Hiranmaya Mishra

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Sharp's ultra-cute RoboHon robot phone goes on sale next month for $1,800

RoboHon, Sharp's dubiously useful but definitely adorable phone that walks around on two legs and projects you happy images when you're sad and alone in your bedroom, is actually making its way to market. Sharp announced today that the phone / robot / thing will see release on May 26th in Japan, …

Google.org donates $20M to improve tech for the disabled

Funding 3D-printed prosthetics, audio directions for the blind, and more<p>Google's charitable arm, Google.org, has awarded $20 million in grants to nonprofits around the world developing open-source technology that helps disabled people. The company launched its Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities …

Siri has even more hidden 'Game of Thrones' puns up her sleeve

LONDON — Turns out Siri is a massive <i>Game of Thrones</i> fan.<p>We learned earlier in the week that Siri has some entertaining responses to the question "Is …

Google's Safe Browsing to defeat deceptive download buttons and ads

<b>Update, April 13:</b> Google has finally stepped up it’s Chrome Safe Browsing game, by actually delivering on the claims it laid out two months ago. The original post on the Google Blog from early February has been reposted, but this time what Google claims is meant to happen, actually happens. See …

Social Issues

You looking at me? Vyking launches video ad that reacts to your facial expression

Your tolerance for watching video ads online may vary, but how would you feel if the video ad watched you back? That’s the premise of a new ad unit from Berlin-based ad tech startup Vyking.<p>Dubbed ReactivAds, the new suite of interactive video ad formats promises to leverage “emotion, facial and …

Interactive Video

Meet Meucci, the startup that raised $6M for a group calling app that works on cellular networks

A new startup has launched this month with one <i>raison d’être</i>: to make group calling easier and more accessible on mobile phones.<p>Available for Android and iOS, Meucci works like other messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, insofar as you register for the service with your mobile phone number, and then you …

Telecoms

Shopify acquires Kit, the artificially intelligent marketing bot

We’re standing on the edge of the chatbot revolution, and I’m reminded of how I felt when those first apps hit the store in 2007. Only this time, the apps talk back.<p>And following its announcement at Facebook’s F8 developer conference yesterday — where it became the first commerce platform to …

OpenGov acquires Ontodia to add open-sourced data to its civic intelligence platform

After raising $25 million in additional funding in October, civic technology specialist OpenGov — the startup co-founded by Palantir’s Joe Lonsdale that works with government organizations to collate, analyse and publicly present financial and other data — today announced its first acquisition. To …

This tech company is giving its employees a half-day vacation so they can sleep-in after 'Game of Thrones'

The Season 6 premiere of "Game of Thrones" airs on April 24 at 2 a.m. in the UK to coincide with the broadcast of the show in the US.<p>Sharing a screenshot on LinkedIn of the company's online employee handbook, +rehabstudio operations director Emma Willis wrote:<p>When your company slips you an extra …

ESPN to Broadcast Drone Racing

Ladies and gentleman, start your drones.<p>ESPN announced Wednesday that it will broadcast the National Drone Racing Championships in New York in August …

Logitech buys Jaybird for $50 million

If you already make killer audio products, do you think spending $50 million on a headphone firm is a good idea? It is you're Logitech's management, which just cut a check for that amount to buy sports audio outfit Jaybird. Much like Ultimate Ears, Jaybird will remain an independent subsidiary of …

Snapchat now has emoji stickers that move with your videos

Snapchat videos just got even more interesting with new emoji stickers, which you can attach to objects and move with them, changing size and even …

Oracle is donating $200 million to Obama's program to teach kids computer science

The White House announced the program last January. The goal is to turn computer science into a regular subject taught at American schools from kindergarten through high school.<p>The plan called for a $4 billion budget for states and $100 million budget directly for school districts to train teachers …

Computer Science

A paralyzed man can now use a computer to move his arm

Ian Burkhart relished his independence as much as any other college freshman. But after a diving accident on a beach vacation with friends, he lost his ability to take care of himself at even a basic level. Burkhart broke his neck and damaged his spinal cord in a way that left him with limited …

Nonprofits

Now you can play Flappy Bird on an e-cigarette: Puff, puff, flap

Kiss your productivity goodbye. Flappy Bird has flown onto vapes and that little electronic bird will claim your soul.<p>In early 2014, it seemed like at least half the world was addicted to a simple free smartphone game that involved piloting a bird around obstacles. That description belies Flappy …

Birdwatching

Veteran Apple designer leaves for GoPro to be VP of Design

Longtime Apple industrial designer Danny Coster is joining GoPro. Coster had worked at Apple since the early 1990s, and helped Apple re-establish itself after Steve Jobs returned. Now he has to do that to GoPro. GoPro’s stock popped on the news and is trading up on the day.<p>The news comes from The …

Tinder Now Lets You Play Matchmaker with Your Co-workers

What could possibly go wrong?<p>Last month, Tinder announced it would add a share button, letting you send the profile of someone you saw on the dating app to a friend, for their approval or to try to set them up. Now, it appears that the sharing button has made its debut in at least one market: New …

Apps

Why J.J. Abrams is betting on 'immersive cinema' with Star Trek Beyond

Barco Escape is going to make the Enterprise really, really wide<p>Over the past few years movie theaters have been eagerly rolling out new technologies to get people back into theaters, ranging from 3D and laser projectors, to shaking seats that shoot water at your face. This week J.J. Abrams’ …

Verily, Alphabet's medical business, is profitable, Sergey Brin tells Googlers

The unit once called Google Life Sciences is making money on a "cash basis."<p>Publicly, Alphabet has said very little about its assortment of companies not named Google.<p>But internally, Alphabet is a <i>little</i> more forthcoming.<p>As we reported earlier, Nest CEO Tony Fadell appeared before Google’s all-hands …

Profit

Tech giants are scrambling to get their hands on the 'hottest commodity on the planet'

Driven by the rise of battery gigafactories and game-changing Powerwall and energy storage businesses, the world now finds itself at the beginning of a lithium super cycle that is all about securing new supply, much of which is poised to come from lithium superstar Argentina.<p>We have Tesla in the …

Obama appoints execs from MasterCard, Uber, and Microsoft to cybersecurity panel

As well as former NSA director Keith Alexander<p>The White House today released a list of names President Barack Obama will appoint to his new Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. The panel, established this year as part of Obama's $19 billion proposal to tighten defenses against hacking …

Drop Google Drive files and GIFs into your Yahoo emails

Yahoo's been busy bulking up its Mail app and its latest feature follows their strategy to play nice with other email and service providers. Now you can include files from Google Drive and even drop in Tumblr GIFs.<p>Yahoo's playing catch up with email features, considering Gmail has had Drive …

You can now design a $250,000 tiny house on an app and get it delivered in months

Becoming a tiny house homeowner is now as easy as tapping away at an iPad.<p>Blu Homes, a California-based prefab home manufacturer, just launched a new line of micro houses that shoppers can customize on an app and get delivered to their property in a matter of months.<p>The cost starts at $250,000, …

Vine for iOS updated w/ new ‘Watch’ button for easily watching all of the videos on a channel

Popular short-form video sharing service Vine has today announced a new feature that avid users of the service could appreciate. In a blog post, the Twitter-owned service announced that there is now a “Watch” button on all Vine channels that allows viewers to seamlessly view all of the content from …

Social Media

Facebook is introducing a new prototyping tool, Origami Studio

Facebook has a new tool for designers, and it’s meant to make prototyping apps much faster and easier than your current workflow.<p>Origami Studio is native for OS X, and uses current technology like Core Animation for stability and speed. Facebook also built Origami Studio to feel like Sketch or …

Prototyping

The Location Data From Just Two Of Your Apps Is Enough To Identify You

A new report from researchers at Columbia University and Google has found that geotagged posts on just two social media apps are enough to draw a line back to a specific user.<p>SAN FRANCISCO — People using fake names on Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, or Tinder in the hope these accounts can't be …

Social Media

ESPN is bringing drone racing to TV

ESPN is taking drone racing to the masses.<p>The network on Wednesday announced it's struck a multi-year deal with The International Drone Racing …

This bored gamer hacked his ecig to play a Flappy Bird clone

Electronic cigarettes are probably not going to provide a platform for mobile games in the near future — except this one.<p>Using an eVic-VTC Mini electronic cigarette, an enterprising gamer managed to hack the personal vaporizer to play the popular mobile game Flappy Bird on the built-in OLED …

New Uber competitor is for females only

Starting April 19 in Boston, women will be able to hail a ride that may make them feel safer, the Next Web reports. In response to reported sexual assaults during Uber, Lyft, and taxi rides, Michael Pelletz launched Chariot for Women, providing ride-sharing just for women (as well as kids of any …

Sleep

UK’s Onfido raises $25M as it brings its background checking platform to the US

The rise of on-demand startups and other fast-growing businesses like online marketplaces has created a need for reliable ways to verify new hires and customers to make sure they are cut out for the task. Onfido, one of the group of startups building software-based solutions to do just that, has …