Enough mainstream markets have already been disrupted by new ideas. From the automotive industry to the food industry to delivery service, most huge sectors have seen successful (and unsuccessful) entries of new, young companies looking to change the status quo. However, there are still some niches which have so far been untapped. One of these is academia. At the Disrupt NY Hackathon, a couple of great minds came up with an idea that can make life for academics easier too – Helix!
Whoever has worked with some of the large, expensive academic databases in highschool or university knows how clunky their search algorithm is. If you ever forget to save the link or name of an article you want to reference, good luck finding it again.
Helix.ai takes writing research papers to a whole different level. On the one hand, Helix improves the search possibilities within those databases. So now, you are able to find what you are looking for much faster. On the other hand, and much more exciting, Helix actually does research while you type. Helix finds research papers and articles which back up your claims in real time. On the right side of your screen you will see suggestions of research papers relevant to the text you wrote, and suggestions for potential additions to your paper.
Instead of doing research yourself, you have research done for you – saving time and effort.
What other niches could profit from Helix?
Journalism comes to mind – quality journalism always needs facts and other articles in order to write up a trustworthy and meaningful news feature. Possibly not relevant for breaking news, but definitely for magazines such as the Economist or the New Yorker who rely on informative pieces.
Bloggers could also find Helix useful – similar to journalism, bloggers regularly link to other blogs and articles within their own articles to show they’ve done their research. A good research base is a great boost to credibility and can get you noticed by bigger publications too.
Education in general – although Helix was intended for academics, highschools and university students would greatly profit from research assistance. Imagine how much easier your degree would have been if you wouldn’t have had to spend time researching for all the essays and theses you had to write. If just writing the essay with the research already handed to you on a silver plate defeats the purpose of writing the essay in the first place is another matter, of course.
Other forms of research, like R&D divisions of corporations, also can see value in Helix. Since the algorithm is an improved search function for databases, an adaptation of Helix may be very useful for quick research on a topic and for brainstorming ideas.
In any case, the guys behind Helix have really come up with something that can genuinely be useful for a so far largely untapped niche – since the whole project was only drawn up in a couple of days, it will be exciting to see how far the guys will pursue the idea and what else they can come up with.