The canaries in a coal mine

 I’ve seen startups come and go over the years and I was particularly interested to see what happened to August Smart locks today. The company originally tapped Yves Behar to make a better smart lock, one that would meld with the sensitivities of a certain kind of smart home stylist with the high-concept, high-tech design of the Nest thermostat. The products, while beautiful, were unusable… Read More

Swedish lock giant Assa Abloy acquires smart lock maker August Home

 The smart home market continues to heat up, and the legacy giants do not want to get locked out: quite literally. This morning, Assa Abloy, the $23 billion Swedish lock giant that owns Yale and many other brands — announced that it is buying US-based smart lock maker August Home to double down on new technology. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed but we have asked both August… Read More

Robots will touch more tenderly when they wear this sensitive skin

 Robots increasingly have to interact with ordinary (that is to say, human-focused) objects and environments, and part of that is imitating the extremely delicate and complex human grip. A new type of electronic skin allows a robot to feel not just the pressure from its grip, but whether and in what direction an object is sliding or slipping. Read More

The Populele makes it fun/easy to learn the “devil’s guitar”

 As a staunch believer in non-existent superstitions I feel that the ukulele is a very dangerous, sensual instrument that could lead to the ruination of our young people and rend the very fabric of society. That said, I can now play Stand By Me on the Populele, a feat that was rendered possible by the melding of LEDs, Bluetooth, and a clever app. The Populele by Popuband is a $159 ukulele with… Read More

A messed up Google Home Mini recorded a tech reporter 24/7

 The idea of inviting an always-on recording device into our bedrooms would have once seemed beyond creepy, but now most consumers hardly give it a second thought. As Android Police reports, a small number of Google Home Mini review units given to tech reviewers malfunctioned, persistently recording audio in the background without being activated by a hotword. Read More