Facebook urged to give users greater control over what they see

Academics at the universities of Oxford and Stanford think Facebook should give users greater transparency and control over the content they see on its platform. They also believe the social networking giant should radically reform its governance structures and processes to throw more light on content decisions, including by looping in more external experts to […]

This project is mapping every solar panel in the country using machine learning

Renewable energy is the future, but at present no one is tracking just who’s got solar panels on their roof, in their back yard, or a shared neighborhood installation. Fortunately, solar panels generally work best when exposed to the light. That makes them easy to spot, and count, from orbit — which is just what […]

Inspired by spiders and wasps, these tiny drones pull 40x their own weight

If we want drones to do our dirty work for us, they’re going to need to get pretty good at hauling stuff around. But due to the pesky yet unavoidable restraints of physics, it’s hard for them to muster the forces necessary to do so while airborne — so these drones brace themselves against the […]

VR optics could help old folks keep the world in focus

The complex optics involved with putting a screen an inch away from the eye in VR headsets could make for smartglasses that correct for vision problems. These prototype “autofocals” from Stanford researchers use depth sensing and gaze tracking to bring the world into focus when someone lacks the ability to do it on their own. […]

Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor What does it take to be a startup that raises huge sums quickly? Not a minimalist? Startups will gladly store, manage and deliver your items CEOs of funded startups tend to be a well-educated bunch, at least when it comes to university degrees. Yes, it’s true college […]

Kaptivo looks to digitally transform the lowly whiteboard

At Kaptivo, a company that’s bringing high-tech image recognition, motion capture and natural language processing technologies to the lowly whiteboard, executives are hoping that the second time is the charm. The Cambridge, U.K. and San Mateo, Calif.-based company began life as a company called Light Blue Optics, and had raised $50 million in financing since […]

Autonomous cars could peep around corners via bouncing laser

Autonomous cars gather up tons of data about the world around them, but even the best computer vision systems can’t see through brick and mortar. But by carefully monitoring the reflected light of a laser bouncing off a nearby surface, they might be able to see around corners — that’s the idea behind recently published […]

Ultrasound could waken a sleeping smart home

The home of the future, we are assured, will be swarming with tiny sensors: security cameras, carbon monoxide detectors, speakers and everything else. Few need to be running all the time — but how do you wake them up when they’re needed if they’re off in the first place? Ultrasound. That’s the idea being pursued […]

Meet top startups from Alchemist Class 17

Yesterday Alchemist Accelerator, best known for working with enterprise startups, held its 17th demo day at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. Twenty-four startups pitched ideas ranging from personalized genomics to hard tech spinouts from Stanford’s Linear Accelerator.  Rather than expound upon all twenty-four I worked with Alchemist to bring you a […]

Historian Leslie Berlin talks about the rise of Silicon Valley

In this week’s episode of Technotopia I spoke to author and historian Leslie Berlin, writer of Troublemakers: Silicon Valleys’ Coming Of Age. Berlin is the Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University and one of the few people who can see the entire rise of SV tech culture from a researcher’s perspective. […]