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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

This startup got $2.3M to identify physical objects using diamond dust

Imagine coating an expensive part with a layer of diamond dust the width of a human hair, capturing its light pattern as a unique identifier, then storing that identifier in a traditional database or on the blockchain. That’s precisely what Dust Identity, a Boston-based startup is trying to do, and today it got $2.3 million in seed money led by Kleiner Perkins with participation from New Science Ventures, Angular Ventures, and Castle Island Ventures.

The science behind Dust Identity was nurtured inside MIT, but the company has been at work for two years trying to build a solution based on that idea after receiving early support from DARPA. What these folks do is manufacture extremely tiny diamonds. They dust an object such as a circuit board with a coating of this and capture the diamonds in a polymer, company CEO and co-founder Ophir Gaathon explained.

“Once the diamonds fall on the surface of a polymer epoxy, and that polymer cures, the diamonds are fixed in their position, fixed in their orientation, and it’s actually the orientation of those diamonds that we developed a technology that allows us to read those angles very quickly,” Gaathon told TechCrunch.

For all the advanced technology at play here, Dust Identity is truly an identity company, but instead of identifying an individual, its purpose is to provide a trusted identity for an object using a physical anchor — in this case, diamond dust. You may be thinking that diamonds are kind of an expensive way to achieve this, but as it turns out, the company is actually creating the coating materials from low-cost diamond industrial waste.

“We start with diamond waste (for example, [from] the abrasive industry), but we developed a proprietary process (that’s of course highly scalable and economical) to purify and engineer the diamond waste into dust,” a company spokesperson explained.

The idea behind all of this is to prove that an object is valid and hasn’t been tampered with. The dust is applied at some point during the manufacturing process. The unique identifier is captured with some kind of commercial scanner and stored in the database. It provides a physical anchor for blockchain supply chain solutions that’s currently lacking. When the part makes its way to the buyer, they can run the part under a scanner and make sure it matches. If the dust pattern has been disturbed, there’s a good chance the piece was tampered with.

Finding a way to create uncopyable tags for physical objects is a kind of supply chain holy grail. Ilya Fushman, a partner at Kleiner Perkins says his firm recognized the potential of this solution. “We have a pretty strong hard tech practice. We understand the value of supply chain and supply chain integrity,” he said.

The company is not alone in trying to find a way to attach a physical anchor to items in the supply chain. In fact, you can go back to RFID tags and QR codes, but Gaathon says the security of these approaches has degraded over time as hackers figure out how to copy them. IBM and others are working on tiny chips to attach to objects, but the diamond dust approach could be the most secure if it can scale because it works with an entirely random light pattern that can never be reproduced.

The startup intends to take the money and try to prove this idea can be commercialized for government and manufacturing use cases. It certainly gets points for creativity here and it could be onto something that could transform how we track the integrity of items as they move through a supply chain.


Source: TechCrunch

Best 2018 smartwatches and fitness trackers for the holidays – CNET

These wearable devices can help you stay connected and kickstart those new year’s fitness resolutions.
Source: CNET

The all-new Mighty Vibe Spotify player is $69 with this exclusive coupon – CNET

For Day 8 of CNET’s 10 Days of Deals, it’s the best Spotify accessory you’ve never heard of — for a price you won’t find anywhere else.
Source: CNET

This US Firm Wants to Help Build China’s Surveillance State

The owner of Bikini.com is using open source software to create artificial-intelligence image-recognition systems for Chinese companies and authorities.
Source: Wired

DARPA's Hail Mary Plan to Restart a Hacked US Electric Grid

On tiny Plum Island, DARPA stages a real-life blackout to put its grid recovery tools to the test.
Source: Wired

This Chemical Is So Hot It Destroys Nerve Fibers—in a Good Way

Resiniferatoxin is 10,000 times hotter than the hottest pepper, and has features that make it promising as a painkiller of last resort.
Source: Wired

Mark Zuckerberg 'not able' to attend international disinformation hearing – CNET

The Facebook CEO declined a five-parliament invitation to appear in London.
Source: CNET

Cam trailer lays bare Netflix and Blumhouse's online nightmare – CNET

The production company behind Get Out and the Purge series presses play on this story of a cam girl and her sinister doppelganger.
Source: CNET

Jam City signs mobile game development deal with Disney

Mobile gaming company Jam City is announcing a multi-year deal to create mobile games based on Pixar and Walt Disney Animation characters and films.

As part of the agreement, Jam City is taking over development of the match-three puzzle game Disney Emoji Blitz, which launched in 2016. Jam City says that everyone at Disney’s Glendale game studio who’s affected by this will be offered new jobs at the company to continue working on the title.

The first new game, meanwhile, will be based on the upcoming sequel to “Frozen” (that’s right, there’s going to be a “Frozen 2”), though the companies aren’t revealing any details, like the type of gameplay or the release date.

“While our licensing business for Disney Animation and Pixar games has grown over the last year and we have several top developers creating Disney games, this deal with Jam City represents a significant long-term opportunity for our games business and for the future slate of Disney and Pixar games,” said Kyle Laughlin, Disney’s senior vice president of games and interactive experiences, in a statement.

Jam City was founded in 2009 by Chris DeWolfe (who previously cofounded and served as CEO of MySpace) and former Fox executive Josh Ygaudo. It was initially focused on social games and was known as MindJolt before becoming the Social Gaming Network (named after a company it acquired) and then rebranding again two years ago as Jam City.

While Jam City has created its own games like Cookie Jam and Panda Pop, it’s also been releasing titles based on well-known franchises and intellectual property, such as “Snoopy Pop” and “Marvel Avengers Academy.” Earlier this year, it launched “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery,” a game that allows players to enroll in J.K. Rowling’s famous school for wizards and features the voices of several actors from the films.


Source: TechCrunch

Ford partners with Walmart and Postmates to test autonomous grocery delivery

Ford is partnering with Walmart and Postmates to test the business of delivering goods like groceries and pet food using self-driving vehicles.

The pilot project is focused on Miami-Dade County, according to Ford’s announcement Wednesday. This is an area where Ford is already embedded and testing out what a commercial self-driving vehicle business might look like through collaborations with Postmates, Dominoes and local merchants.

Ford is pursuing two parallels tracks — develop and test the self-driving vehicle system while separately work on the business side of how a dedicated fleet of autonomous vehicles might operate in the real world —as it moves towards its targeted commercial launch in 2021. The company is testing the business model through pilot programs with Dominoes, Postmates, local businesses in the Miami area and now Walmart.

Ford has already completed more than 1,000 deliveries as part of the initial phases of building up its self-driving business.

Argo AI, the Pittsburgh-based startup that Ford invested $1 billion in 2016, is developing and testing the self-driving vehicle technology. The company is testing autonomous vehicles in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Miami and in the first quarter of 2019, they’ll begin testing its self-driving vehicles in Washington D.C.

Under the Walmart-Postmates pilot, Ford be using research vehicles designed to simulate an autonomous experience. These will not be true autonomous vehicles. However, these research vehicles, which will be used to gather data about consumer preferences, will look and in many ways function like autonomous vehicles.

Ford said it will “work closely” with Walmart over the next couple of months to understand its operations, identify what goods can be transported as well as spot, and hopefully solve, the issues that might spring up with delivering goods via self-driving vehicles. For instance, the automaker will experiment with different vehicle configurations and add-ons like refrigeration, which would be required to transport perishable food items.

Walmart already has a partnership with self-driving vehicle technology company Waymo, a Google spin-off owned by parent company Alphabet. But these partnerships differ. Waymo picks up customers and drives them to businesses like Walmart in the Phoenix area. With the Ford partnership, the research AV vehicles are delivering groceries to customers at home.

Earlier this year, automaker created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC to house the company’s self-driving systems integration, autonomous-vehicle research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams. Ford said at the time that it plans to spend $4 billion through 2023 in its newly created LLC dedicated to building out an autonomous vehicles business.


Source: TechCrunch

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