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Sila Nanotechnologies raises $590M to fund battery materials factory - techcrunch

Sila Nanotechnologies raises $590M to fund battery materials factory

Sila Nanotechnologies, a Silicon Valley battery materials company, has spent years developing technology designed to pack more energy into a cell at a lower cost — an end game that has helped it lock in partnerships with Amperex Technology Limited as well as automakers BMW and Daimler. Now, Sila Nano, flush with a fresh injection […]
techcrunch - 11 minutes ago
Daily Crunch: Calendly valued at $3B - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Calendly valued at $3B

A popular scheduling startup raises a big funding round, Twitter makes a newsletter acquisition and Beyond Meat teams up with PepsiCo. This is your Daily Crunch for January 26, 2021. The big story: Calendly valued at $3B Calendly, which helps users schedule and confirm meeting times, has raised $350 million from OpenView Venture Partners and […]
techcrunch - 28 minutes ago
Apple just had its best quarter in India - techcrunch

Apple just had its best quarter in India

When Apple reports its earnings on Wednesday, you can expect mentions of India on the call. Apple shipped more than 1.5 million iPhone units in India in the quarter that ended in December, up 100% year-on-year, making this its best quarter in the world’s largest smartphone market to date, according to research firms Counterpoint and […]
techcrunch - 38 minutes ago
Diversity isn’t just about inclusion in gaming — it’s smart business, too - venture beat

Diversity isn’t just about inclusion in gaming — it’s smart business, too

Diversity and inclusion isn’t just about an initiative or program that serves a specific function for a specific underrepresented group of people in a given industry. D&I is meant to be a holistic model that desperately needs full saturation in every facet of every industry. In this particular panel during GamesBeat’s Driving Game Growth & […]
venture beat - 1 hour ago
The 5 biggest mistakes I made as a first-time startup founder - techcrunch

The 5 biggest mistakes I made as a first-time startup founder

First-time entrepreneurs are bound to make some major mistakes. The true measure of a serial entrepreneur, I’d submit, is the ability to recognize those mistakes and adapt.
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
‘Anti-superficial’ dating app S’More raises $2.1M - techcrunch

‘Anti-superficial’ dating app S’More raises $2.1M

S’More, a dating app that’s focused on helping users find more meaningful relationships, announced today that it has raised $2.1 million in seed funding. S’More (short for “something more”) ensures that users can’t focus on physical appearance, because photos are  initally blurred — they gradually un-blur as you interact with someone. The startup has introduced new […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
Plex Arcade streaming service launches with classic Atari games - venture beat

Plex Arcade streaming service launches with classic Atari games

The home-video streaming platform Plex is getting into games with Plex Arcade. This is a new service that Plex members can use to stream games from the cloud. This enables media lovers to build a digital library of movies, TV, photos, music, and now games all in one place. Plex Arcade starts at $3 per […]
venture beat - 2 hours ago
Apple says iOS 14.4 fixes three security bugs ‘actively exploited’ by hackers - techcrunch

Apple says iOS 14.4 fixes three security bugs ‘actively exploited’ by hackers

Apple has released iOS 14.4 with security fixes for three vulnerabilities, said to be under active attack by hackers. The technology giant said in its security update pages for iOS and iPadOS 14.4 that the three bugs affecting iPhones and iPads “may have been actively exploited.” Details of the vulnerabilities are scarce, and an Apple […]
techcrunch - 3 hours ago
Tweetbot 6 released with new subscription pricing - techcrunch

Tweetbot 6 released with new subscription pricing

Tapbots, the company behind Tweetbot, has released a major update for the iPhone and iPad. Tweetbot 6 is now available in the App store. While there aren’t a lot of visual changes, there are a couple of important things happening under the hood. First, Tweetbot 6 is using Twitter’s API v2. An API is an […]
techcrunch - 3 hours ago
Sony’s tempts professionals with the top-shelf, top-tier Alpha 1 - techcrunch

Sony’s tempts professionals with the top-shelf, top-tier Alpha 1

Sony is making a play for the top end of the professional digital camera world, where videographers and sports photographers demand immaculate image quality at high resolutions in short order. The new Alpha 1 beats pretty much everything on the market on paper, but it’ll set you back a cool $6,500. This is, of course, […]
techcrunch - 3 hours ago
Get feedback on your pitch deck from tech leaders on Extra Crunch Live - techcrunch

Get feedback on your pitch deck from tech leaders on Extra Crunch Live

Extra Crunch Live 2.0 launches next week! Among several improvements, we’re thrilled to ramp up the Pitch Deck Teardown. In short, folks can submit their pitch decks to get feedback from investors and founders alike. The importance of the pitch deck can’t be underestimated. It is often the first point of contact between a company […]
techcrunch - 4 hours ago
Mealco raises $7M to launch new delivery-centric restaurants - techcrunch

Mealco raises $7M to launch new delivery-centric restaurants

Mealco, a startup promising to help chefs launch new restaurants designed around delivery, is announcing that it has raised $7 million in seed funding. It’s probably not news to anyone reading this that opening a restaurant can be an expensive, risky proposition — and of course, many restaurants have gone out of business during the […]
techcrunch - 4 hours ago
These investors want to back ‘ridiculously early’ female-led African startups - techcrunch

These investors want to back ‘ridiculously early’ female-led African startups

In 2019, female-led companies received less than 5 percent of the global venture capital. Bringing it to Africa, only 10 percent of the West African startups that cumulatively raised $1 million had at least one female co-founder in the past decade. There are many stats to back up the underrepresentation of women in starting a […]
techcrunch - 4 hours ago
Google open sources Tilt Brush VR software as it shuts down internal development - techcrunch

Google open sources Tilt Brush VR software as it shuts down internal development

As Facebook and Apple begin to fire up more projects in the AR/VR world, Google has spent the last year shutting down most of their existing projects in that space. Today, the folks at Google announced they had ended active development of Tilt Brush, a VR painting app that was one of virtual reality’s early […]
techcrunch - 5 hours ago
The Tula Mic is a powerful portable recorder that doubles as a great USB-C microphone - techcrunch

The Tula Mic is a powerful portable recorder that doubles as a great USB-C microphone

Tula is a new company founded with the specific purpose of developing user-friendly hardware and software for sound capture, and its debut product, the Tula Mic, is now shipping after a successful crowdfunding campaign last year. Tula Mic is both a USB-C microphone input for computers and mobile devices, and also a dedicated recorder that […]
techcrunch - 5 hours ago
Zero, a plastic-free grocery-delivery startup, to launch in LA - techcrunch

Zero, a plastic-free grocery-delivery startup, to launch in LA

Plastic-free grocery-delivery startup Zero is gearing up to launch in Los Angeles on February 10, after solely operating in the San Francisco Bay Area. Zero works directly with suppliers to sell food and other household items in jars, boxes and other types of sustainable packaging, and offers next-day delivery. Zero works with both big-name brands […]
techcrunch - 5 hours ago
Airbyte is an open-source data pipeline platform - techcrunch

Airbyte is an open-source data pipeline platform

If you’re working for a company that handles a ton of data, chances are your company is constantly moving data from applications, APIs and databases and sending it to a data warehouse or a data lake. There are a few well-known platforms to extract, load and transform data, such as Fivetran and Stitchdata. Airbyte is […]
techcrunch - 5 hours ago
Club Feast raises $3.5M to help restaurants deliver meals that only cost $5.99 - techcrunch

Club Feast raises $3.5M to help restaurants deliver meals that only cost $5.99

Club Feast, a startup with a more affordable approach to meal delivery, is announcing that it has raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by General Catalyst. The company was founded by Atallah Atallah, Gazi Atallah and Chris Miao. The basic concept is pretty simple: Restaurant delivery that only costs $5.99 per dish — cheaper […]
techcrunch - 6 hours ago
Google’s BeyondCorp Enterprise security platform is now generally available - techcrunch

Google’s BeyondCorp Enterprise security platform is now generally available

Google today announced that BeyondCorp Enterprise, the zero trust security platform modeled after how Google itself keeps its network safe without relying on a VPN, is now generally available. BeyondCorp Enterprise builds out Google’s existing BeyondCorp Remote Access offering with additional enterprise features. Google describes it as “a zero trust solution that enables secure access with […]
techcrunch - 6 hours ago
GitLab reshuffles its paid subscription plans, drops its Bronze/Starter tier - techcrunch

GitLab reshuffles its paid subscription plans, drops its Bronze/Starter tier

GitLab, the increasingly popular DevOps platform, today announced a major update to its subscription model. The company is doing away with its $4/month Bronze/Starter package. Current users will be able to renew one more time at the existing price or move to a higher tier (and receive a significant discount for the first three years […]
techcrunch - 6 hours ago
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techcrunch
These robo-fish autonomously form schools and work as search parties

These robo-fish autonomously form schools and work as search parties

techcrunch - 1 week ago

Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have created a set of fish-shaped underwater robots that can autonomously navigate and find each other, cooperating to perform tasks or just placidly school together.

Just as aerial drones are proving themselves useful in industry after industry, underwater drones could revolutionize ecology, shipping, and other areas where a persistent underwater presence is desirable but difficult.

The last few years have seen interesting new autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs, but the most common type is pretty much a torpedo efficient for cruising open water, but not for working one’s way through the nooks and crannies of a coral reef or marina.

For that purpose, it seems practical to see what Nature herself has seen fit to create, and the Wyss Institute has made a specialty of doing so and creating robots and machinery in imitation of the natural world.

In this case Florian Berlinger, Melvin Gauci, and Radhika Nagpa, all co-authors on a new paper published in Science Robotics, decided to imitate not just the shape of a fish, but the way it interacts with its fellows as well.

Having been inspired by the sight of schooling fish during scuba diving, Nagpa has pursued the question: “How do we create artificial agents that can demonstrate this kind of collective coherence where a whole collective seems as if its a single agent?”

Diagram of a fish-shaped robot

Image Credits: Berlinger et al., Science Robotics

Their answer, Blueswarm, is a collection of small “Bluebots” 3D-printed in the shape of fish, with fins instead of propellers and cameras for eyes. Although neither you nor I is likely to mistake these for actual fish, they’re far less scary of an object for a normal fish to see than a six-foot metal tube with a propeller spinning loudly in the back. The Bluebots also imitate nature’s innovation of bioluminescence, lighting up with LEDs the way some fish and insects do to signal others. The LED pulses change and adjust depending on each bot’s position and knowledge of its neighbors.

Using the simple senses of cameras and a photosensor at the very front, elementary swimming motions, and the LEDs, Blueswarm automatically organizes itself into group swimming behaviors, establishing a simple “milling” pattern that accommodates new bots when they’re dropped in from any angle.

Images showing how "bluebots" swarm intelligently and find each other.

Image Credits: Berlinger et al, Science Robotics

The robots can also work together on simple tasks, like searching for something. If the group is given the task of finding a red LED in the tank they’re in, they can each look independently, but when one of them finds it, it alters its own LED flashing to alert and summon the others.

It’s not hard to imagine uses for this tech. These robots could get closer to reefs and other natural features safely without alarming the sea life, monitoring their health or looking for specific objects their camera-eyes could detect. Or they could meander around underneath docks and ships inspecting hulls more efficiently than a single craft can. Perhaps they might even be useful in search and rescue.

The research also advances our understanding of how and why animals swarm together in the first place.

With this research, we cannot only build more advanced robot collectives, but also learn about collective intelligence in nature. Fish must follow even simpler behavior patterns when swimming in schools than our robots do. This simplicity is so beautiful yet hard to discover,” said Berlinger. “Other researchers have reached out to me already to use my Bluebots as fish surrogates for biological studies on fish swimming and schooling. The fact that they welcome Bluebot among their laboratory fish makes me very happy.”

sauce: techcrunch
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