| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Innovation & Startups

1898 Articles | Page: | Show All

Emodt co-founder reflects on emotional technology and the Oscar movie nominee Her

In the future, might our emotional well-being depend on our relationships with an operating system like the one in the Oscar-nominated movie Her? 
 
Pittsburgh startup Emodt suggests the concept is not as far-fetched or as far away as one might think. Just as digital technology like GPS helps us when we’re lost, this mobile digital platform helps people better understand and guide their emotional state through such issues as stress, insomnia, and depression.
 
Emodt (as in emote) is being developed by a small team in Pittsburgh under the direction of co-founder Dr. Matthew Keener, a translational neuroscientist and innovator who offered insights on the concept during a TEDx talk here last year. 
 
Another of Emodt’s cofounders is Johannes Eichstaedt, a Penn researcher and founder of the World Well-Being Project. Keener offers these thoughts on technology’s role in the future of therapy. 
 
How does Emodt work? 
 
It’s a software platform that works as an app and software package across several devices. 
The platform allows people to keep track of their emotional life and see how they’re improving through a suite of tools on their smartphone, supported by wearing a simple device that captures emotion-related information. 
 
Much like the software Lumosity provides specific exercises that help improve people’s cognitive skills, Emodt has programs that help people with their emotional performance. Users then get feedback on how they’re doing on a wide range of areas along with evidence-based strategies. For instance someone with sleep difficulties would be prompted around nighttime routines with things like a meditation drill. 
 
Interesting. So will technology one day replace therapy or is the idea to supplement it?
 
Well, keep in mind that technology is defined simply as the use of science toward solving real world problems. So technology has always been an element of providing emotional help and can be as simple as using pen and paper.
 
We are currently partnering with companies that have completely self-administered computerized therapies like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) but we’re also working on software people would use in conjunction with therapists. 
 
What’s your time frame for when this will this be released?
 
Right now we’re still testing the platform in a series of beta trials but we’re excited that we’ll be making elements available through selected partners this year.
 
So did you find the movie Her at all realistic?  
 
Yes, I think it’s surprisingly realistic as far as what may be coming quite soon. 
Although the movie depicts artificial intelligence as a partial replacement for human relationships, I think it’s more likely that we’ll see the development of technologies working in the background as a support system, rather than a substitute for human connection with others or oneself. 
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Matt Keener, Emodt
 

Bearded in Lawrenceville makes .netMagazine list of top design studios in the world

Lawrenceville boutique studio Bearded has been named an international finalist by .net Magazine, a weighty honor in the world of web design.
 
Founded in 2008, Bearded started out in the home of founder Matt Griffin before he moved to a leaky room in Wilkinsburg and then on to better digs East Liberty. This month Bearded, now at six people, settled into a new space at 3445 Butler Street, a loft-style office in the former and historic public bathhouse building.
 
Bearded is a web design and development studio that specializes in good design and technical innovation. The studio creates responsive, content-managed websites and custom applications that work with everything from browsers to smartphones and large HDTVs, says Griffin.
 
“I was frustrated with the predominant model for designing things on the web,” he says. “Web design is a lot about controlling the chaos of the world. Taking the indigestible and making it clear.”
 
A Pittsburgh native and graduate of Allderdice High School, Griffiin has taught web design at Carnegie Mellon University and writes a regular column for A List Apart.
 
Clients include the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Astorino Architects, 9/11 Tribute Center, Sprout Fund, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Scarehouse and Zoobean.
 
.net Magazine received more than 2,000 nominations from which it selected 20 finalists for the honor of “Agency of the Year.” A public vote iin the coming weeks will narrow the list to five nominees; the final decision will be made by a panel of industry experts.
 
“A lot of the people on the list are our heroes of web design, people we look up to,” says Griffin. “Just to be nominated is fantastic.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Matt Griffin, Bearded

Looking for a job in tech or IT? What you need is your own personal talent agent

Job seekers are demanding a revolution when it comes to finding the next great job, says Eric Harvey. So who wouldn’t want their own personal agent to lead the charge?
 
Harvey is founder and CEO of YourTalentAgents.com, a startup that wants to be the eHarmony of the job world, matching specific job seekers with employers through recruiters. 
 
YTA works with what he calls “the passive segment” of the job-seeking population, those with careers in engineering and IT who tend to not take an aggressive approach when seeking a career move.  
 
Recruiting companies cater to the 20 percent of job seekers who are actively seeking employment, says Harvey. The other 80 percent, those who are more laid back in their career approach, tend to be overlooked.
 
“The beauty of our model is we give them (passive seekers) a voice and a vision,” he says. “It allows them to passively look for a job without dealing with the hassle of recruiters, phone calls and emails.
 
“The magic of our system is we are building technology that improves their experience,” he adds. “In the future, everyone will have a personal talent agent.” 
 
YTA is starting small and focusing initially on Pittsburgh companies and jobs. The platform targets those looking to work in the tech space—engineers and IT people. As it rolls out, YTA will be replicated in other markets for other professions.
 
The company has offices in the Riverside Center for Innovation and has a team of 20 talent agents, including interns and volunteers.
 
“The cool thing for us is the general population will have someone dedicated to their career search from cradle to grave,” he says. “It will demystify the job search.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Eric Harvey, YTA
 

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? AquaTech, ReedSmith, UpTo, Portabeer and more

Looking for work? Each week Pop City reports on the latest company hiring news.
 
AquaTech in Canonsburg, providing clean water tech for the industrial sector, has five openings: buyer, human resources manager, project engineer, project manager and welder.
 
Pittsburgh law firm Reed Smith is hiring a legal director coordinator to work with the marketing department on legal directories.

Federated Investors, a global investment manager, has several openings at the downtown Pittsburgh headquarters and Warrendale location.  Positions range from Internal sales associate, IMO analyst to senior Java programmers and Oracle and SQL database administrators.

UpTo, pop-up marketing, design and public relations firm, is gearing up for its 2014 season and is looking for freelance designers and writers.
 
NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania seeks a program manager to direct and support its Leadership Development Program. The program seeks to empower emerging leaders in low-income, disinvested communities with the necessary skills to advance community-driven change.
 
The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation is expanding its team with two new positions: an economic development program coordinator and a communications and outreach coordinator.
 
Pittsburgh-based Industry Weapon has four openings: an educational services instructor, inside new business account executive, account manager and an HTML 5 developer.  
 
Pittsburgh Startup Webkite is looking for a sales and business development representative to assist in a dynamic new sales effort.  
 
PortaBeer—a draft beer systems for beer drinkers on the go—is expanding and hiring. Word is that big news is forthcoming about this Pittsburgh startup, but until its official release the company is looking for a sales rep.
 
Have hiring news? Email Pop City and send the links.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

BlueBelt Technologies blasts off with successful robotic tools for bone surgery

BlueBelt Technologies, a Strip District developer of handheld robotic tools that are improving outcomes for bone surgery patients, is preparing for major growth.

As a company, BlueBelt straddles two cities. The corporate headquarters is in Minneapolis, where manufacturing takes place; the research and development is done in the Strip District. The company employs 65 and expects to hire another 20 this year.

The first product was launched commercially in 2013, the Navio, a handheld robotic tool that gives surgeons greater flexibility in performing partial knee replacement surgeries. Not only does the tool reduce the size of the incision, but it’s so precise that doctors are successful using using it in outpatient facilities, allowing patients to go home the same day, says Eric Timko, CEO.

A Carnegie Mellon spinout, BlueBelt was founded in 2003 by co-founders Dr. Anthony DiGioia, Dr. Branislav Jaramaz, and Craig Markovitz, pioneers in computer-assisted orthopedic surgery. Markovitz was recently rehired as company general manager.

Unlike freestanding robotic tools, the Navio is a handheld tool that eliminates the need for multiple instruments during surgery, makes more precise incisions and reduces overall surgery time and the risk to patients, says Timko.

“We are the happy medium doctors have been looking for,” he adds. “They (doctors) all want the accuracy and consistency of robotics, but they don’t want to be replaced. The surgeon drives the robot, the robot doesn’t drive the surgeon.”

The Stride, a knee implant, was launched in the fall of 2013. “It takes the anatomy of the patient into consideration,” Timko says. “It’s designed to fit better and comes in extended sizes that make it a better opportunity for the patient.”

Both devices are currently being used in hospitals across the country and locally at Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Eric Timko, BlueBelt Technologies
 
 

Meet the new Alpha Lab startups for 2014

Twice a year, Innovation Works opens its doors and rolls up its sleeves to a group of promising entrepreneurs who receive $25,000 in funding, hands-on guidance from industry mentors and free office space from which to work on the South Side.
 
What a difference 20 weeks can make in the growth of these fledging companies.
 
Since the program’s introduction, many startups have not only gone on to succeed, but some have achieved celebrity startup status. Among the alumni are The Resumator (giving the President Obama and candidate Mitt Romney an assist during the presidential campaign) Black Locus (acquired by Home Depot) and NoWait (the casual restaurant app that recently launched nationwide).
 
This latest group is working in a new universe of technology and markets that have yet to be addressed by a company to date, says Terri Glueck of IW.
 
Meet the first AlphaLab class of 2014:
 
While technology is taking off for the average user, the blind and visual impaired don’t have the same accessibility to tools to improve their quality of life. Conversant Labs is developing consumer apps for visually impaired people using voice-enabled mobile applications.
 
INKTD wants to put an end to no-show appointments and scheduling problems. This cloud-based, social scheduling platform is especially designed for tattoo shops and artists.
 
Jetpack Workflow is developing a cloud-based application that can automate and manage business tasks that workers tend to do over and over again. Especially designed for services such as accounting and bookkeeping, the tool will work to provide client context and track staff progress so firms can manage client expectations and increase billable hours. 

Next Gauge is creating smart-device-based systems for small and mid-size businesses for their mobile workforces. The systems are designed to improve productivity, enhance communication and reduce costs. Solutions are currently being targeted to address the needs of commercial fleets and field services industries.
 
Tailored Fit is a shopping website that becomes your personal shopper, learning what you like and picking out clothes you’ll love. Think of it as a style guide in the way Pandora connects the dots with your musical taste.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Innovation Works

Idea Foundry launches new accelerator to promote water innovation in Pittsburgh

Idea Foundry has created a new accelerator program for companies working in the water innovation space.
 
Innovate H2O, launched in collaboration with the Water Economy Network, hopes to inspire corporations and startups to develop breakthrough water solutions that address water issues in the region and create jobs, says Albert Ciuksza, manager of water initiatives for Idea Foundry.
 
Five areas of water innovation have been identified as key to the region’s economic growth and sound environmental management: energy production, manufacturing, drinking water production, storm andsewer management and green infrastructure,  navigation and monitoring.
 
“Everyone knows how important water is,” says Ciuksza. “We want to have our hands on what this industry is doing. Ultimately, it will help businesses identify the next steps for growth in the region.”
 
The program will strive to bring entrepreneurs, individuals and organizations together with leaders in the water industry in the development of market research, testing, product development and more, Ciuksza says.
 
WEN member organizations include: Aquatech, Bayer Materials, Calgon Carbon, CMU, Consol Energy, LANXESS, Port of Pittsburgh, Sustainable Pittsburgh, URS Corp. and Veolia.
 
Successful applicants will be eligible for up to $10,000 in financial support. Applications are being accepted now through March 14, 2014. For more information, check the Idea Foundry website.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Albert Ciuksza, Idea Foundry

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? A few life sciences companies, PNC, Safaba and more

Each week Pop City reports on the latest in company hiring news.
 
BlueBelt Technologies, a Pittsburgh developer of robotic surgical tools, is planning for major growth in 2014. The company has announced hiring for 25 new positions this year. The company is currently looking for a software development research engineer and program manager.   
 
PNC Investments has openings for six people in Pittsburgh. Positions range from investment services associates to consultants and financial advisors.
 
Neuro-Kinetics, Inc. a small but fast-growing medical device company, is seeking software and mechanical engineers. 
 
Safaba in Squirrel Hill, on the forefront of language translation technology, is on the lookout for a research scientist and software engineers.
 
Pittsburgh online ticketing company ShowClix is hiring an account manager and software engineer. There are several internships available as well in account services, software engineering, sales and marketing.
 
University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt Magazine is hiring a medical editor and writer. A master’s degree is required.
 
The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural history is hiring a director of visitor services, a highly enthusiastic person able to manage, develop and support the visitor experience.
 
The MEMS Industry Group is hiring a marketing and web associate who can creatively design and execute web marketing and advertising campaigns. The MEMS group is the trade association to promote the micro electrical mechanical systems industry.
 
Have hiring news? Email Pop City and send the career links.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Pittsburgh marketing news roundup--acquisitions, mergers and expansions

And now the news on Pittsburgh marketing companies. First up, Campos Inc.
 
A.J. Drexler, former president and lead strategist at Big Picture Communications, has assumed ownership and management of Campos Inc., a firm founded and run by Yvonne Campos for more than 28 years.
 
The Campos name will remain. Drexler, a champion of well-executed market research, says Campos will continue to move in the direction of marketing strategy, research and data analytics. In addition, Drexler acquired Direct Feedback, a former competitor with offices in Station Square, and has integrated the firm into Campos. Direct Feedback specialized in qualitative research and focus group work.
 
Since the acquisition, Campos has hired four people, three from Direct Feedback and a new marketing strategist. Drexler’s message to the rest of the agency community? Campos is not in the business to compete with other agencies.
 
“We will do the strategy work up to a creative brief, but will go no further,” she says. “We are all about marketing planning and strategy all the time.
 
Campos will remain at the firm for another three years. “Our goal has always been to find the story, ask what’s the impact,” she says. “It’s not data for data’s sake but how we can use it to make better decisions.”
 
Portfolio Creative, a creative staffing and recruitment firm based in Columbus, Ohio, has opened an office in East Liberty. The firm specializes in recruiting creative talent for marketing firms, both full-time and freelance work for long and short term projects.
 
Not to be confused as an advertising or design firm, Portfolio Creative instead focuses on locating strong talent in the areas of marketing, creative advertising and graphic design, says Kristen Harris, COO and co-founder.
 
“Pittsburgh has a huge creative community,” she says. “We looked at a lot of cities and saw so much activity here. No one here is doing what we do, helping creative people to find one another.”
 
Founded in 2005, Portfolio Creative has been an Inc. 500|5000 fastest growing firm for the past four years. The office is located at 6101 Penn Avenue and is managed by Katie Speers.

Pittsburgh-based advertising agency Garrison Hughes moved this month into new 7,200 square foot offices the week that will double the firm’s original footprint. The new digs are on the second floor of the First & Market Building in downtown Pittsburgh. Employment has grown to 23.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Campos + Portfolio Creative

How a family joined the Pittsburgh Global Game Jam and won the Google prize

What happens when you bring gamers together for 48-hours of intense, sleepless game development?
 
The Global Game Jam, the world’s largest game creating event, took place last weekend in Pittsburgh and around the world. Think of it as the Olympic event for game development, one that gets a global buzz going while investigating what it takes to put together a cool and creative game.
 
The Pittsburgh Game Jam got underway at CMU’s ETC on Friday with the announcement of this year’s secret theme: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” From there, neurons began firing around the world and for the next 48 hours.
 
By the time it was over, 4,207 games were generated from more than 70 different countries.
 
“Some folks show up as teams, others arrive and hook up with people they meet at the jam.Then they stock up on pizza and spend the next two days working feverishly to complete whatever their sleep-deprived caffeine-infused imaginations can dream up,” says Gary Gardiner, creator of Dream Flight Adventure.
 
Gardiner made the weekend a family affair, forming a team with his wife and three sons, the eldest of whom is seven. The boys developed a storyline about two boys who live on a farm and mistakenly release all the chickens from the chicken coop. From this premise, “Chicken Chase” was born, with the boys contributing on design and game obstacles.
 
Gardiner developed the software and his wife worked on the music. The game won the Google Award for Technical Achievement; an iPad App will be out in two weeks.
 
While most of the participants were pulling all-nighters at ETC, Gardiner and family got some sleep. But “it was really neat to have my boys up there playing with professional game developers,” he says. "I pride myself on being a pretty creative guy, but this idea would have never have happened without my kids. It was a great family project.”

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Gary Gardiner

The latest in dining, dating and dressing in Pittsburgh? That's PGH YOU

Getting real world digital experience is what PGH YOU is all about, a student-driven publication and website created at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

This marks the third time Rob Straw, Shawn O’Mara and Tamara Pavlock have worked together to create a printed pub and online website with everything in it--videos, graphics, photography and moving social media parts.

While the first two efforts targeted 30-year-old males—PGH Man—PGH YOU was created with young male and female urban professionals in mind, those living the life in Pittsburgh and looking for good dining, dating and dressing.

“Students today need these resume builders,” says O’Mara. “It helps them create a portfolio and teaches networking.”

“Only a few college students have a full-blown publication like this in their portfolio,” adds Pavlock. “It’s totally unique.”

The students came together for 11 weeks and mapped out the undertaking, which involved the creation of a website creation, videos and motion graphics. ABC Printing donated – for the second time – the printing of the publication.  

The glossy print publication is generating quite a buzz on campus, says Pavlock.

“The class is a bit like a reality show,” adds O’Mara. “They dedicate a lot of time to this. It’s a very popular class.”

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: AI of Pittsburgh

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Thar Geothermal, 4moms, mullen and more

4moms in the Strip District has openings for 15+ in several areas. The robotic baby equipment maker is seeking corporate, customer, engineering, IT and marketing support.
 
mullen in the Strip District is seeking an assistant media planner/ buyer to assist in day-to-day media activity on assigned campaigns and clients.
 
Metro Recruiting in Wexford is looking for a director of web content for its online publishing and advertising company. The ideal candidate will have experience in strategically shaping and managing business opportunities, as well as knowledge of SEO and Google Analytics.
 
Wombat Securities in Oakland is hiring a digital marketing manager to create effective digital marketing programs that improve awareness of Wombat Securities.
 
Thar Geothermal seeks a entry-level mechanical engineer for the firm, which designs develops and markets cost-effective heat pump technology and systems.
 
Avere Systems on the North Side is looking for an online marketing administrator, a technical role responsible for maintaining accurate tracking of leads and data as well as conducting research and procuring contracts to supplement the existing database.
 
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is seeking part-time, self-starter who will represent the Symphony in their local community.  The idea is to increase ticket sales to Symphony performances at Heinz Hall from September to June.
 
Have hiring news? Email Pop City and send the career links.
 
Writer: Deb Smit

Pittsburgh rapper Kellee Maize says Toyota's Prius suits her style

There’s good corporate thinking and bad corporate thinking says Kellee Maize.  
 
For the Pittsburgh rapper, music is all about raising social and spiritual consciousness and many of her songs have an earthy, new age slant to prove it. ("Have you heard, about a magic place, we call Peaceburgh?" ) So when Toyota USA asked her to endorse their cars in a national advertising campaign, she considered it carefully.  
 
It was the Toyota Prius that sold her, she says.  
 
“It wasn’t an easy choice,” says Maize who grew up in Central Pennsylvania and attended University of Pittsburgh before making Pittsburgh her home. “Toyota takes the idea of being green very seriously. I actually have this dream of touring across the country with a fleet of Priuses.”
 
For an unsigned, independent artist like herself to land a three-year deal as the new face of Prius is a big deal, she says. She credits the accomplishment to the online buzz she has generated the last few years through YouTube. More than one million fans have downloaded her music for free online.
 
“More than 12,000 YouTube videos have used my music,” she adds. “It’s given me a platform that has helped me to grow organically. The strategy has paid off.”
 
Her music has been a passion since she began performing at the tender age of nine; her first group was Thunder and Lightning, but “we mostly just argued about who was thunder and who was lightning,” she says. She classifies her music as conscious rap revolving around spiritual, political, and feminist themes.
 
“I want to always be able to say what I want to say,” she says.
 
Maize is also a co-founder of Nakturnal, a creative marketing and events firm based in Pittsburgh, which she founded with two other women. She also devotes time to singing and raising money for several humanitarian concerns including a nonprofit called Committed, which works to ensure a quality education for the children of migrant workers in Nepal, and homelessness.
 
Maize will release her fifth album “5th Element” close to Valentines Day, perfect timing for a release that is all about love.
 
“I think Toyota took notice of the fact that I talk about environmentalism,” she says. “I’m staying true to my values.”

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kellee Maize

'Internet Famous,' a raunchy comedy with an all-Pittsburgh cast+crew

What happens when a young urban professional living in Pittsburgh goes viral and finds fame on the internet?
 
Internet Famous is a new web comedy series that premieres online tonight, Jan. 22, with a red carpet showing at the Hollywood Theatre in Dormont.
 
Creators Chris Lee (Pitt, MFA grad) and Tom Williams (Pittsburgh Filmmakers) met through friends and quickly found they had a mutual admiration for “good comedy." So they wrote a script and staged a successful Kickstarter campaign, which earned them about $7500, giving them enough to hire an all-Pittsburgh cast and crew.
 
The film was shot on location throughout the city during the recurring heatwaves in July and August of 2013. Lawrenceville, the East End and Shadyside served as backdrops for the story. 

“In a lot of ways, it’s the future of TV,” says Williams. “Netflicks and Hulu are producing original content. Digital production makes it all possible.”
 
The story follows a young urban professional named Andy and his friends—they hang out together at Remedy, by the way—as he discover the highs and lows of instant celebrity and internet fame.
 
“It’s Seinfeld comes to Pittsburgh, but a little more vulgar,” says Williams.
 
The music also draws from the local music scene: The Harlan Twins, Neighbours, Nic Lawless and His Young Criminals, Delicious Pastries and The Gotobeds, to name a few. Spruce Films in Lawrenceville pitched in on the production side.  
 
Trent Wolfred plays the lead role of Andy. A grad of Penn State University, he was last seen in Lucas McNelly’s Blanc de Blanc and is a cast member at Pittsburgh Public Theatre where he is the house manager. Matthew Robison, a graduate of Point Park University, plays Andy’s sex-crazed roommate. His previous work includes local short films and videos.

Seven short webisodes were shot, all of which will be shown tonight at The Hollywood. From here, the producers are hoping to find sponsors and local investors to begin season two. Check out the trailer and premiere.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Tom Williams, Internet Famous
 
 
 

2014 DATA Awards want to be the SXSW for art+tech innovation in Pittsburgh

Move over SXSW, Pittsburgh is raising the bar and taking the annual Design, Art and Technology Awards Exhibition to the national level this year.
 
The DATA Awards have always shown off both the hottest and coolest companies on the local tech scene. In an effort to attract more attention and buzz to the scene, the event is expanding to a two-day creative summit that invites  regional and companies from across the country to come to Pittsburgh and share the love.
 
“We really want to get national exposure for Pittsburgh companies and artists,” explains Kim Chesney Harvey of the PTC. “At the same time, we want to bring leading-edge ideas here. The idea is to engage people with each other.”
 
“The closest thing to this is SXSW in Austin,” she adds. “This is homegrown. You’ll see things here you won’t see anywhere else.”
 
PTC is calling on designers and artists—from Pittsburgh to Austin, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City—to be a part of the summit as either entrants or designers. The summit will feature workshops, panels, performances and networking opportunities.
 
The summit will be capped off by the Design, Art and Technology Awards Gala, and the DATA 2014. Entrepreneur, career guru and internationally known blogger Penelope Trunk will keynote.  
 
DATA 2014 will be held at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust May 7 and 8th. The deadline for entries is Feb. 17.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kim Chestney Harvey, PTC
1898 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts