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The week’s top hardware news.
February 5th, 2016
There are so many online tutorials on how to pick a padlock that someone had to come up with a better solution for securing stuff. It comes in the form of a $29 seamless padlock called TAPP that unlocks when touched with a unique fingerprint. Users can remotely grant access to it by using an app that stores and manages up to 200 fingerprints!
Pebble Time is great in terms of design, but it doesn’t come with as many features as bulkier smartwatches do—say, fitness apps. Tylt has designed a simple case that upgrades the Pebble with a heart rate monitor (and wireless charging). It sports a $39 price for early birds on Kickstarter that might be as attractive as a slender watch.
+ a new flexible, wearable sensor can collect data from sweat.
AirVisual delivers real-time and forecast air quality data for more than 6,000 cities worldwide. Their ongoing campaign on Indiegogo promotes the Node, an air monitoring device that features a particle sensor, as well as CO2, temperature, and humidity sensors. That + big data + AI make for rather complex air quality analysis and health advice.
Magic Leap, the famous augmented reality company that doesn’t have a product yet, but promises big, announced that it has raised $793.5 million in a funding round led by Alibaba. It might be the largest “C” round in internet history. Founder Rony Abovitz kept to his highly enigmatic style in the announcement: “many whirligigs and test machines and gizmos abound these days.”
Popular company Fitbit introduced the Fitbit Alta, a $129.95 fitness tracker that’s significantly sleeker than the other models and meant to be worn more like jewelry than a gadget. This is the second fashion-forward Fitbit design, after the reveal of the Fitbit Blaze at CES in January. Looks like utility is not enough for Fitbit to cover an entire market category.
Kickstarter alum Petcube announced that it has raised $2.6 million for its first product, Petcube Camera. The startup is part of the Y Combinator Winter 2016 class, and it wants to enable us to entertain our bored pets remotely with a built-in, app-controlled laser toy.
One of the big exits of the week is Microsoft’s acquisition of the London-based startup SwiftKey, maker of the popular predictive smartphone keyboard of the same name. SwiftKey keyboard apps for Android and iOS are already used on some 300 million devices. The buyout was worth $250 million.
+ Apple might be working on long distance charging.