Wednesday, May 23, 2018
It’s not enough in this day and age that we have to deal with fake news, we also have to deal with fake prescription drugs, fake luxury goods, and fake Renaissance-era paintings. Sometimes all at once! IBM’s Verifier is a gadget and platform made (naturally) to instantly verify that something is what it claims to be, by inspecting it at a microscopic level.
Essentially you stick a little thing on your phone’s camera, open the app, and put the sensor against what you’re trying to verify, be it a generic antidepressant or an ore sample. By combining microscopy, spectroscopy, and a little bit of AI, the Verifier compares what it sees to a known version of the item and tells you whether they’re the same.
The key component in this process is an “optical element” that sits in front of the camera (it can be anything that takes a decent image) amounting to a specialized hyper-macro lens. It allows the camera to detect features as small as a micron — for comparison, a human hair is usually a few dozen microns wide.
At the micron level there are patterns and optical characteristics that aren’t visible to the human eye, like precisely which wavelengths of light it reflects. The quality of a weave, the number of flaws in a gem, the mixture of metals in an alloy… all stuff you or I would miss, but a machine learning system trained on such examples will pick out instantly.
For instance a counterfeit pill, although orange and smooth and imprinted just like a real one if one were to just look at it, will likely appear totally different at the micro level: textures and structures with a very distinct pattern, or at least distinct from the real thing — not to mention a spectral signature that’s probably way different. There’s also no reason it can’t be used on things like expensive wines or oils, contaminated water, currency, and plenty of other items.
IBM was eager to highlight the AI element, which is trained on the various patterns and differentiates between them, though as far as I can tell it’s a pretty straightforward classification task. I’m more impressed by the lens they put together that can resolve at a micron level with so little distortion and not exclude or distort the colors too much. It even works on multiple phones — you don’t have to have this or that model.
The first application IBM is announcing for its Verifier is as a part of the diamond trade, which is of course known for fetishizing the stones and their uniqueness, and also establishing elaborate supply trains to ensure product is carefully controlled. The Verifier will be used as an aide for grading stones, not on its own but as a tool for human checkers; it’s a partnership with the Gemological Institute of America, which will test integrating the tool into its own workflow.
By imaging the stone from several angles, the individual identity of the diamond can be recorded and tracked as well, so that its provenance and trail through the industry can be tracked over the years. Here IBM imagines blockchain will be useful, which is possible but not exactly a given.
It’ll be a while before you can have one of your own, but here’s hoping this type of tech becomes popular enough that you can check the quality or makeup of something at least without having to visit some lab.
from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8176981 https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/ibms-verifier-inspects-and-verifies-diamonds-pills-and-materials-at-the-micron-level/
from Tumblr http://ikonografico.tumblr.com/post/174175971281
Excited to announce that this year’s The Europas Unconference & Awards is shaping up! Our half day Unconference kicks off on 3 July, 2018 at The Brewery in the heart of London’s “Tech City” area, followed by our startup awards dinner and fantastic party and celebration of European startups!
The event is run in partnership with TechCrunch, the official media partner. Attendees, nominees and winners will get deep discounts to TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin, later this year.
The Europas Awards are based on voting by expert judges and the industry itself. But key to the daytime is all the speakers and invited guests. There’s no “off-limits speaker room” at The Europas, so attendees can mingle easily with VIPs and speakers.
What exactly is an Unconference? We’re dispensing with the lectures and going straight to the deep-dives, where you’ll get a front row seat with Europe’s leading investors, founders and thought leaders to discuss and debate the most urgent issues, challenges and opportunities. Up close and personal! And, crucially, a few feet away from handing over a business card. The Unconference is focused into zones including AI, Fintech, Mobility, Startups, Society, and Enterprise and Crypto / Blockchain.
We’ve confirmed 10 new speakers including:
Eileen Burbidge, Passion Capital
Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Seedcamp
Richard Muirhead, Fabric Ventures
Sitar Teli, Connect Ventures
Nancy Fechnay, Blockchain Technologist + Angel
George McDonaugh, KR1
Candice Lo, Blossom Capital
Scott Sage, Crane Venture Partners
Andrei Brasoveanu, Accel
Tina Baker, Jag Shaw Baker
How To Get Your Ticket For FREE
We’d love for you to ask your friends to join us at The Europas – and we’ve got a special way to thank you for sharing.
Your friend will enjoy a 15% discount off the price of their ticket with your code, and you’ll get 15% off the price of YOUR ticket.
That’s right, we will refund you 15% off the cost of your ticket automatically when your friend purchases a Europas ticket.
So you can grab tickets here.
Vote for your Favourite Startups
Public Voting is still humming along. Please remember to vote for your favourite startups!
Awards by category:
The Awards celebrates the most forward thinking and innovative tech & blockchain startups across over some 30+ categories.
Startups can apply for an award or be nominated by anyone, including our judges. It is free to enter or be nominated.
What is The Europas?
Instead of thousands and thousands of people, think of a great summer event with 1,000 of the most interesting and useful people in the industry, including key investors and leading entrepreneurs.
• No secret VIP rooms, which means you get to interact with the Speakers
• Key Founders and investors speaking; featured attendees invited to just network
• Expert speeches, discussions, and Q&A directly from the main stage
• Intimate “breakout” sessions with key players on vertical topics
• The opportunity to meet almost everyone in those small groups, super-charging your networking
• Journalists from major tech titles, newspapers and business broadcasters
• A parallel Founders-only track geared towards fund-raising and hyper-networking
• A stunning awards dinner and party which honors both the hottest startups and the leading lights in the European startup scene
• All on one day to maximise your time in London. And it’s PROBABLY sunny!
That’s just the beginning. There’s more to come…
Interested in sponsoring the Europas or hosting a table at the awards? Or purchasing a table for 10 or 12 guest or a half table for 5 guests? Get in touch with:
Phone: +44 (0) 20 3239 9325
from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8176981 https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/meet-the-speakers-at-the-europas-and-get-your-ticket-free-july-3-london/
from Tumblr http://ikonografico.tumblr.com/post/174175971156
Edge Sense has always been a gimmick — but who can blame HTC for embracing a gimmick. The company’s mobile division has been struggling in recent years, so why not embrace the novelty of a squeezable side input? The tech got a bit more support when Google embraced it for the Pixel 2, renaming it Active Edge in the process.
With today’s announcement of the U12+, HTC is introducing Edge Sense 2. The company promised it would keep updating the feature, and this new flagship is starting to making it that much more compelling. The second generation doesn’t make it an essential feature, but some key additions point to how more sensors on the sides of the handset could turn it into more than just a glorified additional button for the phone.
Some of the coolest additions here are the ability for the phone to recognize which hand is holding it and adapt the interface accordingly. When held in a single hand, the feature offers up multiple options, including the ability to lock screen orientation for video viewing and squeezing to take photos or shoot video. And, that functionality is customizable, meaning users won’t get locked into a devoted Bixby button-style situation here.
Also worth noting on the Edge Sense front is that HTC has swapped out the mechanical buttons on the side of the phone, moving instead toward haptic feedback. It takes a little getting used to, but the upshot is that it helps keep the phone that much more water-resistant, and fewer moving parts means less opportunity for breakage — always a good thing.
As far as the other ways HTC is working to distinguish its latest flagship, the six-inch handset retains the “Liquid Surface” design language found on the U11. The glossy service is even more aesthetically distinct this time out, with the addition of the Translucent Blue color scheme, which offers a cloudy and colorful peek into the phone’s innards.
The camera deserves mention here, too. Granted, it’s a tough place to distinguish your handset these days, but the U12+ scored a 103 from DxOMark, which puts it ahead of the rest of the handset market, save for the Huawei P20 Pro with its ridiculous three cameras. Highlights for its two cameras include super-fast autofocus and HDR Boost 2 for improved images in poor lighting conditions.
HTC’s made a point of upping its game on the audio front, and that continues here with loud built-in speakers and a pair of active noise-cancelling earbuds. Inside is a Snapdragon 845, coupled with 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. All in all, it’s looking like a solid handset.
There’s no notch on the screen this time out, but the company implied in a meeting that that’s something likely to arrive on the next-gen flagship. The phone goes up for pre-order today and will start shipping early next month. No word on pricing yet, but HTC tells me it won’t be “dramatically different” than its predecessor.
from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8176981 https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/edge-sense-is-starting-to-come-into-its-own-with-htcs-u12/
from Tumblr http://ikonografico.tumblr.com/post/174175970996
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
In a typical team scenario, a Dropbox user shared a file with a team member for review or approval. If they wanted to check the progress of this process, the only way to do it up until now was to send an email or text message explicitly asking if the person looked at it yet — not a terribly efficient workflow.
Dropbox recognized this and has built in a fix in the latest mobile release. Now users can can simply see who has looked at or taken action on a file directly from the mobile application without having to leave the application.
In addition, those being asked to review files can see those notifications right at the top of the Home screen in the mobile app, making the whole feedback cycle much more organized.
Joey Loi, product manager at Dropbox says this is a much more streamlined way to understand activity inside of Dropbox. “With this feature, we think about the closing loop on collaboration. At its heart, collaboration is feedback flows. When I change something on a file, there are a few steps before [my co-worker] knows I’ve changed it,” Loi explained. With this feature that feedback loop can close much faster.
The company also changed the way it organizes and displays files putting the files that you opened most recently at the top of the Home screen, which is somewhat like Recents in Google Drive. It also provides a way to favorite a file and puts those files that are most important at the top of the list, making it easier to find the files that are likely most important to you more quickly when you access the mobile app.
Finally you can now drag and drop a file from an email into a Dropbox folder in a mobile context.
While none of these individual updates are earth shattering changes by any means, they do make it easier for users to access, share and work with files in Dropbox on a mobile device. “All the features are to help teams collaborate and be efficient on mobile,” Loi said.
from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8176981 https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/22/dropbox-beefs-up-mobile-collaboration-in-latest-release/
from Tumblr http://ikonografico.tumblr.com/post/174152365441
Circle Invest is one of the easiest products when you want to get started with cryptocurrencies. When Circle first launched the app, I compared it to Coinbase. And Circle is making it even easier to get started as you can just “buy the market” now.
Circle Invest started with just a handful of cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin. But now, the company has added Monero and Zcash. If you don’t know anything about cryptocurrencies, it’s hard to know where you should put your money.
That’s why Circle has created a button that lets you buy all coins available on Circle Invest, weighted depending on their respective market capitalization. The total market cap of Bitcoin is much higher than the total market cap of Zcash, so you’ll end up with more Bitcoin than Zcash.
The app only supports market orders. ACH transfers are free and you can buy instantly for transfers below $10,000 before the money arrives on Circle’s bank account.
Circle says you can expect a bit of spread between the buy and sell price, just like on other exchanges. But the company doesn’t add any fee on top of that.
Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.[gallery ids=“1643896,1643897”]
from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8176981 https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/22/circle-invest-lets-you-buy-the-cryptocurrency-market/
from Tumblr http://ikonografico.tumblr.com/post/174152365316
People really love getting their coffee more quickly. Starbucks, which has operated its own mobile payments service since 2011, is the market leader in terms of mobile payments users, beating out Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, according to a new reporter from eMarketer out this morning. However, Starbucks’ lead over Apple Pay is only a small one – in 2017, it had 20.7 million users compared with Apple Pay’s 19.7 million. And that gap will remain small this year, with 23.4 million using Starbucks’ mobile payments compared with 22 million using Apple Pay.
The wide adoption of the Starbucks mobile payment service is not only due to speed and convenience that the barcode-based payment system offers – it’s also because payments are tied to loyalty, and the Starbucks app is where customers can monitor and manage their card balance and their “star rewards.” In addition, Starbucks has the benefit of being able to offer a consistent payments experience across its stores – there’s never a question in consumers’ minds as to whether they can use its mobile payments service. They know they can.
Other mobile proximity payment services don’t have the same advantage, as many retailers still don’t offer payment terminals that support the tap-to-pay services like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
According to eMarketer’s forecast, 23.4 million people ages 14 and older will use the Starbucks app to make a point-of-sale purchase at least once every six months, compared with 22 million who will use Apple Pay, 11.1 million who will use Google Pay, and 9.9 million who will use Samsung Pay.
Those numbers will increase across the board through 2022, but the rankings will remain the same – with Starbucks then seeing 29.8 million users to Apple Pay’s 27.5 million.
However, this forecast appears to be discounting the impact of the recent expansion of Apple Pay, which will allow users to send payments to friends through iMessage. When you receive this money, it’s added to an Apple Pay Cash card in your iPhone’s Wallet, which can then be used in stores, in addition to in apps or online. This built-in payments service inside one of the largest messaging platforms could prompt more users to adopt Apple Pay, even if they hadn’t before.
Another note: it seems which services are more popular than others is also tied to how long they’ve been around.
The rankings of the various payment services wasn’t the only notable finding from eMarketer’s new report.
The analysts also found that this year, for the first time, more than 25 percent of U.S. smartphone users ages 14 and older, will have used a mobile payment service at least once every six months. The number of payments users will increase by 14.5 percent to reach 55 million by the end of 2018, the firm estimates.
But over the next several years, these top four services will see their share of the mobile payments drop, even as their user numbers grow. That’s because they’ll face increased competition from other new payment apps, including those from merchants themselves.
“Retailers are increasingly creating their own payment apps, which allow them to capture valuable data about their users. They can also build in rewards and perks to boost customer loyalty,” eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu says.
eMarketer’s forecast (paywalled) is based on an analysis of third-party data, including Forrester, Juniper Research, and Crone Consulting’s data.
from RSSMix.com Mix ID 8176981 https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/22/starbuckss-mobile-payment-service-is-slightly-outpacing-apples/
from Tumblr http://ikonografico.tumblr.com/post/174152365121