Agtech startup Imago AI is using computer vision to boost crop yields

Presenting onstage today in the 2018 TC Disrupt Berlin Battlefield is Indian agtech startup Imago AI, which is applying AI to help feed the world’s growing population by increasing crop yields and reducing food waste. As startup missions go, it’s an impressively ambitious one. The team, which is based out of Gurgaon near New Delhi, is using computer vision and …

Spike Diabetes applies social pressure to keep patients safe

It can be tough for diabetes patients to keep a constant eye on their glucose levels. Spike Diabetes lets family and doctors lend a hand by sending them real-time alerts about the patient’s stats. And the app’s artificial intelligence features can even send helpful reminders or suggest the most diabetes-friendly meals when you walk into a restaurant. Today onstage at …

Looking back at Readdle’s journey from zero to hero

Readdle launched its first app on the App Store ten years ago and recently celebrated 100 million downloads. Readdle’s Denys Zhadanov came to TechCrunch Disrupt to look back at the past ten years. “I think it’s about timing. Back in 2007 when the iPhone was launched for the first time, there was no app or no App Store,” Zhadanov said. …

Plex teams with TIDAL to bring a discounted streaming music subscription to its media app

Media center app Plex today announced a partnership with streaming music service TIDAL, offering discounted access to TIDAL’s 60 million tracks and 244,000+ music videos for Plex Pass subscribers. The Plex Pass is the media center app’s own subscription program, which adds support for watching and recording from live TV as well as other premium features and advanced controls. Now, …

Rolling, hopping robots explore Earthly analogs of distant planets

Before we send any planet-trotting robot to explore the landscape of Mars or Venus, we need to test it here on Earth. Two such robotic platforms being developed for future missions are undergoing testing at European Space Agency facilities: one that rolls, and one that hops. The rolling one is actually on the books to head to the Red Planet …

Robotic Exoskeleton company Roam raises a $12 million Series A

Bay Area-based robotic exoskeleton company Roam announced this morning that it has secured a $12 million series A. The round, led by Yamaha Motors, with investments from Boost VC, Heuristics Capital Partners, Menlo Ventures, R7 Partners, Spero Ventures, Valor Equity Partners and Venture Investment Associates, brings the company’s total funding up to around $15 million. Investors are understandably bullish on …

Facebook exempts news outlets from political ads transparency labels

Facebook pissed off journalists earlier this year when it announced that ads run by news publishers to promote their articles involving elected officials, candidates, and national issues would have to sport “paid for by…” labels and be included alongside political campaign ads in its ads transparency archive, albeit in a separate section. The News Media Alliance representing 2000 newspapers including …

Germany’s competition regulator to investigate Amazon’s marketplace

Germany’s competition regulator (Bundeskartellamt) is opening an investigation against Amazon . In particular, the regulator is going to look at the relationship between Amazon and third-party sellers on the platform. “Its double role as the largest retailer and largest marketplace has the potential to hinder other sellers on its platform,” Bundeskartellamt president Andreas Mundt wrote in the announcement. “Because of …

Asana, a work management platform, nabs $50M growth round at a $1.5B valuation

Asana, a service that teams and individuals use to plan and track the progress of work projects, is doubling down on its own project: to shape “the future of work,” in the words of co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz. The startup, whose products are used by millions of free and paying users, today is announcing that it has raised another …

Check out Prague’s Old Town in this 405 gigapixel photo

Jeffrey Martin takes massive panoramic photographs of the world and his photos let you go from from the panoramic to the intimate in a single mouse swipe. Now he’s truly outdone himself with a 900,000 pixel wide photo of Prague’s Old Town that took six months to build. The photo, viewable here, has a total spherical resolution of 405 gigapixels …

Spin Analytics automates credit risk modeling for banks

Meet Spin Analytics, a startup that wants to leverage artificial intelligence to automatically write credit risk modeling regulation reports. The company is participating in Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. If you work for a big bank, you know how painful it can be to launch a new product. Every time you start selling a new asset, you need to …

The Coinmine One is a box that mines crypto at home

For $799 you can start mining cryptocurrencies in your home, a feat that previously either required a massive box costing thousands of dollars or, if you didn’t actually want to make any money, a Raspberry Pi. The Coinmine One, created by Farbood Nivi, soundly hits the sweet spot between actual mining and experimentation. The box is about as big as …

Easyship, a Stripe for global e-commerce shipping, raises $4M

Easyship, a Hong Kong-based startup that aims to make international shipping for e-commerce as easy as payments, has closed a $4 million Series A round. The company was founded in 2015 by former Lazada duo Tommaso Tamburnotti and Augustin Ceyrac, and ex-banker Paul Lugagne Delpon. From their time with Lazada, the then-Rocket Internet -owned e-commerce site in Southeast Asia that was …

Revolut is ready to launch in Singapore and Japan

Fintech startup Revolut has been teasing Asian market expansions for more than a year, but it sounds like it might finally happen. The company has secured licenses to operate in Singapore and Japan. It now expects to launch its service in Q1 2019. In Singapore, the company was granted a Remittance License by the Monetary Authority and a Stored Value …

Facebook staff discussed selling API access to apps in 2012-2014

Following a flopped IPO in 2012, Facebook desperately brainstormed new ways to earn money. An employee of unknown rank sent an internal email suggesting Facebook charge developers $250,000 per year for access to its platform APIs for making apps that can ask users for access to their data. Employees also discussed offering Tinder extended access to users’ friends’ data that …

DJI Osmo Pocket first look

truly pocket-sized 4K-resolution camera, this Osmo is tailor-made for people who love to shoot and share without worrying about shake. The little 4K-resolution shooter is on a three-axis gimbal like those found on the company’s drones for smooth-looking shots. Combined with a long list of shooting options, this is a lot of camera for $350. Subscribe to CNET: https://www.youtube.com/user/cnettv Check …

India’s Drivezy raises $20M for its on-demand vehicle rental service

It’s been a year for on-demand services in India. Drivezy today became the latest to refuel after it raised a $20 million Series B. The round was led by existing investor Das Capital, with participation from automotive giant Yamaha, Axan Partners and IT-Farm. The deal takes Drivezy, which was formerly known as JustRide, to $31 million raised to date. In addition, the startup has also inked …

The 3:59, Ep. 496

Good morning from CNET NY Studios while we record the daily news-bite podcast: The 3:59. Hangout while we cover a multitude of stories from around the tech world and then the CNET staff will take your questions and comments in the chat. Watch more episodes of 3:59 on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… Livestream: https://livestream.com/cnet/events/59… Periscope: https://www.pscp.tv/CNET/ Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/cnet Subscribe to the audio …

AWS is bringing the cloud on prem with Outposts

AWS has always been the pure cloud vendor, and even though it has given a nod to hybrid, it is now fully embracing it. Today in conjunction with VMware, it announced a pair of options to bring AWS into the datacenter. Yes, you read it correctly. You can now put AWS into your data center with AWS hardware, the same …

Amazon debuts a scale model autonomous car to teach developers machine learning

Amazon today announced AWS DeepRacer, a fully autonomous 1/18th-scale race car that aims to help developers learn machine learning. Priced at $399 but currently offered for $249, the race car lets developers get hands-on — literally — with a machine learning technique called reinforcement learning (RL). RL takes a different approach to training models than other machine learning techniques, Amazon …

Amazon Textract brings intelligence to OCR

One of the challenges just about every business faces is converting forms to a useful digital format. This has typically involved using human data entry clerks to enter the data into the computer. State of the art involved using OCR to read forms automatically, but AWS CEO Andy Jassy explained that OCR is basically just a dumb text reader. It doesn’t …

AWS announces new Inferentia machine learning chip

AWS is not content to cede any part of any market to any company. When it comes to machine learning chips, names like Nvidia or Google come to mind, but today at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, the company announced a new dedicated machine learning chip of its own called Inferentia. “Inferentia will be a very high throughput low-latency, sustained performance …

How to stop climate catastrophe | What the Future

We run down technological advancements and policy proposals aimed at mitigating catastrophic climate change. Plus, an ion-thruster engine straight out of a sci-fi movie. And finally, NASA’s newest Mars lander has touched down on the red planet and is already sending back pictures. Subscribe to CNET: https://www.youtube.com/user/CNETTV CNET playlists: https://www.youtube.com/user/CNETTV/playlists Download the new CNET app: https://cnet.app.link/GWuXq8ExzG Like us on Facebook: …

AWS launches a managed blockchain service

It was only a year ago that AWS CEO Andy Jassy said that he wasn’t all that interested in blockchain services. Clearly something has changed over the course of the last year because today, the company is launching two new blockchain services: Quantum Ledger Database and Amazon Managed Blockchain. As the name implies, AWS Managed Blockchain is a managed blockchain …

YouBionic adds creepy hands to SpotMini, the creepy robot dog

[embedded content] If you’ve ever wanted to add creepy, 3D-printed hands to your creepy robot dog, YouBionic has you covered. This odd company is offering an entirely 3D-printed arm solution for the Boston Dynamics SpotMini, the doglike robot that already has an arm of its own. YouBionic is selling the $179 3D models for the product that you can print …

Facebook must police Today In, its local news digest launching in 400 cities

Facebook has a new area of its app it will have to police for fake news and biased sensationalism. Facebook is launching “Today In”, its local news aggregator it began testing in January, in 400 small to medium-sized US cities. It’s also now testing it in its first overseas spot in Australia. iOS and Android users can open the Today …

Google Fi now officially supports most Android devices and iPhones

Google is making a major move to expand the availability of its Fi wireless service. It’s been a few years since Google launched Project Fi with the promise of doing things a bit differently than the large carriers. Because it could switch between the cell networks of multiple providers to give you the best signal, the service only ever officially …