From the Hive

App adds audio to still photos

Rock climbing helped clear some heads.
Rock climbing helped clear some heads.Juliette Lynch for The Boston Globe

Highlights from boston.com/hive, Boston’s source for innovation news.

You can already share photos and videos from your smartphone instantly, and now you have a hybrid option: Shuttersong, which combines the moment-in-time quality of a still image with the sounds-like-you’re-there audio component of a video.

Wellesley-based Shuttersong’s mobile application enables users to snap pictures with their smartphone cameras and record up to 15 seconds of sound. You could, say, photograph your toddler and her first birthday cake, then record friends and family singing “Happy Birthday” and send the whole thing — image and sound in one file — to a relative who couldn’t make it to the party.


If a Shuttersong reminds you of one of those talking photo frames, it should. That’s where 58-year-old founder William Agush, who spent most of his career in marketing and used to travel frequently, got the idea. He was cleaning his office last spring when he stumbled across an old picture of his son at age 5. His son is 23 now. Apparently it had been a while since the last cleanup. Anyway, the frame had a play button.

“So I pressed it,” Agush recalled, “and there, across 18 years of time, was the sound of Zach telling me that he missed me and hoped I would come home soon. It was so powerful that literally at that moment I decided I needed to find a way to re-create that experience inside of a photo app.”

It’s free for consumers, but Agush plans to generate revenue by licensing Shuttersong to corporate clients who can use it to solicit user-generated content from their customers.


Harvard names life sciences fellows

Harvard Business School named its first class of Blavatnik Fellows in Life Science Entrepreneurship — five outstanding alumni who graduated no more than seven years ago who will work with inventors from Harvard labs to commercialize important technologies.


The Blavatnik Fellowship Program was created last spring as part of a $50 million gift to Harvard University from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Working with the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, which supports early-stage, highly promising technologies, the program seeks to expedite the development of transformative technologies in life sciences. The fellows program is directed by Vicki Sato, former president of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and now a Harvard professor.

The fellows — Ross Leimberg, Daniel Oliver, Steven Porter, John Strenkowski, and Ridhi Tariyal — get a $95,000 stipend for one year plus funding for related activities.


HackFit’s new-idea teams avoid the couch

If you spent the weekend on the couch, watching football and eating chips, you might want to skip the next sentence for self-esteem’s sake. One hundred and sixty fitness technology entrepreneurs devoted their weekend to launching start-up companies at the first HackFit  event in Cambridge and Somerville, and logged a combined 50 hours of running, 66 hours of cycling, 103 hours of yoga, and 106 hours of rock climbing and strength training in the process.

What a bunch of overachievers.

HackFit, a start-up in its own right, aims to rewrite the typical hackathon equation, which might be expressed as pizza + sugar + caffeine - sleep = cool new idea.

HackFit’s version looks more like healthy food + exercise + rest = cool new idea.

The company held its inaugural hackathon at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge and the Brooklyn Boulders climbing gym and co-working space in Somerville. Entrepreneurs worked in teams to launch tech start-ups that focus on healthy living and took breaks for exercise classes and shut-eye.


Teams were judged on their innovations and scored on activity levels.

“The most intriguing data point was that the teams that had the most impressive projects were actually the most active teams during the weekend,” said HackFit founder Justin Mendelson.

The best prototypes included a weight lifting machine with sensors that transmit data about an exerciser’s power output and an app that monitors calories burned and recommends nutritious foods to help refuel.