Lab Profile: Ries Robinson from Medici Technologies

December 4, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Lab Profiles |

medici primary color rgbRecently I spoke with Ries Robinson from our lab Medici Technologies. Everything about Medici Technologies is captivating, from the story behind their unique name to their interesting approach to data analysis. Check out more on their specialized approach below!

Q: What is Medici Technologies’ specialty? 

Ries: We analyze data for groups or companies that have data that is so complex that it exceeds their resources. We are a consulting firm that provides expertise in data analysis.

Q: Why did you choose Medici as your name?

Ries: The Medici Effect is the idea that significant breakthroughs in innovation and technology often occur when you cross-pollinate fields. It stems from the Renaissance. For example, a Renaissance family would make the plumber work with the weaver, or someone with a different skill set, and that’s part of what initiated the Renaissance movement.

A lot of what we do is pull different ideas or algorithms from different places. Historically, we’ve worked on complex data analysis of optical signals for measuring chemicals or analytes in the body, but some of our greatest breakthroughs have been by taking algorithms from non-traditional sectors. For example, we can utilize song recognition and gesture recognition tools to classify tissue types. Utilizing methods developed in other applications has been extremely beneficial.

Q: How was Medici Technologies founded?

Ries: Most of our founding team was involved in a company that developed a non-invasive diabetes-screening product. The product could detect diabetes by shining light through your arm, because diabetes damages skin. The company was sold, but one of our investors was really impressed with the algorithms and data processing we developed. So I went out to see if there were any companies that were specializing in life sciences data analysis, and I couldn’t find any! I thought, “This is a unique opportunity.”

The ability to create data now is unbelievable – you see more and more genomic data coming about, more information from laboratories where mobile devices are being used. There was really going to be an interesting opportunity for a company that was very sophisticated in the processing of science data sets. That’s how we came about.

Q: What’s the team at Medici Technologies like? What are their backgrounds?

Ries: I’ve worked in the area of instrumentation and algorithm development for about 20 years. And what I have learned is that you need different perspectives and aptitudes. We have an idea generation person that loves algorithms, is incredibly geeky, and likely subscribes to something like the Fibonacci Quarterly or some mathematical magazine on their bed stand. Next what you need an implementer, a good programmer, because the individuals that love algorithms don’t create good code. Lastly, you need individuals that want to understand what the data is saying and how to translate this into value. And we’ve got individuals in each of these perspectives. Medici has a bunch of Master’s and PhD level employees that are really unique, fantastic and approach problems from a variety of perspectives.

Q: What are some examples of projects you’ve worked on in the past?

Ries: Most projects are covered by confidentiality agreements so specific details are hard to discuss, but our project mix has been quite diverse. We have worked on non-laboratory projects in gesture recognition as well as complex projects on disease state detection using multiple sensors. Our tool box in terms of prediction methods, classification, feature selection, and data transformation is very extensive. Working on new projects from a variety of technical fields is very exciting for the technical team and allows Medici to utilize the Medici effect for the benefit of our clients.

Check out more on Medici Technologies and their fantastic statistical services at their Science Exchange storefront

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