The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Oct 22, 2017 ⋅ #297

I made this announcement to 59,019 members of the Digital Health group on LinkedIn. If you’re on LinkedIn, please do join the group, which allows you to opt in to receiving these announcements in addition to connecting with thousands of other global stakeholders in digital health. I also send out my Digital Health Newsletter, which you can sign up for and receive for free, here.

The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Oct 22, 2017 ⋅ #297

Dear Group,

I’ve published one issue of my newsletter since last week’s group announcement, which you can read below and via the following link:

The Digital Health Newsletter for Oct 18

Also, please note that I’m available to deliver my keynote address at conferences and corporate events. You can also advertise in my group announcements, newsletter, and on my website. My professional bio is viewable here and my full list of services is viewable here. I can be contacted via my LinkedIn profile.

Follow me on Twitter @Paul_Sonnier for all the news I share each day.

If you are a digital health company, event organizer, or provider of other relevant solutions or services you can advertise in my announcements, on my website, and Twitter. Doing so puts you in front of 50,000+ targeted global prospects each week. I also provide strategic consulting and keynote speaking. Contact me for my media kit, standard plans, and pricing.


The Digital Health Newsletter for Oct 18

A new FDA policy now allows for the manufacturing of smaller, bespoke condoms because the average condom length of 6.7 inches is too big for American men (average length 5.6 inches, according to an Indiana University study). This results in condoms slipping off. The CDC estimates that just one third of single men use condoms, with the most oft-cited reason for non-use being—you guessed it—that they slip off.

Condom maker ONE Condoms provides bespoke condoms via a downloadable printable measurement tool and digital fulfillment. Ironically, despite the company’s name, it offers 60 different dimensions: from 4.9 to 9.4 inches in length and from 3.5 to 5.0 inches in width.

Genetically-engineered Golden Delicious apples that never brownwill hit stores in the United States next month. According to Neal Carter, president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, “There’s an awful lot of apples that go to waste. We’ve seen apple consumption decline on a per capita basis over the last few decades because they’re not seen as convenient. When they started selling cut baby carrots, it more than doubled consumption. We were looking for ways to rebrand apples to make them more convenient.”

Unlike many previous forms of genetically-engineered foods, this apple (made by Arctic Apples) is not transgenic, meaning it does not contain a gene from another species. This type of gene alteration may prove to be more palatable to consumers than a tomato with flounder genes. A bruise-resistant Innate potato —that’s also non-transgenic —is already on store shelves.

Packaging will bare the company’s apple snowflake logo and a QR code that links to more information (required by law), but won’t disclose that it’s a genetically modified organism (GMO).


Wellpepper’s ‘Sugarpod’ voice-enabled diabetes care plan has won the grand prize of $125,000 in the Alexa Diabetes Challenge. The system is intended to help provide an early diagnosis of foot ulcers and inform treatment plans for patients with type 2 diabetes.


Online eyeglass prescription test startup Opternative has sued eyewear e-commerce giant Warby Parker for allegedly stealing its technology. The two companies had reportedly signed partnership contracts and mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDAs).

According to Opternative co-founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Steven Lee,

“We have spent countless hours, days, weeks and years pouring our hearts and minds into building Opternative’s intellectual property and making ocular telehealth accessible to more people. It is a huge disappointment that another company, which was in the startup category like us not too long ago, would take advantage of us for their own financial gain.”


A survey of iPhone user found that 15% plan to buy both a new Apple Watch and a new iPhone. This equates to a whopping 120 million smartwatches.

Samsung’s new Connect Tag tracks your kids or pets and has a seven day charge. The device may be the first of its type to use NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) for connecting Internet of Things devices.

Digital Health on TV: I have been seeing a new commercial for the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch. The title is ‘ Designed for Fitness‘.


A new app called ‘Code Blue‘ from Melon Health is designed to encourage youth struggling with bullying, anxiety, and depression to reach out for mental health help.

Alphabet has taught its cars to hear and see sirens and pull over. The company is also training law enforcement on how to handle self-driving car crashes.


As Antonio Regalado writes in MIT Technology Review, ‘Science and marketing are clashing in the “jungle” of direct-to-consumer DNA apps.’


The University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics are pioneering new tools for robotic farming. The Centre has developed driverless tractors, which can automatically drive over crops, obtain data, spray, weed, and trim branches, plus harvest fruit.

Researchers at the University of Southern California are looking into ways that VR can help promote brain plasticity and recovery from stroke. In their test system, patients view virtual avatars and a brain-computer interface (BCI) is then used to control a robot, computer, or the avatar itself.


Amazon has acquired Body Labs for between $50M and $70M. The company creates ‘true-to-life’ 3D body models for use in applications like virtually trying on clothes and photo-realistic avatars for gaming, but its ‘fat and all’ 3D body modeling could also be used for health and fitness tracking. CEO Bill O’Farrell says “the body itself (can) be delivered as the platform around which goods and services are designed, manufactured, bought and sold, and recommended.”

Facebook has acquired the ‘positively-focused’ anonymous teen compliment app named tbh. The app has 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily users, who anonymously answer ‘kind-hearted’ multiple-choice questions about friends. The results are then sent to the friends as compliments. According to co-creator Nikita Bier, “If we’re improving the mental health of millions of teens, that’s a success to us.”


SoftBank has led a $93M investment in AI software startup Petuum. The company provides a process for companies to scale machine learning/deep learning applications in various industries. An application in healthcare includes a system that mines electronic health records (EHRs) to provide disease diagnosis suggestions and treatment recommendations.


Illumina Ventures (which is actually independent of Illumina, an investor) has closed a new $230M fund focused on genomics. Key areas of interest for investing include breakthroughs in life science research, clinical diagnostics, novel therapeutic platforms, and other technologies impacting human health.

Founding partner Nicholas Naclerio, PhD, states that “Genomics has the potential to solve many of society’s biggest challenges, from understanding the molecular basis of life, to more accurate medical diagnosis, life-saving drugs, and more sustainable sources of energy and food.”

According to Francis deSouza, CEO at Illumina, “The rapid advances in genomics are creating tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities across industries from novel therapeutics, diagnostics and research tools to food security and synthetic biology. We invested in Illumina Ventures because we believe Nick and his team are uniquely positioned to identify, nurture, and accelerate the most promising entrepreneurs in genomics.”

Current Illumina Ventures portfolio companies include: Biota Technology, DNA Script, Encoded Genomics, Genome Medical, Kallyope, SerImmune, and Twist Bioscience.

Copyright © 2017 Paul Sonnier


Paul Sonnier
Social Entrepreneur ⋅ Speaker ⋅ Consultant
Contributing Editor, Innovation & Tech Today
Founder, Digital Health group on LinkedIn ⋅ 50,000+ members
Creator, Story of Digital Health
Facebook: StoryOfDigitalHealth
Instagram: @StoryofDigitalHealth
Twitter: @Paul_Sonnier
San Diego, CA, USA


Comments are closed.