News / Science & Technology

    Social Startups Put Human Touch Back in Tech

    Social Media Week Startups Put Human Element Back in Techi
    X
    March 02, 2016 4:28 PM
    They're called 'social' networks, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to name a few, but do they actually create real connections? At the recent Social Media Week conference in New York City some tech innovators showed off some of the ways they are trying to get people together online. VOA's Tina Trinh reports.
    Tina Trinh

    Social networks are a big part of our lives, but opinions diverge when it comes to how effective they are in fostering interpersonal relationships.  A few tech startups, however, have devised new ways to help us improve our face-to-face-communications.

    At the recent Social Media Week conference in New York City, tech executives took to the stage to show off their latest innovations, many of which were less about the technologies themselves and more about the humans they were designed to connect.

    Scott Davison (3rd from the right) of tech startup Jewelbots participates in a panel discussion during Social Media Week in New York City (VOA/R.Taylor).
    Scott Davison (3rd from the right) of tech startup Jewelbots participates in a panel discussion during Social Media Week in New York City (VOA/R.Taylor).

    Scott Davison, vice president of hardware engineering at Jewelbots, explained how getting young girls interested in coding is easy when you speak their language - not Java or C++ - but the language of jewelry.

    “It’s something that girls like, and something that girls would use and want to make their own,” said Davison.

    Jewelbots are friendship bracelets that light up with custom patterns girls can program themselves.  The bracelets provide various notifications, lighting up when other friends are nearby or when users have new followers on social media.  Think of them as the kid-friendly version of the Apple watch.

    “We’re pitching it as a wearable and targeting a market that is usually avoided by just about everybody else,” said Davison.

    Senior caretakers

    Another market overlooked by technology startups? Seniors and the elderly. Josh Bruno of Hometeam experienced it firsthand when trying to find in-home care for his grandfather.

    “This is something that just comes out of nowhere for a lot of people . . . it could happen after a hospitalization, maybe a hip fracture,” said Bruno. “Suddenly, you need a little extra help in the home, but you’re not ready for a nursing home yet,” he added.

    Bruno’s startup helps families navigate caretaking decisions for their loved ones, and pairs home health aides with seniors who wish to stay in their homes. Ipads are placed within each home and family members are kept in the loop via the HomeTeam app.

    “The caregiver is checking in with you over the application or by phone, whatever you prefer.  So, this is pictures throughout the day, checking off specific tasks set forth by the doctor and you...you’re getting an email or an update every single day, often in real-time," Bruno explained.

    Watching sports together virtually

    That tech-meets-human approach can also bridge physical and digital divides for sports fans.

    Andre Lorenceau, founder and CEO of virtual reality company LiveLike, wanted to watch his beloved college football games with his friends.  The problem, though, was that everyone was spread across the globe.  Lorenceau started LiveLike, a virtual reality club room in which to watch live games while simultaneously interacting with friends.

    “You’ll feel like you’re at the stadium, and you can switch seats at will and you can talk to your friends no matter where they actually are,” said Lorenceau.

    The startup is working to secure partnerships with major sports broadcasting networks to implement their software into branded, virtual reality apps.

    As these startups prove, new technologies continue to provide new means of communication, but the personal connections they foster are still very much human.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora