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The Hive

Twiage’s tool helps EMTs forward data

Mischief, a computer graphics software program, is helping movie animators.

Highlights from, Boston’s source for innovation news

Here’s a nightmare scenario: You are in a bad car accident and are rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Emergency room doctors do everything they can to save you, but by the time they read the EMTs’ notes about your injuries and check your medical records for drug allergies, it’s too late.

What if doctors could know your injuries and medical history before you arrive at the ER?

A Cambridge start-up called Twiage is developing a mobile app that delivers vital information about a patient from the ambulance to the emergency room, while en route to the hospital, so doctors can respond quickly when the patient arrives.


Running the Twiage app on a smartphone, an EMT can dictate notes and send them to the hospital as text, and also share photographs of a patient’s injuries, identification, and EKG readings. It’s like Twitter for triage. Get it? Twiage.

The company was born out of a recent hackathon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Fittingly, Twiage is the brainchild of an MIT grad named Crystal Law, who also happens to be an EMT.

In addition to the smartphone app, there’s a version of Twiage for Google Glass, which means John Rodley is involved.

Rodley has been working for months on an app called ArrtGlass that uses the wearable computer’s first-person camera to let a doctor who cannot be in a hospital room see a patient through the eyes of someone at the bedside.

At the hackathon, Twiage won the Ariadne Labs Prize, which comes with a chance to pitch for a $100,000 grant in the coming months. Ariadne Labs, a center for health systems innovation, opened last year as a joint venture of Brigham and Women’s and the Harvard School of Public Health.



A wonderful tool for Disney

When Disney’s animators were feeling constrained by their digital tools, Sarah Frisken got the call. A former boss of hers was running Disney’s research-and-development division, and he told Frisken that the animators felt they could not do their best work using existing software. “It was taking them twice as long to use the digital tools, and they wanted them to be more responsive,” Frisken said.

She spent four years developing what became the Sketch Drawing Engine for Disney. The guiding philosophy, Frisken said, “was that it is so easy to pick up a piece of paper and sketch out an idea. We wanted to do that same thing with software, where you could just open it and start to draw.”

This past summer, Frisken, a former Tufts computer graphics professor, released a new version of the software, called Mischief. She is targeting professional artists and designers who tend to use a tablet and stylus for input — though you can use a mouse, too. The software sells for $65, and it is available for Macs and PCs. The company, 61 Solutions, still consists of just Frisken and a handful of contractors. She has boot-strapped the Cambridge start-up so far, but may try to raise outside funding.


Prime ingredients for inspiration

October is National Pizza Month, which at some of the start-ups I visit is sort of like saying October is National Oxygen Month.

Regardless, this fabricated occasion is as good an excuse as any to do some serious pizza analytics. Fortunately, we in Boston have takeout ordering and rating app maker Foodler to do the work. Foodler analyzed pizza orders from thousands of restaurants in Boston and found pepperoni was tops, followed by mushrooms, with bacon coming in fourth place. Pineapple — just pineapple — ranked eighth.


Like all data sets, these raise some important questions: How does fungus beat bacon? On any list? Why is ham (a) not in the top 10 and (b) not tied with pineapple, its partner in Hawaiian pizza? Does anyone actually order pineapple on its own?