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November 15, 2017

Nice hack: AirPods stand for iPhone


From The Verge:


Did you know that the charging case Apple ships with its AirPods makes for a surprisingly useful iPhone stand? Well, it does. The trick was revealed on Twitter by Omar Elfanek, developer of Tidings:


It's not perfect. The setup was precarious — at best — in my testing with an iPhone X and iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices, including my new $1,300 iPhone X, slid down the lid a few times whenever I accidentally bumped the table with a knee. Nevertheless, it works well enough, and I'll definitely be using it in the future — I almost always carry my AirPods but never carry a stand.

So, to sum things up: Apple's $159 wireless buds can double as a $5 phone stand. Magic. 

November 15, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

BehindTheMedspeak: Digital Abilify — Benefit or Hazard?

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 7.36.21 AM

From the Wall Street Journal:


U.S. authorities approved the world's first digital drug, an antipsychotic pill that signals smartphones once it reaches the gut so doctors can track whether patients are taking their medication.

Tuesday's green light from the FDA means Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company can implant a tiny chip containing minerals like silicon, magnesium, and copper inside tablets of Abilify, which is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.

Once swallowed, the chip mixes with stomach acids and sends a heartbeat-like signal to an adhesive patch (below)

Sensor patch

worn on a patient’s torso. The patch records the dosage and time of ingestion and relays this to a smartphone app (below)

Abilify app

for patients to monitor and share with doctors and caretakers. The chip ultimately passes through the digestive tract normally.

The invention is intended for patients with mental illnesses who don't always take their medication or may be forgetful, jeopardizing the success of their treatment. Digital drugs may also solve a couple of problems facing pharmaceutical companies and insurers: lower drug sales because of missed doses and higher medical costs treating patients whose conditions worsen.

But Otsuka faces fundamental questions: whether patients and physicians want digital pills, and, if so, how much insurers are prepared to pay for them.

To succeed, the Japanese drugmaker must convince doctors that digitized Abilify significantly improves patients’ compliance compared with the original pill and cheaper copies that are now available. Otsuka also needs to show insurers the extra cost for the high-tech drug creates savings in treatment down the line.

Ingestible devices, such as capsules that take pictures inside the body, have been around for years. But this the first time such a device has successfully been paired with a drug.

Once a blockbuster, Abilify sales collapsed after the pill's patent expired in 2015, unleashing a rush of cheaper copies to market. The list price for a month's supply is at least $891, according to the company. Generic knockoffs are listed for as little as $45 a month.

Creating a digital version is designed to differentiate Abilify in the face of increasing competition, said Craig Oberg, a pharmacy-benefits consultant at the Burchfield Group. But the expected higher cost that Otsuka will charge for the digital pill means it will be difficult for the company to regain market share, he said.

The smallest vial of the long-acting injectable — introduced in 2013 — has a list price of $1,478. It is administered once a month and covered by major U.S. insurers. Otsuka says it will become its best-selling product this year.

Kabir Nath, who manages Otsuka's drug business in the U.S., says the company hasn't decided on a price for digitized Abilify.

Proteus, a Redwood City, California-based company that developed the chip-and-patch system, counts Otsuka among its investors.

Proteus Chief Executive Andrew Thompson says the ingestible chip is safe to consume and contains no more silicon than a banana or a bowl of salad.


Monday's FDA announcement here.

New York Times story here.

November 15, 2017 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charge your phone with a lamp


That's different.

From the website:



• Enables you to power your Echo Dot (2nd Generation) or Amazon Tap via USB from any lamp in your home without having to reach for a wall outlet

• Also charges any of your devices — smartphones, tablets, security cameras, etc.


• The 2 amp USB power adapter & charger stays on all the time and a convenient on/off switch controls the light bulb

• Installs in seconds — simply remove your existing light bulb, screw in the lamp adapter, then replace the bulb


• Use with LED or CFL Energy Saving Bulbs (not recommended for use with incandescent bulbs)



November 15, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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