The Top Four Tech Stories I’m Watching for You

7 | By Michael A. Robinson

I’m not one for partying. But I am very much into tradition.

And I have one tradition that makes New Year’s Eve one of my most favorite days of the year.

You see, every New Year’s Eve – before we head out to dinner – my wife and I sit by the fire as I review the paradigm-shifting events and exciting discoveries of the prior 12 months.

We’ve come to refer to this exercise as my “annual report.”

And now I’m going to share that “report” with you.

On a personal note, one of the most exciting events of 2012 was the launch of the Era of Radical Change. As it turns out, the year that just concluded proved to be perfect for the introduction of a newsletter that sifts through world-changing innovations in search of the ones that can bring you life-changing gains.

Like the financial markets, the world of technology is moving faster than ever. In the world of science, what was formerly fiction has become fact.

In looking back over the ERC columns that I’ve penned since April, here are four top tech stories to watch.

Their impact could be huge – and so could their payoff.

Commercial Space Travel Blasted Off

Scientists have been talking about “commercial” space travel – you know, buy a ticket and ride a rocket – for years. But I believe 2012 will go down as the birth of the age of space tourism. The proof came back in May when startup SpaceX launched one of its Falcon 9 rockets and then had its Dragon spacecraft dock with the International Space Station.

SpaceX is the brainchild of CEO Elon Musk, who founded the firm in 2002 and plowed $100 million of his own money into it. You may know him as a co-founder of electronics payment firm PayPal.

When it comes to high-tech, Musk has the Midas touch. He also cofounded Tesla Motors (NasdaqGS: TSLA), the maker of electric luxury cars and a company whose shares gained more than 25% last year.

And Musk wasn’t the only space mogul pushed the whole commercial space travel concept into a higher orbit: Sir Richard Branson’s firm, Virgin Galactic, announced in June that it intends to ferry passengers on a commercial space flight later this year.

Bionic Humans Strut Their Stuff

Last August, I told you about two firms that revealed their hope to begin selling bionic eyes in the U.S market next year. The first is Second Sight Medical Products.

It’s a venture-funded firm that has already begun selling its Argus II system in Europe. (The device is named after Argus, a Greek mythology giant with 100 eyes. But tech experts don’t get that romantic. They just called it a “bionic eye.”)

Here’s how it works. Doctors install an antenna behind a patient’s eye. They connect that to a special set of eyeglasses containing a video camera capable of capturing a scene.

The second firm, which hails from Israel, is Nano Retina Inc. Talk about cutting edge: The firm’s Bio-Retina system is laser-powered. Little wonder the system received a five-start review from Popular Science.

Surgeons can insert the system in just 30 minutes. The implant captures images directly in the eye; the laser powers the implant remotely.

Meantime, Google Inc. (NasdaqGS: GOOG) showed off a new device that can turn almost anyone into something of a “bionic” human.

I’m referring to Google Glass.

Technically speaking, this isn’t true bionics – it’s not wired directly to humans. But when you put these eyeglasses on, you have instant access to your email, traffic updates, maps and weather. You can even make wireless video calls. Google expects to have spectacular spectacles on the market by the end of this year – making this a “bionic” profit play you can invest in today.

Lastly, don’t forget about Zac Vawter. On Nov. 4, Vawter made history by scaling 103 floors of the Chicago Willis Tower using a prosthetic limb that he controlled with his mind – making it the first real “bionic” leg.

And you thought Steve Austin was cool …

New Approaches “Rescued” Alzheimer’s Treatments

At first glance, 2012 seemed to be the year of the setback in the Alzheimer’s field. Three big drug firms had to drop plans to field new drugs because they simply didn’t work.

There’s still no cure for this dreaded disease that affects millions around the world. But last August I told you about three new breakthroughs that offer hope that we will at least be able to keep this memory-robbing condition at bay.

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) said four patients who received its new IV-delivered drug Gammagard in trials showed no decline in memory or thinking skills.

The drug contains antibodies that may help remove amyloid, the sticky plaque that clogs patients’ brains, clouds memories and stymies clear thinking. Baxter plans to test the treatment on 400 patients as early as the end of this year.

In the second initiative, a clinical trial at MIT found that a “cocktail” of nutrients known as Souvenaid can improve memory for those with an early form of Alzheimer’s. Souvenaid is a mixture of three compounds found in a healthy diet – choline, uridine, and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. You get them by eating meat, nuts, eggs, fish, and flaxseed.

The substance combats Alzheimer’s by stimulating the growth of new synapses, which pass signals from one brain cell to another. It comes from the healthcare division of Danone. Here in the U.S. market, you may know it better as The Dannon Co. Inc., and may even enjoy its yogurt.

The third Alzheimer’s advance came from the Washington University School of Medicine. A team there looked at families with a genetic risk of the disease. Some 128 subjects received blood and spinal fluid tests as well as brain scans and a check of their thinking skills.

Researchers found clear signs of how Alzheimer’s progresses as much as 25 years in advance. A second team found that something as simple as the way people walk could be an early warning of Alzheimer’s.

This marked the first time doctors linked a physical symptom to the condition. Spotting the disease early means doctors could begin helping patients much earlier – even starting at age 40, for example.

Robotic Walking Suits Got Into High Gear

Last year, Brian Shaffer became the “poster boy” for the rapidly growing field of robotic walking suits. In early November, I told you how this father of four is helping develop cutting-edge technology to let paraplegics walk again.

He’s part of a test program for a new powered “exoskeleton” that functions like a robotic walking suit. The advanced device allows people with severe spinal cord injuries to sit, stand, walk, and even climb stairs on their own. Designed with ease-of-use in mind, the relatively light and compact system is worn over top a patient’s clothes.

And this development shouldn’t take anything away from another company I told you about last May. This company, Ekso Bionics, already has a device on the market. That offers new hope to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. alone who are paraplegics, meaning they are paralyzed from the waist down.

Ekso boasts some truly great tech. Its battery-powered bionic devices employ sensors and motors that allow patients to walk safely and avoid falling.

The advances made in these four fields last year will affect – and hopefully help – millions around the world. At the very least, these advances promise change.

And with change comes opportunity – the opportunity for profit that I hope will make your life better.

And it’s these kinds of opportunities that I will continue to bring you in the New Year.

So 12 months from now, when I bring you my “annual report” for 2013, my wish is that we’ll also be talking about some of the windfall profits that you’ve made … in the Era of Radical Change.


7 Responses to The Top Four Tech Stories I’m Watching for You

  1. Emmitt Ross says:

    Dear Michael,

    Regardless of whether these new inovations actually become
    reality, those in need of the new possiblities must surely be inspired and
    are given new hope and perhaps comfort by your observations.
    I have battled two different types of cancer in the past two years
    and the road is still a little rough however, every new day is precious and
    one can always look around and see those who are less fortunate. Thanks
    for the time and effort you put in to your work. It does matter in various ways.

    Emmitt Ross

  2. Nikki says:

    I like all the tech ideas that are being discovered but I was hoping that somewhere along the line have you heard anything about ringing in the ear. I have had this condition for almost 3 years and know of other people who are also bothered by this condition. Doctors say there is no cure but how would I go about pursuading them to try to find some sort of remedy.

    I hate to think that I will have to live with condition till the day I pass on.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Nikki, I had the same problem with ringing in my ears…I also know of other people with the same issues.
      I discovered the Radio Frequency from the Hydro Smart Meter was the cause of a number of health issues, including ringing in the ears. Look up “The Dark Side of Smart Meters”…it is very informative.
      Try turning off your cell phone at night and remove all electronics from your bedroom including the digital radio.
      Get rid of your microwave and replace it with a convection/toaster oven…food tastes better and it is much healthier…food doesn’t dry out like it does in the microwave which may also turn food toxic.
      I am sensitive to microwave radiation as well as Radio Frequencies and I can tell by the pulsing in my ears when I am bombarded with these technological hazards.
      Friends who have worked in various occupations where they are surrounded by microwave radiation and Radio Frequencies also suffer and their health has been compromised.
      If you are interested in more information…look up the information provided by the organization W.E.E.P.

  3. Reece Hawkins says:


    I strongly suggest you read this book: Cancer Free, by Bill Henderson and Carlos M. Garcia, MD.
    ISBN- 13 978- 1- 60145- 183-5

    I got mine from:

    Hope it helps, and all the best to you.


  4. Dr. Donald E. Adams says:

    Dear Michael,
    I have been tracking cancer therapy since 1956. Provectus Pharmaceuticals Inc., with verified studies by the Lee Moffitt Research Institute, have shown the ability of their PV10 to activate the immune system to recognize and destroy a majority of cancers in the human body.
    Globally 13 million people die from cancer yearly and a staggering number suffer from dysfunctional morbidity.
    The incredible reality that this drug can prevent a great percentage of the 130 million deaths in the next ten years will change modern medicine and the burden of extraordinary, increasing global health care costs. Dr. Adams

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