAFounded in 2004, Boston Harbor Angels is a group of business leaders interested in investing a portion of there assets in high-growth, early-stage companies. The firm focuses on early-stage companies.
Breakthrough Energy Ventureswww.breakthroughenergy.orgKirkland, WAFounded in 2016, Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Kirkland, Washington. The firm seeks to make minority investments in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies. The firm seeks to invest in environmental services and cleantech sectors.
Carnrite Ventureswww.carnriteventures.comHouston, TXFounded in 2015, Carnrite Ventures is the venture capital arm of Carnrite Group and is based in Houston, Texas. The firm seeks to make early-stage investments.
Carolina Angel Networkwww.carolinaangelnetwork.comChapel Hill, NC
Cascade Seed Fundwww.cascadeseedfund.comBend, ORCascade Seed Fund is a regional early-stage investment fund that brings angel and institutional investors together to back great entrepreneurs and strengthen the regional economy. The investor is based in Bend, Oregon with an Oregon-first investment focus with an interest in opportunities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Typical investments are planned to be made in launch stage technology and consumer products companies. Initial investments are anticipated to average approximately $250,000. Funded companies can be from anywhere in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. As of January 2020, the firm has made 34 investments.
CAV Angelswww.cavangels.comCharlottesville, VACAV Angels is an angel group dedicated to University of Virginia alumnus that aims to find and fund angel investment opportunities and entrepreneurs. The firm was founded in 2015 and is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. It seeks to invest in the technology and healthcare industries.
Cervin Ventureswww.cervinventures.comPalo Alto, CAFounded in 2008, Cervin Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, California. The firm seeks to invest in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies. The firm prefers to invest in software, Software-as-a-Service, infrastructure, and Big Data sectors in the United States.
Charlottesville Angel Networkwww.cvilleangelnetwork.netCharlottesville, VACharlottesville Angel Network is an angel group based in Charlottesville, Virginia. CAN invests in seed, angel, friends and family rounds in promising startups. The firm prefers to invest in Virginia based companies operating in the SAAS, digital healthcare, biotech, consumer products, clean energy and edtech sectors.
Cobro Ventureswww.cobroventures.comArlington, VACobro Ventures is an angel investment firm based in McLean, Virginia. The firm’s portfolio companies range from new start-ups to enterprises that have become public and been acquired.
Delaware Crossing Investor Groupwww.delawarecrossing.orgWarrington, PADelaware Crossing Investor Group is a network of former and current executives and entrepreneurs who provide counsel and capital to early-stage and growing companies. The firm is a membership organization of investors who manage the investment process and serve as the board of directors of portfolio companies. The firm is based in Warrington, Pennsylvania, and was founded in 2005.
Designer Fundwww.designerfund.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 2012, Designer Fund is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the information technology and healthcare sectors.
Dipalo Ventureswww.dipaloventures.comChicago, ILFounded in 2016, Dipalo Ventures is a early-stage advisory and investment firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm focuses on design-centered product & service startups. The firm invests in early seed to Series A rounds in both the USA and Bangladesh.
Duke Angel Networkwww.dukeangelnetwork.duke.eduDurham, NCFounded in 2015, Duke Angel Network is an angel network based in Durham, North Carolina. The firm provides support to the global Duke entrepreneurial community with an angel investing platform and co-investment fund called Duke Innovation Fund.
E8www.e8angels.comSeattle, WAFounded in 2006, Element 8 is a venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington. The firm seeks to invest in the energy, cleantech, and nanotechnology sectors.
Evergy Ventureswww.evergyventures.comKansas City, MOFounded in 2015, Evergy Ventures is a venture capital arm of Evergy and is based in Kansas City, Missouri. The firm prefers to invest in companies operating in the digital utility, connected mobility, distributed energy resources, and intelligent connected buildings sectors.
Expert DOJOwww.expertdojo.comSanta Monica, CAFounded in 2014, Expert DOJO is an accelerator firm based in Santa Monica, California. The firm seeks to invest in the energy, healthcare, and financial services sectors.
Florida Funderswww.floridafunders.comTampa, FLFounded in 2013, Florida Funders is a hybrid of a venture capital fund and an accredited investor syndicate which is based in Tampa, Florida. The firm invests in early-stage technology companies.
Forefront Venture Partnerswww.forefrontvp.comBoca Raton, FLFounded in 2014, Forefront Venture Partners is a venture capital firm and is based in Boca Raton, Florida. The firm seeks to invest in consumer products and services, business products and services, and software sectors.
Golden Seedswww.goldenseeds.comNew York, NYFounded in 2005, Golden Seeds is a venture capital firm based in New York, New York. The firm focuses on women-led companies operating in the B2B and B2C technology, healthcare, services and consumer products sectors.
GOOSE Capitalwww.goose.capitalHouston, TXFounded in 2005, GOOSE Capital is an investment firm based in Houston, Texas. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage breakthrough technologies. The firm’s unique model helps the portfolio companies direct access to the Fortune 500 execs or successful entrepreneurs.
Gopher Angelswww.gopherangels.comMinneapolis, MNGopher Angels is an angel group that invests in early stage Minnesota businesses. The firm was founded in 2012 and seeks to invest in the information technology and healthcare sector.
Gotham Gal Ventureswww.gothamgal.comNew York, NYGotham Gal Ventures is a venture capital fund based in New York, New York
Grand Angelswww.grandangels.orgGrand Rapids, MIFounded in 2004, Grand Angels is an angel group based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The firm specializes in investments in early stage companies. The firm has a venture fund and invests in businesses with a focus on the Michigan region. It focuses on investment in companies operating in the B2B technology, advanced manufacturing, advanced agriculture technology and life science sectors.
HBS Alumni Angels New Yorkhbsangelsny.comNew York, NYHarvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater NY is an angel group that prefers to invest in seed and early stage companies based in the New York. The firm seeks to invest in the biotechnology, business product, clean technology, computer, peripheral, electronic, financial services, healthcare services, industrial, energy, internet, information technology service, marketing, advertising, media, entertainment, medical device, equipment, mobile, nanotechnology, networking, equipment, semiconductors, software, telecommunication, consumer product, education, fashion, real estate and legal sectors. Ii also provides mentorship service.
Hyde Park Angelswww.hydeparkangels.comChicago, ILHyde Park Angels is an angel group based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm has invested in over 50 portfolio companies since its inception. It is mainly focused on the companies based in the Midwest region. The firm was founded in 2007.
Hyde Park Venture Partnerswww.hydeparkvp.comChicago, ILFounded in 2011, Hyde Park Venture Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm focuses on high-growth, mid-continent technology startups seeking investments in the first or second round of institutional capital. The firm seeks to invest in the mobile, B2B SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), consumer marketplace business models, and information technology sectors.
i2Ewww.i2e.orgOklahoma City, OKFounded in 1998, i2E is a not-for-profit venture capital firm based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The firm focuses on seed and early-stage firms operating in the software, healthcare, and information technology sectors.
J-Ventureswww.j-angels.comPalo Alto, CAJ-Angels is an angel group based in Palo Alto, California with an additional office in San Francisco, California. The firm prefers to invest in enterprise software, consumer, mobile, automotive, cleantech, food tech, fintech, edtech, life sciences, hardware, artificial intelligence, computer vision, robotics and security sectors.
K8 Ventureswww.k8ventures.comChicago, ILFounded in 2016, K8 Ventures was a family office based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm sought to invest in the Artificial Intelligence, big data, and the internet of things sectors.
Keiretsu Capitalwww.keiretsucapital.comSeattle, WAFounded in 2013, Keiretsu Capital is a venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington. The firm seeks to invest in the healthcare, software, and information technology sectors.
Keiretsu Forumwww.keiretsuforum.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 2000, Keiretsu Forum is a Venture Capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the software and consumer durables sectors.
Keshif VenturesSan Diego, CAKeshif Ventures is an angel investing firm based in San Diego, California. The firm was founded in 2012 and seeks to invest in companies operating in the information technology sector.
Launchpad Venture Groupwww.launchpadventuregroup.comBoston, MALaunchpad Venture Group is a Boston, Massachusetts based angel investment group and venture capital firm which provides funding to early-stage technology and life science companies. The firm primarily focuses on the software, information technology, web, e-commerce, media and social media, mobile and wireless, medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare IT, networking and telecom, clean-tech, renewable energy and green-tech sectors located in the United States.
Lehigh Valley Angel Investorswww.lehighvalleyangelinvestors.comBethlehem, PALehigh Valley Angel Investors was founded by a group of entrepreneurs in the Lehigh Valley, which includes Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and surrounding areas. The firm invests at the startup stage once the initial enterprise has completed the discovery, proof-of-concept, and prototype. The purpose of the organization is to provide education, resources and a community of entrepreneurs to connect with. The members are accredited and experienced investors who are interested in providing seed, or growth, capital investments to startup companies.
Life Science Angelswww.lifescienceangels.comSunnyvale, CAFounded in 2004, Life Science Angels is a not-for-profit angel investment group based in Sunnyvale, California. The firm focuses on companies in the pharmaceuticals, life science, diagnostic agents, and cell technology sectors.
Maine Technology Institutewww.mainetechnology.orgBrunswick, MEFounded in 1999, Maine Technology Institute is an investment firm based in Brunswick, Maine. The firm seeks to provide debt, grants, and minority investments through seed investments. The firm prefers to invest in the environmental services, biotechnology, information technology, agriculture, forestry, advanced manufacturing, and CleanTech sectors in Maine, United States.
Matchstick Ventureswww.matchstickventures.comMinneapolis, MNMatchstick Ventures is an early stage venture firm based in is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota that prefers to invests $50,000 to $150,000 in early-stage tech startups.
MGV Capital Groupwww.mgvcapitalgroup.comSan Antonio, TXFounded in 2020, MGV Capital Group is an investment that specializes in the early-stage venture capital investments and also makes on angel investments. The firm is based in San Antonio, Texas and prefers to invest in the information technology and software sectors across the U.S. and in Mexico.
Miami Angelswww.miamiangels.vcMiami, FLFounded in 2014, Miami Angels is an active investor collective (with accredited angels and VC firms) with a mission to grow Miami into a top-tier and diverse venture ecosystem through investments in early-stage software startups. Beyond providing capital, the firm collaborates with founders to ensure they have access to best-in-class resources, advisers, and follow-on funding. The firm prefers investments in companies with significant operations in the Southeastern United States and Latin America. The firm is based in Miami, Florida.
Michigan Angel Fundwww.miangelfund.comAnn Arbor, MIFounded in 2011, Michigan Angel Fund is a for-profit pooled professionally managed angel fund based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The firm focuses on providing funding to capital-efficient early-stage companies located in Michigan.
Michigan Capital Networkwww.michigancapitalnetwork.comGrand Rapids, MIMichigan Capital Network is a venture capital firm and angel network based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The firm seeks to make minority investments in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies. The firm prefers to invest in software, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing sectors in Michigan and the Midwest region of the United States.
Muse Capitalwww.musecapital.vcBeverly Hills, CAFounded in 2016, Muse Capital is a venture capital based in Beverly Hills, California. The firm prefers to invest in the technology, entertainment, hospitality, and sports industries.
New York Angelswww.newyorkangels.comNew York, NYNew York Angels is a network of profession angel investors. The organization does not invest as a group and all investment decisions are made individually.
New York Venture Partnerswww.nyvp.comNew York, NYFounded in 2014, New York Venture Partners is a Angel investment group based in New York, New York. The firm provides financing, mentorship, and strategic marketing consulting services.
Newlinwww.newlin.vcChicago, ILFounded in 2019, Newlin is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm seeks to invest in the Food Tech sector, broadly from “Land to Label” at Pre-Seed through Series A across North and South America. The firm seeks to participate, and lead deals in Food Tech, IoT, Internet Of Food (“IoF”), Insurtech, and Consumer (B2C / B2B2C) at early stages at check sizes varying in size, depending on the opportunity.
NO/LA Angel Networkwww.nolaangelnetwork.orgNew Orleans, LANO/LA Angel Network is a group of accredited investors from New Orleans and throughout Louisiana that work together to evaluate, fund and nurture early-stage companies. The firm focuses on investing in companies operating in the energy, analytics and big data, biotechnology, digital media, education and educational technology, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, internet, SaaS, cloud solutions, logistics, materials, water management and advanced manufacturing sectors. It was founded in 2014 and is based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Northern Michigan Angelswww.northernmichiganangels.comTraverse City, MINorthern Michigan Angels is an organization of local volunteer members focused on private sector economic development. The group’s primary interest is in working with scalable entrepreneurial companies whose potential success will have an impact on the quality of life in Michigan, especially in northwestern lower Michigan. It was founded in 2012 and is based in Traverse City, Michigan.
Oregon Sports Angelsoregonsportsangels.orgOROregon Sports Angels (OSA) is an Oregon based Angel Network investing in anything an athlete, team, or fan can use or wear. The firm is a non-profit, member-based organization made up of a diverse team of experienced sports industry and business professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, and do-gooders. The firm’s mission is to find and help grow the next great sports & fitness product and service companies. The firm focus on investments on high-potential, early-stage, sports product, experience, service, and technology companies. In addition to investing, the members also mentor, coach and connect entrepreneurs to resources needed for early-stage business development.
Robin Hood Ventureswww.robinhoodventures.comPhiladelphia, PAFounded in 1999, Robin Hood Ventures is a group of angel investors focused based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The firm focuses on early-stage and high-growth companies in the Greater Philadelphia region. The firm seeks to invest in the IT services and software, life sciences and financial technology sectors.
Rockies Venture Clubwww.rockiesventureclub.orgDenver, CORockies Venture Club is an angel group that is dedicated to accelerating economic development by educating and connecting entrepreneurs with angel investors, venture capitalists, service professionals, corporate partners, and other business and funding resources. The firm was founded in 1985 and is based in Denver, Colorado.
Sand Hill Angelswww.sandhillangels.comMountain View, CAFounded in 2000, Sand Hill Angels is an angel investment group based in Mountain View, California. The firm comprises of entrepreneurs, accredited investors and senior business executives based in Silicon Valley. The firm participates in early/seed to series A, B, C investments, as well as later-stage bridge rounds.
SeaChange Fundwww.seachange.fundSeattle, WAFounded in 2015, SeaChange Fund is a venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington. The firm focuses on investments in Pacific Northwest growth-oriented start-up companies.
Seattle Angel Conferenceseattleangelconference.comSeattle, WAFounded in 2012, Seattle Angel Conference is a training program for new Angel Investors which teaches Angel Investing by doing an Angel Investment. The program is run twice a year. It includes 10 weeks of engagement with the investors and a public final event.
SmartHub boutiquewww.smarthub.vcKaliningrad, RussiaFounded in 2015, SmartHub is a venture capital firm headquartered in Kaliningrad, Russia. The firm seeks to invest in seed, early-stage and later-stage companies.
Southwest Angel Networkwww.swanimpact.orgAustin, TXSouthwest Angel Network is an angel group with investments focused towards social impact companies. Social-impact includes improving education and healthcare outcomes, increasing financial empowerment, protecting the environment, and working to improve the lives of groups of people who face unique challenges. The firm was founded in 2016.
Space Angelswww.spaceangels.comNew York, NYSpace Angels is a global network for angel investors, offering access to the emerging private space industry and investment opportunities across diverse market segments, with expertise and network connections. It is based in New York, New York.
Supply Chain Ventureswww.supplychainventure.comBoston, MAFounded in 2003, Supply Chain Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. The firm seeks to invest in software and hardware technology in the supply chain space.
SV Angelwww.svangel.comSan Francisco, CASV Angel is an angel investment firm that specializes in early-stage investments. The firm prefers to invest in information technology and internet sectors. It was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco, California.
Swan Venture Fundwww.swanventurefund.comKirkland, WAFounded in 2015, Swan Venture Fund is a venture and angel fund headquartered in Kirkland, Washington. The firm seeks to invest in the Business to Business software, internet of things, scalable hardware, capital-efficient hard-science, diagnostic and health information technology sectors.
Tamiami Angel Fundswww.tamiamiangels.comNaples, FLTamiami Angel Funds is an angel group based in Naples, Florida. It allows high net worth individuals and family offices an opportunity for active involvement in a diversified capital investment process with the goal to build a portfolio of high potential, emerging growth companies.
Tech Coast Angelswww.techcoastangels.comLos Angeles, CAFounded in 1997, Tech Coast Angels is an angel investor group based in Los Angeles, California. The firm has been fueling the growth of innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Southern California. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage companies operating in the software, internet, green tech, consumer products, biotech, and medical devices sectors.
Texas Halo Fundwww.texashalofund.comHouston, TXTexas Halo Fund is an investment firm based in Houston, Texas. The firm specializes in investing in the early-stage firm. The firm seeks to invest in firms operating in the information technology and healthcare sectors.
The JumpFundwww.thejumpfund.comChattanooga, TNFounded in 2013, The JumpFund is a venture capital firm based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The firm seeks to invest in the energy and information technology sectors. The firm primarily invests in Chattanooga and the Southeast region of the United States.
TIA Ventureswww.tiaventures.comNew York, NYFounded in 2014, TIA Ventures is a venture capital firm based in New York, New York. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage companies.
Tracxn Labswww.tracxnlabs.comPalo Alto, CATracxn Labs is an accelerator that prefers to invest in the enterprise, consumer, internet, mobile, health-tech, ed-tech and other sectors. The firm is based in Palo Alto, California and was founded in 2013.
University of Colorado Deming Center Venture Fundwww.colorado.edu/dcvfBoulder, COFounded in 1999, Deming Center Venture Fund (DCVF) is a venture capital fund operating out of the University of Colorado, Boulder. The fund focuses on early-stage capital investment in the Colorado communities. The Fund is managed by the University of Colorado MBA, Law, and graduate engineering students.
Variant Fundvariant.fundBrooklyn, NYVariant is an early-stage venture firm investing in crypto networks & platforms building the ownership economy.
VegInvestwww.veginvesttrust.comNew York, NYFounded in 2015, VegInvest is a venture capital firm based in New York, New York. The firm provides early-stage capital and guidance to companies striving to replace the use of animals.
VentureSouthwww.venturesouth.vcGreenville, SCFounded in 2014, VentureSouth is an investment angel group based in Greenville, South Carolina. The firm seeks to invest in the Southeastern United States.
VisionTech Partnerswww.visiontech-partners.comIndianapolis, INVisionTech Partners is a venture capital firm that seeks to invest in early stage and early growth technology-based companies operating in the health care, information technology, agriculture and manufacturing sectors located in Indiana and the Midwest. It also operates through “VisionTech Angels” which is a angel investment group.
Walden Venture Capitalwww.waldenvc.comSan Francisco, CAFounded in 1974, Walden Venture Capital is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in the software, healthcare, and media sectors.
Wisconsin Investment Partnerswww.wisinvpartners.comMadison, WIFounded in 2000, Wisconsin Investment Partners is a venture capital firm that is based in Madison, Wisconsin. The firm seeks to invest in technology and life science sectors.
WorldQuant Ventureswww.worldquantventures.comOld Greenwich, CTFounded in 2014, WorldQuant Ventures is an investment firm based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. The firm seeks to invest in financial technology in capital markets, big data, business intelligence and technology services sectors.
757 Angelswww.757angelsgroup.comVirginia Beach, VA757 Angels is an angel group that has a select network of business leaders in the Hampton Roads region, who provide investment capital, strategic advice and mentoring to selected startup and early stage companies to help them achieve market leadership. The firm was founded in 2015 and is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

More reports: f50.io/report

6 SVE Demo Winners compete for SVE Startup of Year 2020

Investor RSVP for Zoom Participation
SVE Global Demo Finale 20206 SVE Demo Winners select from the SVE Demo from July to oct 13 will compete for the  “SVE Startup of the Year 2020” title
Judge Panel:
Bill Reichert, Managing Director, Garage Technology Ventures 
Canice WU, Product Innovator and Investor; Former Vice President at RocketSpace/ President at Plug and Play Tech Center; Founder & CEO at Insights OnDemand; VP & GM at Siebel Systems 
David Cao, Partner, F50 Elevate | F50 Ventures
 Keith Teare Managing Partner Accelerated Digital Ventures 
Paul Singh , Successful Entrepreneur, Educator & CMO – Founder/CEO of 5 startups with one IPO and 3 M&AOkera 
Pavan Kumar Partner @ F50 Elevate, ex-founder, investor & mentor @ Alchemist, MassChallenge & Faster Capital
Scott Armanini Disruptive Innovation @USC Iovine & Young Academy;
SVE Demo Winners (Finalist)
Agribody Technologies, Inc. (ATI’s) novel target-validated genome editing platform technology significantly increases crop yield, stress tolerance, and shelf life of agricultural products – reducing food waste.  We make a true triple bottom line contribution for impact-oriented investors:  People, Planet & Profit.  Briefly, our technology and business model will significantly contribute to increased food security and increased Agricultural Resilience / Sustainability.  Licensing (potato, corn, soy, banana, camelina, rose) and co-development (tomato, canola, rice) projects are underway with multiple seed companies.
Avirtech: Avirtech provides crop intelligence including plantation control systems for monitoring site conditions through aerial and ground sensors, such as topography, crop health, soil quality, rainfall and farm operations activity and other processes important for production cycles. 
Botzee increases efficiencies and eliminates workplace injuries within hospitals by handling physically demanding and repetitive tasks. We do this through autonomous mobile robots, which can move the existing FDA approved carts within hospitals, and even disinfect patient rooms with UV light due to a modular design.
Dokat, Inc is a Biotech-Robotics Research and Manufacturing company headquartered in Chicago, USA. Company’s objective is to make novel augmented purifier products using A.I. Current product line includes DOKAT Deep UV Air sterilizer, Air sterilizer robots and A.I. Guaranteed Irradiation devices.
Epilert’s bracelet is a smart epilepsy monitoring device using 5 biosensors along with machine learning to offer the finest technology to detect and predict epilepsy seizures, and immediately alert caregivers.
UMEHEAL provides the leading healthcare technology, products and services to help people stay healthier and stronger.
Come to out YouTube channel and watch the entire Demo Event!