#Science

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#Engineering & Technology

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7 investors discuss augmented reality and VR startup opportunities in 2020
Lucas Matney

For all of the investors preaching that augmented reality technology will likely be the successor to the modern smartphone, today, most venture capitalists are still quite wary to back AR plays. The reasons are plentiful, but all tend to circle around the idea that it’s too early for software and too expensive to try to […]

Blue Origin lofts NASA and student experiments in New Shepard tomorrow morning
Devin Coldewey

The 11th mission for Blue Origin's New Shepard launch vehicle is slated for takeoff Tuesday morning. The craft will be carrying 38 (!) experimental payloads from NASA, students, and research organizations around the world. You'll be able to watch the launch live tomorrow at about 6 AM Pacific time.

The race to building a fully functional quantum stack
Walter Thompson

As we approach the age of quantum computing, it is no longer a question of ‘if,’ but rather one of ‘when’ this technology finally matures and ‘who’ will lead this emerging industry.

Facebook is building an operating system so it can ditch Android
Josh Constine

Facebook doesn’t want its hardware like Oculus and Portal to be at the mercy of Google because they rely on its Android operating system. That’s why Facebook has tasked a co-author of Microsoft’s Windows NT named Mark Lucovsky with building the social network an operating system from scratch, according the The Information’s Alex Heath. “We […]

This robotic arm slows down to avoid the uncanny valley
Devin Coldewey

Robotic arms can move fast enough to snatch thrown objects right out of the air… but should they? Not unless you want them to unnerve the humans they’re interacting with, according to work out of Disney Research. Roboticists there found that slowing a robot’s reaction time made it feel more normal to people. Disney has […]

Founded by former SpaceX engineers, First Resonance pitches tools to make things the SpaceX way
Jonathan Shieber

After operating in stealth mode for about two years, First Resonance, a company founded by former SpaceX engineers, is finally showing the world their software toolkit designed to let manufacturers make things using the processes employed by their former boss. It’s a suite of software products that can allow for more flexible manufacturing processes and […]

Pioneering CRISPR researcher Jennifer Doudna is coming to Disrupt
Jonathan Shieber

Jennifer Doudna, a woman whose work has triggered the explosion in innovation in the field of synthetic biology and has given researchers around the world a way to program and reprogram the living world, will be speaking at Disrupt in September. From her positions as the Chancellor’s Chair Professor in the University of California, Berkeley’s […]

From launch to launch: Peter Beck on building an orbital business from scratch
Devin Coldewey

Breaking into the launch industry is no easy task, but New Zealand's Rocket Lab has done it without missing a step. The company has just completed its third commercial launch of 2019, and is planning to increase the frequency of its launches until there's one a week. It's ambitious, but few things in spaceflight aren't.

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft is lost during historic lunar landing attempt
Devin Coldewey

Israel's SpaceIL almost made history today as its Beresheet spacecraft came within an ace of landing on the surface of the Moon, but suffered a last minute failure during descent. Israel missed out on the chance to be the fourth country to make a controlled lunar landing, but getting 99 percent of the way there is still an extraordinary achievement for private spaceflight.

Max Q: Rocket Lab unveils Neutron, plus more private space station news
Aria Alamalhodaei

Hello and welcome back to Max Q! There was a TON of space news this week so I won’t ramble too much, other than to remind you that many of the people mentioned below will be at TC Sessions: Space on the 14th and 15th! That includes Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, Nanoracks’ Jeffrey Manber, and […]

NASA’s VIPER lunar rover will hunt water on the Moon in 2022
Devin Coldewey

NASA is looking for liquid gold on the Moon — not oil, but plain-old water. If we’re going to have a permanent presence there, we’ll need it, so learning as much as we can about it is crucial. That’s why the agency is sending a rover called VIPER to the Moon’s south pole — its […]

NASA taps SpaceX, Blue Origin and 11 more companies for Moon and Mars space tech
Darrell Etherington

NASA has selected 13 companies to partner with on 19 new specific technology projects it’s undertaking to help reach the Moon and Mars. These include SpaceX, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin, among others, with projects ranging from improving spacecraft operation in high temperatures to landing rockets vertically on the Moon. Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin will […]

Tesseract makes spacecraft propulsion smaller, greener, stronger
Devin Coldewey

Launch vehicles and their enormous rocket engines tend to receive the lion's share of attention when it comes to space-related propulsion, but launch only takes you to the edge of space — and space is a big place. Tesseract has engineered a new rocket for spacecraft that's not only smaller and more efficient, but uses fuel that's safer for us down here on the surface.

Formant is solving the robotic Tower of Babel with a unified platform
Haje Jan Kamps

If you’re building a SaaS company or a web app, you’re not going to roll your own analytics solution — it’s specialized work with lots of edge cases, rabbit holes and, for most companies, it’s so far removed from the core platform, that it just doesn’t make sense. Formant is doing kinda-sorta the same thing […]

Realtime Robotics raises a $31M Series A
Brian Heater

Boston-based Realtime Robotics this morning announced a $31.4 million round. The funding is part of the $11.7 million Series A the company announced all the way back in late 2019. Investors include HAHN Automation, SAIC Capital Management, Soundproof Ventures , Heroic Ventures, SPARX Asset Management, Omron Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Scrum Ventures and Duke Angels. […]

Orbit Fab raises $3M to make orbital refueling easier, cheaper and more accessible
Darrell Etherington

Orbit Fab, one of the companies competing in this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield in San Francisco this week, has closed a seed round of $3 million. The funding comes from Type 1 Ventures, TechStars and others, and will help Orbit Fab continue to build on the great momentum it has already bootstrapped with its space-based […]

XYZ Robotics raises $17M for its pick-and-place logistics robots
Brian Heater

COVID-19 is proving to be a massive driver for robotics investments — and for good reason. Robots don’t call in sick, and they’re far less likely to be disease vectors than their human counterparts. Companies attempting to keep the lights on during this and potential future pandemics are no doubt taking a serious looking at […]

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 starts shipping
Frederic Lardinois

Earlier this year, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced the second generation of its HoloLens augmented reality visor. Today, the $3,500 HoloLens 2 is going on sale in the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand, the same countries where it was previously available for pre-order. […]

Hello Robot emerges out of stealth to launch a mobile robotic gripping platform for the home
Brian Heater

This is Stretch — or, more precisely, the Stretch Research Edition. The name certainly conveys the tall, skinny and minimalist design of the home helper robot. Stretch is different and somehow familiar, with a straightforward technical design that adapts a number of standard robotic elements designed to offer a versatile machine that’s capable of navigating […]

KickSat-2 project launches 105 cracker-sized satellites
Devin Coldewey

Move over, Starlink. SpaceX's global internet play might have caught the world's attention with its 60-satellite launch last month, but little did we know that it had already been upstaged — at least in terms of sheer numbers. The KickSat-2 project put 105 tiny "femtosats" into space at once months earlier, the culmination of a years-long project begun by a grad student.

Watch Apple’s WWDC keynote live right here
Romain Dillet

Today, Apple is holding a (virtual) keynote on the first day of its developer conference, and the company is expected to talk about a ton of software updates. At 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris), you’ll be able to watch the event right here as […]

Robotic exoskeleton maker Sarcos announces SPAC plans
Brian Heater

While it’s true the VC world has gone SPAC-happy, the reverse merger method hasn’t been a huge driver in robotics thus far, with some notable exceptions like Berkshire-Grey. This morning, however, Utah-based Sarcos Robotics announced plans to board the SPAC train, courtesy of Rotor Acquisition Corp. The deal could potentially value the robotic exoskeleton maker […]

Registration is open for TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020
Emma Comeau

It’s time to get your robotics fix, startup fans. That’s right, TC Sessions: Robotics & AI returns to UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on March 3, 2020. Join us for a day-long deep-dive focused on the intersection of robotics and AI — arguably two of the most exciting and world-changing technologies. Registration is now open. Save […]

LIV, a startup making VR gaming more interactive for audiences, raises $1M from Oculus founder, and Seedcamp
Steve O'Hear

LIV, a Prague-based company that wants to make VR gaming more fun to watch, and in turn bring players and spectators closer together, has picked up $1 million in funding. That’s a pretty modest raise as far as ambitious upstarts go — and LIV is certainly ambitious. However, the list of backers includes noteworthy names, […]

Boston Dynamics puts its robotic quadruped Spot up for sale
Devin Coldewey

Since the days of BigDog, the quadrupedal robots of Boston Dynamics have impressed and repelled us. But while the early, bulky robots never felt like something we’d see in real life, the company’s latest and greatest creation, Spot, is not only quite real but now for sale — in fact, some people have had them […]

Rocket Lab successfully launches rideshare rocket with two experimental USAF satellites on board
Darrell Etherington

Rocket Lab has successfully launched its eight mission, an Electron rocket rideshare flight carrying four satellites to orbit for various clients. The Electron launched from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, at 12:12 AM NZST (8:12 AM ET). This was its second attempt, after a scrub last week due to adverse weather conditions […]

What to expect from WWDC 2021
Brian Heater

All things considered, Apple put together a pretty slick all-virtual WWDC last year. Where other companies like Microsoft and Google have opted for a more live (or live-style) experience, the company was parading its execs through a series of smooth drone shots and slick transitions. And with the first year under its belt, it will […]

Path Robotics raises $56M Series B for automated welding
Brian Heater

Columbus, Ohio-based firm Path Robotics today announced the completion of a $56 million Series B. The round, led by Addition (featuring Drive Capital, Basis Set and Lemnos Lab) brings the robotic welding company’s total funding to $71 million. Adding another piece to the broader automated manufacturing puzzle, the company is focused on robotic welding. The […]

Archinaut snags $73 million in NASA funding to 3D-print giant spacecraft parts in orbit
Devin Coldewey

A project to 3-D print bulky components in space rather than bring them up there has collected a $73.7 million contract from NASA to demonstrate the technique in space. Archinaut, a mission now several years in development from Made In Space, could launch as soon as 2022.

Max Q: No (American) boots on the moon until 2025, NASA says
Aria Alamalhodaei

Hello and welcome back to Max Q! I know I said this last week, but TC Sessions: Space is right around the corner and we’d love for you to join. You can find a sneak peek of the agenda at the bottom of this post. Send tips, comments and reactions to aria.techcrunch@gmail.com. Don’t forget to […]

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