This is a solvable problem. Cancer causes measurable (but typically unnoticed) changes to the rest of your body. If it can be measured, it can be monitored; and when that change is detected, a quick trip to the doctor's office would likely save the next 30 years of your life (if it was indeed the very early stages of cancer).
Cancer is beatable; we simply need to beat it before it has the chance to incubate.
This is a problem that I would like to personally work on, but unfortunately it would take at least a year to arrive at a feasible design. It'd need only a small investment (~$1M) but I doubt any investor would be interested in "zero profitability for at least 12 months".
Recently there was a very interesting article on HN about the mindblowing complexity of cancer: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/personalized-m...
With a full body scan you can find an incredible wide range of things that could be wrong.
As far I know no insurance on the world pays for this without indication but its not really that expensive. Depending on the MRT device that you prefer and the country you are living in it costs about 3000$.
If you are afraid of a "closed MRT" there are also open MRTs:
However, your concepts sound like vague ideas rather than anything based in reason or science. One dimensional sensing (eg a heartbeat monitor) is fairly easy,but good and reliable multi-variable embedded sensing is hard.
In a later post, you mentioned mapping teeth with a toothbrush. That's not a trivial thing to do - without a fixed frame of reference it would not only be very complex mathematically, but also pretty unreliable. Similarly, chemically analysing anything is not something you can easily do in an embedded and reliable fashion.
A million dollars would not get you very far with embedded, reliable chemical testing. You clearly don't even have a concept of how to do it.
In a later post, you mentioned mapping teeth with a toothbrush. That's not a trivial thing to do - without a fixed frame of reference it would not only be very complex mathematically, but also pretty unreliable.
Of course. That is why I'd incorporate a frame of reference into the design of the toothbrush. The point of the post was to quickly paint a picture of what "the future" could be like if I were given time and freedom to pursue these designs. I assumed that if anyone was interested in the details, then they'd simply ask me to provide them.
The toothbrush contains two technologies that enable it to build a map of the surfaces of the teeth you brush. #1: a three-axis gyroscope + accelerometer (e.g. same as an iPhone's). This gets me the rotation of the toothbrush relative to the direction of gravity. Now, of course, this would not be enough by itself; we also need some way of determining the position of the bristles within the mouth. This is accomplished with sensor #2: along the length of the toothbrush near the mouthpiece, there are dozens of tiny light sensors. The more the toothbrush is inserted into the mouth, the less light that reaches the light sensors. This gets you a reading of "how deeply is the toothbrush into the mouth?" which you can easily combine with "what are the current angles of rotation?" to conclude e.g. "the bristles are therefore currently brushing the front surface of your bottom-left-rearmost molar."
Light sensors are easy to work with, but probably not the most reliable way of doing this. I would look into using some kind of sonar sensor, possibly. Or you could do something as simple as "detect which part of the toothbrush that your lips are currently touching"; that might work too.
The goal is straightforward: "to determine an accurate-enough approximation of how deeply the toothbrush is currently inserted into the mouth", because that can be combined with the rotation angles to give you a solid frame of reference.
I of course don't know which technique will prove to be the most pragmatic, since I haven't tested any them yet. =) This is a solvable problem, however.
I've got to run for now, so unfortunately I ran out of time to address your other [excellent] points. But I'm not sure anyone is even reading this discussion anymore anyway. Feel free to post a reply if you'd like to continue, or shoot me an email (see profile). Thanks again!
It will be risky for the funders, but the risk is small compared to potential benefits for each individual. Several much less useful projects garnered higher funding than the amount you mentioned.
Still, I have ideas, along with the skill necessary to test them. And if I were independently wealthy, then this is how I'd spend my time...
If I were to Kickstart this, then I'd keep a public daily journal of my efforts and short-term goals. There would be a webpage showing exactly how the money was being spent. I'd make everything as transparent as possible.
The thing is, most of my ideas will turn out to be impractical, but there's no way to know which until I test each of them. That process would require money from people who are okay with gambling on the off-chance that one of my ideas turn out to work. (Sidenote: if I happen to succeed, then I want to repay the people who funded me, at the very least.)
Here is a glimpse into the future I envision:
- A sensor in your bed scans for tumors as you sleep.
- If you have a heart attack, a sensor in your clothing immediately detects it and pushes an alert to your phone, which dispatches emergency services to your exact GPS location. (Most people keep their phone in their pocket or purse, so this seems doable.) A speaker embedded in your belt yells out step-by-step CPR instructions to the people around you.
- Your toothbrush takes your temperature and absorbs a sample of your saliva, which it analyzes for deviations from your long-term norm. It uses wifi to upload this data to your computer, along with a map of the surfaces of the teeth you brushed. The next time you use your computer, you'll see a visualization of your teeth; any surfaces which you missed when brushing are highlighted in red. (e.g. if you aren't brushing behind your molars, then those areas are highlighted.)
- As you're driving, a sensor on your rearview mirror will detect if you fall asleep at the wheel (your eyelids close for more than one second) which triggers an audible alert to wake you.
I'd love to spend my life coming up with pragmatic ways to use technology to benefit your health / monitor for emergency conditions. I'm just not sure it'd be ethical to use Kickstarter to fund possibly-crazy endeavors like this. I don't know.
If you're serious about being willing to work on this proportionally to how much funding you get, then please by all means start a project. Pick a couple of appropriate ambitious-but-likely-possible goals, set expectations very clearly, and see if you get any takers.
Speaking as a non-expert (only familiar with FDA approval processes through the experiences of friends and colleagues): none of these devices would constitute a class II or III medical device, since they'd only act as an early-warning system rather than as a primary diagnostic tool or direct treatment system. Some of these devices might fall under class I (which also includes things like tongue depressors), but meeting class I wouldn't necessarily prove insanely onerous, and some care would likely allow avoiding class I as well in some cases.
Take, for example, urine samples from a large number of at-risk persons and see how a specific type of cancer manifests within the group. Run the samples on GCxGC-MS and do high-order statistical comparisons or train an ML model to pick up on the markers. Given the proper treatment, these may correlate to breakdown products attributable to the development of cancerous cells.
You can model any metabolome too: blood, breath, sweat, biopsy... Urine is probably the least invasive. You should learn a thing or two about how elimination works: glucuronidation and other reactions that modify substrates to be polar enough.
Hillman was truly the "Michael Jordan of Flash", a great web designer without parallel in our industry. Inspired by Hillman's books, I changed careers and became a web architect (a mixture of programmer, designer and producer). What inspired my about Hillman's work is that he wasn't afraid of going the distance, and constantly pushed the envelop on the limits of technology, by integrating design, development and architecture in a very cohesive theme. He designed and developed websites in the old days of 14.4K modems!
David Hillman Curtis amassed dozens of important awards and wrote books that were translated to 14 languages. His book MTIV (Making The Invisible Visible) changed my life more than any other professional book I've ever read. I'm saddened to see our field devoid of such visionaries, nobody's pushing the envelop anymore. Most technicians and entrepreneurs are working for a quick exit and are forgetting about having any sort of legacy.
If you are reading this, please try to become an ARTIST at your craft. Don't just write C, C++, Node.js or Ruby. Push-the-envelop and write the most bad-ass and revolutionary code you can, create a signature style (for Steve Wozniak it was simplicity, for Walt Disney, imagination, etc).
Please enrich, enrich this industry, make no f'in compromises. Push the damn envelop until you've made history. You know who you are, you have that fire inside, you make no compromises, you want to make a difference, a real difference. Like Curtis did.
On Hillman's words: “The reason for designing new media is simple — to subtly and quietly change the world.” From music, to design, to web design and film making, Hillman created a signature style that defined his career. His obsession with animated portraits, simplistic and memorable animations made a huge impression on all of us (the old new media designers that started in the late 90s).
Even today, memorable design is an afterthought found only on a limited collection of very distinguished websites and apps. When I browse from TC to VentureBeat, for example, I feel like going from McDonald's to Burger King - Nobody gives a damn anymore.
We respect SEO, we bow to latency and concurrency... yet nobody gives a damn to art direction and interaction design. If Eric Ries talks to you about A/B testing, you listen. But if Nathan Shedroff gives a lecture about "Experience Design" half of the room is empty before his talk is over - nobody cares anymore. Nobody.
The Web is chasing Hollywood. And we have no Scoreseses. I'm sorry to curse, but I most: get a fuckin soul, make history in your work. Care, care about every pixel, care about the theme of your work, care about your legacy. Hillman taught us to care. He inspired us to be our best and to create a new web.
Hillman will always live in the memory of all his book readers, associates and fans. I know he will always be present in my work. I owe too much to him. Especially, I owe to him the discipline to make zero compromises.
Please, if you're a generalist, become an artist. If you're a coder, learn about design. Care about the final product, the whole product. Care about the experience you're delivering. Feel your work, and raise to be a director of experiences, not only a coder or corner-cutter.
Become the Steve or the Bill of our industry. Because nobody cares anymore. And all the great generalists that used to care are dying.
More About Hillman Curtis
Where I am coming from this is certainly not true. At a small company I know they (still, traditionally) hand out copies of MTIV if you succeed for your internship. And I am coming from a school where you can also specialize in Experience Branding and Nathan Shedroff. A lot of young people want to become the next John Lasseter, _why or Kevin Kelly.
The names you are talking about are special though. They were pioneers, but not only because of their own merits but also because it was just the right time.
And although I agree with many things that you have said in your post I really do disagree that there are less generalists than before. I think the industry has matured to a stage where there is much specialization but there are many mixing business and creative skills ( I am lumping together producing code and design because they are both creative skills in my eyes).
In fact for the 10 years it's been easier than ever to mix these skills.
Anyway I am very saddened by his death.
Citation needed. I'd argue that they've always been uncommon, which is why you know who they are.
This was posted a few days ago and didn't get any votes.. glad it finally made it.