Category Archives: SCI-TECH

Markforged raises $82 million for its industrial 3D printers

3D printer manufacturer Markforged has raised another round of funding. Summit Partners is leading the $82 million Series D round with Matrix Partners, Microsoft’s Venture Arm, Next47 and Porsche SE also participating.

When you think about 3D printers, chances are you’re thinking about microwave-sized, plastic-focused 3D printers for hobbyists. Markforged is basically at the other end of the spectrum, focused on expensive 3D printers for industrial use cases.

In addition to increased precision, Markforged can manufacture parts in strong materials, such as carbon fiber, kevlar or stainless steel. And it can greatly impacts your manufacturing process.

For instance, you can prototype your next products with a Markforged printer. Instead of getting sample parts from third-party companies, you can manufacture your parts in house. If you’re not going to sell hundreds of thousands of products, you could even consider using Markforged to produce parts for your commercial products.

If you work in an industry that requires a ton of different parts but don’t need a lot of inventory, you could also consider using a 3D printer to manufacture parts whenever you need them.

Markforged has a full-stack approach and controls everything from the 3D printer, software and materials. Once you’re done designing your CAD 3D model, you can send it to your fleet of printers. The company’s application also lets you manage different versions of the same part and collaborate with other people.

According to the company’s website, Markforged has attracted 4,000 customers, such as Canon, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, General Motors, Volkswagen and Adidas. The company has shipped 2,500 printers in 2018.

With today’s funding round, the company plans to do more of the same — you can expect mass production printers and more materials in the future. Eventually, Markforged wants to make it cheaper to manufacture parts at scale …continue reading


The 9 biggest questions about Google’s Stadia game streaming service

Google’s Stadia is an impressive piece of engineering to be sure: Delivering high definition, high framerate, low latency video to devices like tablets and phones is an accomplishment in itself. But the game streaming services faces serious challenges if it wants to compete with the likes of Xbox and PlayStation, or even plain old PCs and smartphones.

Here are our nine biggest questions about what the service will be and how it’ll work.

1. What’s the game selection like?

We saw Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (a lot) and Doom: Eternal, and a few other things running on Stadia, but otherwise Google’s presentation was pretty light on details as far as what games exactly we can expect to see on there.

It’s not an easy question to answer, since this isn’t just a question of “all PC games,” or “all games from these 6 publishers.” Stadia requires a game be ported, or partly recoded to fit its new environment — in this case a Linux-powered PC. That’s not unusual, but it isn’t trivial either.

Porting is just part of the job for a major studio like Ubisoft, which regularly publishes on multiple platforms simultaneously, but for a smaller developer or a more specialized game, it’s not so straightforward. Jade Raymond will be in charge of both first-party games just for Stadia as well as developer relations; she said that the team will be “working with external developers to bring all of the bleeding edge Google technology you have seen today available to partner studios big and small.”

What that tells me is that every game that comes to Stadia will require special attention. That’s not a good sign for selection, but it does suggest that anything available on it will run well.

日本の Google マップが変わります!(近日公開予定)

Google マップは 2005 年に日本でサービスを開始して以来、さまざまな旅をしてきました。無数の道や店舗を地図に反映したり、ビルの中に入ったり航空写真を撮影したり3D 画像を追加したり富士山を登って頂上からの景色を撮影したり久慈の海女さんと海に潜ったりしました。

日本における Google マップの次のステップは、より柔軟かつ包括的なマップを皆さまに提供することです。そのために、ストリートビュー画像、交通機関を含む信頼のおける第三者機関から提供される情報、最新の機械学習技術、地域のユーザーの方々からのフィードバックなどを活用し、新しい地図を開発しました。

前述の、地域のユーザーからのフィードバックというのは、とても大事なポイントです。Google はテクノロジーを得意としますが、それぞれの場所を一番熟知している各地のユーザーから提供される情報は地図を作る上で欠かすことができません。新しい地図では、ユーザーの皆さまがより簡単にフィードバックを送れるようになり、いただいた情報を元に Google は地図を最新の情報にアップデートすることができます。情報の更新や修正が必要な場合、ぜひマップの 「フィードバックの送信」 ツールからお知らせください。


新しい Google マップはまだ公開しておりませんが、今後数週間以内に提供を開始する予定です。いつもの通勤やレストランの検索に Google マップを使う際、新しい Google マップをご覧になって皆さまが戸惑うことがないよう、早めにお知らせしています。Google は、今後も皆さまの力をお借りし、Google マップを最新かつ正確に充実させ、地域の人々、観光客など、誰もが便利に使えるサービスを提供してまいります。

Posted by Google マップ チーム <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: –> …continue reading


Automatic for the People?

Source: ACCJ Journal

Last month, I explored an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that has made my job easier: machine transcription. This month, I look at another use of AI that raised a serious question: What would happen if I had to rely on the skills and choices of a machine to get my job in the first place?

Smart Code
It’s a situation that, once upon a time, would have been pondered in the science fiction stories of Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick. Today, it is reality. As AI infiltrates every­thing from modeling climates to washing dishes, we must assess whether it brings benefits or sounds alarms.

The latter is what happened when I began reading about the use of AI to screen job candidates. Certainly, I can under­stand the benefits such automation offers companies. But on the flip side, the idea of an imper­sonal process in which my potential value is determined by “smart code” is not appealing. I also worry that diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts—something I feel requires human intuition—might be under­mined by automation.

Personal Bias
That was my first reaction. But given what I know about machine learning and un­con­scious bias, I wanted to ask experts about the true pros and cons of the technology. The results of that start on page 38 and, for me, were eye opening. The developer of one such system, Arik Akverdian of CVC Inc., explained the inner workings of this new way of identifying, communicating with, and analyzing potential job candidates. That helped me understand the issue from the tech angle.

What helped me see the human angle was talking to Nancy Ngou of EY Advisory and Consulting Co. Ltd. She is also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Board of Governors and a champion for D&I. During my years as editor-in-chief …continue reading