The top 20 Universities In the world and their most successful alumni, including Larry Page (Google), Gordon Moore (Intel), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX) and Philippe Kahn (Camera-Phone, Fullpower).

Philippe Kahn, notable ETH Zurich alumni

ETH Zurich in Switzerland,  one of the top leading universities in technology and science in the worldwhere Einstein studied and taught was founded in 1855, currently counts over 18,500 students including 4,000 doctoral students from 110 countries. The ETH has helped educate some of the world’s most famous big thinkers, including Albert Einstein and many Nobel prize winners. Fullpower CEO and founder Philippe Kahn was selected as the notable alumni for The ETH world ranking. Alumni Philippe Kahn is known for making the first camera phone solution to share pictures instantly on public networks, and has founded three successful technology companies: LightSurf Technologies, Starfish Software, and now Fullpower Technologies, creator of the Sleeptracker IoT Smartbed platform.

Philippe Kahn, notable ETH Zurich alumni

ETH Zurich is consistently ranked among the top 5 universities in the world in engineering, science and technology together with Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, Cambridge University  in the QS World University Rankings.

The list of schools includes the ETH Switzerland, the University of Pennsylvania (USA), Harvard University (USA), Yale University (USA), University of Southern California (USA), Princeton University (USA), Cornell University (USA), Stanford University (USA), The University of California, Berkeley (USA), University of Mumbai (INDIA), London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), Lomonosov Moscow State University (RUSSIA), University of Texas (USA), Dartmouth College (USA), University of Michigan (USA), New York University (USA), Duke University (USA), Columbia University (USA), Brown University (USA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology  (USA)

View the article at The Hans India


Are You Ready for SensorWorld?

Sensors, sensors, everywhere sensors. In our clothes, our shoes, air conditioners, cars, diapers and beds. And what are all these sensors doing? They’re collecting and analyzing data of course – billions of discrete pieces of information every picosecond of every day so we can, a) make informed decisions and, b) automate all of the things connected by the IoT (Internet of Things). Soon sensors embedded in my pajamas will determine I’m dehydrated from having a little too much fun the night before, then send a message to the 3-D food printer in my kitchen to make a drink designed to replenish my electrolytes. Sensors will also heat my house the minute my car heads for home and tell me when my 16-year old is driving over the speed limit.

Sound far-fetched? It shouldn’t.

Recently, Senior Editor of Wired Magazine, Bill Wasik, reported, “A new device revolution is at hand: just as mobile phones and tablets displaced the once-dominant PC, wearable devices are poised to push smartphones aside.” In truth, the U.S. sensor market is expected to surpass $15 billion in 2016, causing On World to forecast that by 2017, global shipments of wearable, implantable, and mobile health and fitness devices will be up 552% from 2012.

Welcome to SensorWorld.

Now sensors and data analytics are preparing to go where ‘no man has gone before.’ Tackling an activity we spend a third of our lives ignoring: sleep! Why sleep? The National Sleep Foundation reports that 43% of Americans rarely get a good night’s sleep, and 60% experience a sleep problem almost every night. A recent Gallup poll revealed that since 1942, the amount of sleep we get has decreased roughly a half an hour per night and continues to trend downward. And the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) claims over 9 million Americans currently rely on a pharmaceutical to fall asleep.

According to technology pioneer, and inventor of the world’s first camera phone,Philippe Kahn, our growing problem with sleep began during the Industrial Revolution when “the mythical eight-hour sleep night” was fabricated to extract longer hours from factory workers. “Before the Industrial Revolution,” Kahn explained, “people were mostly sleeping in two shifts… nobody was really sleeping eight hours straight.” He continued, “The concept that we have to sleep in uninterrupted ways all the time, in a perfectly quiet environment, in a perfectly dark room… to me is a misconception and something that is misleading people to understand how to optimize their sleep.”

Kahn stumbled on the idea of “budgeting” sleep on a record-setting, two-man Transpacific sailing trip in 2009. With a two-person crew, each person is allowed to sleep for only brief periods of time. So Kahn decided to use his sailboat as a laboratory to determine the amount of sleep that produced the highest levels of alertness and energy. He discovered that number was twenty-six minutes. From that point on Kahn began modeling his sleep after his dog – short periods of deep rest with the ability to wake at a moment’s notice in a high state of “readiness,” and then quickly return to a deep sleep. Kahn claims that from an evolutionary standpoint this is the way humans were designed to sleep – they function best when sleep is “budgeted” for, and “optimized,” in the same way we do investment planning – only when it comes to sleep, returns are measured in terms of health and productivity.

Enter Kahn’s latest breakthrough in sensor and data analytics technology: the Smart Bed. The Smart Bed replaces the traditional “box-spring” with a sensor-based unit designed to monitor movement, body temperature and other metrics so we can optimize when and how much we sleep. The Smart Bed and Sleep Tracker was developed by Kahn’s company Fullpower – an enterprise focused on precise, non-invasive data monitoring and analysis. According to Kahn, sleep was a logical application for his company because of the number of hours humans spend sleeping, the mythology surrounding the need for a continuous eight-hour rest, and his personal revelations while sailing. Kahn observes, “Sleep is a bit like the deep ocean. We know it is there but we don’t understand it well. Modern science doesn’t understand sleep very well because it is very difficult to monitor sleep in a non-invasive way.” With the new Smart Bed, Kahn is poised to revolutionize the way humans rest and the effect this will have on efficiency, output, health and ultimately, longevity.

While Fullpower is pushing the frontiers of sleep technology, other companies are leveraging sensor and data analytics technologies to optimize other areas. Pixie Scientific, is embedding sensors into “smart diapers” that will allow diseases, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies to be detected in diapers. Intel’s new Smart Band tracks, monitors and analyzes the tremor patterns of Parkinson’s patients, and a new generation of smart pills and monitoring patches from Proteus are in the works. Peter Reinhart, Director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences for the University of Massachusetts recently revealed that sensor technologies would soon shift from diagnosis to treatment, “As we get better and better at this, we’re going to find that new therapeutic options are going to be open to us. Identifying an Alzheimer’s patient at the [observable] behavioral point, when 70 percent of the brain mass has already disappeared, really limits the number of therapeutic options you can provide that patient. If you could identify someone like that seven or eight years earlier, it now opens up a very different array of intervention strategies.”

But, as Kahn points out, collecting and translating data is only half the story. The other half is connecting to devices, which will be automatically instructed by the analyzed data. Google’s Nest offers a home app that uses sensors, analytics and the internet to connect everything from your thermostat to your fire alarms and home security system. Apple has launched a similar IoT application called HomeKit. According to Kahn, the Smart Bed will have the ability to turn your bedroom thermostat down when your body is at rest and turn the heat back up when the bed senses you are waking. It will lift the shades in your bedroom, signal the hot water heater to ready the shower, and the coffee machine to prepare your coffee just the way you like it. And if that sounds like the stuff of science fiction, look again. Theo Priestly, technology strategist and Forbes contributor claims the IoT will be comprised of 50 billion interconnected devices before 2020 – representing a whopping $19 trillion market. Fitbit, smart watches, smart clothing, diapers and beds are just the beginning. Within the next five years, sensors will monitor, customize and automate everything.

Are you ready for SensorWorld?

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Read the original article @ Huffington Post

The Costa Report interview with Philippe Kahn

Week of Mar 21, 2016 : Philippe Kahn


Philippe Kahn is a entrepreneur, technology innovator, and founder of four technology companies: Fullpower Technologies, LightSurf Technologies, Starfish Software and Borland. Kahn is credited with creating the first complete camera phone solution, sharing pictures instantly on public networks, and is considered a pioneer for wearable technology, and intellectual property. He is also the inventor of 100 technology patents covering wearable & IoT, eyewear, smartphone, mobile, imaging, wireless, synchronization and medical technologies. Currently the CEO of Fullpower, Kahn leads the creative team behind the MotionX 24/7 wearable technology platform, an innovation at the core of solutions by Nike and Jawbone among others.

Vist to listen.

Wear It’s At

Wearable technology is changing how we exercise, and even how we live—but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet


We live in an age where technology is intertwined into almost every aspect of our lives. Perhaps the only place it hasn’t yet completely conquered is our own bodies. That may be why mainstream culture greeted certain wearable technology like Google Glass with distrust and even outright hostility—after all, once technology is on us, isn’t it only a matter of time before it’s in us, or simply is us?

But Philippe Kahn, best known as the inventor of the camera phone, and now CEO and founder of Santa Cruz-based Fullpower Technologies Inc., thinks that attitude is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. More and more consumers are embracing gadgets like FitBits, smart watches, smart beds, and even fitness-tracking smart shoes for their potential to revolutionize the fitness and health care industries. These wearables can track every aspect of daily life, from sleep patterns to steps taken to heart rate, calories burned, body weight, and time spent standing.

Meanwhile, Kahn’s company is already working on all sorts of ideas that will help usher in the next era of wearable tech. Why is he betting the industry will continue to grow? Because knowledge is power. When it comes to improving our health and lifestyles, extremely individualized data can go a long way. And when we decide to make a change and do something about it, wearable technology can provide immediate feedback on our progress.

“It’s simple and amazingly efficient,” Kahn tells GT. Wearable technology provides the kind of information that can get results fast, he says, which feeds its popularity. “Without any other changes, if Ms. and Mr. Everyone are just a little more active and sleep just a little more, health immediately improves.”

Whereas current fitness wristbands and watches collect data mainly through an accelerometer that tracks step-related movements or lack thereof, devices of the future will be able to distinguish among many different and diverse types of exercise, as well as provide data about blood sugar, hydration, hormone levels, and beyond. Additionally, whereas a current concern among wearable technology users and makers is a lack of privacy, the wearable tech of the future will use authentication techniques that are unique to every individual, such as heart rhythm.

Current wearable fitness trackers are fairly limited in the types of exercise they can track, and this is especially true if the exercise doesn’t involve taking steps. The next generation of wearable tech will not only be able to “learn” and measure new exercises performed by the wearer, it will also be able to more accurately track activities like weight lifting, swimming, and even something like playing an instrument that while usually performed stationary is nonetheless a legitimate workout for the upper body. Future fitness wearables will also be able to instantly access the wearer’s diet and medical history and even be able to “critically think” and provide advice. Smart sports gear is also just around the corner, such as a basketball that has an implanted computer and can track made baskets and provide feedback on shooting form, or a football that can help aspiring quarterbacks throw a tighter spiral.


Exercise and sport aren’t the only frontiers for wearable technologies. They show even greater potential to improve personal health on a large scale because they provide a larger amount of more accurate data to a doctor or health care provider. As long as the patient consistently wears his or her health-and-fitness-tracking wearable technology, a doctor can easily use the data from the device to get a more accurate picture of the patient’s lifestyle. This will allow doctors to make better decisions and diagnoses than ever before. Eventually, wearable technology will allow doctors to treat patients remotely, without having to see them in person—transforming health care for travelers, those who find it difficult or impossible to visit a doctor’s office, and pretty much everyone else.

Some examples of cutting-edge health care wearable technology include body-worn sensors and contact lenses that monitor blood sugar levels and could revolutionize the care and management of diabetes, an increasingly common condition in America. Companies are also developing smart bras that track breast health, as well as wearable technology that could help a person quit smoking by detecting cravings and then releasing medication before the smoker falls off the wagon and lights up a cigarette. There is even ingestible technology being developed that is powered by stomach acid and could monitor the timing and consistency of when a person takes their medications. This could provide doctors with unprecedented information about the adherence to and effectiveness of prescribed therapies.


Wearable technology, however, is still in its infancy, or, at most, its toddlerhood. And there are plenty of growing pains.

One challenge is the drive to constantly improve the accuracy of the data these devices provide. When current wearable technology can only provide estimates on steps taken, calories burned, or anything else, it simply isn’t good enough. This can be a major problem, especially if health care providers are basing recommendations for medication, exercise, diet, and lifestyle on the accuracy of this data.

“Accuracy is important, as that is key work that Fullpower focuses on more than any other company on the planet,” says Kahn. But for most current applications of wearable technology, he believes this issue shouldn’t be overblown. “Remember that the benefits come from being more active and sleeping a little longer, not necessarily understanding every detail of everything.”

At this point, there is little industry regulation and no governing body to make independent verifications of wearable technology data, and to make sure standards are upheld. Greater industry regulation with independently verified data will go a long way toward legitimizing the entire industry. “We sure hope this happens soon, as it will make Fullpower’s technology shine even more,” says Kahn. “My understanding is that there are a couple of labs who are evaluating the business opportunity.”

There is also the issue of interpretation of all this data—without it, the information is basically useless. “It’s not just quantified self-measuring, it’s using big data science to give meaningful insights,” explains Kahn. “For example, Fullpower’s new Sleeptracker® Smartbed will soon start being deployed by major bedding manufacturers and will provide lots of insights and tools to improve sleep.” Kahn says the insight the smart bed provides is based on data from more than 500 million nights of detailed recorded sleep, and calls it “the greatest sleep study ever.”

Wearable technology not only needs to be stylish, in Kahn’s view, it also needs to be at least somewhat invisible or at least seamlessly integrated into a person’s “look.” Making a one-size-fits-all product that also has universal aesthetic appeal is no small challenge. Just consider how many different companies sell widely diverse products that are all essentially either a shoe, a shirt, a hat, or anything else wearable.

“We believe that wearable tech and fashion are tied at the hip. We are focused on making non-invasive technology that is green, invisible and beautifully discreet,” says Kahn.

Battery life is another challenge. “Fullpower is working on energy harvesting off the host. It’s no different than getting solar energy to work in the home,” says Kahn. His company recently launched the Movado smartwatch that can run for over two years without a charge. Whether it’s using body heat, body movement, or some other source, renewable energy is a big part of the future of wearable technology.


As bright as the future may be for wearable fitness technology, the possibilities for merging man and machine on a larger scale may be even more astounding. For example, Lockheed Martin has developed an unpowered exoskeleton that makes heavy tools feel almost weightless, as if they are being used in zero gravity. This kind of technology could revolutionize many industries including construction, demolition, disaster cleanup, and first-responder situations. Still other exoskeletons are being used to help paraplegics regain the use of their legs and walk again. There is even wearable technology being developed that turns sound into patterns of vibration felt on the skin from a garment that, with training, can help the deaf “hear” the world around them in a similar way to how Braille turns letters and words on a page into tactile representations that allow the blind to “see.” Some people are even pushing the boundaries of our senses by implanting magnets into their fingertips in order to be able to “feel” electromagnetism.

The incredible neuroplasticity of the human brain allows for all of this remarkable technology to be seamlessly integrated into the brain’s representation of the body over time. For example, ask any experienced surfer where the body ends and they will all tell you that eventually the surfboard becomes an extension of the self. To them, the body does not end at the foot, it ends on the wave.

All of this seemingly space-age technology being closer to our doorstep than most of us thought begs the question: How much technology is too much technology? But the reality is that technology is in many ways the ultimate embodiment of everything it means to be human, showcasing our ingenuity, ambition and creativity. Wearable technology is only the latest expression of an age-old truth: We have always been natural born cyborgs, using technology to transcend ourselves and our biology.

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Mondaine Wins 2015 Good Design Award


Mondaine has received a 2015 GOOD DESIGN Award for the Helvetica No1 Smart watch.

“Industrial design is about so much more than furniture and lighting,” commented Courtney Robinson, Marlox USA Marketing Director, Mondaine Brand. “Creating a truly good watch involves overcoming a lot of design challenges to reach innovative solutions, and we are honored that the Chicago Athenaeum recognized the Helvetica No1 Smart, Mondaine’s first connected device, with a 2015 GOOD DESIGN Award.”

Inside all Mondaine Helvetica No1 Smart watches is the latest in smart technology focused on monitoring activity and sleep, featuring MotionX activity tracking, Sleeptracker sleep monitoring, sleep cycle alarms, get-active alerts, adaptive coaching and automatic time alignment – all the data from which can be backed up and stored in the MotionX cloud.

The watch does not need to be recharged regularly, boasting a 2+ year battery life. It uses the horological smartwatch platform, power MotionX, which manages the bi-directional communication between the watch and whichever device, be it phone or tablet, it is connected to via the downloaded app. In complete contrast to other smart devices, where the data is shown digitally on the watch, the information is read in an analogue fashion via the sub dial.

Read the original article @

Mondaine Group reveals smart new watch from Helvetica

Helen Pawson
The Moodie Report

Swiss watchmaker Mondaine showcased the brand’s first ever smart watch at last week’s TFWA World Exhibition.

The Helvetica No 1 Smart, which does not have a LED screen like other smart watches, features the Mondaine Helvetica Bold shape, a classic brushed matt steel case, white dial, sapphire crystal and a soft leather strap.

A sub dial at six o’clock is an analogue representation of the timepiece’s smart technology which features MotionX activity tracking, Sleeptracker sleep monitoring, sleep cycle alarms, Get-Active alerts and Smart coaching. All the data can be backed up and stored in the MotionX cloud. The model has a battery life of over two years and is priced at €800.


Helvetica No 1 Smart uses the horological smart watch platform, power MotionX, to manage the bi-directional communication between the watch and smart phone or tablet it is connected to via the downloaded app. The information is read in an analogue way via the sub dial, in contrast to regular smart devices where the data is shown digitally.

Developed by Swiss company Manufacture Movements Technologies (MMT), the horological smart watch platform is currently only licensed for use by Frederique Constant, Alpina and Mondaine.

Mondaine CEO Andre Bernheim commented: “This is a beautiful Swiss watch that is also connected and smart. Mondaine, founded by our father in 1951, introduced some of the world’s first LCD and LED watches and now we are doing something which is the next step in today’s watch industry. This is the first-ever Swiss-made horological smartwatch. It is a world first and Mondaine is proud to be at the forefront of this new technology, thanks to a collaboration with MMT.”

Pictured is the promotion taking place now at Zürich Airport, a top performing airport for sales of Mondaine and Luminox watches

Pictured is the promotion taking place now at Zürich Airport, a top performing airport for sales of Mondaine and Luminox watches.


Europe and Asia are Mondaine’s strongest markets in travel retail, with the brand listed at all airports in Korea. Mondaine Global Sales Manager Travel Retail Beat Schärer said the company would like to strengthen its position in Asia.

Read the rest of the article @The Moodie Report

Mach was aus dir!

The first cameraphone image, taken by Philippe Kahn

Philippe Kahn

Philippe Kahn wanderte einst illegal in die USA ein. Heute ist er eine der Ikonen des Silicon Valley – und entscheidet mit darüber, wie Mensch und Maschine sich miteinander vernetzen.

Philippe Kahn hat sich auf sein Fahrrad geschwungen und ist die 3,5 Kilometer von seinem Haus am Hafen ins Büro gefahren, in der Innenstadt der kalifornischen Küstenstadt Santa Cruz. Es ist Mittag, Kahn muss erst einmal etwas essen und lässt sich eine Platte Sushi kommen. Er habe die ganze Nacht durchgearbeitet, sagt er und lacht dröhnend – ‘um herauszufinden, wie man besser schläft’. Denn er tüftelt gerade an einem ‘smarten Bett’, also an einer Liegestatt, die den Schlaf der Menschen verbessern soll.

Wie das genau funktioniert, will er nicht sagen. Fest steht er nur, dass er das Bett nicht selber auf den Markt bringen, sondern dies einem bekannter Hersteller überlassen will. ‘Wir sind die Leute hinter den Kulissen’, sagt Kahn.


Ein Moment, zwei Gerburten Mit dem briefmarkengroßen Foto, das er am 11 Juni 1997 via Mobilfunk verschickt, schreibt Phillipe Kahn Geschichte. Er kombiniert eine Casio Digitalkamera, mit der er seine Tochter fotografiert, mit einem Toshiba-Laptop und einem Motorola-Handy.

Das ist wahr und eine Untertreibung zugleich. Ob künftige Smartbetten, digitale Fitnessbänder von Nike und Jawbone, Schweizer Uhren von Mondaine, Alpina und Frederique Constant und nahezu jedem Mobiltelefon – überall stecken Ideen oder Technologien von Kahn drin.

Zugleich ist Kahn, 63 Jahre alt, Typ zausiger Bär, eine der Legenden des Silicon Valley. Er hat einst eines der größten Softwareunternehmen der Welt aufgebaut und mit dem Microsoft-Gründer Bill Gates die Klingen gekreuzt. Er hat die Fotografie mit dem Mobiltelefon erfunden.

Und nun, Anfang 60, ist Kahn das technische Hirn der sogenannten Quantified-self-Bewegung, jener schnell wachsenden Gemeinde, die alles an sich selbst messen, aufzeichnen und optimieren will – von den Schritten beim Spazierengehen, den Höhenmetern beim Treppensteigen, dem Puls beim Sprinten oder der Atemfrequenz beim Schlafen.

Mit 63 noch erfolgreich trotz Jugendwahn

Die Sensoren dafür und die Analysesoftware liefert Kahns Unternehmen namens Fullpower Technologies, das er 2003 in Santa Cruz gründete. Weil die neue Apple Watch schon nach 18 Stunden an die Ladestation muss, forscht er zum Beispiel gerade an einer Möglichkeit, die Zeit auf zwei Jahre auszudehnen. ‘Ich glaube, dass Messfunktionen einfach da sein müssen, ohne dass sich ihr Nutzer ständig sorgen muss, ob sie überhaupt einsatzbereit sind und funktionieren’, sagt Kahn. Damit definiert er die Handlungsmaxime für jene, die derzeit im Silicon Valley die Trends vorgeben. Mal wieder. Wie schafft man das auch noch mit 63 ausgerechnet in einem Fleckchen Erde wie dem Silicon Valley, in dem der Jugendwahn herrscht?

Kein Mann für den Flugzeugträger
So dröhnend Kahn im direkten Gespräch wirkt, so gerne arbeitet er im Hintergrund. In den Achtziger- und Neunzigerjahren befehligte er schon einmal 4000 Mitarbeiter eines Softwarehauses namens Borland, das er mitgegründet hatte und mit dem er eine halbe Milliarde Dollar pro Jahr umsetzte. Doch dabei habe er sich gefühlt ‘wie auf einem Flugzeugträger’, erinnert er sich, ‘schwer beweglich und nur Beton um mich herum’.

Heute hat Kahn 100 Mitarbeiter unter sich, zumeist Elektroingenieure, Informatiker, Mediziner, Datenspezialisten und Mechatroniker. ‘Ich würde es gern nur mit drei Mitarbeitern machen’, sagt er ‘aber das geht natürlich nicht.’ Darum fühle er sich wohl mit seiner jetzigen Mannschaft. Er reite gern ‘mit der richtigen Ausrüstung auf einer großen Welle’.

Das erste Foto via Mobilfunk

Der ambitionierte Surfer hat schon etliche Wellen geritten, keine Monsterwellen, dazu sei er ‘zu feige’, allerdings sehr große im Pazifik – und ganz große im IT-Geschäft. Neben dem deutschen Informatiker und Unternehmer Andreas von Bechtolsheim zählt er zu den Europäern, die Amerikas IT-Hochburg Silicon Valley mitgeprägt haben. Dass es soziale Netzwerke wie Facebook, Instagram oder Snapchat gibt, dass das Smartphone boomt, all das geht auch auf Kahn zurück – und auf seinen Ehrgeiz, die Geburt seiner dritten Tochter Sophie so schnell wie möglich direkt aus dem Krankenhaus in Santa Cruz seinen Verwandten, Freunden und Fans mitzuteilen.

Mit dem briefmarkengroßen Foto, das er am 11. Juni 1997 via Mobilfunk übers Internet verschickt, schreibt Kahn Geschichte. Er kombiniert eine Casio-Digitalkamera, mit der er seine Tochter fotografiert, mit einem Toshiba-Laptop und einem Motorola-Startac-Handy. Die Aufnahme sendet er nicht per E-Mail in die Postfächer seiner rund 2000 Bekannten, Freunde und Partner. Denn ‘die Kosten wären damals astronomisch gewesen’, sagt Kahn. Stattdessen publiziert er das Konterfei seines Töchterchens auf einer Webseite, auf die nur Freunde und Bekannte Zugriff haben. Die können das Foto so dann betrachten und herunterladen. Im Grunde funktionieren heute alle sozialen Netzwerke nach diesem Prinzip.

Ein Babyfoto war der Anfang
Ein Babyfoto war der Anfang

Für Kahn ist es eine Initialzündung. Er tauft seine Erfindung PictureMail und vermarktet sie über sein damaliges Unternehmen Lightsurf an Mobiltelefongesellschaften. 2005 verkauft er Lightsurf an den US-Internet-Infrastrukturanbieter Verisign und streicht dafür 270 Millionen Dollar ein.

Das Babyfoto und das schlaffördernde Bett sind nur zwei Stationen einer außergewöhnlichen Karriere, die mit der illegalen Einwanderung aus Europa 1982 begann und inzwischen in der Galerie der Multimillionäre des Silion Valley angekommen ist. Der Vater Ingenieur, die Mutter eine Kämpferin im französischen Untergrund, die das Vernichtungslager Auschwitz überlebt hat, ist Kahn gerade 13 Jahre alt, als seine Maman stirbt. Der Halbwaise macht Abitur, studiert Mathematik und Musik und unterrichtet danach Mathematik an der Universität im südfranzösischen Nizza.

Software statt Käse und Wein

Doch das füllt Kahn nicht aus, also beginnt er in der Freizeit zu programmieren. Zwar will er nie Unternehmer werden, sein Vater ist überzeugter Sozialist. Wohl aber verspürt er den Drang, etwas Neues zu kreieren, am besten in der IT-Branche. In Frankreich ist das schwer zu dieser Zeit. ‘Mit Wein oder Käse hätte ich vielleicht eine Chance gehabt, nicht aber mit Software’, erinnert sich Kahn. Als ihm immer mehr Freunde empfehlen, doch ins Silicon Valley zu gehen, folgt er ihrem Rat schließlich. ‘Irgendwann habe ich gesagt: Okay, dann mache ich das eben’, sagt er. Anfang 1982 kauft er sich ein Ticket nur für den Hinflug, seine Frau, die beiden Töchter und der Hund bleiben zu Hause.

Der Selbstoptimierer, Internetunternehmer Kahn is seiner PrivatwohnungDer Selbstoptimierer, Internetunternehmer Kahn is seiner Privatwohnung


Vom Einwanderer zum erfolgreichen Berater

Es folgt die typische Odyssee vieler spontaner Einwanderer in den USA. Weil Kahn keine Arbeitserlaubnis besitzt, produziert er für einen Computershop Druckerkabel, die damals noch nicht genormt sind. Doch die Einnahmen reichen nicht zum Leben. Kahn schreibt 105 Bewerbungen, bis ihn schließlich ein koreanischer Familienunternehmer einstellt, der sich auf Computer sowie Software spezialisiert hat und selbst keine Arbeitsgenehmigung hat. ‘Dort habe ich nicht nur Koreanisch gelernt, sondern auch richtig hartes Arbeiten’, sagt Kahn. Ein knappes Jahr später hat er das Geld, um seine Familie aus Frankreich nachzuholen.

Irgendwann hat Kahn das Business mit IT so verinnerlicht, dass er beschließt, europäische Unternehmer zu beraten, die in die USA streben. Er nennt seine Firma frech MIT, was für ‘Market In Time’ steht, frei übersetzt: zur richtigen Zeit auf den Markt. Es dauert nicht lange, bis sich das richtige MIT, die berühmte US-Forschungshochburg Massachusetts Institute of Technology, beschwert und eine Namensänderung fordert.

Mit Turbo Pascal gegen Microsoft

Kahns erste Kunden sind drei Dänen, die ihr irisches Softwarehaus Borland in die USA bringen wollen. Borland hat sich auf Programme für Softwareentwickler spezialisiert. Kahn übernimmt die Führung des Unternehmens. Dessen Programmiersprache Turbo Pascal wird schnell weltberühmt, die Informationsmanagementsoftware Sidekick ein Bestseller, die Datenbanksoftware Paradox ein weiterer Knaller. Mitte der Neunzigerjahre beschäftigt Borland 4000 Mitarbeiter, setzt eine halbe Milliarde Dollar um, ist das drittgrößte Softwareunternehmen der Welt. Kahn rast abwechselnd in einem weißen Porsche oder auf einem Honda-Motorrad durch die Berge von Santa Cruz, konkurriert in Segelwettbewerben in Hawaii – und greift Marktführer Microsoft an.

Doch dann kommt der Moment, an dem Kahn erkennt, ‘dass wir gegen Bill Gates nie gewinnen werden, zumindest solange nicht, wie er mit Microsoft das dominierende Betriebssystem kontrollierte’. Also empfiehlt er seinem Aufsichtsrat, alle Entwicklungsressourcen auf das damals noch junge Internet zu konzentrieren. Doch seine Partner wollen nicht. ‘Wenn sich der ganze Aufsichtsrat gegen einen stellt, bleibt einem keine andere Wahl, als zu gehen’, sagt Kahn. Für ihn ist das bitter. Er muss erkennen: ‘Mit einem Unternehmen ist es wie mit Kindern. Die wachsen auf, und man kann sie nicht mehr kontrollieren.’

“Das Beste, was mir je passiert ist”

Doch der Franzose ist inzwischen so amerikanisiert, dass er die Niederlage als neue Chance begreift. Neben einer Abfindung erhält er die Geschäftseinheit von Borland, die sich auf den Onlinedatenabgleich zwischen IT-Geräten spezialisiert hat. Daraus macht er die Softwarefirma Starfish. 1998 veräußert er Starfish für 325 Millionen Dollar an den damaligen Handyhersteller Motorola. ‘Der Rauswurf bei Borland war das Beste, was mir passiert ist’, meint Kahn im Rückblick. ‘Auch wenn mir das erst später bewusst wurde.’

<strong>Bloß kein Rislkokapital</strong>
Sein Erfolgsgeheimnis in all den Jahren beschreibt Kahn ebenso knapp wie überraschend: ‘keinerlei Wagniskapital’. Zwar sei Risikokapital fantastisch, ‘aber man macht sich abhängig von den Geldgebern’. Vor allem aber zwinge das viele Kapital die Gründer, viel zu schnell zu expandieren und übereilt Mitarbeiter einzustellen. ‘Unfähige Mitarbeiter sind das absolute Gift’, sagt Kahn. ‘Sie saugen Energie aus einem raus, weil sie ihren Job nicht richtig machen, und verschlechtern das Betriebsklima.’

Können statt Doktortiteln

Kahn nimmt sich deshalb viel Zeit, wenn er neue Mitarbeiter einstellt, und testet die Kandidaten manchmal sogar mit Denksportaufgaben. Neulich hat er eine Datenspezialistin angeheuert. Sie setzte sich gegen Mitbewerber durch, die mit beeindruckenden Lebensläufen und Doktortiteln glänzten. Anstatt das Problem, mit dem er sie konfrontiert habe, weiter zu verkomplizieren, habe sie es vereinfacht und logisch durchdacht, lobt Kahn. ‘Solche Leute braucht man.’

Zu solchen Leuten zählt Kahn auch Sonia Lee, seine zweite Ehefrau und Mutter jener Tochter, deren Foto er gleich nach der Geburt im Cyberspace verbreitete. Kahn lernte die koreanischstämmige Frau, die in den USA Malerei studiert hatte, in seiner dunkelsten Phase kennen, in der Zeit des Rauswurfs bei Borland. Sie beriet damals IT-Unternehmen beim Börsengang, indem sie deren Geschäftsideen in Grafiken und Schaubildern umsetzte. Dabei lernte sie auch, Unternehmensstrategien zu verstehen. ‘Sonia hält mich auf Kurs’, sagt Kahn, ‘sie fordert mich heraus.’

Ein Gründer braucht Glück

Die neue Frau an seiner Seite gründete zwar Kahns Firmen von Starfish früher bis Fullpower heute mit, hält sich aber stets im Hintergrund. Sie begeistert sich nicht übermäßig für die Passion ihres Ehemanns, das Surfen, umso mehr für Musik. Fast jeden Abend bringt sie Kahn dazu, mit ihr zu musizieren – sie auf dem Cello, er auf der Flöte. Das Saxofon, mit dem er in den Neunzigerjahren auf den Partys bei Borland aufspielte und sogar eine CD herausbrachte, hat er aufgegeben.

Kahn kann nicht sagen, wie lange er die Welle der digitalen Gimmicks noch reiten will. Er habe nie Unternehmen gegründet, um diese zu verkaufen, behauptet er. ‘Es kamen immer Interessenten, bei denen ein Verkauf strategisch Sinn ergab.’ Das Wichtigste, was ein Gründer brauche, findet er, sei ‘Glück’. Er habe lange über die Rolle des Glücks im Leben nachgedacht. Wolle man lieber von der Natur mit Klugheit gesegnet sein oder lieber mit viel Glück?

‘Ich kenne viele supersmarte Leute, die ständig unzufrieden mit sich sind’, sagt Kahn. ‘Wenn ich die Wahl hätte, wäre ich deshalb lieber dumm und glücklich.’

-Hohensee, Matthias

Read the PDF print version here
Read the PDF print version here

Can big data help you get a good night’s sleep?

An employee of Fullpower Technologies, rigged for a sleep study in the ­company’s lab.

An employee of Fullpower Technologies, rigged for a sleep study in the ­company’s lab. Right: The “head box” transfers input from body ­sensors to a base station that processes the data to ­create a personal polysomnogram. Photographs by Ian Allen for Fortune

Large-scale computing power, combined with input from millions of fitness trackers, could help unlock the mysteries of our national insomnia.

I’m playing tennis with Marissa Mayer, and oddly, the Yahoo YHOO -2.07% CEO is wearing a pearlescent purple gown and sipping from a teacup. Her dress is just long enough to obscure her feet, so she appears to be floating across the baseline. As she strikes the ball, she tips her chin skyward and laughs in slow motion.

Meanwhile, I’m perched in the lotus position atop a manta ray that’s hovering above the ground like some kind of Landspeeder. And I’m panicking. How can I keep my balance and still hit the ball—especially with my shirt collar pulling at my neck the way it is? Can’t swing my racket. I jerk my head left. Then right. I claw at my jawline. The ball has cleared the net, and it’s headed my way. If only. I could. Just. Move. My head.

And poof. She’s gone. I open my eyes in a strange room. It’s pitch dark and completely silent, but I manage to find my bearings. Santa Cruz, Calif. Breathing heavily, I carefully disentangle a gaggle of wires twisted around my neck and roll over to glance at the clock. Just after 3 a.m.



This scene, I now know, was merely one of 18 REM-sleep interruptions that I experienced between 11:18 p.m. and 6:16 a.m. during one long February night. What a strange setting for the only dream I’ve ever had about a chief executive: in a laboratory, tethered to a byzantine apparatus designed to monitor my brain activity as well as every breath, eye movement, muscle twitch, and heartbeat.

Let me explain. Like you and probably everyone you know, I’ve always been confounded by my sleep routine. Why do I one morning rise ready to tackle the day and the next seem barely able to lift my head? How much rest can I be getting if I wake up sideways with the covers on the floor and my wife in the guest room? Most important, what can I do better? I don’t want a magic pill. I’ve tried those. I know the rules of thumb: less stress, more exercise, better diet, no afternoon caffeine, put down the damn phone. But I’d kill for a personalized formula.

So I subjected myself to a polysomnography test, or PSG, hoping to unravel some of the mysteries of the night. My procedure was administered in the offices of Fullpower Technologies, one floor down from where I had spent most of the evening talking with the company’s founder and CEO, Philippe Kahn.

A French expatriate who grew up in Paris, Kahn, 63, is a Silicon Valley oracle whose track record predates the web. He founded Borland Software (acquired by Micro Focus) MCFUF -1.09% in the mid-1980s, followed by Starfish software (Motorola) and LightSurf Technologies (VeriSign) VRSN -1.53% . In 1997, while anticipating the birth of his daughter, he paired a state-of-the-art Casio CSIOY 0.51% camera with a Motorola Startac and became, he claims, the first person to transmit a digital photo over cellular airwaves. He’s also been a leader in wearable technologies.

Philippe Kahn says Fullpower is “operating a huge sleep experiment unlike anything anyone has ever done.”

Philippe Kahn says Fullpower is “operating a huge sleep experiment unlike anything anyone has ever done.” Photograph by Ian Allen for Fortune

That’s precisely the focus of Fullpower, which licenses its software to other companies. Nearly five dozen framed patents for wearable-related software and devices hang on the wall in the company’s lobby. The oldest dates to 2005, long before tracking steps became such a phenomenon. In the conference room there’s an assembly of chairs and tables around a full-size bed, making obvious Kahn’s latest obsession.

Fullpower built the lab about a decade ago to capture data from sleep patterns. Of course, test subjects don’t typically snooze deeply with wires glued to their skulls, chests, legs, and arms. But almost everyone manages to at least nod off for a while, and the data that subjects generate are valuable and often surprising. “What we found early on is that sometimes you sleep less and feel more refreshed,” Kahn says. “It’s because you woke up in the light part of the sleep cycle.” The insight led him to develop a sleep-cycle alarm that could determine the best time to alert a person within a certain window. “Sometimes it’s better to get up at 10 of seven than at seven,” he says.

Kahn insists that he’s on the cusp of many more such discoveries, and he’s intent on dispelling some of the conventional wisdom that stresses people out. “People say that if you can’t sleep for eight hours without waking up, something’s wrong with you. That’s such a fallacy,” he says. “Before electricity, people used to sleep in two shifts. That’s how I behave. Sleep for four hours, get up and do an hour and a half of work, and then another four.” He’s also skeptical of the notion that a quiet room is the best environment for shut-eye and dismisses the perceived deleterious effects of repeated rousing. “The sign of good sleep hygiene may not be how many times you wake up, but rather how rapidly you fall back to sleep. Sleep should be like hunger. Eat only when you’re hungry and until you’re satisfied.”

Fullpower has oceans of data to back Kahn’s theories. The company provides the sleep-tracking and activity-monitoring software for the Jawbone UP and Nike Fuel NKE -1.09% wearable devices as well as a new line of Swiss-made smartwatches and the forthcoming Simmons Sleeptracker Smartbed. The products transmit a mother lode of information (with users’ consent) to Kahn’s team. He thinks that by combining qualitative lab data and quantitative real-world data with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other analytics technologies, he can unlock the secrets that so many of us walking dead are looking for: a better night’s sleep. “We’re operating a huge sleep experiment, worldwide, unlike anything anyone has ever done,” he says. “We have 250 million nights of sleep in our database, and we’re using all the latest technologies to make sense of it.”

Kahn is not alone. He’s part of a movement of brilliant entrepreneurs, data scientists, engineers, and academics who are looking at demographics, geographies, and lifestyles, and even into our genomes. They’re the beneficiaries of a historic explosion in sleep data, and they’re using many of the same technologies that are busily decoding some of the world’s other great mysteries. Tiny sensors, big data, analytics, and cloud computing can predict machine breakage, pinpoint power outages, and build better supply chains. Why not put them to work to optimize the most valuable complex system of all, the human body?


It’s not an exaggeration to say lack of sleep is killing us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it a public health epidemic and estimates that as many as 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder. Sleep deprivation has been linked to clinical depression, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving causes 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries annually in the U.S.  There are 84 sleep disorders, and some 100 million people—80% of them undiagnosed—suffer from one of them in particular: Obstructive sleep apnea, generally indicated by snoring, costs the U.S. economy as much as $165 billion a year, according to a Harvard Medical School study. That’s more than asthma, heart failure, stroke, hypertension, or drunk driving. And the study doesn’t account for tangential effects, like loss of intimacy and divorce. BCC Research predicts that the global market for sleep-aid products—everything from specialty mattresses and high-tech pillows to drugs and at-home tests—will hit $76.7 billion by 2019.

The financial upside for anyone who can crack the sleep code is obvious. And so the race is on. “I believe that 15 years from now, if we do this right, we can actually tackle epidemics like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and any number of lifestyle diseases,” says Kahn. “We’re going to help people live longer and better lives.”

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Fullpower Launches MotionX for the Apple Watch

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (April 23rd, 2015)- Fullpower® today announced the launch of the MotionX® Technology Platform for the Apple Watch with MotionX-GPS, the top selling off-road navigation app for the iPhone.

MotionX-GPS with Apple Watch

The MotionX-GPS Apple Watch interface enables users to quickly and conveniently:

  • Start/stop/pause recordings
  • View current speed, recorded distance, and ascent/descent while recording a track
  • View your current location on a map
  • Mark waypoints
  • View progress toward a waypoint destination

MotionX-GPS is immediately available for $0.99 from the App Store on iPhone or at

MotionX-GPS with Apple Watch

About Fullpower
Fullpower® provides the leading MotionX patented ecosystem for wearable and IoT sensor-based solutions supporting state-of-the-art sensor arrays. For the “Quantified Self”, Fullpower has developed the MotionX® Technology Platform for advanced wearables and smartwatches that include automatic activity and sleep monitoring. Fullpower drives wearable solutions for market leaders such as Nike, MMT, Alpina, Frederique Constant, Mondaine, Jawbone and others.