Owlet’s new version of its ‘Smart Sock’ provides real-time data on a baby’s heart rate, oxygen level

July 10, 2020

Parents spoke, and Lehi, Utah-based Owlet listened. After five years of product development and feedback from thousands of parents, on July 9, Owlet Baby Care announced the launch of the third generation of its Smart Sock baby monitor.

The new Smart Sock 3 tracks the information that really mattersbaby’s heart rate and oxygen leveto let parents know when their baby needs them most.

The company claims that its redesigned Smart Sock 3 now fits smaller newborns and larger babies—from  five pounds to 30 pounds—allowing parents to track tiny babies as soon as they come home from the hospital. The new Smart Sock 3 continues to track the baby’s heart rate and oxygen through gentle motion, with an improved tracking frequency of 97% during an eight-hour session.

Enhanced wireless charging now delivers a fully charged Smart Sock in just 90 minutes, with a battery life of 16 hours. The Smart Sock 3 also has an improved Bluetooth range and allows parents to snooze Base Station notifications for more customized monitoring.

Photo source: PRNewsfoto/Owlet Baby Care

“We care about keeping every baby safe and every parent sane. Parents of newborns should be able to sleep soundly knowing their baby is okay,” says Owlet’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kady Srinivasan. “We designed the Smart Sock to help parents get their life and freedom back. Since the launch of our very first Smart Sock [in 2015], we have tracked over 600,000 babies and more than one million parents have credited Owlet with helping them keep their babies safe.”

“As a company, Owlet is constantly striving to do better, which is what inspired us to  create the newest Smart Sock 3,” says Zack Bomsta, Owlet’s CTO and co-founder. “Based on real feedback from parents, we’ve redesigned the Smart Sock with updated technology and product enhancements like greater size flexibility, better accuracy and nuanced notification settings. It’s more user-friendly and we believe it will become must-have for all parents.”

To celebrate the new product launch, Owlet has teamed up with renowned childcare expert and Hollywood nanny, Connie Simpson, commonly known as “Nanny Connie,” who has used Owlet’s Smart Sock with many of her celebrity clients like Jessica Biel and George Clooney. “Those first few months of your baby’s life can be an incredibly overwhelming and anxious time for new parents,” says Nanny Connie. “I’ve seen first-hand how the Owlet Smart Sock provides parents with peace of mind, knowing Owlet is monitoring what really matters.”

Since its introduction, 96% of parents using the Smart Sock say that they’ve felt less anxious, and 94% of parents have reported better sleep quality while using the Sock on their baby, according to data provided by the company.

The third generation Smart Sock is available beginning today for $299 at Owletcare.com and will be rolling out to major retailers, including Target and Amazon, over the next few weeks. It will be available only in the United States and Canada.

Research contact: @owletbabycare

‘The doctor is in’: Walgreens to bring Village MD into 700 pharmacy locations

July 9, 2020

It’s a primary care center, a drugstore, and a pharmacy—all under one roof, Forbes reports.

The convergence of sectors within healthcare continued on July 8 with the announcement that Walgreens, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, will open full-service doctor’s offices in up to 700 locations within the next five years in a deal that gives Walgreens a $1 billion equity stake in Chicago-based VillageMD.

Forbes notes that, following a successful trial last year, Walgreens will become the first national pharmacy chain to offer full-service doctor offices co-located at its stores at a large scale—a big step beyond the kiosk-like setups in many Walgreens locations that offer flu shots and some pharmacist consultations.

Rival CVS Health, which owns health insurer Aetna, already has announced plans to expand its HealthHub locations—drugstores that offer more health services and products—by opening 1,500 locations by the end of 2021, according to CNBC.

The Walgreens/VillageMD locations will be staffed by more than 3,600 primary care providers, who will be recruited by VillageMD and also will “uniquely integrate the pharmacist as a critical member of VillageMD’s multi-disciplinary team,” Walgreens said.

The clinics will accept a wide range of health insurance options, offer primary care “across a broad range of physician services,” offer 24/7 care via telehealth and at-home visits—and at least half of the locations will be in medically underserved areas, according to Walgreens.

This rollout follows a trial with five in-store clinics in the Houston area, which produced “very strong results” after opening last November including high patient satisfaction scores, according to Walgreens.

Most of the clinics will be about 3,330 square feet, with some as large as 9,000 square feet.

Research contact: @Forbes

TrueLight launches red science-backed sleep light

July 8, 2020

Talk about bright ideas! TrueLight—a Taiwan-based wellness technology brand with offices in Seattle—announced on July 7 that it has launched another illumination product in its Human Compatible line for healthier living.

Dedicated to eradicating “junk light” from our lives—especially right before bed— the company is marketing its TrueLight Luna Red Sunset Sleep Light Bulb as its first “sleep light.” The red hue is designed to help people heal and fuel their bodies during the daytime; or to fall and stay asleep faster, naturally, at nighttime.

How does the red light accomplish so much? TrueLight says in a statement that “studies show that red wavelengths of light are most conducive for better sleep.”

The new calming bulb has adjustable color temperature settings between 3,000K (equivalent to evening dusk), and 1,000K  a warm red for late at night). This specific color range, combined with built-in dimming, “provides ideal light exposure for regulating circadian rhythms and helping the body wind down at night.” TrueLight claims, adding, “Unlike conventional lighting solutions that emit junk light and negatively impact melatonin production, this special late-night spectrum does not emit wavelengths that lessen sleep quality.”

The TrueLight Luna Red™ Sunset Sleep light bulb is recommended for nighttime living spaces, hallways, nurseries, bathrooms, and especially bedrooms. Consumers can purchase this bulb as a single item, in a two-pack, or in a 4-pack.

Research contact: @ShopTrueLight

Court sides with publisher; Simon & Schuster to release Mary Trump’s tell-all book on July 14

July 7, 2020

Mary Trump’s revelatory book on the Trump family—announced on Monday, July 6 that it would move up its publication date to July 14 due to “high demand and extraordinary interest.”

The president’s niece, who has been embroiled in a legal battle over the book with her uncles, including the president’s brother Robert Trump, issued an email statement to USA Today through her spokesperson, Chris Bastardi.

“The act by a sitting president to muzzle a private citizen is just the latest in a series of disturbing behaviors which have already destabilized a fractured nation in the face of a global pandemic,” the statement said. “If Mary cannot comment, one can only help but wonder: what is Donald Trump so afraid of?”

The book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” originally was scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster on July 28.

A New York appellate court last week ruled the publication could go ahead over the Trump brothers’ attempts to block it.

But a temporary restraining order remains on Mary herself. A lower court judge in New York is due to consider whether to continue or drop that order later this week, USA Today said.

Mary, 55, a psychologist, is the daughter of Trump’s elder brother, the late Fred Trump Jr.

Her book is described by the publisher as  an “authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him.” She shines a light on the “dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric,” according to the publisher’s description.

Bastardi said Mary will have no further comment at this time. But her statement suggests that the legal furor surrounding her book is further evidence of the problematic behavior in her family she alleges and seeks to illuminate in her book, which left the Trump brothers outraged.

Research contact: @USATODAY

See ya later: Apple envisions the future of eyeglasses

July 6, 2020

Is Apple on a mission to reinvent eyeglasses? Perhaps, and the resulting technology could produce glasses with virtually infinite adjustments to your changing vision over time—never mind bifocal or trifocals for nearsightedness and farsightedness.

“I hear they have 19 different prototypes that they’re working on, which shows the effort that Apple’s doing,” tech analyst Robert Scoble said in a recent TechFirst podcast focused on an Apple patent win. “This is a multibillion-dollar effort going into eyeglasses and thinking through literally everything.”

One part of Apple’s project is better glasses for better vision: exactly what glasses were initially invented for. Another part is significantly more transformational: a complete reimagining of human-computer interfaces.

Essentially, it’s the next major leap in technology platforms—and, along the way, Apple might just disrupt the $120 billion eyewear market in the same way it devastated the Swiss watch industry with Apple Watch.

Indeed, almost every major tech company is now working on smart glasses. Google launched Glass years ago, retains an enterprise version of the product—and just acquired North, a Canadian manufacturer of light, natural-looking smartglasses.

And Forbes reports, Facebook just revealed an early version of its “holographic optics for thin and lightweight virtual reality” in a research report. Amazon has a limited-availability product with Alexa, Amazon Echo Frames.

Part one for Apple seems to be about the basics, according to a patent the company just received: correcting vision.“What they’re wanting to do is you put on a pair of glasses, and it sees inside your eye and bends the optic … in a way that corrects your vision perfectly, so you don’t need to go to an optometrist,” Scoble told Forbes.

The next level is notifications, and it’s what much of the low-end smartglasses space has focused on. With smartglasses notifications, the alert is right in front of your face.

Part three is where the game really changes, Scoble said, and we enter an era of “spatial computing,” virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality.

Now you can compute while riding a mountain bike, or driving a car, or walking to a shopping center,” Scoble says. “You can replace the floor and make it something new, different, like a video game. You can then fly things in the air and they could bounce off the walls like balls, because this thing understands the 3D space it’s in. That’s why we call it ‘spatial computing,’ because you’re now computing as you’re moving through space … no longer are you tied to the little rectangular pieces of glass to compute: you can compute on literally everything.”

“This next paradigm shift is computing that you use while walking around, while moving around in space,” Scoble says.

One unexpected thing it’ll change?

Fashion, because what you’re physically wearing—or even what you actually look like — won’t necessarily limit how you portray yourself to others.

“Facebook is planning on doing all sorts of magic stuff when you meet a friend in the street it’ll go beep and all of a sudden I’ll see your 3D costume that you just bought, something made for you, right?” Scoble says. “I’ll be like ‘Yeah, nice costume’ … in ten years, we’re going to have Burning Man 24 hours a day in the streets?

Which of course will bring an entirely new set of privacy concerns along with it, as every adopter will be wearing cameras and sensors, and major platforms will want a piece of that.

That’s probably one reason why Apple is working so hard right now to be the face of big tech privacy.

Research contact: @Forbes

Serena Williams designs limited edition Gatorade bottle

July 3, 2020

Tennis ace Serena Williams isn’t afraid of coming on strong—either on the court or off it.

Throughout her career, she has grabbed headlines not just for her dominance on the court, but for her self-designed bold outfit choices as well. To some, her now-iconic catsuits, tutus, bold prints, and more may seem to supersede function.

But to Williams, fashion and performance go hand in hand, according to her recent interview with Fast Company. “My sister and I both say, ‘Look good, feel good, play good,’” Williams says.

Now, Fast Company says, she’s channeling that philosophy into a limited-edition Gatorade bottle.

To promote Gatorade’s Gx customizable hydration line, Williams designed a bottle that encompasses more than just something to hold your electrolytic fruit punch.

“I wanted to create something that tells a story about—not only my strength as an athlete but also my strength as a mom,” Williams says.

Williams’s bottle incorporates bright, almost neon colors broken up by thick black lettering that, if you look closely, spells out “STRONG.”

“For me, bold colors are essential. And we have Gatorade’s iconic orange because when I was younger, my dream was to be a Gatorade athlete. So I wanted to keep that inspirational story with the orange,” Williams says.

As for the black, it’s a theme Williams translates into her strength on and off the court.

“Being an athlete is easy,” she told Fast Company. “Being a mom is so hard. That’s like the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Williams has what she jokingly calls a “lifetime partnership” with Gatorade—and the pairing has certainly produced some noteworthy campaigns. So for both Williams and Gatorade, this collaboration was more than just imprinting her name on a bottle.

“When you think about Serena Williams, you think of someone that’s different and stands up and stands out for lots of different things outside of tennis,” Williams continues. “That was the same method that I wanted to do when I was designing this bottle.”

Research contact: @FastCompany

Kroger Health’s home coronavirus test kit cleared for emergency use by FDA

July 2, 2020

Kroger  has received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a home COVID-19 test, The Street reports.

“The testing solution combines the safety and convenience of at-home sample collection with the expert guidance of a telehealth consultation to help improve the quality of the collection process,” the country’s largest grocery store chain, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, said in a statement.

The kit initially will be available for Kroger workers, based on medical need, beginning this week. Kroger is partnering with clinical laboratory Gravity Diagnostics.

According to The Street, the company plans to rapidly expand the availability of the kits to other companies and organizations in the coming weeks, with a goal of processing up to 60,000 tests per week by the end of July.

“Over the past few months, Kroger Health has been providing Americans with access to Covid-19 testing through community test sites across the country,” said Colleen Lindholz, president.

“However, we’ve observed some individuals do not have access to transportation or live near these community testing locations. To help ease this burden and provide greater accessibility, we will be offering a home testing solution.”

A licensed healthcare professional will supervise the tests. “The process is simple and is available at no cost to eligible patients who meet established clinical criteria for likely Covid-19 infection or exposure,” Kroger said.

The kit includes a nasal swab, transport vial, instruction sheet, prepaid shipping label, and packing materials for return shipment of the sample to the laboratory.

Research contact: @TheStreet

Twitch muzzles Trump: Platform suspends president’s channel for ‘hateful conduct’

July 1, 2020

Twitch— the live-streaming platform that millions of people use to chat, interact, and make their own entertainment together—announced on Monday, June 29, that it was suspending Donald Trump’s personal channel for “hateful conduct,” in what appeared to be the first deliberate suspension of one of the president’s social media accounts, The New York Times reported.

The site, which is owned by Amazon, said two recent streams on. Trump’s channel violated its rules:

  • One stream was of a rebroadcasted 2015 campaign event in which Donald Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” adding, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
  • The other stream documented the president’s May 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he described a scenario involving an immigrant in the following way: “It’s one o’clock in the morning,” Trump said, and “a very tough hombre is breaking into the window of a young woman, whose husband is away, as a traveling salesman or whatever he may do. And you call 911, and they say, ‘I’m sorry this number is no longer working.’”

“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch,” a Twitch spokesperson said in a statement. “In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed.”

It was unclear how long the suspension would last.

With its move, Twitch went further than other social media platforms, the Times noted. In recent months, some tech companies have become more proactive in handling speech issues by Trump and his supporters. Twitter began adding labels to some of the president’s tweets; Snap has said it will stop promoting Mr. Trump’s Snapchat account; and Reddit on Monday said it would ban “The_Donald” community, which had been a highly influential digital gathering place for Trump’s acolytes.

But unlike those efforts, Twitch directly clamped down on the president himself, temporarily shutting down his ability to post videos on a channel. The only other time when the president had one of his social media accounts suspended was by accident in 2017, when his Twitter account was unexpectedly disabled by a rogue contractor who was leaving Twitter that day.

One company that has maintained it does not want to police free speech is Facebook. Last week, the social network announced it would expand its hate speech policies and label posts from political figures who violate rules as “newsworthy.” But the labels, which do not explain what is inaccurate or hateful about a post, fall short of what Twitter and other companies have done.

Twitch’s suspension of Mr. Trump comes as the platform, which is popular with gamers, is under fire for other instances of hateful rhetoric. Streamers have accused it of allowing racist and sexist comments to thrive unchecked, and the company said last week it would permanently suspend a handful of users after a torrent of sexual harassment and assault allegations rocked the video game industry.

Cindy Otis, a disinformation expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, told the Times that Twitch’s suspension of the president might pressure other companies to ratchet up their actions.

“You have to sort of wonder, if smaller platforms start taking more aggressive or harder action on what they consider harmful content or on the disinformation side — will that end up pressuring the larger platforms to do more as well?”. Otis asked.

But, she added, “If stuff gets removed from one platform, it simply migrates to another.”

The Trump campaign did not directly address the actions by Twitch and Reddit on Monday. Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, said in a statement that people should download the Trump campaign app or text the campaign’s automated number to “hear directly from the president.”

Twitch is not one of Mr. Trump’s top social media channels, according to the Times report. His channel began streaming on the service last October, amassing more than 125,000 followers and 113 streams, compared with his more than 83 million followers on Twitter.

Research contact: @nytimes

Double duty: A new flashlight from VSSL totes a full first aid kit in its handle

June 30, 2020

For treks in the great outdoors—or even playdates—it’s a good idea to pack lightly, but meticulously for every need, according to Todd Weimer, the founder of outdoor brand VSSL . So, when he got the idea of putting camping supplies or first aid essentials into the handle of a sturdy flashlight, he knew it was a winner, Fast Company reports.

VSSL (pron. vessel) now focuses on producing a range of multi-functional tools with components that are critical for outdoor survival and “zombie protection.The company curates and loads critical gear into compact, modular units, so that you can have what you need without adding unnecessary clunk.

And while the VSSL Camp Supplies Kit includes 70 pieces of gear (from a fire starter kit, to a water purification kit, to a sewing kit) into a unit the size of a small water bottle, it’s not practical for everyone.

The VSSL First Aid Kit ($125), however, is according to Fast Company. Tubular and compact, this first aid kit/flashlight combo fits into your glove box, backpack, purse, or bathroom medicine cabinet with ease. And it completely cancels any excuse you’ve ever had in the past to not keep first aid essentials on your person.

“We wanted to create something that was easy to carry, yet completely reliable and durable,” Weimer explains. “We relied on expert advice from local emergency first responders, who helped us select only the first aid supplies that will be the most essential and useful–from your backyard to the backcountry and everywhere in between.”

Fast Company describes the design of the flashlight as “sleek as hell and highly functional,” noting that “it’s completely waterproof,  exceptionally rugged (it’s made of military-grade aluminum), and each component of the kit is easily accessible (thanks to the rollout design of the kit’s components).”

Oh, and it weighs less than a pound. The bottom of the kit is a 200-Lumen, waterproof, flood beam flashlight that has four different lighting modes: bright, dim, red, and SOS. The top of the kit is an oil-filled precision compass.

Inside, you’ll find multiuse tape, bandages, 3M Steri-Strips, disposible thermometers, antiseptic towelettes, antibiotic cream, burn cream, Aspirin, Advil, tweezers, an emergency whistle, safety pins, gauze, medical gloves, and blister pads—all rolled up neatly into a see-through, pocketed organizer.

But if you’re looking for an even more pared-down First Aid Kit, VSSL also offers the First Aid Mini Kit ($99)—which includes only the essential of the essentials.

This kit stands at 6.75 inches tall (compared to the full-sized VSSL’s 9 inches), weighs only 9.9 oz., and holds three tins of curated supplies. Tin 1 includes supplies to clean and cover wounds, Tin 2 contains first aid tools (like tweezers, gloves, and a sewing kit), and Tin 3 holds supplies like medications, creams, and thermometers.

After you’ve used supplies that come with your VSSL kit, you can refill it (or swap out) with any number of affordable refills, from bug repellant to trail markers to miniature candles. The brand offers curated refill tins like the Guard Compact Adventure Pack (which comes stocked with face masks, rubber gloves, thermometers, and hand sanitizer) and the First Aid Hike Essentials tin. (The company also has a Build Your Own option that you can customize from scratch, if the premade kits don’t suit your needs.)

Suddenly, carrying a first aid kit seems more convenient than not carrying one—doesn’t it?

Research contact: @VSSLgear

Kanye West to design Yeezy clothing line for Gap

June 29, 2020

He’s a rapper, he’s a designer, he’s a preacher, he’s a billionaire (or so he says), he’s a true Trump believer; he’s a father and the husband of reality star Kim Kardashian. And he used to work at Gap as a kid growing up in Chicago.

But can the multitalented Kanye West pull Gap’s retail empire out of its years-long slump? The casual-clothing retailer announced on June 26 that it is teaming up with West’s fashion brand Yeezy on a collection called Yeezy Gap that will debut next year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Yeezy will receive royalties and potential equity, based on meeting sales targets.

West, who has 21 Grammy awards and whose Yeezy fashion brand had a tie-up with Nike, and currently has one with Adidas, has talked about wanting to partner with Gap in various interviews over the years. A former Gap employee in his teens, West even mentioned the retailer in his 2004 song “Spaceship.”

“I believe that Yeezy is the McDonald’s and the Apple of apparel,” West told  the Journal in March. “In order to make the Apple of apparel the next Gap, it has to be a new invention. To invent something that’s so good that you don’t even get credit for it because it’s the norm.”

Founded in 1969 in San Francisco, Gap rose to fame by dressing several generations of Americans in its jeans, khakis, and T-shirts; but has since been overtaken by fast-fashion chains and new e-commerce players. Its sales have declined each year since 2013, dragging down results at parent Gap where its new chief executive, Sonia Syngal, is trying to fashion a turnaround in the middle of a pandemic.

Syngal told the Journal in May that she is using the upheaval created by the coronavirus pandemic “to refashion the company for what we want it to look like over the next 50 years.”

And she thinks West is the man to do it, with a new line of T-shirts, jeans, and hoodies.

At Yeezy’s Cody, Wyoming, studio, Mr. West has been working on perfecting the hoodie. His version is chunky and slightly cropped at the waist. “The hoodie is arguably the most important piece of apparel of the last decade,” .West told the Journal in March.

A version of the hoodie—along with T-shirts and jeans for men, women and children—will be available at Gap stores and on its website beginning next year. Prices will be in line with Gap’s other offerings, according to a company spokesperson.

Research contact: @Gap