Technology

Technology

LiveMap shows off latest prototype of augmented reality motorcycle helmet

LiveMap launched in TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield CES 2014 and is getting closer to producing its augmented reality helmet. Since launching, the product has evolved to a working prototype. I tried it on at CES and it seemed to work fine. The current version of helmet features a small transparent screen mounted on the visor. A small projector is mounted in the chin of the helmet. The software projects directions, maps and notifications onto the screen, but in the final version it will be directly onto the visor, the company said. Andrew Artishchev the founder of LiveMap told TechCrunch at CES 2018 his company has enough runway to certify the helmet for use in America and enter production. He insists that his company has the proper design and management to get LiveMap certified and on th...

Ripple announces XRP trial with cross-border remittance firm MoneyGram

Well, well, well. Ripple, the company behind the controversial XRP cryptocurrency which has been criticized for obfuscating the nature of its partnerships with financial organizations, has announced a tie-up with global payment network MoneyGram. MoneyGram, which saw a $1.2 billion acquisition from Alibaba’s Ant Financial affiliate collapse following security concerns from the U.S. government, said it has agreed to pilot XRP, the cryptocurrency controlled by Ripple, within its payment flows using Ripple’s xRapid product. Ripple reached a record-high of $3.65 per coin earlier this month which briefly made it the world’s two largest cryptocurrency based on total coin market cap. That price represented a huge surge from $0.006687 one year prior, but concern around the actual usage of XRP has ...

Google acquired Redux, a U.K. startup focused on audio and haptics

Alphabet, the umbrella corporation of Google, Inc. etc., has quietly acquired a UK-based startup called Redux, reports Bloomberg. Redux was founded in 2013 out of Cambridge, and built technology that uses vibrations to turn surfaces of phones or tablets into speakers or provide haptic feedback. The acquisition is reflected on Crunchbase, and in confirmed transfer of shares within U.K. regulatory filings. Google has made no mention of the acquisition as of yet. Google has been aggressive this year with its touchscreen products, predominantly the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. In fact, analytics firm Localytics reported that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL beat out the iPhone X in terms of activations over Christmas. Redux technology could put more weapons in Google’s smartphone arsenal as it contin...

Grab, Uber’s rival in Southeast Asia, pulls in strategic investment from Hyundai

Grab, Uber’s closest rival in Southeast Asia, continues to slowly release information about its newest funding round after it revealed it has netted a strategic investment from Hyundai. To recap, the Singapore-based firm raised a massive $2 billion led by SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing last July with plans to extend the round by a further $500 million. Back in August, it revealed that Toyota was one contributor — via its Next Technology Fund — and now the Korean automaker has joined the party via a deal that, like Toyota’s, is undisclosed. While not forthcoming on the size of the investment, Grab said it plans to work with Hyundai on a number of initiatives that will include a new service based around its electric vehicles. That will feature the IONIQ Electric, the model which Hyundai u...

ECJ to rule on whether Facebook needs to hunt for hate speech

Austria’s Supreme Court is referring a legal challenge over the extent of Facebook’s responsibility to remove hate speech postings to Europe’s top court for an opinion (via derStandard.at). The case has clear implications for freedom of speech online. The original lawsuit against Facebook was filed by the former leader of the Austrian Green Party, Eva Glawischnig, in 2016, after she had sought to have what she claimed were defamatory postings removed from the site (and Facebook had refused to take them down). Last May an Austrian appeals court found in her favor, ruling that Facebook must remove the hate speech postings — both the original posts and any verbatim repostings of the same comments — and also must do so worldwide, not merely geoblocking access to them in Austria. Austria’s Supr...

Avid Larizadeh Duggan, GV’s sole female GP, leaves to join music tech startup Kobalt

GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) lost its one female general partner. London-based Avid Larizadeh Duggan has joined Kobalt​, a 17-year-old, New York-based music tech company that acts as a publisher and provides royalty tracking services for tracks when they are played across various digital platforms.  Larizadeh Duggan, who’d led an investment in Kobalt for GV, takes the title of EVP, Chief Strategy and Business Officer. Before joining GV, Larizadeh Duggan co-founded Boticca, an online bazaar that sold fashion accessories from independent brands and was acquired by Wolf & Badger in 2015. The HBS grad also spent nearly three years as an associate with Accel Partners beginning in 2006. It meanwhile leaves GV with just two remaining women on its 16-person investing team: principal ...

Sphero spinoff Misty Robotics launches a robot for programmers

Recent Sphero spinoff Misty Robotics brought a decidedly non-consumer-focused device to the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas this week. The Misty I Developer Edition is the first baby step for a startup with even grander ambitions than the one that gave birth to it. In June, the company announced a $11.5 million Series A led by Venrock and Foundry Group to aide in its plans to build a mainstream household robot with a much broader skillset than the industry leading Roomba. An early attempt at that will arrive later this year, in the form of Misty II, a more highly-polished and commercially-minded version of the company’s robotic’s platform. For now, however, its focus is far more narrow, with plans to court developers, as it works to build something more suitable for the home market. Mis...

South Korea may or may not ban bitcoin exchanges and that’s the news

The price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies dropped significantly today off the back of ‘news’ that South Korea’s government might ban trading exchanges. As ever in the world of crypto, the slightest ripple of information can be taken out of context, and that appears to be the case here. Reuters reported comments from Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki who said claimed his ministry “is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges” following “enough discussion” with a range of government agencies, including the finance ministry. As Reuters itself points out, any draft legislation would require the approval of parliament which could takes months, if not years. Even if that were to happen, the timing seems off with local elections upcoming this year and bit...

Apple’s China iCloud data migration sweeps up international user accounts

Apple’s plan to migrate China-based iCloud user accounts to a local host on Chinese soil is already running into controversy after the iPhone-maker included accounts registered overseas in the data. China-based users were informed of the upcoming migration yesterday, which Apple said “will allow us improve the speed and reliability of our iCloud services products while also complying with newly passed regulations that cloud services be operated by Chinese companies.” However, after talking to a number of users, we found that Apple has included iCloud accounts that were opened in the U.S., are paid for using U.S. dollars and/or are connected to U.S.-based App Store accounts in the data that will be handled by local partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) from February 28. Apple has given Chin...

Unbabel raises $23M for its ‘AI-powered, human-refined’ translation platform

Lisbon-headquartered Unbabel, a startup that has developed what it describes as an “AI-powered, human-refined” translation platform that makes it more cost effective to conduct business globally, has raised $23 million in Series B funding. The round is led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Samsung Next, Notion Capital, Caixa Capital, and Funders Club. It follows a $5 million Series A round in October 2016. A graduate of Y Combinator’s 2014 Winter Batch, Unbabel uses AI/machine learning, augmented with a network of around 55,000 human translators, to power translations across multiple text-based content and communication, such as email, chat, websites and more. This is delivered via an API and integrations with the likes of Salesforc...

Segway Robotics’ Loomo wants to be your little buddy

Everyone needs a robotic friend and the Loomo might be the best yet. Part pack mule, part Segway, part voice assistant, the Loomo packs a lot of goods into its self-balancing frame. The device is from Segway Robotics, which is backed by Intel and Xiaomi. Intel’s RealSense provides sensors to make it safe to use indoors and out and the Segway platform lets it self-balance and travel at up to 11 mph. The device is loaded with features to the point where it seems the company is having a hard time defining the target market. The company says object and activity recognition lets it be the ideal security device. The cargo carrying and follow capability lets it be a robotic companion. Either way, even without a clear target market, it’s a solid device. Segway Robotics stopped by TechCrunch’s CES ...

Argo AI self-driving test car hit in Pittsburgh as truck runs red light

One of the test cars Argo AI operates in its Pittsburgh fleet was involved in an accident on Wednesday, with two people sent to hospital (in stable condition) with injuries as a result of the accident. The incident appears to have been caused by a light box truck driving through a red light, rather than by Argo’s test vehicle, based on an early traffic report. The self-driving car was T-boned by the truck, and two of the Argo car’s four occupants were the ones who ended up in hospital. Ford provided the following statement regarding the accident when contacted by TechCrunch: We’re aware that an Argo AI test vehicle was involved in an accident. We’re gathering all the information. Our initial focus is on making sure that everyone involved is safe. It’s never good news when an automobile is ...