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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

PayPal is shelling out $400 million in cash for this 18-year-old company that helps gig workers get paid

PayPal announced today that it’s paying $400 million in cash for Hyperwallet, an 18-year-old, Bay Area-based company that helps people and small businesses receive payments for products and services that they sell, including through the vacation rental platform HomeAway and Rodan & Fields, the multi-level marketing company that specializes in skin care products and employs an army of consultants to sell toners and the like.

Hyperwallet interlinks cash networks, card schemes and mobile money services with domestic ACH networks around the world to enable what it characterizes as “disruptively priced” and, as crucially, compliant mass payments.

It isn’t clear as of this writing how much money Hyperwallet had raised over the years, though the WSJ notes that Primus Capital, the private equity firm, is a major shareholder.

According to Crunchbase, the company has also received funding from the financial services company Raymond James.

Hyperwallet was founded by Lisa Shields, an MIT-trained engineer who originally launched the company in Vancouver, where she last year founded a second company called FI.SPAN, which is an API management platform that aims to allow banks to quickly deploy new business banking products. Shields seemingly keeps a low profile compared with many founders. When she was presented with an Entrepreneur of the Year award by EY in 2015, she said, “I am honored and humbled, not to mention surprised.” (Hyperwallet has been led since 2015 by CEO Brent Warrington, who previously served as CEO of a company called SecureNet Payment Systems that was acquired.)

As for why PayPal acquired it, it says it enhances its ability to provide payment solutions to e-commerce platforms and marketplaces around the world, noting in a release about the deal that marketplace sales accounted for more than 50 percent of global online retail sales last year.

The acquisition is just the latest in a long string of companies PayPal has acquired over the years. Just last month, it shelled out a whopping $2.2 billion to acquire the European payments company iZettle in an all-cash deal that’s believed to be PayPal’s biggest.


Source: TechCrunch

VW Group and Ford Motor in early talks to develop commercial vehicles together

German automaker Volkswagen AG and Big Three U.S. automaker Ford Motor are considering teaming up on a range of projects, including jointly developing commercial vehicles, that would help them better compete in a global market that’s demanding better tech and more efficient, lower-emission vehicles.

The two companies announced Tuesday they had signed an agreement to explore a strategic alliance. Any alliance between VW and Ford will not involve the companies taking ownership stakes, Ford said in an announcement Tuesday. News of this possible alliance followed Ford’s announcement to build an electric and autonomous vehicle campus in one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods.

The two automakers contend this potential strategic alliance will make them more competitive and better serve customers globally. Executives from VW and Ford are focused on an alliance to develop commercial vehicles, not necessarily cars and trucks built for consumers.

Thomas Sedran, who heads up VW Group’s strategy division, noted that the companies have “strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already.”

“To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances,” Sedran said in a statement. “This is a core element of our Volkswagen Group Strategy 2025. The potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve competitiveness of both companies globally.”

By commercial, this means vehicles in fleets, delivery vehicles and those used for commercial applications. The details end there. It’s unclear, for example, if this commercial vehicle alliance — if they come to agreement — would involve autonomous shuttles.

This deal will most likely center on finding ways to efficiently build and sell commercial vans that must meet increasingly strict environmental rules. A number of cities such as London and Paris are tightening regulations for delivery vans and other commercial vehicles. Some European cities are banning diesel, a commercial vehicle staple.

These restrictions have forced automakers to pivot toward electric and hybrid vehicles.

This is the first step in what promises to be a long process. For example, Ford announced in September it was “exploring” a strategic partnership with Mahindra around car tech in India. Six months later, the companies agreed to jointly develop new SUVs and a small electric vehicle.


Source: TechCrunch

Football matches land on your table thanks to augmented reality

It’s World Cup season, so that means that even articles about machine learning have to have a football angle. Today’s concession to the beautiful game is a system that takes 2D videos of matches and recreates them in 3D so you can watch them on your coffee table (assuming you have some kind of augmented reality setup, which you almost certainly don’t). It’s not as good as being there, but it might be better than watching it on TV.

The “Soccer On Your Tabletop” system takes as its input a video of a match and watches it carefully, tracking each player and their movements individually. The images of the players are then mapped onto 3D models “extracted from soccer video games,” and placed on a 3D representation of the field. Basically they cross FIFA 18 with real life and produce a sort of miniature hybrid.

Considering the source data — two-dimensional, low-resolution and in motion — it’s a pretty serious accomplishment to reliably reconstruct a realistic and reasonably accurate 3D pose for each player.

Now, it’s far from perfect. One might even say it’s a bit useless. The characters’ positions are estimated, so they jump around a bit, and the ball doesn’t really appear much, so everyone appears to just be dancing around on a field. (That’s on the to-do list.)

But the idea is great, and this is a working if highly limited first shot at it. Assuming the system could ingest a whole game based on multiple angles (it could source the footage directly from the networks), you could have a 3D replay available just minutes after the actual match concluded.

Not only that, but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to gather round a central location and watch the game from multiple angles? I’ve always thought one of the worst things about watching sports on TVs is everyone is sitting there staring in one direction, seeing the exact same thing. Letting people spread out, pick sides, see things from different angles to analyze strategies — that would be fantastic.

All we need is for someone to invent a perfect, affordable holographic display that works from all angles and we’re set.

The research is being presented at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Salt Lake City, and it’s a collaboration between Facebook, Google and the University of Washington.


Source: TechCrunch

Un nuevo enfoque de IA resuelve un cubo de Rubik sin ayuda humana

La técnica, bautizada como iteración autodidacta, funciona en sentido inverso para que la máquina aprenda a distinguir los movimientos buenos de los malos. Gracias a ella, el sistema es capaz de resolver el 100% de los rompecabezas en una media de 30 movimientos
Source: MIT

¿Logrará EOS la criptodemocracia prometida con la que ha hecho millones?

Esta nueva ‘blockchain’ recaudó casi 3.500 millones de euros cuando ni siquiera estaba desarrollada, gracias a su innovador protocolo de consenso llamado prueba de participación delegada. Ahora, por por fin está lista para empezar a funcionar, pero puede que no sea tan democrática como parece
Source: MIT

Cómo convertir a los robots asesinos en compañeros inofensivos

Los cobots industriales deben permanecer confinados por su riesgo de herir a sus colegas humanos. Pero el nuevo enfoque de la ‘start-up’ Veo Robotics logra que las máquinas sean mucho más seguras al ralentizar sus movimientos cuando identifican que una persona se les aproxima
Source: MIT

WHO Calls Gaming Disorder an Illness. Experts Say Not So Fast

Some mental health experts have reservations about the change in the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases.
Source: Wired

Why Are the Velociraptors in 'Jurassic World' So Big?

In reality, they were about the size of a large turkey. On the big screen? Not so much.
Source: Wired

Millions of Google, Roku, and Sonos Devices Are Vulnerable to a Web Attack

Using a technique called DNS rebinding, one amateur hacker found vulnerabilities in devices from Google, Roku, Sonos, and more.
Source: Wired

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ E3 build used a hefty PC, but can your system keep up?

CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 was shown at behind-closed-doors demonstrations during E3 2018, and the PC the studio used to play the game had some hefty specifications. Here’s what the rig included.

The post ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ E3 build used a hefty PC, but can your system keep up? appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

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