Swarm debuts $499 Evaluation Kit for consumers and tinkerers

Satellite connectivity company Swarm’s new product will give anyone the ability to create a messaging or Internet of Things (IoT) device, whether that be a hiker looking to stay connected off the grid or a hobbyist wanting to track the weather. The Swarm Evaluation Kit is an all-in-one product that includes a Swarm Tile, the […]

Pivot Bio rakes in $430M round D as modified microbes prove their worth in agriculture

Pivot Bio makes fertilizer — but not directly. Its modified microorganisms are added to soil and they produce nitrogen that would otherwise have to be trucked in and dumped there. This biotech-powered approach can save farmers money and time and ultimately may be easier on the environment — a huge opportunity that investors have plowed […]

Stumble-proof robot adapts to challenging terrain in real time

Robots have a hard time improvising, and encountering an unusual surface or obstacle usually means an abrupt stop or hard fall. But researchers at Facebook AI have created a new model for robotic locomotion that adapts in real time to any terrain it encounters, changing its gait on the fly to keep trucking when it […]

Holy Grail raises $2.7M seed fund to create modular carbon capture devices

The founders of Holy Grail, a two-year-old startup based in Mountain View, California, are taking a micro approach to solving the outsized problem of capturing carbon. The startup is prototyping a direct air carbon capture device that is modular and small — a departure from the dozens of projects in the U.S. and abroad that […]

Decades-old ASCII adventure NetHack may hint at the future of AI

Machine learning models have already mastered Chess, Go, Atari games and more, but in order for it to ascend to the next level, researchers at Facebook intend for AI to take on a different kind of game: the notoriously difficult and infinitely complex NetHack. “We wanted to construct what we think is the most accessible ‘grand […]

OroraTech’s space-based early wildfire warnings spark $7M investment

With wildfires becoming an ever more devastating annual phenomenon, it is in the whole planet’s interest to spot them and respond as early as possible — and the best vantage point for that is space. OroraTech is a German startup building a constellation of small satellites to power a global wildfire warning system, and will […]

Anthropic is the new AI research outfit from OpenAI’s Dario Amodei, and it has $124M to burn

As AI has grown from a menagerie of research projects to include a handful of titanic, industry-powering models like GPT-3, there is a need for the sector to evolve — or so thinks Dario Amodei, former VP of research at OpenAI, who struck out on his own to create a new company a few months […]

Engine Biosciences expands its digital drug discovery pipeline with $43M round

Drug discovery is a large and growing field, encompassing both ambitious startups and billion-dollar Big Pharma incumbents. Engine Biosciences is one of the former, a Singaporean outfit with an expert founding crew and a different approach to the business of finding new therapeutics, and it just raised $43 million to keep growing. Digital drug discovery […]

Deep Science: Robots, meet world

Research papers come out far too frequently for anyone to read them all. That’s especially true in the field of machine learning, which now affects (and produces papers in) practically every industry and company. This column aims to collect some of the most relevant recent discoveries and papers — particularly in, but not limited to, […]

Liquid Instruments raises $13.7M to bring its education-focused 8-in-1 engineering gadget to market

Part of learning to be an engineer is understanding the tools you’ll have to work with — voltmeters, spectrum analyzers, things like that. But why use two, or eight for that matter, where one will do? The Moku:Go combines several commonly used tools into one compact package, saving room on your workbench or classroom while […]