Happy New Year! It’s the first Thursday of the year, and I’m starting things anew. It’s the first week of the New Year, CES is up, and cryptocurrencies are down. I’m back in the chair with Mark Starling, Seth, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: Elizabeth Holmes found guilty on four counts, a Swedish drone says a Swedish man from a heart attack, and John Deere releases an auto-driving tractor. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.
The big tech news for the week is the Elizabeth Holmes guilty verdict. Elizabeth Holmes is the former founder and CEO of the blood testing startup company, Theranos. A college dropout, Holmes premise, and the pitch she gave investors, was that Theranos technology could perform medical tests faster, more accurately, and using fewer amounts of blood than other equipment on the market. She made all of these promises without proof or pedigree luring so-called sophisticated investors into a lucrative investment that turned out to be less than vaporware, but outright lies. Holmes tempted investors with lies about Theranos tech being used by the military in Afganistan, and its devices accuracy. Theranos often outsourced its lab testing because its machines proved faulty, and required more volume of blood than was prescribed. She was charged on four counts of defrauding investors. The sentence could carry 20 years in prison plus $250,000 per count in fines. I doubt her sentence will be that severe. At least one person toasted the verdict with champagne. And yes, I’m bitter.
Previously, on First News 570, we reported on the first ever organ transplant delivery by drone. In 2019, University of Maryland Medical Center used a drone to deliver a kidney for surgery. Yesterday; in Sweden, a 71-year old man was suffering a heart attack while shoveling snow. He was saved by a nearby doctor after a drone delivered a life-saving defibrillator. The doctor was passing by on his way to work, and saw the man. He called in for help and the Everdrone Emergency Medical Aerial Delivery service (EMADE) was called in and delivered the defibrillator in 3 minutes. The drone was developed in collaboration with the Center for Resuscitation Science at Karolinska Institutet, SOS Alarm, and Region Västra Götaland in Sweden.
If it’s the first week of the New Year, that means it’s time for the Consumer Electronics Show. We’ll spend next week’s segment going over all of the oohs and aahs gadget makers unveiled at this year’s show, but…one particular announcement caught my eye. Being a country boy, and spending lots of time on a tractor, John Deere’s announcement of a self-driving tractor is notable. It’s John Deere’s first automated tractor and can work the field on its own. It can be activated by smartphone, and comes as a kit to be used on existing equipment. Farm accidents are often caused by heavy equipment and JD says they’ve tested the system for more than 3 years. They’re starting off with low-volume sales, and haven’t figured out if it would be sold via subscription or per kit. I see large agribusinesses hopping onto this before the singular farmer, but I bet it would be a welcome add.