Heather Andrus

Heather has worked in strategic, multi-industry innovation and product development for over 20 years and leads the Radius and Digital Prototype Lab teams in the innovation hub of Silicon Valley, CA.

Making More Good with Innovation

We are living in a remarkable time. The pace of innovation is overwhelming. Technologies and advances that were scenes in a science fiction movie five years ago, are now making a difference in how we live.

We’re experiencing huge advances in augmented reality, wearables, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, miniaturization, smart cities, smart manufacturing and more. This has created an augmented pace of invention and innovation.

At Radius we are privileged to be involved in the cutting edge of these technological advances.  As we do so, its important to us that we take a step back from all of the excitement and technology and remind ourselves that what we are really doing is  Using technology to solve real-world problems that make a tangible difference in the lives of others: creating innovation for the greater good.

The news cycle in recent months and days has been disheartening. With natural disasters, human conflict, social injustices, and the struggles of day-to-day living – it can feel as though there is more bad than good.

While we don’t have a measuring stick on the bad versus good – we do know that there is some very exciting thinking and creating happening right now. This thinking and creating is sparking change that can and will make more good in the world.

We want to spark a conversation on how we can do more good with our opportunities to innovate, lead, create, and develop. Those of us in the innovation community are fortunate to have these opportunities and it helps to remind ourselves of the good we’re helping to realize and create.

With all this being said, here’s a look at leading innovations and technologies that our team at Radius is excited about because of its positive impact on people and society. Share with us in the comments, Twitter or Facebook about the innovations you’re excited about.

Restoring Freedom of Movement
Imagine spending the entire day sitting with your legs crossed and sitting on your hands. You can’t move your legs. You can’t move your arms. You can’t move your hands. The drive to reverse paralysis and restoring freedom of movement is a real life-changer for anyone who cannot move freely. At Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, leading researchers and scientists are working to move neurotechnology forward so it can become a real difference maker. Neural bypass is key in giving anyone with paralysis the ability to move freely again. Neurotechnology can give people the power to control their limbs again – the same way able-bodied people move – by thinking about it. While the advancements in this technology are slow, there is real human drive to make neural bypass a reality. As John Donoghue, the head of the Swiss center says, “Ask someone if they would like to move their own arm. People would prefer to be restored to their everyday self. They want to be reanimated.”

Better, Safer Living
Wearables for newborns. Health tech startup Neopenda has created a wearable that monitors four key newborn vital signs. Using a battery-charged sensor and wireless communication, a special baby hat can monitor heart rate, respiration, blood oxygen saturation, and temperature. What makes this especially interesting is that the company wants to keep costs low ($75 per unit), ensuring that newborns in the developing world get the medical care they need.

Flashing lights to alert the distracted to danger. Too many people are walking along busy city streets looking down at their smartphones. So, engrossed in their phones, these people are unaware of traffic lights, people, and even the sounds of traffic. Stradtwerke Augsburg, a transportation company in Germany has developed traffic signals that are located in the ground. Those looking down while on their phones in the community of Augsburg, Germany are alerted to traffic signals. The lights blink green for safe and red when a tram or train is quickly arriving.

Harnessing Sunlight for Real Energy
Solar panels are no longer a novelty, in fact they’ve reached the level of ubiquity. This is a good thing, however the real power of these solar panels is slow to be realized. Solar panels remain expensive, bulky, and inefficient. However, a team of MIT researchers is developing a new type of solar power cell that could double the efficiency of today’s solar panels. Using technology that converts sunlight into heat and then using this to create energy, solar panels could be used to generate power when the sun has set. These hot solar cells are still in development and there are obstacles with component costs, however this research could spark more innovation that can help deliver affordable solar power – reducing the environmental impact and cost of energy.

Inspired? Ready to Make More Good?
Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking has got us here. Now we need to go further. Taking inspiration from the innovators, researchers, and thinkers who see problems as chances for problem-solving.

We know the feeling of being integral in the product development and production of cutting-edge – we want you to experience this. You’ve got an idea. You know there is a nagging problem that needs to be solved. You’ve got a sketch for a new product that can help. Now you need to take that extra step.

Put away the technology device. Turn off your newsfeed and alerts. Focus on the good and the opportunity. Contact us. We can work together to create more greatness. Let’s get people moving better, communicating more, and living better lives. This is true innovation. This is the Radius Effect. Innovation Realized. Outcomes Achieved.

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