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Month: October 2018

Watch this little robot transform to get the job done

Robots just want to get things done, but it’s frustrating when their rigid bodies simply don’t allow them to do so. Solution: bodies that can be reconfigured on the fly! Sure, it’s probably bad news for humanity in the long run, but in the meantime it makes for fascinating research. A team of graduate students from Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania made this idea their focus and produced both the modular, self-reconfiguring robot itself and the logic that drives it. Think about how you navigate the world: If you need to walk somewhere, you sort of initiate...

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Snapchat’s PR firm sues influencer for not promoting Spectacles on Instagram

Influencer marketing could get a lot more accountable if Snapchat’s PR firm wins this lawsuit. Snapchat hoped that social media stars promoting v2 of its Spectacles camera sunglasses on its biggest competitor could boost interest after it only sold 220,000 of v1 and had to take a $40 million write-off. Instead, Snap comes off looking a little desperate to make Spectacles seem cool. Snap Inc. commissioned its public relations firm PR Consulting (real imaginative) to buy it an influencer marketing campaign on Instagram . The firm struck a deal with Grown-ish actor Luka Sabbat after he was seen cavorting with Kourtney Kardashian. Sabbat got paid $45,000 up front with the promise of another $15,000 to post himself donning Spectacles on Instagram. He was contracted to make one Instagram feed post and three Stories posts with him wearing Specs, plus be photographed wearing them in public at Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks. He was supposed to add swipe-up-to-buy links to two of those Story posts, get all the posts pre-approved with PRC, and send it analytics metrics about their performance. But Sabbat skipped out on two of the Stories, one of the swipe-ups, the photo shoots, the pre-approvals and the analytics. So as Variety’s Gene Maddaus first reported, PRC is suing Sabbat to recoup the $45,000 it already paid plus another $45,000 in damages. TechCrunch has attained a copy of...

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How the Apple Watch changed the world

In 2015 Switzerland was fucked. This blunt belief, grunted out by Apple’s Jony Ive and repeated by the media as a death knell for the watch industry, seemed to define a sad truth: that the Swiss watch was dead and Apple pulled the trigger. Now, three years and four Apple Watches later, was Ive right? Did Apple change the world? And, most importantly, did Switzerland survive? Yes, but… As you might have noticed, the Swiss watch industry is still standing. The major Swiss houses — LVMH, Richemont and Swatch Group — are seeing a major uptick in sales, especially...

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Daily Crunch: Waymo can go driverless in California

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here: 1. Waymo, take the wheel: Self-driving cars go fully driverless on California roads The Alphabet-owned company has been testing on public roads for years now. But this permit, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, allows Waymo to test these self-driving cars without a human driver behind the wheel. Waymo said its driverless test cars will initially hit the streets near its Silicon Valley headquarters, including parts of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto. 2. Facebook bans the Proud Boys, cutting the group off from its main recruitment platform We reported in August that the Proud Boys operate a surprisingly sophisticated network for getting new members into the fold via many local and regional Facebook groups. Photo Credit: Susan Watts/NY Daily News via Getty Images 3. Up close and hands-on with the new iPad Pro The new Pro, which Apple unveiled yesterday, marks what is arguably the single largest design change to the iPad line in its eight-and-a-half-year existence. 4. Facebook shares climb despite Q3 user growth and revenue The social network stumbled again in Q3, but shares climbed after its latest earnings report, thanks in part to Facebook’s $5.14 billion profit and the...

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Nomad releases a stunning wireless charging pad with Apple Watch dock

With Apple’s AirPower still missing in action, the Apple accessory ecosystem has been attempting to fill the need with similar products. Some of these third party products are better than others, and the new Base Station from Nomad looks to be the best of them all. The Base Station does two things. One, it wireless charges up to three mobile devices. Two, it charges an Apple Watch through an integrated Apple MFi-certified Magnetic Apple Watch charger. More so, it looks great. A padded leather surface covers three charging coils allowing the unit to recharge up to three devices — or one device laying horizontally across the pad. Each of the coils are Qi-certified and output at 7.5W. As for the Apple Watch, it can only be recharged using the included magnetic charger unless Apple activates Qi-compatibility through a software update. The Nomad Base Station is available now for $120. Don’t have an Apple Watch? The same charging base is available for $20 less and still supports up to three devices. Source:...

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