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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Sphero raises $12M as it focuses on education

This year has been a rough one for Sphero. The Colorado-based toy robotics startup kicked off the year with dozens of layoffs, a result of tepid interest in its line of Disney-branded consumer products.

Here’s a little good news, however. The company has raised another $12 million, bringing its total up to around $119 million, according to Crunchbase. The latest round will go into helping shape the BB-8 maker into an education-first company.

“The recent round of funding has currently raised $12 million, and we anticipate at the time of final closing up to $20 million may be raised in total,” Sphero said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. Funding has/will come from existing and new investors and will be used for working capital as we engage in a larger strategy that focuses on the intersection of play and learning.”

It’s a tricky play, given how overcrowded the world of coding toys is at the moment, but Sphero has long been building out its play in the space, in tandem with its more consumer-focused offerings.

Following the success of its The Force Awakens BB-8 tie in, the company quadrupled down on its involvement with Disney’s accelerator, releasing high-tech toys based on Spider-Man and Lightning McQueen from Cars.

“[Education] is something we can actually own,” the company told me after the layoffs were revealed. “Where we do well are those experiences we can 100 percent own, from inception to go-to-market.”


Source: TechCrunch

How Scientists Tracked Antarctica's Stunning Ice Loss

The combined results of 24 different surveys of Antarctic ice loss suggest that the rate of melting has *tripled* in the last five years.
Source: Wired

Microsoft Office’s new redesign puts web and desktop versions on equal footing

A new ribbon will be coming to Office’s big overhaul as part of Microsoft’s efforts to bring consistency to Office apps on the web, desktop, and mobile. New icon colors and a smarter search box are also part of the redesign.

The post Microsoft Office’s new redesign puts web and desktop versions on equal footing appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

This AR guppy feeds on the spectrum of human emotion

Indiecade always offers a nice respite from the wall of undulating human flesh and heat that is the rest of the E3 show floor. The loose confederation of independent developers often produces compelling and bizarre gaming experiences outside of the big studio system.

TendAR is the most compelling example of this out of this year’s batch. It is, simply put, a pet fish that feeds on human emotions through augmented reality. I can’t really explain why this is a thing, but it is. It’s a video game, so just accept it and move on.

The app is produced by Tender Claws, a small studio out of Los Angeles best known for Virtual Virtual Reality, an Oculus title that boasts among its “key features”: 50-plus unique virtual virtual realities and an artichoke screams at you.

TendAR fits comfortably within that manner of absurdist framework, though the title has more in common with virtual pets like Tamagotchi and the belovedly bizarre Dreamcast cult hit, Seaman. There’s also a bit of Douglas Adams wrapped up in there, in that your pet guppy feeds on human emotions detected through face detection.

The app is designed for two players, both holding onto the same phone, feigning different emotions when prompted by a chatty talking fish. If you fail to give it what it wants, your fish will suffer. I tried the game and my guppy died almost immediately. Apparently my ability to approximate sadness is severely lacking. Tell it to my therapist, am I right?

The app is due out this year for Android.


Source: TechCrunch

This Week Shows How Hard It Is to Curb Big Tech

Seattle repealed its just-enacted “Amazon tax,” San Francisco elected a tech-friendly mayor, net neutrality is dead, and AT&T is buying Time Warner.
Source: Wired

Comcast bids $65B for Fox assets, setting the stage for a fight with Disney

Comcast made good on its plans to make an offer for 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets today, with a cash bid of $65 billion, or $35 per share.

That’s 19 percent more than the $52.4 billion that Disney agreed to pay in December.

This follows yesterday’s U.S. court approval of the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, which was widely expected to lead Comcast to make a new bid for Fox and, in the long-term, set the stage for broader consolidation between ISPs and media companies. (This is where I remind you that TechCrunch is owned by Oath, a digital media subsidiary of Verizon.)

In a letter to Fox executives (namely Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch), Comcast CEO Brian Roberts wrote that after meetings last year, his team was convinced that Comcast would be “the right strategic home” for the Fox assets, and that “we were disappointed when 21CF decided to enter into a transaction with The Walt Disney Company, even though we had offered a meaningfully higher price.”

“In light of yesterday’s decision in the AT&T/Time Warner case, the limited time prior to your shareholders’ meeting, and our strong continued interest, we are pleased to present a new, all-cash proposal that fully addresses the Board’s stated concerns with our prior proposal,” Roberts said.

This could set off a battle between Comcast and Disney . The assets at stake include the Fox film studio (which owns the Avatar franchise, the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four and the original Star Wars), its TV studio, its cable networks and its stake in Hulu.

In the letter, Roberts also said a Comcast-Fox acquisition is “as or more likely to receive regulatory approval than the Disney transaction” and that Comcast would reimburse Fox for the $1.5 billion breakup fee with Disney.

Update: Fox released a statement confirming that it has received the bid. It also said, “21st Century Fox has not yet made a determination, in light of Comcast’s proposal, as to whether it will postpone or adjourn” its July 10 stockholder meeting to discuss the Disney acquisition.


Source: TechCrunch

Nintendo's $50 Poke Ball Plus is the ultimate gamepad for Pokemon Let's Go and Pokemon Go – CNET

Why yes, that IS a joystick in the center of the Poke Ball.
Source: CNET

Comcast offers $65 billion to snake Fox from Disney – CNET

Disney had a deal to buy Fox. Then Comcast stepped in.
Source: CNET

AT&T bowls over Justice Department, will soon own Justice League (The 3:59, Ep. 413) – CNET

We talk about the implications of AT&T buying Time Warner, how the Avengers and X-Men may be affected, and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
Source: CNET

MoviePass reaches 3 million subscribers – CNET

It thinks it can get 2 million more soon.
Source: CNET

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