Vape lung has claimed its first victim, and the CDC is investigating

A person has died from what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speculate is a vaping-related condition. Nearly 200 other cases of varying severeness have been reported nationwide, described by the CDC as “severe unexplained respiratory systems after reported vaping or e-cigarette use.” No information was provided about the deceased other than that they were an adult living in …

Bag Week 2019: A whole bunch of fannies

It’s finally Bag Week again! The most wonderful week of the year at TechCrunch. Just in time for back to school, we’re bringing you reviews of bags of all varieties: from backpacks to rollers to messengers to… The fanny pack. Or hip pack, waist bag, belt bag, sling, crossbody and sometimes bum bag, because where you’re from, a fanny means lady …

FAA threatens $25,000 fine for weaponizing drones

It’s perfectly natural for a red-blooded American to, once they have procured their first real drone, experiment with attaching a flame thrower to it. But it turns out that this harmless hobby is frowned upon by the biggest buzzkills in the world… the feds. Yes, the FAA has gone and published a notice that drones and weapons are “A Dangerous …

Silicone 3D printing startup Spectroplast spins out of ETHZ with $1.5M

3D printing has become commonplace in the hardware industry, but because few materials can be used for it easily, the process rarely results in final products. A Swiss startup called Spectroplast hopes to change that with a technique for printing using silicone, opening up all kinds of applications in medicine, robotics, and beyond. Silicone is not very bioreactive and of …

Reliability concerns raised over pi-top’s STEM learning laptop

TechCrunch has learned of a safety issue and a number of product reliability questions being raised about a modular computer made by a London edtech startup that’s intended for children to learn coding and electronics. The product, called the pi-top 3, is a Raspberry Pi-powered laptop with a keyboard that slides out to access a rail for breadboarding electronics. A …

How Oculus squeezed sophisticated tracking into pipsqueak hardware

Making the VR experience simple and portable was the main goal of the Oculus Quest, and it definitely accomplishes that. But going from things in the room tracking your headset to your headset tracking things in the room was a complex process. I talked with Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer (“Schrep”) about the journey from “outside-in” to “inside-out.” When you move …

Hear THX’s new Deep Note right here

[embedded content] The THX Deep Note is changing and it can be heard here first. The iconic audio track has long proceeded movies certified by THX and features the now familiar crescendo that showcases the movie’s audio capability. This time around THX built the intro to feature 4k video as much as audio as it will be available to theaters …

Waxed canvas bags from Waterfield, Manhattan Portage, Saddleback and more

It’s finally Bag Week again! the most wonderful week of the year at TechCrunch. Just in time for back to school, we’re bringing you reviews of bags of all varieties: from backpacks to rollers to messengers to fanny packs. This year, like last year, I decided to focus on a specific niche in the bag community: waxed canvas. Last year …

Starship Technologies raises $40M, crosses 100K deliveries and plans to expand to 100 new universities

Starship Technologies invented the category of rolling autonomous sidewalk delivery robots, and to date, the company has made over 100,000 commercial deliveries on behalf of customers. The milestone comes as Starship adds $40 million in Series A funding, bringing its total funding to $85 million. When it announced an additional $25 million in June 2018, Starship was also piloting its …

Yubico launches its dual USB-C and Lightning two-factor security key

Almost two months after it was first announced, Yubico has launched the YubiKey 5Ci, a security key with dual support for both iPhones, Macs and other USB-C compatible devices. Yubico’s latest Yubikey is the latest iteration of its security key built to support a newer range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and MacBooks in a single device. Announced in …

WP Standard’s Weekender leather duffel is built for life

Have you heard? It’s Bag Week! It’s the most wonderful week of the year at TechCrunch. Just in time for back to school, we’re bringing you reviews of bags of all varieties: from backpacks, to rollers to messengers to fanny packs. WP Standard makes exceptional leather goods and the company’s new leather duffle is no different. It’s fantastic and my …

Sonos Bluetooth-enabled, battery-powered speaker leaks ahead of official launch

Sonos has an event coming up at the end of the month to reveal something new, but leaks have pretty much given away what’s likely to be the highlight announcement at the event: A new, Bluetooth-enabled speaker that has a built-in battery for portable power. The speaker originally leaked earlier this month, with Dave Zatz showing off a Avery official …

Ikea doubles down on smart home tech with new business unit

Ikea’s smart home investments to date have been smart but scattered – now the Swedish home goods brand says it’s going to amp up its smart home bets with a brand new dedicated business unit. The company’s smart home endeavors began in 2012, and focused on wireless charging and smart lighting. It’s iterated in both areas since, developing self-installed integrated …

Next Apple Watch could include new ceramic and titanium models

Apple’s next Apple Watch revision could include new materials for the case, including titanium and ceramic. That’s according to new assets pulled form the latest watchOS beta release, as uncovered by Brazilian site iHelp.br (via 9to5Mac). The new screens discovered in the beta show graphics used to pair the Apple Watch during setup, and list “Titanium Case” and “Ceramic Case” alongside …

Flexible stick-on sensors could wirelessly monitor your sweat and pulse

As people strive ever harder to minutely quantify every action they do, the sensors that monitor those actions are growing lighter and less invasive. Two prototype sensors from crosstown rivals Stanford and Berkeley stick right to the skin and provide a wealth of physiological data. Stanford’s stretchy wireless “BodyNet” isn’t just flexible in order to survive being worn on the …

These robo-shorts are the precursor to a true soft exoskeleton

When someone says “robotic exoskeleton,” the power loaders from Aliens are what come to mind for most people (or at least me), but the real things will be much different: softer, smarter, and used for much more ordinary tasks. The latest such exo from Harvard is so low-profile you could wear it around the house. Designed by researchers at Harvard’s …

The New Soundboks is a massive, pro-level, battery-powered Bluetooth speaker

The new Soundboks is impressive. It has everything: a sturdy housing, Bluetooth, large battery, XLR-inputs, and several methods to connect multiple Soundboks. Indoor or out, the new Soundboks sounds great. The Soundboks isn’t shy. It’s an extrovert. This speaker will stand tall among strangers and be the loudest in the room. It doesn’t try to compensate for lackluster sound with …

Oru’s new foldable kayak weighs under 20 lbs and assembles in just 2 minutes

California-based kayak maker Oru has built a great brand on the strength of its origami-inspired folding kayaks, and now it’s launching its lightest and most portable model yet with a new Kickstarter project. The Oru Inlet miraculously packs up to the size of a suitcase, weights less than 20 lbs, and can unfold and be on the water in as …

The ClockworkPi GameShell is a super fun DIY spin on portable gaming

Portable consoles are hardly new, and thanks to the Switch, they’re basically the most popular gaming devices in the world. But ClockworkPi’s GameShell is something totally unique, and entirely refreshing when it comes to gaming on the go. This clever DIY console kit provides everything you need to assemble your own pocket gaming machine at home, running Linux-based open-source software …

$600M Cray supercomputer will tower above the rest — to build better nukes

Cray has been commissioned by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to create a supercomputer head and shoulders above all the rest, with the contract valued at some $600 million. Disappointingly, El Capitan, as the system will be called, will be more or less solely dedicated to redesigning our nuclear armament. El Capitan will be the third “exascale” computer being built by …

Snap introduces Spectacles 3, with two HD cameras and 3D effects on Snapchat

Snap has introduced a third generation of its Spectacles wearable sunglass cameras, and these include new 3D effects for use in Snapchat. You can capture 3D snaps, with a slight side-to-side depth effect thanks to dual angle cameras; 3D filters, which add AR graphics effects to captured video; 3D lenses, which add stickers and characters to your Snaps; and 3D …

Tesla explodes after crash on Russian highway

A Tesla vehicle involved in a collision burst into flames and exploded on a highway near Moscow last night, local media reported. The occupants were slightly injured, but the car is toast. The model of the car is not clear from reporting, but seems to be either a Model S or Model 3. It was being driven by a 41-year-old …

This charming little camera prints instantly to receipt paper

I’m a big instant camera fan, but the film is expensive and the digital printers just aren’t very good. So I was delighted to see this alternative seeking funds on Kickstarter: the Alulu camera, which prints photos in black and white on receipt paper. Why did no one do this before? The idea is so simple that you’ve already gotten …

Trump administration bans federal agencies from buying Huawei, ZTE tech

The Trump administration has banned U.S. federal agencies from buying equipment and obtaining services from Huawei and two other companies as part of the government’s latest crackdown on Chinese technology amid national security fears. Jacob Wood, a spokesperson for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, was quoted as saying that the administration will “fully comply” with the legislation …