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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Uber now lets you buy transit tickets in Denver

Uber, which is days away from going public, has added in-app ticketing to its transit offering in Denver. This comes a few months after Uber first launched transit integration in the city.

“For the first time ever, taking an Uber trip can mean taking public transit,” Uber Head of Transit David Reich said in a statement. “We are excited to expand our collaboration with RTD and Masabi to make Denver the first city in the world where riders can purchase transit tickets and ride public transit seamlessly through the Uber app. With this step, we are moving closer to making Uber’s platform a one-stop shop for transportation access, from shared rides to buses and bikes.”

For transit, Uber is serving two sets of customers: agencies and riders. For both sets, Uber is aiming to increase efficiency, enhance the experience and increase equity and accessibility, Reich told TechCrunch earlier this year.

While Uber is only launching this in Denver today, Masabi handles ticketing for 30 transportation agencies worldwide, including Los Angeles’ Metrolink, New York’s MTA, London’s Thames Clippers and Boston’s MBTA. Uber also has relationships with a number of cities already.

“We know convenience is the number one reason people choose a transit option, and we truly believe that a multimodal public and shared private approach will be a key part of encouraging more people to take fewer private car journeys, reducing congestion for all,” Masabi CEO Brian Zanghi said in a statement. “By making public transit tickets available through Masabi’s Justride SDK in the Uber app, we are making this a reality for the first time, helping more people seamlessly and conveniently discover and access public transit services.”


Source: TechCrunch

CMU uses knitting machines to make soft robots that hug

Perhaps people fear robotics and automation simply because they’re not cuddly enough. It’s certainly an under-explored aspect in the growing field of soft robotics. A team at Carnegie Mellon is taking on the challenge by creating soft robots with knitting machines.

Cuddliness aside, the real goal here is to design robotic form factors that are lower cost, less dangerous and in some cases even wearable. The team is designing an automated process that adds tendons, which can connect to harder motors, in order to create movement. Examples include, no joke, “stuffed figures that give hugs when poked in the stomach and even a sweater with a sleeve that moves on its own.”

Down the road, the research could lead to more serious soft robotics created with commercial knitting machines designed to produce garments.

“We have so many soft objects in our lives and many of them could be made interactive with this technology,” CMU PhD student Lea Albaugh says in a release tied to the news. “A garment could be part of your personal information system. Your sweater, for example, might tap you on your shoulder to get your attention. The fabric of a chair might serve as a haptic interface. Backpacks might open themselves.”

In a sense, it’s a kind of old-school take on 3D printing and other additive manufacturing. Potential materials for tendons include polyester-wrapped quilting thread, pure silk yarn and nylon monofilament. Conductive yarn, meanwhile, could give the robot a much better sense of its own movements.


Source: TechCrunch

The Razer Core X Chroma is the best external GPU you can buy

The third entry in Razer’s lineup of external graphics card enclosures, the Core X Chroma brings together the best of its previous options in a single package. With RGB lighting and extra USB ports, is this the best GPU enclosure you can buy?

The post The Razer Core X Chroma is the best external GPU you can buy appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Brain-Machine Interfaces Could Give Us All Superpowers

The new documentary ‘I Am Human’ chronicles how neurotechnology could restore sight, retrain the body, and treat diseases—then make us all more than human.
Source: Wired

Grainchain, a blockchain-based platform for commodity sales, launches in Mexico

In the two years since GrainChain launched its distributed ledger-based transaction platform for bulk dry goods the company has brokered thousands of contracts on everything from corn, sorghum, wheat, and soybeans to even sand from its headquarters in McAllen, Tex.

Now the company is expanding its services to Mexico, partnering with the government of Tamaulipas, to help farmers and grain elevators with commodity management and settlement.

Integrating with existing grain elevator equipment, GrainChain will deploy its sensors and software to automate the certification of inventory, invoice settlement and reporting to buyers and sellers, according to a statement from the company.

Although the company’s blockchain adoption is new, GrainChain began developing its technology six years ago as an inventory supply chain management toolkit for farmers.

The company’s founder and chief executive Luis Macias had sold his previous software business Verge Data to an insurance company in 2005 and took some time off before wading back into the software development business in McAllen.

In 2012, Macias says he was approached by Hi Star Grain about developing software to manage the sales process for bulk dry goods.

The company spend the next five years working on the technology.

Before a commodity is ever shipped GrainChain sets up a contract between a buyer and a farmer for their supply negotiated through GrainChain’s digital portal. That contract is submitted to the chain along with an agreed upon payment that’s held in escrow until delivery.

In the field and at the silo GrainChain’s system consists of a logistics toolkit to monitor and track harvests coming out fo the fields and through individual silos. The goods are certified for quality assurance using the company’s sensor technology and that certification is recorded onto a HyperLedger-based blockchain.

Once the shipment is verified then payment is released to the farmer in the form of a dollar-backed GrainPay stablecoin that allows instant settlement of the transaction. The asset-backed token is burned once the contract is filled and the tokens are converted into whatever fiat currency was agreed upon in the initial contract.

GrainChain makes its money by charging a commission on every transaction that moves through its platform.

The company raised $2.5 million from Medici Ventures — the investment arm of Overstock — back in October and is now expanding into international markets.

“We’re giving the farmer the ability to work with a higher risk customer because they’re getting guaranteed payment,” says Macias. “Sometimes, they can’t go past the normal broker they go through.”

Currently the company has 14 different commodities including: corn, soybeans, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, sorghum, coffee, cocoa, and sand.

“We have the ability to do any dry commodity that has the ability to be graded,” says Macias. “What we really found is that when there’s a contract that’s built and it’s slow-pay or no-pay or arbitration that comes through on the contract, it’s devastating to the farmer. This gives them the security to take on what would otherwise be riskier customers.”


Source: TechCrunch

Toyota AI Ventures launches $100M fund to invest in robotics and autonomous tech

Toyota AI Ventures, a subsidiary of Toyota Research Institute, has a new $100 million fund that will focus on finding and investing in early-stage robotics and autonomous technology startups.

This second fund, aptly dubbed Fund II, brings the firm’s total assets under management to more than $200 million.

“The growing interest in automated systems has created great opportunities to improve human lives using AI and next-generation mobility technology,” said Dr. Gill Pratt, chief executive officer at TRI and Toyota AI Ventures investment committee member.

Toyota AI Ventures is a newcomer to the scene. Still, it’s managed to invest in 19 startups since launching in 2017, including Nauto, autonomous shuttle company May Mobility, social companion cognitive AI startup Intuition Robotics and Joby Aviation, the electric vertical takeoff and landing passenger aircraft service.

Since its inception, Toyota AI Ventures has targeted early-stage startups and its investments have been directed at companies applying AI, data, and cloud technologies to autonomous mobility and robotics.

That primary aim isn’t changing. However, the firm is also interested in what Jim Adler, managing director of Toyota AI Ventures, described as “unbundling mobility.”

“One of the things that we want to explore with Fund II is the unbundling of mobility,” Adler told TechCrunch. “The personally-owned vehicle has provided tremendous safety, freedom, convenience, and fun. What we’re now seeing is a phase of unbundling such as ride hailing, micromobility, etc. There are investment opportunities where autonomous technologies might accelerate these unbundled mobility products and services.”

Capital has poured into the autonomous vehicle technology industry in recent years. Hundreds of companies, including full-stack AV developers, mapping startups and sensor companies, now exist in an industry that was empty a decade ago.

While a handful of companies appear to control the looming robotaxi business, Adler contends that “profitable business models are still being proven.” He also believes there’s still space in the related sensor industry for startups.

“For the various operating design domains, there’s no clear winning mix of cameras, radar, lidar and ultrasound,” Adler said. “There’s still room to run.”


Source: TechCrunch

Jakarta Is Sinking. Now Indonesia Has to Find a New Capital

By 2050, 95 percent of North Jakarta could be submerged. Blame rising seas, but also the fact that the city is sinking 10 inches a year.
Source: Wired

Why I Love My Teeny Tiny Knock-Off Nokia

It’s about the size of an eraser, but don’t underestimate its formidable practicality!
Source: Wired

When Coding Is Criminal

Opinion: Programmers whose code is used to commit a crime face new and perilous legal threats.
Source: Wired

Tesla is raising up to $1.5 billion through convertible note and share sale

Tesla is raising up to $1.55 billion through the sale of notes and shares, according to a filing made by the EV maker today.

The document outlines that Tesla will sell up to $1.35 billion in convertible senior notes. The number could increase further: Tesla is giving underwriters the chance to buy a further $202.5 million for over-allotments. In share numbers, that’s an initial 2,723,198 shares that could expand to 3,131,677.

The notes are due in 2024 and, already, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is committed to buying $10 million in the offering, that’s 41,896 shares.

Tesla’s stock price rose by five percent in pre-market at the time of writing, according to data from Yahoo Finance.

As is often the case in such offerings, the plans for the funds raised are fairly vague at this point.

“We intend to use the net proceeds from this convertible notes offering and our concurrent common stock offering to further strengthen our balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes,” it said in the prospectus.

The offer comes a week after Tesla reported a $702 million loss for Q1 2019 which missed analyst forecasts for the business.

The results follow two consecutive quarters of profitability that were fueled by sales of the Model 3. Tesla reported a $139 million profit in the fourth quarter and, in October, it posted its first profit after seven consecutive quarters of losses.

The U.S firm said its cash position decreased by $1.5 billion from the end of 2018 to $2.2 billion mainly due to the repayment of convertible notes, of which $188 million negatively impacted operating cash flow. Tesla paid off its $920 million convertible bond obligation in cash in March.


Source: TechCrunch

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