All posts in “Events”

Hungry? There’s a robot for that at TC Disrupt SF


Robotics has the potential to change the world. From jobs that are difficult or dangerous to do, to jobs that people simply don’t want to do, robotics will undoubtedly step in and fill these roles. Two such jobs are the cooking and delivery of some of our favorite comfort foods, burgers and pizzas.

Which is why we’re thrilled to announce that Miso Robotics and Zume will be joining us at Disrupt SF in September to chat about food tech. Tickets to Disrupt are available now.

Miso Robotics is the brains behind the operation, so to speak. The company helps program massive robotic arms inside kitchens to do almost any kind of prep or cooking task. To start, the company has partnered with CaliBurger to build Flippy, a robot that cooks and flips burgers, which is normally a job that involves plenty of grease burns and general discomfort.

While Flippy + CaliBurger is the company’s first installment, the potential for this type of programmed kitchen assistant is massive. There are plenty of jobs in a kitchen that are both tedious and dangerous, and Miso aims to fill that role. Interestingly, the company doesn’t actually produce and sell the robotics equipment itself, but rather the software that turns a regular old robotic arm into an instant chef.

Miso Robotics CEO and cofounder David Zito will be with us at TC Disrupt SF to talk about how Flippy’s been working out, what’s next for Miso, and the future of food tech.

Zume, a company out of Mountain View, CA, is looking to innovate in the pizza space. The company has developed a series of robots that can both prep a pizza, spreading sauce, cheese and toppings evenly, and move that pizza into the oven. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the real problem. Artisan pizza waits for no man, and even the shortest delivery times can ruin a perfectly delicious pizza.

That’s why Zume is developing a pizza truck, complete with robots, that can actually cook pizzas as it drives around. The idea here is that the Zume truck can store prepped pizzas in the back and head off for a night of delivery, only cooking the pizza once the order is placed and the driver is on the way.

Zume will be giving us an exclusive look at the pizza truck a couple weeks before the conference, but we want attendees to experience it live. On that note, we’re proud to announce that the Zume pizza truck will be on site at Disrupt SF to let you try a slice of pizza as you browse Startup Alley.

Plus, Zume cofounder and CEO Julia Collins will join Zito on our food tech panel to discuss pizzavation, robotics and food, and the future of the food delivery industry.

We’ll have a special part of Startup Alley dedicated to Robotics, as well as an “Off The Record” session on Robotics that will be exclusively available to attendees of the conference.

Tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt SF, going down from September 18 to September 20, are available now. The speaker list is already impressive and is growing by the day, and we can’t wait to see you there!

Sidenote:

Meanwhile, you can check out some of the most exciting robots from around the world on stage next week at TC Sessions: Robotics in Boston. MIT’s CSAIL lab will be on-hand, showcasing their latest work, including 3D printed, folding and ingestible robots. Attendees will also have an opportunity to check out Boston Dynamics’ Atlas humanoid robot (built in conjunction with MIT) in action, along wth MIT’s running and jumping Cheetah robot and a wearable exoskeleton from Harvard.

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Here’s what a bunch of companies are doing for the ‘Net Neutrality Day of Action’

The FCC is planning on reversing the net neutrality rules passed by the previous Commission — but we’re not going to take it lying down. Companies and organizations across the world and web have banded together for a big, showy “Day of Action” much like the SOPA/PIPA one back in 2012.

Dozens of major sites and services are in on it, and while some may just show an alert to visitors asking them to contact the FCC or their representative about the issue, others have more stuff planned. (Lots of companies will be emailing users, posting on social media and submitting their own comments to the FCC, so I won’t mention those, although they’re appreciated.)

Here’s what a bunch of well-known companies and sites are up to today — and we’ll be adding more as we see them, so check back.

Amazon Prime Day deals that don’t suck

Happy Amazon Prime Day. Sure, it’s a crass, made up holiday created with the sole purpose of fueling the cold, heartless engine of capitalism — but doesn’t that description apply to most holidays? Amazon kicked off the annual event in 2015 and managed to surpass its own Black Friday sales in that first year, thanks to some pretty deep discounts. Like Amazon itself, however, Prime Day can be a bit tricky to predict.

While the company has already previewed some deals ahead of the 30-hour event, deals are revealed all day long, in a bid to keep consumers tuned in. As such, the company’s offering up some pretty deep discounts on its own products and services, from the Echo to Audible, hoping to hook even more people into the Amazon Echo system.

Speaking of, Amazon’s also offering a number of Alexa only deals, no doubt in an attempt to make the idea of buying stuff through a talking speaker a little less foreign.

These demos show Apple ARKit’s massive potential

Apple’s latest operating system may still be chugging along through the phase of developer betas, but we’ve already been seeing a lot of the projects developers have been building for the company’s ARKit augmented reality platform for iOS.

The set of developer tools carries out the heavy-lifting of location mapping, allowing creators to focus their energies on what makes the most sense when you set out mixing the physical and digital worlds.

For now, devs are just beginning to experiment with the new medium, and it’s clear there’s a lot more to come from Apple’s early foray into the augmented reality space. Click through some of these early highlights found on the Twitter account @MadeWithARKit.

While a good deal of these align with demos that have been put on things like Microsoft’s HoloLens, the promise that soon these capabilities will be on millions of iOS devices gives developers a much larger audience (and incentive) to begin experimenting. Add in the rumors that Apple’s next generation iPhones will feature enhanced depth-sensing AR-focused camera sensor modules and things get even more interesting for the platform.

It’s worth noting that most of these apps are still in the gimmicky “wow, how neat!” sort of phase. It’s the same as when you downloaded the Zippo lighter app for your iPhone and showed it to all your friends. Where the use cases go beyond these will further define where augmented reality moves on Apple’s mobile platforms. It is clear that Apple has built a very technically sophisticated system for phone-based SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) and that its ecosystem may have a much easier time courting developers than AR platforms from Snap, Facebook and Google.

7 robots that were inspired by nature

Nature has inspired robotics since its earliest days. In 1739, French artist Jacques de Vaucanson gave the world the Digesting Duck, a surreal automaton that appeared to eat — and, yes, poop out — grain. In the middle of the 20th century, British neuroscientist William Grey Walter invented turtle and tortoise robots, so-named for their slow movement and shell shapes.

In modern robotics, biology is often view as a method for problem solving — to help modern robots move more naturally and better interact with their world. Nature’s inspiration has been wide ranging in recent robotics, from flying bats and swimming fish, to Big Dogs, to mollusks like squids and octopi, which have led to the creation of the important subcategory of soft robotics.

The biorobotics field has been booming in recent years, leading to some of the most innovating and interesting machines we’ve seen to date.