Why AI consolidation will create the worst monopoly in US history
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 9:00 pm

 Forget Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — we need a trust-buster like Teddy Roosevelt, who in 1902 attacked the Northern Securities Company, a railroad holding company led by J.P. Morgan and James J. Hill. Consolidation in any market is expected, but AI is consolidating at such a rapid clip, at such an early stage and by so few companies that there are strong reasons to be concerned. Read More

‘MegaMIMO 2.0’ wireless routers work together to triple bandwidth and double range
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 8:56 pm

 Wireless interference is one of those things that we tend to not think about, because, well, we can’t see it. But routers are all over the place, sometimes several in a room when you’re in an office, conference, or campus — and make no mistake, it’s an epic battle at the frequencies they share. Some enterprising researchers have found a way to make those routers work… Read More

Harvard’s Octobot is the first autonomous machine to be made with all soft robotics
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 8:29 pm

 For years roboticists have been looking into using softer materials for parts rather than the usual metal and plastic — sometimes even building entirely soft robots. But this Octobot from Harvard is the first that not only contains no hard parts but is also entirely autonomous. Read More

Optimization startup SigOpt raises $6.6M
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 5:27 pm

 SigOpt, a company aiming to “optimize everything,” announced today that it has raised $6.6 million in Series A funding. When startups talk about optimization, they often mean trying out a few different variations and then choosing the ones that get the best results. With SigOpt, it’s more of a continual process, where the technology can look at your results and recommend what… Read More

Uber offers retirement plans to drivers as legal battle continues
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 5:24 pm

 Uber drivers are being given the opportunity to save for retirement. The ride-hailing company announced today that drivers in several cities will be offered retirement plans through Betterment, an automated investment service. The deal, which has been in the works since this spring, will be offered first to drivers in Seattle, Boston, Chicago and New Jersey. Uber plans to eventually expand… Read More

MIT’s new way to make metal could significantly lower air pollutants
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 5:06 pm

 Serendipity has long been a staple of scientific study, and a new discovery by MIT is no exception. Researchers at the school were trying to build better batteries, but instead found a better way to smelt metal. The study resulted in a brand new, far less polluting way to make antimony, which itself isn’t very applicable in a broader manufacturing context, but the method could be applied… Read More

Ford leads $24M investment in India-based vehicle rental company Zoomcar
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 5:05 pm

 Hot on the heels of a deal with a self-driving sensor technology startup this month, the automotive giant has backed Zoomcar, a Zipcar-like company that operates in India. Subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility led a $24 million Series B round for Zoomcar, with participation from returning investors Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) and Empire Angels. Read More

Whisker sensors could control the robots of the future
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 5:02 pm

 Rats and other whiskered animals use senses that we don’t yet possess. In addition to being able to run mazes and lick our faces to confirm we aren’t covered in BBQ sauce, scientists have confirmed that some animals use their flowing front whiskers to sense wind position, a technique that could be used in future direction-sensing robots. A team of students working at… Read More

Y Combinator S16 Demo Day 2’s top 8 startups
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 4:35 pm

 Gunshot detectors and anti-drone defense topped our list of favorites from the 48 startups that presented at Y Combinator Summer 2016 Demo Day 2. We asked investors what wowed them and huddled with the TechCrunch team to come up with our pick of the 8 most promising companies. Check them out here, as well as our top 7 startups from the 44 that presented on Demo Day 1. Additional reporting by… Read More

HP reports better than expected $0.48 EPS and $11.9B revenue in Q3
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 4:09 pm

 After the close of the bell, technology stalwart Hewlett-Packard announced better than expected numbers in their Q3 earnings report. This comes after a relatively flat week on the public markets for the company. Analysts expected an adjusted EPS of 44 cents on $11.44 billion in revenue. Instead, HP reported an EPS of $0.48 cents and revenue of $11.9 billion. The EPS numbers reported… Read More

Customized online prescription acne treatment provider Curology raises $15M
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 3:25 pm

 David Lortscher was one of a few dozen people practicing dermatology in New Mexico when he realized a huge problem in the field: There weren’t enough dermatologists, and people were skipping out on visits because they thought it was for more affluent people or took too long. So Lortscher decided to start Curology, which provides acne and anti-aging treatment and prescriptions through… Read More

Payment innovation: Take the better option now
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 3:00 pm

 While innovations like mobile payments and biometrics may one day change the way we safeguard consumer financial information in the digital age, we cannot neglect the here-and-now of both online and off-line users. The overwhelming majority of Americans use credit cards at the point of sale. Unfortunately, we’re falling short in protecting them, even though the remedy is simple. Read More

Best Buy bets on VR for the holidays with 500 stores demoing Oculus Rift
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 2:39 pm

 Best Buy has provided in-person demonstrations for Oculus Rift basically since there were real Oculus Rift headsets to demonstrate – the retailer announced back in May it would provide demos at 48 locations in the U.S. Now, it’s doubling down on that bet, with a plan to give customers a taste of VR in 500 locations in time for the holiday shopping season, according to Bloomberg.… Read More

Astronomers have found the closest exoplanet to Earth
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 2:26 pm

 For the first time, astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting our sun’s nearest neighbor. The newly identified exoplanet (a planet outside our solar system) is officially the closest known exoplanet to Earth, located at a distance of 4.25 light-years away. They’re calling it Proxima b, and it orbits around our nearest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri, every… Read More

Twitter’s new button lets you accept private messages from your website
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 2:03 pm

 Twitter today continues to push forward with its increased emphasis on its messaging feature, with the rollout of a new button for websites that allows visitors to privately message an individual or company directly. The feature, now one of several website buttons available, follows the company’s recent test of a change to brands’ customer support profiles’ that encouraged… Read More

Halo 5: Forge gives PC users level creation powers on September 8
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 1:54 pm

 Halo 5: Forge, the level creation tool that lets players build their own worlds and create new game experiences for Halo 5: Guardians, has come to Windows 10 PCs. The free download puts gamers in the developer’s seat, and adds support for mouse and keyboard, and up to 4K resolution, likely beating out the Xbox One add-on in terms of giving you finer control over world building. Xbox… Read More

CRV, the venture firm, campaigns against Trump in new statement
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 1:27 pm

 The U.S. presidential election is fast approaching, and a growing number of VCs who’ve historically shied from making taking sides publicly, are tweeting, talking with reporters, and blogging about who they are backing and why. The early-stage venture firm CRV, formerly known as Charles River Ventures, is taking things a step further, having just published a tranquil little piece… Read More

Dyson adds a heater to its combo bladeless fan/air purifier
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 12:45 pm

 Dyson’s been on something of a product launching roll, of late – hair dryers, robotic vacuums, it’s a diverse portfolio to put it mildly. The latest launch from the company, however, isn’t so much new territory as it is fusing together of a few of its existing lines into a single device. As its name implies, there’s a lot going on with the Pure Hot+Cool Link. The… Read More

Pokémon Go is boosting competitor in-app purchase revenue, too
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 12:34 pm

 While Pokémon Go is definitely the primary benefactor of its own success, that doesn’t mean it’s hurting its competition in the mobile gaming space. New data from mobile commerce provider DOCOMO Digital has found that in fact, the Google Play Store’s top four grossing apps have seen a 10 percent increase in overall revenue from their games in Europe since the debut of… Read More

Microsoft’s Word Flow keyboard takes on Google with integrated GIF and Bing search
Posted: 24 August 2016 | 12:02 pm

 If customized keyboards for mobile devices are to be the next-gen interface for accessing the wider web – including information you’d normally turn to a search engine to find – then Microsoft today has stepped up its fight with Google with the rollout of a new version of its predictive keyboard app Word Flow. While the app previously offered intelligent word suggestions… Read More

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