Pyka and its autonomous, electric crop-spraying drone land $11M seed round

Modern agriculture involves fields of mind-boggling size, and spraying them efficiently is a serious operational challenge. Pyka is taking on the largely human-powered spray business with an autonomous winged craft and, crucially, regulatory approval. Just as we’ve seen with DroneSeed, this type of flying is risky for pilots, who must fly very close to the ground and other obstacles, yet …

Micro-angelo? This 3D-printed ‘David’ is just one millimeter tall

3D printing has proven itself useful in so many industries that it’s no longer necessary to show off, but some people just can’t help themselves. Case in point: this millimeter-tall rendition of Michaelangelo’s famous “David” printed with copper using a newly developed technique. The aptly named “Tiny David” was created by Exaddon, a spin-off company from another spin-off company, Cytosurge, …

DJI patents an off-road rover with a stabilized camera on top

DJI is easily the leading brand when it comes to camera drones, but few companies have even attempted a ground-based mobile camera platform. The company may be moving in that direction, though, if this patent for a small off-road vehicle with a stabilized camera is any indication. The Chinese patent, first noted by DroneDJ, shows a rather serious-looking vehicle platform …

Vape lung is on the decline as CDC report fixes blame on oily additive

The CDC has issued a set of reports showing that the lung disease associated with vaping seems to be declining from peak rates, and that Vitamin E acetate seems — as speculated early on — to be the prime suspect for the epidemic. The affliction has cost at least 54 lives and affected 2,506 people across the nation. The condition …

Coral raises $4.3M to build an at-home manicure machine

Coral is a company that wants to “simplify the personal care space through smart automation,” and they’ve raised $4.3 million to get it done. Their first goal? An at-home, fully automated machine for painting your nails. Stick a finger in, press down, wait a few seconds and you’ve got a fully painted and dried nail. More than once in our …

The sorry state of AR startups in 2019

Even when Apple telegraphs its hardware strategy, it’s proving to be nearly impossible for startups to beat them. The company’s executives have been motioning interest in following their runaway success on mobile with hefty investments in augmented reality, something that has led to the rise of dozens of venture-backed startups hoping to beat Apple to the punch by creating their …

Anybody can now make HomeKit accessories

Apple has released an open-source version of the HomeKit Accessory Development Kit. You can now fork it on Github and play around with it to integrate smart home devices in the Home app and beyond. Today’s news is related to the Connected Home over IP effort, an industry-wide effort to build an open-source standard for the internet of things. Essentially, …

Gift Guide: 10 gadgets for a smarter smart home

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’re here to help! We’ll be rolling out gift guides from now through the end of December. You can find our other guides right here. When it comes to smart home stuff, once you start, it’s hard to stop. As soon as you’ve got one light that you can …

This tiny, soft robo-bug scoots with smarts and survives swats

Nature is a good source of inspiration for roboticists, but it’s rare that nature’s elegance and genius can be replicated in any real way. Still, we’re getting closer. This tiny insect-like robot is made of soft materials and weighs less than a gram, yet can move quickly and with some intelligence — and is robust enough to survive a pounding …

Cloud flaws expose millions of child watch trackers

Parents buy their children GPS-enabled smartwatches to keep track of them, but security flaws mean they’re not the only ones who can. This year alone, researchers have found several vulnerabilities in a number of child-tracking smartwatches. But new findings out today show that nearly all were harboring a far greater, more damaging flaw in a common shared cloud platform used …

Scaled Robotics keeps an autonomous eye on busy construction sites

Buildings under construction are a maze of half-completed structures, gantries, stacked materials, and busy workers — tracking what’s going on can be a nightmare. Scaled Robotics has designed a robot that can navigate this chaos and produce 3D progress maps in minutes, precise enough to detect that a beam is just a centimeter or two off. Bottlenecks in construction aren’t …

‘Plundervolt’ attack breaches chip security with a shock to the system

Today’s devices have been secured against innumerable software attacks, but a new exploit called Plundervolt uses distinctly physical means to compromise a chip’s security. By fiddling with the actual amount of electricity being fed to the chip, an attacker can trick it into giving up its innermost secrets. It should be noted at the outset that while this is not …

Google Assistant gets a customized alarm, based on weather and time

Alarm clocks were one of the most obvious implementations since the introduction of the smart screen. Devices like Lenovo’s Smart Clock and the Amazon Echo Show 5 have demonstrated some interesting features in the bedside display form factor, and Google has worked with the former to refine the experience. This morning, the company introduced a handful of features to refine …

North ending production of current Focals smart glasses to focus on Focals 2.0

Smart glasses maker North announced today that it will be ending production of its first-generation Focals glasses, which it brought to market for consumers last year. The company says it will instead shift its focus to Focals 2.0, a next-generation version of the product, which it says will ship starting in 2020. Focals are North’s first product since rebranding the …

In a first, Amazon launches a battery-powered portable Echo speaker in India

After launching nearly a dozen Echo speaker models in India in two years, Amazon said on Wednesday it is adding one more to the mix that addresses one of the most requested features from customers in the nation: Portability. The e-commerce giant today unveiled the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition, a new variant in the lineup that includes a …

‘Carpentry Compiler’ turns 3D models to instructions on how to build them

Even to an experienced carpenter, it may not be obvious what the best way is to build a structure they’ve designed. A new digital tool, Carpentry Compiler, provides a way forward, converting the shapes of the structure to a step-by-step guide on how to produce them. It could help your next carpentry project get off the screen and into the …

The UniFi Dream Machine router is a great entry point for networking nerds

A few weeks ago, Ubiquiti unveiled the UniFi Dream Machine, an all-in-one networking device that combines a router, a switch with four Ethernet ports and a Wi-Fi access point for $299. It has what Ubiquiti calls an integrated cloud key that lets you control your network. I’ve been using the UniFi Dream Machine on my home network for the past …

Now even the FBI is warning about your smart TV’s security

If you just bought a smart TV on Black Friday or plan to buy one for Cyber Monday tomorrow, the FBI wants you to know a few things. Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected televisions as a cord-cutter’s dream. …

Gift Guide: Photography accessories for the shutterbug in your life

Looking for some gift ideas for the photographer in your life? Look no further. Though shooters amateur and professional tend to take care of their own needs pretty well, there are plenty of things you can given them that they’ll appreciate. But you might have to be ready to spend a bit — people don’t pick up this hobby because …

This robot scientist has conducted 100,000 experiments in a year

Science is exciting in theory, but it can also be dreadfully dull. Some experiments require hundreds or thousands of repetitions or trials — an excellent opportunity to automate. That’s just what MIT scientists have done, creating a robot that performs a certain experiment, observes the results, and plans a follow-up… and has now done so 100,000 times in the year …

Xiaomi’s Q3 earnings report shows slowing growth

Xiaomi, the world’s fourth largest smartphone vendor, on Wednesday reported a 3.3% revenue growth (QoQ) in the quarter that ended in September. While the results fell largely in line with analysts’ expectations, a drastic drop in the company’s growth underscores some of the struggles that handset makers are facing as they shift to services to make up for dwindling smartphone …

Disney’s cringe-worthy Baby Yoda merch goes on sale

Who could have guessed an adorable, big-eyed baby Star Wars alien would have generated a ton of demand for toys? Apparently not Disney, which today started to sell merchandise based on The Child from new Disney+ show The Mandalorian, commonly known as “Baby Yoda”. The shirts, bags, mugs, and phone cases all feel…forced, like Disney rushed to print them on …