• Can your startup support a research-based workflow?

    Can your startup support a research-based workflow?
    João Graça ContributorShare on Twitter João Graça is CTO and co-founder of Unbabel, an AI-powered language operations platform that enables any agent to communicate in any language.The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology predicts that U.S. companies will spend upward of $100 billion on AI R&D per year by 2025. Much of this spending today is done by six tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, Facebook and Apple, according
  • Mixlab raises $20M to provide purrfect pharmacy experience for pet parents

    Mixlab raises $20M to provide purrfect pharmacy experience for pet parents
    Pet pharmacy Mixlab has developed a digital platform enabling veterinarians to prescribe medications and have them delivered — sometimes on the same day — to pet parents.
    The New York-based company raised a $20 million Series A in a round of funding led by Sonoma Brands and including Global Founders Capital, Monogram Capital, Lakehouse Ventures and Brand Foundry. The new investment gives Mixlab total funding of $30 million, said Fred Dijols, co-founder and CEO of Mixlab.
    Dijols and S
  • Tokyo diary: the heat is truly on – and a basketball-playing robot holds court

    Tokyo diary: the heat is truly on – and a basketball-playing robot holds court
    Toyota’s giant AI robot is halftime’s hottest attraction … and the weather gods are having a ballSpectators aren’t the only thing missing from these Games. Much of the next-generation technology due to be showcased here is too. Toyota had planned to use driverless cars at the Games and had made robots for the new Olympic stadium that, among other things, could take, then bring, food and drinks orders to spectators using wheelchairs. Continue reading...
  • Video Friday: Android Printing

    Video Friday: Android Printing
    Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):
    RO-MAN 2021 – August 8-12, 2021 – [Online Event]
    DARPA SubT Finals – September 21-23, 2021 – Louisville, KY, USAWeRobot 2021 – September 23-25, 2021 – Coral Gables, FL, U
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  • I’m sorry Dave I’m afraid I invented that: Australian court finds AI systems can be recognised under patent law

    I’m sorry Dave I’m afraid I invented that: Australian court finds AI systems can be recognised under patent law
    Federal court judge says allowing artificial intelligence systems, as well as humans, to be inventors is ‘consistent with promoting innovation’An artificial intelligence system is capable of being an “inventor” under Australian patent law, the federal court has ruled, in a decision that could have wider intellectual property implications.University of Surrey professor Ryan Abbott has launched more than a dozen patent applications across the globe, including in the UK, US,
  • Artificial Intelligence learns better when distracted

    Computer scientists from the Netherlands and Spain have determined how a deep learning system well suited for image recognition learns to recognize its surroundings. They were able to simplify the learning process by forcing the system's focus toward secondary characteristics.
  • ConverseNow is targeting restaurant drive-thrus with new $15M round

    ConverseNow is targeting restaurant drive-thrus with new $15M round
    One year after voice-based AI technology company ConverseNow raised a $3.3 million seed round, the company is back with a cash infusion of $15 million in Series A funding in a round led by Craft Ventures.
    The Austin-based company’s AI voice ordering assistants George and Becky work inside quick-serve restaurants to take orders via phone, chat, drive-thru and self-service kiosks, freeing up staff to concentrate on food preparation and customer service.
    Joining Craft in the Series A round we
  • Exo secures $200M toward commercializing ultrasound device

    Exo secures $200M toward commercializing ultrasound device
    Exo, pronounced “echo,” raised a fresh cash infusion of $220 million in Series C financing aimed at commercializing its handheld ultrasound device and point-of-care workflow platform, Exo Works.
    The round was led by RA Capital Management, while BlackRock, Sands Capital, Avidity Partners, Pura Vida Investments and prior investors joined in.
    The new funding gives the Redwood City, California-based company over $320 million in total investments since the company was founded in 2015, Exo
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  • Ashirase, a Honda incubation, reveals advanced walking assistance system for visually impaired

    Ashirase, a Honda incubation, reveals advanced walking assistance system for visually impaired
    Globally, 225 million people are estimated to suffer from moderate or severe visual impairments, and 49.1 million are blind, according to 2020 data from the Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science journal. A Japanese startup that was incubated at Honda Motor Company’s business creation program hopes to make navigating the world easier and safer for the visually impaired.
    Ashirase, which debuted as the first business venture to come out of Honda’s Ignition program in June, shar
  • Financial firms should leverage machine learning to make anomaly detection easier

    Financial firms should leverage machine learning to make anomaly detection easier
    Bikram Singh ContributorShare on Twitter Bikram Singh is the CEO and co-founder of EZOPS. He has built and managed operational services and technology solutions for banks, hedge funds, asset managers, fund administrators and custodians.Anomaly detection is one of the more difficult and underserved operational areas in the asset-servicing sector of financial institutions. Broadly speaking, a true anomaly is one that deviates from the norm of the expected or the familiar. Anomalies can be the resu
  • Former Iora Health execs raise $13M to guide seniors through Medicare enrollment

    Former Iora Health execs raise $13M to guide seniors through Medicare enrollment
    Employers typically offer three options for healthcare insurance. When it’s time to switch to Medicare, particularly Medicare Advantage, there are over 3,500 plans available nationwide, and an average of 30 plans someone can choose from in their particular area. Connie Health is leading seniors through the Medicare maze, helping whittle down those 3,000 plans into a handful of best choices based on care requirements.
    The company’s three co-founders, Oded Eran, CEO, David Luna, chief
  • How Robots Helped Out After The Surfside Condo Collapse

    How Robots Helped Out After The Surfside Condo Collapse
    Editor's Note: Along with Robin Murphy, the authors of this article include David Merrick, Justin Adams, Jarrett Broder, Austin Bush, Laura Hart, and Rayne Hawkins. This team is with the Florida State University's Disaster Incident Response Team, which was in Surfside for 24 days at the request of Florida US&R Task 1 (Miami Dade Fire Rescue Department). On June 24, 2021, at 1:25AM portions of the 12 story Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida collapsed, killing 98 people an
  • Now in 3D: Deep learning techniques help visualize X-ray data in three dimensions

    A team of scientists has leveraged artificial intelligence to train computers to keep up with the massive amounts of X-ray data taken at the Advanced Photon Source.
  • Instagram to default young teens to private accounts, restrict ads and unwanted adult contact

    Instagram to default young teens to private accounts, restrict ads and unwanted adult contact
    As it gears up to expand access to younger users, Instagram this morning announced a series of updates designed to make its app a safer place for online teens. The company says it will now default users to private accounts at sign-up if they’re under the age of 16  — or under 18 in certain locales, including in the E.U. It will also push existing users under 16 to switch their account to private, if they have not already done so. In addition, Instagram will roll out new technolo
  • Robotic AI firm Covariant raises another $80 million

    Robotic AI firm Covariant raises another $80 million
    In May of last year, Covariant announced that it had raised a $40 million Series B. It was a health sum of money for the young company, bringing its total funding up to $67 million. Just a little over a year later, the Berkeley-based AI startup is adding another $80 million to its coffers, riding on a wave that dramatically accelerated interest in robotics and AI during the pandemic.
    “Companies across multiple industries had already been looking to realize significant gains with AI robotic
  • NotCo gets its horn following $235M round to expand plant-based food products

    NotCo gets its horn following $235M round to expand plant-based food products
    NotCo, a food technology company making plant-based milk and meat replacements, wrapped up another funding round this year, a $235 million Series D round that gives it a $1.5 billion valuation.
    Tiger Global led the round and was joined by new investors, including DFJ Growth Fund, the social impact foundation, ZOMA Lab; athletes Lewis Hamilton and Roger Federer; and musician and DJ Questlove. Follow-on investors included Bezos Expeditions, Enlightened Hospitality Investments, Future Positive, L C
  • Jeanette Winterson: ‘The male push is to discard the planet: all the boys are going off into space’

    Jeanette Winterson: ‘The male push is to discard the planet: all the boys are going off into space’
    The writer’s new essay collection covers 200 years of women and science, from Mary Shelley to AI. She discusses burning books and the ensuing Twitter storm, the end of her marriage, and why a move into politics could be nextThere’s a disconcerting silence outside Jeanette Winterson’s London pied-a-terre. It’s the morning after the night before, when she travelled across London after dinner with her publisher to scenes of football fans setting the city alight with their cu
  • Extra Crunch roundup: finding GTM, China’s edtech clampdown and how to define growth

    Extra Crunch roundup: finding GTM, China’s edtech clampdown and how to define growth
    Early-stage startups tend to claim that their go-to-market strategy is fully operational. In reality, GTM is a stark numbers game, and even with a solid plan in place, it can be easily foiled by common problems like turf battles and poor communication.
    Finding GTM fit is a milestone for any startup that includes everything from expanding the engineering team to launching your first media buy. But how do you know when you’ve reached that magic moment?
    “You have to consider three metri
  • 12 Bytes by Jeanette Winterson review – how we got here and where we might go next

    12 Bytes by Jeanette Winterson review – how we got here and where we might go next
    Twelve essays drawing on years of research into artificial intelligence ask challenging questions about humanity, art, religion and the way we live and loveIn Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, a scientist creates life and is horrified by what he has done. Two centuries on, synthetic life, albeit in a far simpler form, has been created in a dish. What Shelley imagined has only now become possible. But as Jeanette Winterson points out in this essay collection, the achievements of scien
  • Shares of protein discovery platform Absci pop in market debut

    Shares of protein discovery platform Absci pop in market debut
    Absci Corp., a Vancouver company behind a multi-faceted drug development platform, went public on Thursday. It’s another sign of snowballing interest in new approaches to drug development – a traditionally risky business. 
    Absci focuses on speeding drug development in the preclinical stages. The company has developed and acquired a handful of tools that can predict drug candidates, identify potential therapeutic targets, and test therapeutic proteins on billions of cells and ide
  • DeepMind puts the entire human proteome online, as folded by AlphaFold

    DeepMind puts the entire human proteome online, as folded by AlphaFold
    DeepMind and several research partners have released a database containing the 3D structures of nearly every protein in the human body, as computationally determined by the breakthrough protein folding system demonstrated last year, AlphaFold. The freely available database represents an enormous advance and convenience for scientists across hundreds of disciplines and domains, and may very well form the foundation of a new phase in biology and medicine.
    The AlphaFold Protein Structure Database i
  • AI firm DeepMind puts database of the building blocks of life online

    AI firm DeepMind puts database of the building blocks of life online
    AlphaFold program’s prediction of nearly 20,000 human protein structures now free for researchersLast year the artificial intelligence group DeepMind cracked a mystery that has flummoxed scientists for decades: stripping bare the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life. Now, having amassed a database of nearly all human protein structures, the company is making the resource available online free for researchers to use.The key to understanding our basic biological machinery is it
  • Tailor Brands raises $50M, aims to be one-stop shop for small businesses to launch

    Tailor Brands raises $50M, aims to be one-stop shop for small businesses to launch
    Tailor Brands, a startup that automates parts of the branding and marketing process for small businesses, announced Thursday it has raised $50 million in Series C funding.
    GoDaddy led the round as a strategic partner and was joined by OurCrowd and existing investors Pitango Growth, Mangrove Capital Partners, Armat Group, Disruptive VC and Whip Media founder Richard Rosenblatt. Tailor Brands has now raised a total of $70 million since its inception in 2015.
    “GoDaddy is empowering everyday e
  • New simulator helps robots sharpen their cutting skills

    Researchers have unveiled a new simulator for robotic cutting that can accurately reproduce the forces acting on a knife as it slices through common foodstuffs, such as fruit and vegetables. The system could also simulate cutting through human tissue, offering potential applications in surgical robotics.
  • Nothing Can Keep This Drone Down

    When life knocks you down, you’ve got to get back up. Ladybugs take this advice seriously in the most literal sense. If caught on their backs, the insects are able to use their tough exterior wings, called elytra (of late made famous in the game Minecraft), to self-right themselves in just a fraction of a second.Inspired by this approach, researchers have created self-righting drones with artificial elytra. Simulations and experiments show that the artificial elytra can not only
  • The Bourdain AI furore shouldn’t overshadow an effective, complicated film | Adrian Horton

    The Bourdain AI furore shouldn’t overshadow an effective, complicated film | Adrian Horton
    Despite anger over a decision to deepfake the voice of the much-loved star in a new documentary it’s a haunting and difficult film that deserves to be seenAnthony Bourdain was a singularly beloved cultural figure. His death by suicide in 2018 at age 61 while filming an episode of his acclaimed CNN travel series Parts Unknown remains, for many, one of the most tragic and baffling public losses of the past few years. Given the intense connection to the chef-turned-TV-personality felt by his
  • Auto software company Sonatus raises $35 million from Hyundai Motor Group, SAIC Capital

    Auto software company Sonatus raises $35 million from Hyundai Motor Group, SAIC Capital
    California-grown automotive software company Sonatus raised $35 million in a Series A round that attracted high-profile technology and automotive industry companies including Hyundai Motor Group, SAIC Capital, LG Electronics and Hyundai Mobis.
    Silicon Valley VC Translink Capital led the round, with other investors including Marvell, SK hynix, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), Mando Corporation and Wanxiang Group Company.
    Sonatus, which was founded in 2018, intends to use the new funds t
  • How we built an AI unicorn in 6 years

    How we built an AI unicorn in 6 years
    Alex Dalyac ContributorShare on Twitter Alex Dalyac is the CEO and co-founder of Tractable, which develops artificial intelligence for accident and disaster recovery.
    Today, Tractable is worth $1 billion. Our AI is used by millions of people across the world to recover faster from road accidents, and it also helps recycle as many cars as Tesla puts on the road.
    And yet six years ago, Tractable was just me and Raz (Razvan Ranca, CTO), two college grads coding in a basement. Here’s how we di
  • 12 Robotics Teams Will Hunt For (Virtual) Subterranean Artifacts

    Last week, DARPA announced the twelve teams who will be competing in the Virtual Track of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge Finals, scheduled to take place in September in Louisville, KY. The robots and the environment may be virtual, but the prize money is very real, with $1.5 million of DARPA cash on the table for the teams who are able to find the most subterranean artifacts in the shortest amount of time.You can check out the list of Virtual Track competitors here, but we’ll be paying p
  • Bielefeld survey highlights an emerging B2B, crypto, deep tech ecosystem

    Bielefeld survey highlights an emerging B2B, crypto, deep tech ecosystem
    Welcome to the city survey of Bielefeld, Germany, part of our ongoing survey into European cities. If you’d like your city featured, just fill in this form and add your city name. Once we have enough entries from a city, we will put your city on TechCrunch!
    According to local media reports, Bielefeld’s has experienced a tech boom in recent years, with accelerators like the local Founders Foundation (backed by the Bertelsmann Foundation) and Garage 33 (at the University of Paderborn)
  • New AI-Based Augmented Innovation Tool Promises to Transform Engineer Problem Solving

    You’re an engineer trying to work out a solution to a complicated problem.  You have been at this problem for the last three days. You’ve been leveraging your expertise in innovative methods and other disciplined processes, but you still haven’t gotten to where you need to be.Imagine if you could forego the last thirty hours of work, and instead you could have reached a novel solution in just 30 minutes. In addition to having saved yourself nearly a week of time, you would
  • Novel techniques extract more accurate data from images degraded by environmental factors

    A team of researchers has developed novel approaches using computer vision and deep learning to resolve the problem of low-level vision in videos caused by rain and night-time conditions, as well as improve the accuracy of 3D human pose estimation in videos.
  • AI and Robots Are a Minefield of Cognitive Biases

    This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.Most people associate artificial intelligence with robots as an inseparable pair. In fact, the term “artificial intelligence” is rarely used in research labs. Terminology specific to certain kinds of AI and other smart technologies are more relevant. Whenever I’m asked the question “Is this robot opera
  • Think, fight, feel: how video game artificial intelligence is evolving

    Think, fight, feel: how video game artificial intelligence is evolving
    AI in games has long been geared towards improving computer-controlled opponents. Will it soon create diverse characters we can talk to instead of just shoot?In May, as part of an otherwise unremarkable corporate strategy meeting, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida made an interesting announcement. The company’s artificial intelligence research division, Sony AI, would be collaborating with PlayStation developers to create intelligent computer-controlled characters. “By leveraging reinforcem
  • Contact-aware robot design

    Contact-aware robot design
    Adequate biomimicry in robotics necessitates a delicate balance between design and control, an integral part of making our machines more like us. Advanced dexterity in humans is wrapped up in a long evolutionary tale of how our fists of fury evolved to accomplish complex tasks. With machines, designing a new robotic manipulator could mean long, manual iteration cycles of designing, fabricating, and evaluating guided by human intuition. Most robotic hands are designed for general purposes, a
  • Air-powered computer memory helps soft robot control movements

    Engineers made a pneumatic RAM chip using microfluidic valves instead of electronic transistors. The valves remain sealed against a pressure differential even when disconnected from an air supply line, creating trapped pressure differentials that function as memories and maintain the states of a robot's actuators. Dense arrays of these valves can perform advanced operations and reduce the expensive, bulky, and power-consuming electronic hardware typically used to control pneumatic robots.
  • Anthony Bourdain documentary sparks backlash for using AI to fake voice

    Anthony Bourdain documentary sparks backlash for using AI to fake voice
    Roadrunner director Morgan Neville revealed he used AI to create three lines of voiceover by the late celebrity chefA new documentary about Anthony Bourdain has sparked a debate over its use of artificial intelligence to stitch together voiced quotes by the late celebrity chef and effectively bring his voice back to life.Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, directed by Morgan Neville, takes an intimate look into the life and death of Bourdain, including his global fame, career and pursuit
  • Visualping raises $6M to make its website change monitoring service smarter

    Visualping raises $6M to make its website change monitoring service smarter
    Visualping, a service that can help you monitor websites for changes like price drops or other updates, announced that it has raised a $6 million extension to the $2 million seed round it announced earlier this year. The round was led by Seattle-based FUSE Ventures, a relatively new firm with investors who spun out of Ignition Partners last year. Prior investors Mistral Venture Partners and N49P also participated.
    The Vancouver-based company is part of the current Google for Startups Accelerator
  • The Robots Are Coming for the Speedrunners Now That They Can Play Super Mario Bros.

    The Robots Are Coming for the Speedrunners Now That They Can Play Super Mario Bros.
    The idea that robots will one day become self-aware and start a war to wipe out humanity is laughable. They’re instead going to slowly take over every last job until the world’s population is unemployed and unable to shop at automated grocery stores, so we all starve and die off. And not even those who eke out a…Read more...
  • Engineers 3D printed a soft robotic hand that can play Nintendo

    A team of researchers has 3D printed a soft robotic hand that is agile enough to play Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. -- and win!
  • Black Teen Kicked Out of Roller Rink Because Its Face Recognition Tech Screwed Up, Predictably

    Black Teen Kicked Out of Roller Rink Because Its Face Recognition Tech Screwed Up, Predictably
    A small but face recognition-equipped Detroit roller rink kicked out a Black teen last Saturday after misidentifying her as a person who’d allegedly gotten into a fight there in March. The girl, Lamya Robinson, says that security scanned her face upon entry and barred her from going inside, despite her claim that…Read more...
  • MIT Schwarzman College of Computing awards named professorships to two faculty members

    MIT Schwarzman College of Computing awards named professorships to two faculty members
    The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing has awarded two inaugural chaired appointments to Dina Katabi and Aleksander Madry in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).“These distinguished endowed professorships recognize the extraordinary achievements of our faculty and future potential of their academic careers,” says Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and the Henry Ellis Warren Professor of Electrical Engineer
  • Video Friday: Fluidic Fingers

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):Humanoids 2020 – July 19-21, 2021 – [Online Event]RO-MAN 2021 – August 8-12, 2021 – [Online Event]DARPA SubT Finals – September 21-23, 2021 – Louisville, KY, USAWeRobot 2021 &
  • Tesla Places Big Bet on Vision-Only Self-Driving

    The latest update to Tesla’s self-driving technology ups the company’s stake in a bold bet that it can deliver autonomous vehicles using cameras alone. But despite improving capabilities in vision-based self-driving, experts say it faces fundamental hurdles.Last Saturday, Tesla rolled out the much-delayed version 9 of its “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) software, which gives Tesla vehicles limited ability to navigate autonomously. The package, which is already on sale as a $10,
  • Jump-start Your Electric Motor Designs with Ansys Motor-CAD

    Today’s electric motor design requires multiphysics analysis across a wide torque and speed operating range to accommodate rapid development cycles and system integration. Ansys Motor-CAD is accelerating this work-in-progress. Try Ansys Motor-CAD for free for 30-days and let us show you how we can help lower product development costs and reduce time to market today!
  • Physicists discover simple propulsion mechanism for bodies in dense fluids

    Researchers have developed a microswimmer that appears to defy the laws of fluid dynamics: their model, consisting of two beads that are connected by a linear spring, is propelled by completely symmetrical oscillations.
  • Taste intelligence startup Halla closes $4.5M Series A1 to predict which grocery items shoppers will buy

    Taste intelligence startup Halla closes $4.5M Series A1 to predict which grocery items shoppers will buy
    Halla wants to answer the question of how people decide what to eat, and now has $4.5 million in fresh Series A1 capital from Food Retail Ventures to do it.
    Headquartered in New York, Halla was founded in 2016 by Gabriel Nipote, Henry Michaelson and Spencer Price to develop “taste intelligence,” using human behavior to steer shoppers to food items they want while also discovering new ones as they shop online. This all results in bigger basket orders for stores. Today’s funding
  • Credit Suisse leads $20M Series A in data extraction startup Daloopa

    Credit Suisse leads $20M Series A in data extraction startup Daloopa
    Daloopa closed on a $20 million Series A round, led by Credit Suisse Asset Management’s NEXT Investors, to continue developing its data extraction technology for financial institutions, which is now being expanded globally.
    When company co-founder and CEO Thomas Li worked as a hedge fund analyst, he often performed repetitive data extraction in order to gather insights for analysis and forecasts.
    In fact, he found lawyers and similar financial professionals at financial institutions were s
  • Kenya’s AIfluence closes $1M for its AI-powered influencer marketing platform

    Kenya’s AIfluence closes $1M for its AI-powered influencer marketing platform
    Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing and one of the most impactful media channels today. There’s a growing ad-blocking movement and key demographics are spending less time in front of TVs.
    Marketers have now realized that their customers trust the recommendations of people they relate with. However, despite this being an impactful channel, brand teams globally face a major dilemma: determining the ROI of influencer marketing campaigns.
    AIfluence is a two-year-old startup with
  • 'Neuroprosthesis' restores words to man with paralysis

    Researchers have successfully developed a 'speech neuroprosthesis' that has enabled a man with severe paralysis to communicate in sentences, translating signals from his brain to the vocal tract directly into words that appear as text on a screen.