Toronto-based Bionym turned heads with its concept for wearable hardware that authenticates a user based on their heartwave signature, which could turn the whole world of digital security on its head. It’s a key tied to your person in a very intimate sense, meaning it can’t really be stolen or lost like even a current standalone unique passkey generator can.
Pebble is finally getting around to creating an official app marketplace for software devs build for its platform. The Pebble Appstore, as it will be known, is going to debut sometime early next year according to the company, and it’ll be integrated directly into the existing iPhone and Android applications for the smartwatch.
A company that was conceived less than a year ago today announced its Series B round of funding late last night, with a massive raise of $75 million to add to its existing $16 million Series A and $2.4 million in Kickstarter crowdfunding dollars. That company is Oculus Rift: A virtual reality headset dreamt up by Gaikai veteran Brendan Iribe and a team of other startup vets. With nearly $100 million invested, expectations are huge, but the company is ready to meet those expectations, Iribe tells TechCrunch, and exceed them with a vision of the future that blurs the line between the virtual and the real.
Many in the tech world and Washington have railed against the encroaching and limiting effect of patents on innovation, but when the chips are down, IP and patents remain key cornerstones in how tech companies and their founders are making sure they will be able to build their businesses and stick around for the long haul. Tony Fadell, the legendary former hardware supremo at Apple and now CEO and co-founder of new smart home device startup Nest, today revealed that Nest already had 100 patents granted, with 200 more on file with the USPTO and another 200 ready to file.
Originally based in Berlin, Deutsche Telekom’s startup accelerator Hub:raum has opened offices in Krakow, Poland. What’s more, this past weekend, fifteen teams from ten different European countries gathered in Poland’s second largest city to attend workshops in hopes of joining Europe’s newest accelerator.
Last week, the media world was abuzz with the news that e-commerce giant Amazon was experimenting with a new program dubbed “Amazon Prime Air,” which would use small automated “drone” aircraft to make customer deliveries. But while Jeff Bezos’ primetime television announcement of Amazon’s drone ambitions certainly attracted a lot of attention, it’s important to note that he is not the first person to express interest in the drone delivery space. A small Silicon Valley startup called Matternet has been developing drone delivery technology for several years now. The company’s co-founder and CEO Andreas Raptopoulos’ TED talk from this past summer about the potential to use small drones for delivery purposes has garnered more than 200,000 views since it was posted online last month — and perhaps helped to inspire Bezos himself, as Bezos used some of the same language used in Raptopoulos’ TED talk when unveiling the concept of Amazon Prime Air on 60 Minutes. One very interesting thing about Matternet is that the company believes drone delivery technology should be first used in the developing world, to deliver food, medicine, and other necessities to areas that are less accessible by car or truck. Often, consumer technologies start by serving a higher end market and trickle down to attain widespread utility — think computers, cell phones, automobiles, and the like. Matternet says its approach is to introduce drone delivery technology to the “people who need it the most,” and build the network from there. It was a pleasure to have Raptopoulos and his Matternet co-founder Paola Santana stop by TechCrunch’s San Francisco headquarters last week to talk more about how their technology is progressing, the unique technical and regulatory challenges that drones face, and their reaction to learning that Amazon is working in the space as well. Watch that in the video embedded above. And in the video embedded below, you can see footage from one of Matternet’s drone delivery pilot programs in Haiti. Matternet in Haiti from Matternet on Vimeo.