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Month: February 2018

Facebook’s plan to unite AR, VR and News Feed with 3D posts

Facebook’s plan to unite AR, VR and News Feed with 3D posts

What if you could digitally sculpt a 3D object and share it on Facebook, play with it in virtual reality or insert it into your world with augmented reality? Facebook is polishing up stages one and two today after debuting posts of interactive 3D models […]

Twitter updates its policy on tweets that encourage self-harm and suicide

Twitter updates its policy on tweets that encourage self-harm and suicide

Twitter, which is constantly criticized for not doing enough to prevent harassment, has updated its guidelines with more information on how it handles tweets or accounts that encourage other people to hurt themselves or commit suicide. The update follows an announcement by Twitter Safety last […]

Adecco Group acquires recruiting startup Vettery for $100M

Adecco Group acquires recruiting startup Vettery for $100M



The Adecco Group, a global HR services firm headquartered in Switzerland, announced today that it has acquired Vettery.

The financial terms were not disclosed, but a source with knowledge of the deal told us that the price was a little over $100 million. (It’s not clear how much of that is cash versus stock.)

We’ve reached out to the Adecco Group for confirmation and will update if we hear back. (Update: A spokesperson responded that the company isn’t sharing financial details.) A Vettery spokesperson declined to comment.

Vettery was launched in 2014. Shortly after that, co-founders Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein told me they were hoping to reinvent the traditional recruiting process. They created a marketplace where job candidates browse offers, schedule interviews with the employers that interest them and receive a signing bonus from Vettery when they take a job — all assisted by an on-staff “talent executive.”

The company says it now works with more than 4,000 employers to fill positions in IT, sales and finance. It’s raised a total of $11.9 million from investors, including Greycroft and Raine Ventures.

According to Adecco, Adcock and Goldstein will continue to lead the Vettery team.

“The acquisition of Vettery accelerates the development of the Adecco Group’s digital strategy, broadening our offering into the fast-growing digital permanent recruitment market and complementing our professional recruitment businesses,” said Adecco Group CEO Alain Dehaze in the acquisition release. “Digital innovations have the potential to transform the recruitment industry and the Adecco Group is taking the lead.”

Recent Adecco acquisitions include life sciences staffing company BioBridges and career transition firm Mullin.

Featured Image: Vettery



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Mixer, Microsoft’s Twitch competitor, adds game sales

Mixer, Microsoft’s Twitch competitor, adds game sales

Twitch has long since allowed its streamers to generate revenue from their channels through things like subscriptions, virtual tipping and game sales. Microsoft is adopting one of those features for its own game streaming service, Mixer, with today’s launch of “Direct Purchase.” The addition will […]

Mozilla and NSF awards $380K to small projects connecting the unconnected

Mozilla and NSF awards $380K to small projects connecting the unconnected

The FCC may be hard at work at “bridging the digital divide,” as Chairman Pai so frequently puts it, and the Connect America Fund II will help. But while the big players are setting up, people all over the U.S. are going without reliable internet. […]

Humans sow seeds of destruction by abusing poor robot just trying to walk through a door

Humans sow seeds of destruction by abusing poor robot just trying to walk through a door



You may remember last week that Boston Dynamics’ latest robot, a trim and yellow Spot Mini, has learned to open doors. Seems like at this point you don’t want to anger them. They will find you. Or rather, they’ll find the company’s designated robot abuser and punish him for stopping poor robots from doing what they have been told to do. Soon Spot Mini will not be the one on a leash.

Of course this is necessary testing for when the robot actually has to navigate a busy environment and this kind of interference comes up, deliberate or accidental. A robot has to be able to bounce back, of course; if it freaks out when anything unexpected happens, it won’t be able to accomplish much.

All the same, it’s excruciating to watch, at least for me. It’s just trying so hard and it doesn’t get angry at the man, even when its piece falls off!

Perhaps robots will be superhuman in patience as well as door-opening ability. Let’s hope so. I kicked a Spot Mini once at its creator’s invitation and if any machines are reading this, I’m sorry.

Featured Image: Boston Dynamics



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College for the 21st century

College for the 21st century

When I was in college, one of the iconic Yale experiences was visiting the Yankee Doodle — a greasy spoon at the corner of York and Elm Streets — and taking the Doodle Challenge. The Doodle Challenge involved eating as many burgers as quickly as […]

Poor cloud security let hackers mine cryptocurrency on Tesla’s dime

Poor cloud security let hackers mine cryptocurrency on Tesla’s dime

The strange new breed of malicious cryptocurrency miners spares no one, it seems: Tesla is the latest to be struck by this trendy form of hackery. A poorly secured cloud computing setup let them waltz right in. It’s only the latest example of several detected […]

6D.ai is building AR tech that crowdsources a 3D mesh of the world

6D.ai is building AR tech that crowdsources a 3D mesh of the world


The problems that augmented reality startups aim to solve often could seem pretty trivial.

Just as the HBO show Silicon Valley skewered the industry’s obsession with placing digital mustaches precisely on people’s faces, the problem of allowing multiple phones to know where exactly your coffee table is could seem pretty laughable. But with augmented reality, things can get complicated and consequential rather quickly.

6D.ai, a young startup emerging from Oxford University’s Active Vision Lab, is aiming to use smartphone cameras to build a cloud-based, crowd-sourced three-dimensional map of the world that will let app developers expand their sights and let users gather some actual utility from phone-based AR built on top of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore platforms. What’s more interesting is that all of this can be done in the background so that while users are playing an AR game with a passive camera feed — something similar to Pokémon GO — they could also be gathering rich 3D data of the environments that they’re navigating through.

“One of the big things holding back engaging AR is for that content to feel like it’s actually physically part of the world,” CEO Matt Miesnieks told TechCrunch in an interview. “To really make that effect possible, you need to have a 3D model of at least your room, if not the whole world.”

An early demo of 6D.ai live mapping technology running on an iPhone with an external depth sensor.

Miesnieks has been investing in AR startups as a partner at SF-based SuperVentures after having worked in the industry leading an AR R&D team at Samsung and co-founding the AR startup Dekko. Last summer, Miesnieks came across fellow 6D.ai co-founder Victor Prisacariu’s work at Oxford University and decided that there was a company to be started. The team of 7 employees now includes Altspace VR co-founder Bruce Wooden who just came on as the company’s head of developer relations.

What 6D.ai has built ends up functioning a bit like a Waze for AR, using smartphone cameras to build a cloud-based map of the world’s three-dimensional data that will supercharge augmented reality content in a way that could actually make it useful to people.

Your phone’s memory will be able to store the three-dimensional geometry of around 100 meters in walking distance, while the on-device storage can hold city blocks of information. This means that as more and more devices running 6D.ai’s engine hit the streets, a web of phones will begin building up a cloud map of the world’s ground-level three-dimensional data. As other users stumble upon areas that have previously been mapped, 6D.ai will download that information and allow the new user to further refine the precision of the 3D model while pushing 3D interactions further into the distance than their devices can sense.

When you’re talking about a service that could literally have access to a 3D map of the inside of your home, there’s more than a little reason to be concerned about privacy needs. It’s not quite Dark Knight levels, but as more and more developers utilize the API, 6D.ai will build an incredibly powerful three-dimensional perspective of the world.

“We’re very conscious of the potentials for abuse,” Miesnieks says. “So one straight up rule is that you’re not going to be able to get access to data about a place unless you are physically in that place so I can’t download your home unless you’ve physically invited me into your home and I’m there already.”

6D.ai co-founder Victor Prisacariu giving a recent demo to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The use cases of such a technology expand far beyond phone-based AR, Miesnieks says that the company has also been talking with drone-manufacturers and robotics companies as well.

With all this additional 3D data available on the device, other technical problems facing AR become a lot easier to handle as well. What makes multiplayer AR gaming so difficult is that both phones generally have needed to be seeing the world from the same vantage point in order to sync up, meaning you literally would need to put a phone next to another user’s to sync up your maps before starting up a joined game or app.



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Watch Jessica Jones grapple with being a hero in Netflix’s Season 2 trailer

Watch Jessica Jones grapple with being a hero in Netflix’s Season 2 trailer

Netflix’s Jessica Jones is coming back for its second streaming season very soon, and there’s a new trailer you can watch to whet your appetite for the Marvel superhero show. This season looks like it picks up right where the last one left off (it […]