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May 13th, 2016


Hyundai’s Iron Man Suit

Hyundai has created a wearable robot suit that increases users’ strength, which could make it ideal for use in factories, hospitals, or by the military. The company joins Panasonic, which manufactures similar suits for factory workers, developing leg-only robotic exoskeletons to help people walk, and Audi and BMW, which are designing products to help engineers sit in mid-air, in its quest to create a suit worthy of Iron Man.

Gettin’ down with.. McTrax?

Last month, McDonald’s stores in the Netherlands teamed up with advertising agency TBWA/Neboko and digital production agency This Page Amsterdam to create paper placemats customers could use to compose songs. The placemats fit on a McDonald’s tray and contain thin circuit boards with touchpoints that control musical effects, pairing with an app that contains samples, synths, and tempo control. Because nothing fosters creative inspiration like a juicy McRib.

McTrax Musical Placemat
McTrax Musical Placemat

Kids’ Wearable Teaches Computational Thinking

The Mover is designed to be more like a Lego project than a Fitbit—it comes disassembled, and kids can snap the components (a processor, accelerometer, magnetometer, and eight RGB LED lights) together and attach the wearable to a slap bracelet or backpack. Then, kids can program the lights to respond to the sensors using desktop software.

+ The ReliefBand, due to be unveiled at CES 2017, electrically stimulates the T6 acupuncture point on the wrist to prevent motion sickness.

GoPro Enters the VR Market

Currently available only to industry professionals, GoPro’s new Odyssey is a stereoscopic panoramic camera rig. Sixteen synchronized HERO4 Black cameras in one rig shoot 8K30 video that can be uploaded from each camera to the Jump assembler for an amazing VR viewing experience.


Hitachi Will Invest $2.8b in IoT

In addition to announcing a $2.8 billion investment in Internet of Things technology over the next three years, Hitachi is launching Lumada, an IoT platform, and creating an IoT business unit, the Hitachi Insight Group, in the U.S.

Microchip Technology to Buy Atmel

In another big move toward the consolidation of the semiconductor industry, Microchip Technology is purchasing Atmel for $3.6 billion. The company estimates that the deal will create $170 million in cost savings and revenue growth in the year that begins April 18, 2017.

Not So Peachy After All

Peachy Printer, a $100 resin printer that was poised to open the world of additive printing to newbies and hobbyists, raised $650k on Kickstarter, only to have half the money embezzled by the company’s financial manager. Bad news for project backers and potentially Kickstarter’s image.

Peachy Printer, marketed as the most affordable $100 3D printer
Peachy Printer, marketed as the most affordable $100 3D printer

Crowdfunded Investing in Startups

On May 16, equity crowdfunding will be open to everyone, not just accredited or wealthy investors. Wefunder is one of several platforms that facilitate crowdfunded investing, allowing entrepreneurs to raise up to $1 million in funds from individuals, many of whom will have their first opportunity to get in on the startup action.

Apple Invests $1B in Chinese Uber Competitor

On Thursday, Apple announced its $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing, which supports theories that the company may be trying to break into the services market as sales of the iPhone level off.

+Uber rivals Lyft, Didi Kuadi, Ola, and GrabTaxi have created a strategic partnership to collaborate on technology and services.

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