Category Archives: Hardware

CTRL-labs’ first dev kit is a gesture-tracking neural controller

The race to replace the mouse and keyboard has yielded a lot of weird tech, but as various hardware startups try to find the missing link between what we have now and some sort of embedded brain chip, we’re seeing some fascinating solutions surface. New York-based CTRL-labs just announced its first developer kit that’s aiming to refresh how people interact with computers — an armband that can track a user’s finger movements by measuring electrical impulses. It’s not quite a brain controller, though in practice this type of […]

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The economics and tradeoffs of ad-funded smart city tech

In order to have innovative smart city applications, cities first need to build out the connected infrastructure, which can be a costly, lengthy, and politicized process. Third-parties are helping build infrastructure at no cost to cities by paying for projects entirely through advertising placements on the new equipment. I try to dig into the economics of ad-funded smart city projects to better understand what types of infrastructure can be built under an ad-funded model, the benefits the strategy provides to cities, and the non-obvious costs cities have to […]

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That night, a forest flew: DroneSeed is planting trees from the air

Wildfires are consuming our forests and grasslands faster than we can replace them. It’s a vicious cycle of destruction and inadequate restoration rooted, so to speak, in decades of neglect of the institutions and technologies needed to keep these environments healthy. DroneSeed is a Seattle-based startup that aims to combat this growing problem with a modern toolkit that scales: drones, artificial intelligence and biological engineering. And it’s even more complicated than it sounds. Trees in decline A bit of background first. The problem of disappearing forests is […]

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Silentmode’s PowerMask is a $200 connected relaxation mask

I barely slept, the second night in Chunking Mansions. The loud neighbors, the hot Hong Kong air, the landlord banging on the door after midnight. None of these things are particularly conducive to a peaceful rest, and for once in my life I actually looked forward to attempts at shut eye on the 15+ hour flight home in the morning. For all the dread of returning to the notorious Hong Kong hostiles that evening, after a day of exploring the area, I was actually looking forward to […]

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Soundbrenner’s wearable metronome gets a modular upgrade

It took all of 14 minutes for the Soundbrenner Core to hit full funding. Not too shabby. Last week, the wearable maker closed out its campaign with more than 10x its $50,000 goal. A few days later, we sat down with the startup at the headquarters of Hong Kong-based accelerator, Brinc. Soundbrenner has already made a bit of a name for itself with Pulse. The connected, wrist-worn device brought some clever innovation to the metronome, that old familiar piano-mounted accessory long banished to the dustiest corners of […]

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Quantum Machines raises $5.5M to build control and operational layer for quantum computers

Quantum Machines, an Israeli startup launched by three Ph.D. physicists, wants to build the operational and control layer for quantum computing. Today, it announced a $5.5 million seed investment led by TLV Ventures with participation from Battery Ventures. The three principals have been studying quantum computing for a decade and they understand that to commercialize it, it’s going to require a complete solution. Right now the majority of the research is centered on increasing the number of qubits at the processor level. Co-founder and CEO Itamar Sivan […]

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The WT2 in-ear translator arrives in January, with real-time feedback coming soon

Timekettle was eager to show us the progress it’s made on the WT2 since it first showed us its wearable translation device at TechCrunch Shenzhen, this time last year. Unlike their 3D printed state at last year’s event, the crowdfunded earpieces are now ready to ship. They’ve already started going out to early backers and will begin shipping in January to those who pre-order now. The hardware is quite solid. The set up looks a bit like an oversized AirPods case that snaps together magnetically. The idea […]

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Burgerbot startup Creator hires inventor of Boston Dynamics’ Big Dog

Disney Imagineering animatronics wizard Dr. Martin Buehler is a legend in the robotics world. His work leading development of the galloping Big Dog quadruped at Boston Dynamics both inspired and terrified a new generation of makers. But after playing in the worlds of fantasy and science fiction that consumers can’t buy, Buehler has been poached to work on something much more tangible. In fact, it’s edible. He’s joining burger-making robot startup Creator as VP of engineering. “It was a great experience working on experimental validation [at Boston Dynamics]” […]

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Watch biotech startups pitch at IndieBio’s demo day today

IndieBio, the biotech startup accelerator that’s produced heaps of notable companies (including several that have graced the Startup Battlefield), is holding its twice-annual demo day today at 3PM Pacific Time. An even dozen young companies will be pitching their work, from AI-informed research to artificial meat, and you can watch them present live right here. The IndieBio program is a four-month one that takes companies at the seed stage, often researchers straight out of graduate programs or university research groups, and gets them into shape for a […]

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Fantasmo pivots to scooter cameras that keep them off sidewalks

GPS is too inaccurate to tell if a scooter is being driven or parked in off-limits areas. But as scooter startups compete for permits from city governments, they need a way to prove their riders play by the rules. That’s where Fantasmo’s new scooter positioning camera comes in. The augmented reality mapping startup had been building the Camera Positioning Standard to give self-driving cars, robots and AR games a dynamically updated understanding of the real world around them. But now Fantasmo is focusing on the urgent use […]

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