Posts

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ becomes the most-watched Marvel premiere on Disney+

Five days after getting its streaming debut on Disney+, “ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ” is now the most-watched Marvel premiere on Disney+ based on hours streamed within the first five days, the company announced today. Disney didn’t provide specific viewing numbers, so it’s not exactly clear how the movie’s streaming performance compares to other Marvel titles on Disney+. However, the claim means the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” premiere performed better than popular franchises like “Black Widow” and “Avengers: Endgame.” The new streaming record for Disney+ could also mean that more Marvel films may get longer windows between theatrical release and streaming release — but that’s just our guess. In general, movies that get a long theatrical window are more likely to stand out in the minds of viewers as opposed to streaming-exclusive movies that might not get as much hype. Disney+ subscribers had to wait 82 days for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” to stream on Disney+, the lo

FRIDA’s robot arm attempts to bring DALL-E-style AI art to real-world canvases

Image
One could make a very reasonable argument that FRIDA (Framework and Robotics Initiative for Developing Arts) is as much a thought experiment as it is a research project. Certainly it butts up against similar questions around art and creativity as AI projects like DALL-E and ChatGPT — though the question is arguably even more in your face when it’s a robot arm doing the painting on a real-world canvas. I recognize this is all extremely subjective, but at this point in the process, I’d go out on a limb and say the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute’s project has some catching up to do with software-based AI systems. Even so, it’s fascinating to watch the project, which (obviously) gets its name from renowned Mexican portrait painter Frida Kahlo. Image Credits: CMU “FRIDA is a project exploring the intersection of human and robotic creativity,” says CMU professor Jim McCann. “FRIDA is using the kind of AI models that have been developed to do things like caption images an

Daily Crunch: Bitcoin-demanding cybercriminals use bug from 2021 to initiate global ransomware attack 

Image
To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PST, subscribe here . Hello, Crunchers! Our fave read today was Connie ’s piece with advice for startups that have the government as their target customer . In honor of Black history month, we want to share some good news for BIPOC founders, as more funding is becoming available: Dominic-Madori reports that Nex Cubed launched its HBCU (historically Black colleges and universities) Founders Fund , weighing in at $40 million. Meanwhile, Natasha M reports that Kapor Capital’s new crew is raising a $50 million opportunity fund earmarked for social impact ventures and founders of color.  — Christine and Haje The TechCrunch Top 3 Young and vulnerable : Carly reports that hackers have been busy exploiting a two-year-old VMware flaw to launch a large-scale ransomware campaign that is targeting thousands of organizations around the world. Over 3,200 VMware servers have bee

EV maker VinFast downsizes in US, Canada

Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast is cutting jobs in the United States and Canada as part of a restructuring that will merge operations across the two countries. The restructuring comes as VinFast prepares to enter the U.S. public market and delays deliveries to its first customers in the country. VinFast has not shared how many employees have been cut, but a LinkedIn post from a former employee said “nearly 35 roles” were affected. A spokesperson told Reuters the headcount in Vietnam, where most of the company’s staff and engineering ops are, would not shrink. “The past 4 months have been an experience like no other,” reads the post. “From meeting and collaborating with some of the industry’s most talented professionals, to building a team and program with the intention to launch a service nationwide for a startup.” Note the “intention to launch” part of that statement. Neither the employee who wrote the post nor the company have responded to TechCrunch to clarify the

Modular eel robots combine soft and rigid components

Image
Here’s an interesting comment from MIT’s Alfonso Parra Rubio, “Treating soft versus hard robotics is a false dichotomy.” For, I suppose, obvious reasons, thinking around technology tends to be a bit…binary. Certainly we’ve traditionally regarded soft robots as being something that exists in direct opposition to their more traditional counterparts. But the organic beings that inspire them are often some combination of rigid and soft. After all, what are we if not a bunch of soft tissue bound to a rigid skeletal structure. It follows, then, that roboticists would do well to marry the two, in order to harness the best of both worlds. Image Credits: MIT This is one of the guiding principles behind MIT’s recent rethink of its underwater, snakelike aquabots. The robot is largely hollow, built of modular voxels that can be assembled to create systems that are rigid in certain directions and soft in others, combing stiff and flexible elements. “Smooth flexibility of the body surface all

Nex Cubed launched $40 million fund targeting Black colleges and universities

Venture firm Nex Cubed announced today the launch of the HBCU (historically Black college and university) Founders Fund, with a $5 million investment from Costco Wholesale, which now joins as an anchor investor. The fund, which is a $40 million accelerator, seeks to foster and invest in startups where at least one founder is an HBCU student, alumni or faculty member. Before the fund, Nex Cubed launched a pre-accelerator program at various HBCUs to help aspiring entrepreneurs affiliated with the institutions find resources to scale their startups. After the program’s success, the firm spun it out as its own 501(c), attracting the likes of AT&T, Mastercard and Verizon as partners to help the program expand to over 70 HBCUs. “We still hadn’t addressed the fact of funding, and that was still a gap that needed to be filled,” Nex Cubed CEO Marlon Evans told TechCrunch. “That’s what led us to launch this fund where we hope to serve as a catalyst for other investors to recognize that th

Breef raises $16M to match brands with marketing agencies

Image
Breef , a platform that allows brands to manage and service marketing agency projects, today announced that it raised $16 million in a Series A round (an undisclosed portion of which was debt) led by Greycroft with participation from BDMI, UTA.VC, Afterpay’s Touch Ventures and UC Berkeley’s The House Fund. The new capital brings Breef’s total raised to $21 million, which co-founder and CEO George Raptis says will be put toward continuing to develop the company’s product and growing the size of Breef’s workforce from 30 people to roughly 60 by 2024. “Breef’s latest funding will be used to continue to evolve the product offering — a new ‘from the ground up’ platform is being launched with the funding announcement — and grow its global team, announcing its first international bases in the U.K. and Australia,” Raptis told TechCrunch via email. “The company will also invest further in its payment infrastructure, allowing structured payments for brands looking to ‘grow now, pay later.'”

Popular posts from this blog