Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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Behold the robo-fruit

Mar 22, 10:24PM

 Perhaps you’ve been watching the BBC’s Spy in the Wild, in which meticulously recreated robotic animals cohabitate with their fleshy brethren and record all their secret goings and doings. But haven’t you ever wondered what fruit gets up to during the long trip from its homeland to your local produce department? These robo-fruits are your best bet to find out. Read More

Vice announces its first slate of short, scripted videos

Mar 22, 9:49PM

Shane Smith Vice Media is moving into scripted video programming, thanks to a partnership with digital media studio Blackpills. Read More

Medium debuts its paid membership subscription program

Mar 22, 9:12PM

 Official platform of hot takes Medium has launched its new business model: paid subscriptions, which the company said it would debut sometime this quarter at Upfront Summit back in early February. Medium started the year with some tough times, including layoffs and a change in direction, so it’s got a lot riding on these subscriptions attracting some… well, subscribers.… Read More

Athens gets a new venture fund

Mar 22, 8:14PM

 Raising money for a venture fund is almost never easy, but it’s a whole lot harder in certain places that are struggling economically, like Greece. Thankfully for the country, a new seed-stage firm has formed, called Marathon VC. Its mission, broadly: to back Greek tech entrepreneurs, regardless of where they are based. Read More

Nine manufacturers set for 2018 Formula E season

Mar 22, 8:12PM

2018 Formula E racecar Formula E announced the nine manufacturers that will race electric cars in seasons five, six, and seven. You may think this is no big whoop, but it is. Here’s why the whoop is big: beginning in season five, each team will race one car per driver for the entire race — like every other racing series on the planet — rather than two. Because battery technology lagged behind… Read More

Facebook tests an enhanced local search and discovery feature offering business suggestions

Mar 22, 8:03PM

 Facebook is testing an enhanced local search feature that could see the social network creeping in on Google Maps, Foursquare and Yelp territory, TechCrunch learned and Facebook confirmed. Facebook users are now able to surface recommendations of nearby places – like “dinner nearby” or “bars nearby,” for example  – by entering a query in… Read More

BMW taps Unreal Engine for a mixed reality vehicle development process

Mar 22, 7:12PM

 BMW is combining the best of real and virtual worlds to make the process of creating new car designs as quick and painless as possible. The carmaker has tapped Unreal Engine’s rendering capabilities to generate virtual surfaces and objects overtop 3D-printed prototype vehicle pieces, letting designers and engineers preview how various materials or surfaces will look on a final… Read More

Making sense of the laptop ban

Mar 22, 7:05PM

 News broke earlier this week that the U.S. would ban laptops and tablets (and any other electronic device larger than a smartphone) from all U.S.-bound flights that take off from 10 airports in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The U.K. then followed suit and instituted its own ban, which targets a slightly different list of airports, which — at least on the face of it —… Read More

Technology, happiness on demand and the absurd human condition

Mar 22, 7:00PM

 Almost everything seems like it’s on demand, delivered with the push of a button. And yet, the U.S. is only the 15th happiest country. What’s more, that level’s been dropping since 2005. So why haven’t we developed happiness on demand? We’ve seen more technological growth in the last 10 years than we saw in the 100 years before that, and it seems we’ve… Read More

Nintendo blames Switch Joy-Con issue on 'manufacturing variation,' offers fix

Mar 22, 6:54PM

 Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch, has been received quite favorably by us and others (having one of the best games ever on it helped) — but one recurring complaint concerned the Joy-Con L, or left controller, as everyone else calls it. Interruptions in the wireless signal were rare for me but more common for others, and Nintendo has finally acknowledged the problem as a… Read More

Zendesk is also partnering with startup megacampus Station F

Mar 22, 6:33PM

 Station F is going to be the world’s biggest startup campus. A thousand startups are going to work in this huge building. And Station F wants to partner with the biggest tech companies, such as Zendesk, so that young startups don’t even have to pay to be there. “By now, everybody knows where we are. We are at Station F, the world’s biggest startup campus. We will have… Read More

'Hillbilly Elegy' author J.D. Vance joins Revolution LLC to promote startups outside of Silicon Valley

Mar 22, 6:07PM

 Two months after its release, Hillbilly Elegy hit the top of The New York Times bestseller list, thrusting author J.D. Vance somewhat reluctantly into the spotlight. In the nine months since the book’s release, Vance has been something of a lightning rod for both the left and the right. Now the author is using his newfound platform to join forces with Revolution LLC. Read More

Viro wants to make mobile VR development a snap, and raises $2.5M to do it

Mar 22, 5:17PM

 VR is all over the place, but sometimes it’s not where you most expect it. Plenty of apps out there might could do with a wee bit of VR to help show off an apartment or a bit of 3D content, but those experiences can be pretty labor-intensive. Viro is a new company that hopes to empower mobile developers to add VR to their apps simply and using familiar tools and code bases. Read More

Let's meet up for a Micro-Meetup in Boulder next Wednesday

Mar 22, 5:09PM

 I’ll be in Boulder for a few weeks and would love to hear some pitches and maybe give out some tables for Disrupt. I’ll be holding a micro-meetup at Boomtown on Broadway in Boulder, Colorado on Wednesday, March 29th at 7pm. Boomtown is at 2060 Broadway B1 in the basement. To get there, park around Spruce and Broadway and it’s in the same building as Zeal Optics and Unseen Bean. Read More

Facebook Live adds PC game and desktop live streaming

Mar 22, 5:00PM

 Facebook is taking a swing at Twitch while also one-upping its mobile live streaming video competitors. Today, all users can go Live directly from Facebook’s desktop website via their webcam, stream through professional equipment and software hooked up to a desktop and broadcast gameplay from their computer. Read More

The top 8 companies from Y Combinator W17 Demo Day 2

Mar 22, 4:40PM

 3D printing factories, machine learning APIs, and electric planes made our list of the most high-potential startups out of the 51 that presented at Y Combinator’s Winter 2017 Demo Day 2. We asked the top Silicon Valley investors and conferred with the TechCrunch team to pick these 8 companies. But there were plenty more startups with big opportunities from this batch of backend… Read More

More organizations and celebrities can now post on Google with Posts on Google

Mar 22, 4:30PM

 Posts on Google started out as an experiment during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It essentially allowed candidates to post Twitter-like status updates directly to Google’s search results pages and those updates would then appear in various election- and candidate-related widgets. As the company announced at an event in Brazil today, it’s now opening this feature up to a… Read More

Plug and Play launches 9 new accelerator programs

Mar 22, 4:26PM

 The Plug and Play network of accelerators and corporate partnerships is launching nine new cohorts in various industry verticals. It’s the largest group ever for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm that bills itself as the largest accelerator in the world. Read More

Google Duo adds supports for audio-only calls because why not

Mar 22, 4:24PM

 Google’s standalone video-calling app Duo is no longer just for video calls. The company announced today it’s adding support for audio-only calls – a feature aimed at increasing the app’s adoption in emerging markets, where a strong, high-bandwidth network connection isn’t always available. The option is first rolling out to users in Brazil, with an expansion to… Read More

The Casio Edifice EQB501 takes a licking, connects to your cellphone

Mar 22, 3:57PM

 Casio makes beefy watches for not-always-beefy people. Their latest, the Edifice EQB-501 is an interesting amalgam of form, function, and high tech features and it has enough dials, buttons, and sensors to keep well-connected on your trek through the jungle, urban or otherwise. This monster watch is 44.4mm wide and water resistant up to 100 meters. It connects to your phone and the CASIO… Read More

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