Category: carnegie mellon university

May 31, 2019 Off

Diving deep into Africa’s blossoming tech scene

By Jill T Frey

Jumia may be the first startup you’ve heard of from Africa. But the e-commerce venture that recently listed on the NYSE is definitely not the first or last word in African tech.

The continent has an expansive digital innovation scene, the components of which are intersecting rapidly across Africa’s 54 countries and 1.2 billion people.

When measured by monetary values, Africa’s tech ecosystem is tiny by Shenzen or Silicon Valley standards.

But when you look at volumes and year over year expansion in VC, startup formation, and tech hubs, it’s one of the fastest growing tech markets in the world. In 2017, the continent also saw the largest global increase in internet users—20 percent.

If you’re a VC or founder in London, Bangalore, or San Francisco, you’ll likely interact with some part of Africa’s tech landscape for the first time—or more—in the near future.

That’s why TechCrunch put together … Read the rest

May 2, 2019 Off

CMU uses knitting machines to make soft robots that hug

By Jill T Frey

Perhaps people fear robotics and automation simply because they’re not cuddly enough. It’s certainly an under-explored aspect in the growing field of soft robotics. A team at Carnegie Mellon is taking on the challenge by creating soft robots with knitting machines.

Cuddliness aside, the real goal here is to design robotic form factors that are lower cost, less dangerous and in some cases even wearable. The team is designing an automated process that adds tendons, which can connect to harder motors, in order to create movement. Examples include, no joke, “stuffed figures that give hugs when poked in the stomach and even a sweater with a sleeve that moves on its own.”

Down the road, the research could lead to more serious soft robotics created with commercial knitting machines designed to produce garments.

“We have so many soft objects in our lives and many of them could be made interactive … Read the rest