These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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The clean energy boffins in their labs are always upping the theoretical limit on how much power you can get out of sunshine, but us plebes actually installing solar cells are stuck with years-old tech that’s not half as good as what they’re seeing. This new design from Insolight could be the one that changes all that.

Insolight is a spinoff from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where they’ve been working on this new approach for a few years — and it’s almost ready to hit your roof.

Usually solar cells collect sunlight on their entire surface, converting it to electricity at perhaps 15-19 percent efficiency — meaning about 85 percent of the energy is lost in the process. There are more efficient cells out there, but they’re generally expensive and special-purpose, or use some exotic material.

One place people tend to spare no expense, however, is in space.

Continue reading “These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon”

These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The clean energy boffins in their labs are always upping the theoretical limit on how much power you can get out of sunshine, but us plebes actually installing solar cells are stuck with years-old tech that’s not half as good as what they’re seeing. This new design from Insolight could be the one that changes all that.

Insolight is a spinoff from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where they’ve been working on this new approach for a few years — and it’s almost ready to hit your roof.

Usually solar cells collect sunlight on their entire surface, converting it to electricity at perhaps 15-19 percent efficiency — meaning about 85 percent of the energy is lost in the process. There are more efficient cells out there, but they’re generally expensive and special-purpose, or use some exotic material.

One place people tend to spare no expense, however, is in space.

Continue reading “These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon”

Watch the historic first private mission to the Moon launch Thursday night


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




For the first time later this week, a privately developed moon lander will launch aboard a privately built rocket, organized by a private launch coordinator. It’s an historic moment in space and the Israeli mission stands to make history again if it touches down on the Moon’s surface as planned on April 11.

The Beresheet (“Genesis”) program was originally conceived as an entry into the ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful Google Lunar Xprize in 2010, which challenged people to accomplish a lunar landing, with $30 million in prizes as the incentive. The prize closed last year with no winner but as these Xprize competitions aim to do, it had already spurred great interest and investment in a private moon mission.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries worked together on the mission, which will bring cameras, a magnetometer, and a capsule filled with items from the country to, hopefully, a safe rest on

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Samsung’s ad for the Galaxy S10 leaks


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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If you think you knew everything there’s to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10, the company’s Norwegian ad has now leaked on YouTube. The Verge first spotted the ad — a Verge reader was watching TV and it accidentally aired on commercial TV. It matches up with devices that have already leaked over the past couple of months. But there are some additional features that haven’t been discussed yet.

The most glaring change is that Samsung is opting for a pinhole cutout in the corner of the screen instead of an iPhone-style notch. The S10 will have a rounded hole while the S10+ will get an oblong hole punch with a couple of front-facing camera sensors.

As you can see in the ad, Samsung has integrated the fingerprint sensor in the display. It’s still unclear whether you’ll be able to touch any part of the screen, but the ad shows that

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GN acquires Altia Systems for $125M to add video to its advanced audio solutions


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from TechCrunch


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Some interesting M&A is afoot in the world of hardware and software that’s aiming to improve the quality of audio and video communications over digital networks.

GN Group — the Danish company that broke new ground in mobile when it inked deals first with Apple and then Google to stream audio from their phones directly to smart, connected hearing aids — is expanding from audio to video, and from Europe to Silicon Valley.

Today, the company announced that it would acquire Altia Systems, a startup out of Cupertino that makes a “surround” videoconferencing device and software called the PanaCast (we reviewed it oncedesigned to replicate the panoramic, immersive experience of vision that we have as humans

GN is paying $125 million for the startup. For some context, this price represents a decent return: according to PitchBook, Altia was last valued at around $78 million with investors

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Litho is a finger-worn controller for augmented reality, IoT and other ‘spatial’ interactions


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


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I first encountered the founders of Litho, a new hardware and software startup developing a new finger-worn controller, at London’s Pitch@Palace last April. The event sees startups pitch in front of the British royal family and other esteemed guests, and naturally the company’s young founders, 24-year-old Nat Martin (CEO) and 25-year-old Charlie Bruce (CTO), were a little overawed by the occasion, just like many of the other founders pitching that day. However, perhaps unbeknown to them, Litho was also one of the more notable companies, not least because, as the saying goes, hardware is hard.

Fast forward to today and the young company is ready to show the world the first publicly available iteration of what it has been building: an innovative finger-worn device that provides control over various “spatial interactions” and should find applications ranging from AR and VR to the smart home and the control of other

Continue reading “Litho is a finger-worn controller for augmented reality, IoT and other ‘spatial’ interactions”

Apple could release a 16-inch MacBook Pro and a 31-inch 6K display


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is quite reliable when it comes to Apple’s road map. And he shared a ton of information over the weekend in a new report obtained by 9to5mac. In 2019, you can expect a bigger MacBook Pro, a new display and upgrades to iPhones, iPads and AirPods.

Let’s start with the Mac. According to Kuo, Apple has been working on a MacBook Pro with an all-new design. It’s unclear if those future models will retain the same keyboard, as many users have been complaining about the reliability of the butterfly keyboard.

But Kuo learned there will be a bigger model, with a 16 to 16.5-inch display. Let’s hope that Apple is going to trim down the bezels around the display.

TechCrunch already reported that Apple will release a new Mac Pro in 2019. But Kuo believes the company is also going to release a high-end display

Continue reading “Apple could release a 16-inch MacBook Pro and a 31-inch 6K display”

Apple acquires talking Barbie voicetech startup PullString


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Apple has just bought up the talent it needs to make talking toys a part of Siri, HomePod, and its voice strategy. Apple has acquired PullString, also known as ToyTalk, according to Axios’ Dan Primack and Ina Fried. The company makes voice experience design tools, artificial intelligence to power those experiences, and toys like talking Barbie and Thomas The Tank Engine toys in partnership with Mattel. Founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives, PullString went on to raise $44 million.

Apple’s Siri is seen as lagging far behind Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, not only in voice recognition and utility, but also in terms of developer ecosystem. Google and Amazon has built platforms to distribute Skills from tons of voice app makers, including storytelling, quizzes, and other games for kids. If Apple wants to take a real shot at becoming the center of your connected living room with

Continue reading “Apple acquires talking Barbie voicetech startup PullString”

Deploy the space harpoon


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Watch out, starwhales. There’s a new weapon for the interstellar dwellers whom you threaten with your planet-crushing gigaflippers, undergoing testing as we speak. This small-scale version may only be good for removing dangerous orbital debris, but in time it will pierce your hypercarbon hides and irredeemable sun-hearts.

Literally a space harpoon. (Credit: Airbus)

However, it would be irresponsible of me to speculate beyond what is possible today with the technology, so let a summary of the harpoon’s present capabilities suffice.

The space harpoon is part of the RemoveDEBRIS project, a multi-organization European effort to create and test methods of reducing space debris. There are thousands of little pieces of who knows what clogging up our orbital neighborhood, ranging in size from microscopic to potentially catastrophic.

There are as many ways to take down these rogue items as there are sizes and shapes of space junk; perhaps it’s enough to

Continue reading “Deploy the space harpoon”

Samsung is preparing to launch a sports smartwatch and AirPods-like earbuds


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Samsung’s newest product launch happens next week, but already the Korean tech giant has revealed its entire upcoming range of wearable devices that will seemingly be unveiled alongside the Galaxy S10.

That’s because the company’s Galaxy Wearable’s app was uploaded today with support for a range of unreleased products which include wireless earbuds, a sports-focused smartwatch, and a new fitness band.

First reported by The Verge — and originally noticed by @SamCentralTech on Twitter — the new wearables include a Galaxy Sport smartwatch, fitness bands Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e, Galaxy Buds, Samsung’s take on Apple’s AirPods. The devices have all been teased in various leaks in recent weeks but this confirmation from the Samsung app, deliberate or inadvertent, appears to all but confirm their impending arrival.

That said, we really can’t tell too much about the respective devices based on the app, which just shows basic renders of each device.

Still, that

Continue reading “Samsung is preparing to launch a sports smartwatch and AirPods-like earbuds”

Opportunity Mars Rover goes to its last rest after extraordinary 14-year mission


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Opportunity, one of two rovers sent to Mars in 2004, is officially offline for good, NASA and JPL officials announced today at a special press conference. “I declare the Opportunity mission as complete, and with it the Mars Exploration ROver mission as complete,” said NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen.

The cause of Opportunity’s demise was a planet-scale sandstorm that obscured its solar panels too completely, and for too long, for its onboard power supply to survive and keep even its most elementary components running. It last communicated on June 10, 2018, but could easily have lasted a few months more as its batteries ran down — a sad picture to be sure. Even a rover designed for the harsh Martian climate can’t handle being trapped under a cake of dust at -100 degrees celsius for long.

The team has been trying to reach it for months, employing a variety of increasingly desperate

💔

Continue reading “Opportunity Mars Rover goes to its last rest after extraordinary 14-year mission”

Opportunity Mars Rover goes to its last rest after extraordinary 14-year mission


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Opportunity, one of two rovers sent to Mars in 2004, is officially offline for good, NASA and JPL officials announced today at a special press conference. “I declare the Opportunity mission as complete, and with it the Mars Exploration ROver mission as complete,” said NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen.

The cause of Opportunity’s demise was a planet-scale sandstorm that obscured its solar panels too completely, and for too long, for its onboard power supply to survive and keep even its most elementary components running. It last communicated on June 10, 2018, but could easily have lasted a few months more as its batteries ran down — a sad picture to be sure. Even a rover designed for the harsh Martian climate can’t handle being trapped under a cake of dust at -100 degrees celsius for long.

The team has been trying to reach it for months, employing a variety of increasingly desperate

💔

Continue reading “Opportunity Mars Rover goes to its last rest after extraordinary 14-year mission”

Xnor’s saltine-sized, solar-powered AI hardware redefines the edge


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




“If AI is so easy, why isn’t there any in this room?” asks Ali Farhadi, founder and CEO of Xnor, gesturing around the conference room overlooking Lake Union in Seattle. And it’s true — despite a handful of displays, phones, and other gadgets, the only things really capable of doing any kind of AI-type work are the phones each of us have set on the table. Yet we are always hearing about how AI is so accessible now, so flexible, so ubiquitous.

And in many cases even those devices that can aren’t employing machine learning techniques themselves, but rather sending data off to the cloud where it can be done more efficiently. Because the processes that make up “AI” are often resource-intensive, sucking up CPU time and battery power.

That’s the problem Xnor aimed to solve, or at least mitigate, when it spun off from the Allen Institute for

Continue reading “Xnor’s saltine-sized, solar-powered AI hardware redefines the edge”

Audio tech supplier to Rolls Royce and Xiaomi secures another $13.2M in funding


This post is by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch


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As autonomous driving eventually transforms cars from transportation devices to mobile theaters or conference rooms we will need better audio inside them. And we’ve already seen that VCs like Andreessen Horowitz say ‘audio is the future.’

So it’s interesting that Swedish sound pioneer Dirac has completed a new $13.2 million round of financing led by current investors. Previous investors included Swedish Angel network Club Network Investments, Erik Ejerhed and Staffan Persson.

Dirac makes sophisticated audio technology for customers including BMW, OnePlus, Rolls Royce, Volvo, and Xiaomi .

Its platform is used by those firms for everything from capture to playback – regardless of device size or form factor.

“As consumer devices decrease in size and expand in complexity, digital signal processing is
the key to unlocking their full audio potential and creating premium sound experiences,” says
Dirac CEO Mathias Johansson. “With this new funding, we can take our

Continue reading “Audio tech supplier to Rolls Royce and Xiaomi secures another $13.2M in funding”

DJI is updating its geofencing system across Europe after Gatwick drone debacle


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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Following the pre-Christmas drone debacle in the UK — which plunged thousands of people into travel misery after repeated drone sightings closed the runway at Gatwick, and later also briefly suspended departures at Heathrow — consumer drone maker DJI has announced it’s upgrading its geofencing system across Europe.

It says its Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) 2.0 system will be rolled out to the 19 European countries that did not already have the GEO system in phases — “starting later this month”.

“GEO 2.0 creates detailed three-dimensional “bow tie” safety zones surrounding runway flight paths and uses complex polygon shapes around other sensitive facilities, rather than just simple circles used in earlier geofencing versions,” it writes.

We’ve asked how long it will take for the update to be fully rolled out across the region.

A further 13 local markets that had the GEO system already will also now

Continue reading “DJI is updating its geofencing system across Europe after Gatwick drone debacle”

DARPA wants smart bandages for wounded warriors


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Nowhere is prompt and effective medical treatment more important than on the battlefield, where injuries are severe and conditions dangerous. DARPA thinks that outcomes can be improved by the use of intelligent bandages and other systems that predict and automatically react to the patient’s needs.

Ordinary cuts and scrapes just need a bit of shelter and time and your amazing immune system takes care of things. But soldiers not only receive far graver wounds, but under complex conditions that are not just a barrier to healing but unpredictably so.

DARPA’s Bioelectronics for Tissue Regeneration program, or BETR, will help fund new treatments and devices that “closely track the progress of the wound and then stimulate healing processes in real time to optimize tissue repair and regeneration.”

“Wounds are living environments and the conditions change quickly as cells and tissues communicate and attempt to repair,” said Paul Sheehan, BETR program

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Devialet’s Phantom Reactor turns music into an emotional experience


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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French startup Devialet has done it again. The new Phantom Reactor is a smaller, more effective speaker that packs everything that made Devialet speakers good in the first place.

Devialet’s first speaker, the Phantom, attracted rave reviews a few years ago. The egg-shaped speaker promised no background noise, no saturation and no distortion in a relatively small package.

To be clear, it wasn’t that small when you compared it with an average bookshelf speaker. But when you turned it on, it would feel like a much larger speaker — something that you’d find in a concert hall.

But that speaker wasn’t for everyone. If you live in a tiny apartment, spending $1,700 to $3,500 for a speaker capable of generating up to 4,500 Watts of power was overkill.

Hence the Phantom Reactor, a smaller version of the Phantom with the same promises — no background noise, no saturation and no

Continue reading “Devialet’s Phantom Reactor turns music into an emotional experience”

Dandelion Energy, the Alphabet X spinout, raises another $16M led by GV and Comcast


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from TechCrunch


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As tech companies continue their race to control the smart home, a promising energy startup has raised a round of funding from traditionally-tech and strategic investors, for a geothermal solution to heat and cool houses. Dandelion Energy, a spinout from Alphabet X, has raised $16 million in a Series A round of funding, with strategic investors Comcast Ventures leading the round along with GV, the investment arm of Alphabet formerly known as Google Ventures.

Lennar Corporation, the home building giant, is also coming in as an investor, as are previous backers NEA, Collaborative Fund, Ground Up, and Zhenfund, and other unnamed investors. Notably, Lennar once worked with Apple but is now collaborating with Amazon on smart homes.

As a side note, Dandelion’s investment is a timely reminder of how central “new home” startups are right now in smart home plays. Amazon just yesterday announced one more big move in its own

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Amazon looked to the past to build the future


This post is by Matt Burns from TechCrunch


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Over the last 20 years, smart home gadgets have evolved from fantasy to commodity. Walk into Best Buy and there are dozens of products that take just a few minutes to set up. It’s wonderful. Even better, it’s easy. There are lights and locks and screens from big and small companies alike. And therein lies the problem. There isn’t a unified solution for everything and Amazon’s vertically integrated offering could be the solution for the consumer and retail giant alike.

Sure, most smart home gadgets work, but nothing works well together. The smart home has to be as easy as flipping a switch to control a lightbulb. Amazon’s purchase of the mesh WiFi startup, Eero, speaks to the problem. Assembling a smart home containing more than a couple of smart gadgets is hard. There are countless spots where something can go wrong, exposing a smart home as nothing more

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Another fine mesh


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Amazon’s acquisition of mesh router company Eero is a smart play that adds a number of cards to its hand in the rapidly evolving smart home market. Why shouldn’t every router be an Echo, and every Echo be a router? Consolidating the two makes for powerful synergies and significant leverage against stubborn competition.

It’s no secret that Amazon wants to be in every room of the house — and on the front door to boot. It bought connected camera and doorbell companies Blink and Ring, and of course at its events it has introduced countless new devices from connected plugs to microwaves.

All these devices connect to each other, and the internet, wirelessly. Using what? Some router behind the couch, probably from Netgear or Linksys, with a 7-character model number and utilitarian look. This adjacent territory is the clear next target for expansion.

But Amazon could easily have moved

👋

Continue reading “Another fine mesh”