Getty Images leads $16M investment in Promo.com, a social video template tool

The social video tool Promo.com just raised $16 million in a Series B round led by Getty Images, the company synonymous with stock imagery.

Brands, creators or whoever else might need some quick and dirty video content can search Promo.com for what they need, just like they would use a stock photography service. Getty offers its own library of stock videos as well, but Promo.com provides both the video clips and the tools for non-editors to craft a basic edit with a little bit of customization.

Brands can select an existing professional video clip from a library, plug in their own message and add a logo or custom audio. All that’s left is downloading the customized video and whisking it off to their social channels.

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, one of the largest banks in Israel, also participated in the Series B round through debt financing. Promo.com’s existing “strategic partnership” with Getty Images will deepen as part of the deal, giving the former company access to the latter’s expansive existing pool of video clips.

Promo.com video library

Image Credits: Screenshot/Promo.com

Of course, Promo.com isn’t the only show in town. Video creation platform Biteable raised $7 million of its own in December, and similarly allows companies to make bright, bite-sized video content for social. The super streamlined graphic design platform Canva also supports video editing with its own library of stock images. Vimeo offers its own video template service too, known as Vimeo Create, which grew out of the company’s acquisition of the AI-powered video editor Magisto.

#adobe-photoshop, #canva, #getty, #getty-images, #israel, #magisto, #social, #stock-photography, #tc, #video-editor, #video-hosting, #vimeo

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This Y Combinator startup is taking lab grown meat upscale with elk, lamb, and wagyu beef cell lines

Last week a select group of 20 employees and guests gathered at an event space on the San Francisco Bay, and, while looking out at the Bay Bridge dined on a selection of choice elk sausages, wagyu meatloaf, and lamb burgers — all of which were grown from a petrie dish.

The dinner was a coming out party for Orbillion Bio, a new startup pitching today in Y Combinator’s latest demo day, that’s looking to take lab-grown meats from the supermarket to high end, bespoke butcher shops.

Instead of focusing on pork, chicken and beef, Orbillion is going after so-called heritage meats — the aforementioned elk, lamb, and wagyu beef to start.

By focusing on more expensive end products, Orbillion doesn’t have as much pressure to slash costs as dramatically as other companies in the cellular meat market, the thinking goes.

But there’s more to the technology than its bourgie beef, elite elk, and luscious lamb meat.

“Orbillion uses a unique accelerated development process producing thousands of tiny tissue samples, constantly iterating to find the best tissue and media combinations,” according to Holly Jacobus, whose firm, Joyance Partners, is an early investor in Orbillion. “This is much less expensive and more efficient than traditional methods and will enable them to respond quickly to the impressive demand they’re already experiencing.”

The company runs its multiple cell lines through a system of small bioreactors. Orbillion couples that with a high throughput screening and machine learning software system to build out a database of optimized tissue and media combinations. “The key to making lab grown meat work scalably is choosing the right cells cultured in the most efficient way possible,” Jacobus wrote.

Co-founded by a deeply technical and highly experienced team of executives that’s led by Patricia Bubner, a former researcher at the German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim. Joining Bubner is Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay, a former director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, who was a post-doc at Berkeley with Bubner and serves as the company’s chief technology officer. Rounding out the senior leadership is Samet Yildirim, the chief operating officer at Orbillion and a veteran executive of Boehringer Ingelheim (he actually served as Bubner’s boss).

Orbillion Bio co-founders Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay, CTO, Patricia Bubner, CEO, and Samet Yildirim, COO. Image Credit: Orbillion Bio

For Bubner, the focus on heritage meats is as much a function of her background growing up in rural Austria as it is about economics. A longtime, self-described foodie and a nerd, Bubner went into chemistry because she ultimately wanted to apply science to the food business. And she wants Orbillion to make not just meat, but the most delicious meats.

It’s an aim that fits with how many other companies have approached the market when they’re looking to commercialize a novel technology. Higher end products, or products with unique flavor profiles that are unique to the production technologies available are more likely to be commercially viable sooner than those competing with commodity products. Why focus on angus beef when you focus on a much more delicious breed of animal?

For Bubner, it’s not just about making a pork replacement, it’s about making the tastiest pork replacement.

“I’m just fascinated and can see the future in us being able to further change the way we produce food to be more efficient,” she said. “We’re at this inflection point. I’m a nerd, i’m a foodie and I really wanted to use my skills to make a change. I wanted to be part of that group of people that can really have an impact on the way we eat. For me there’s no doubt that a large percentage of our food will be from alternative proteins — plant based, fermentation, and lab-grown meat.”

Joining Boehringer Ingelheim was a way for Bubner to become grounded in the world of big bioprocessing. It was preparation for her foray into lab grown meat, she said.

“We are a product company. Our goal is to make the most flavorful steaks. Our first product will not be whole cuts of steak. The first product is going to be a Wagyu beef product that we plan on putting out in 2023,” Bubner said. “It’s a product that’s going to be based on more of a minced product. Think Wagyu sashimi.”

To get to market, Bubner sees the need not just for a new approach to cultivating choice meats, but a new way of growing other inputs as well, from the tissue scaffolding needed to make larger cuts that resemble traditional cuts of meat, or the fats that will need to be combined with the meat cells to give flavor.

That means there are still opportunities for companies like Future Fields, Matrix Meats, and Turtle Tree Scientific to provide inputs that are integrated into the final, branded product.

Bubner’s also thinking about the supply chain beyond her immediate potential partners in the manufacturing process. “Part of my family were farmers and construction workers and the others were civil engineers and architects. I hold farmers in high respect… and think the people who grow the food and breed the animals don’t get recognition for the work that they do.”

She envisions working in concert with farmers and breeders in a kind of licensing arrangement, potentially, where the owners of the animals that produce the cell lines can share in the rewards of their popularization and wider commercial production.

That also helps in the mission of curbing the emissions associated with big agribusiness and breeding and raising livestock on a massive scale. If you only need a few animals to make the meat, you don’t have the same environmental footprint for the farms.

“We need to make sure that we don’t make the mistakes that we did in the past that we only breed animals for yield and not for flavor,” said Bubner. 

Even though the company is still in its earliest days, it already has one letter of intent, with one of San Francisco’s most famous butchers. Guy Crims, also known as “Guy the Butcher” has signed a letter of intent to stock Orbillion Bio’s lab grown Wagyu in his butcher shop, Bubner said. “He’s very much a proponent of lab-grown meat.”

Now that the company has its initial technology proven, Orbillion is looking to scale rapidly. It will take roughly $3.5 million for the company to get a pilot plant up and running by the end of 2022 and that’s in addition to the small $1.4 million seed round the company has raised from Joyant and firms like VentureSoukh.

“The way i see an integrated model working later on is to have the farmers be the breeders of animals for cultivated meat. That can reduce the number of cows on the planet to a couple of hundred thousand,” Bubner said of her ultimate goal. “There’s a lot of talking about if you do lab grown meat you want to put me out of business. It’s not like we’re going to abolish animal agriculture tomorrow.”

Image Credit: Getty Images

#articles, #austria, #barbecue, #beef, #bio, #butcher, #ceo, #chief-operating-officer, #chief-technology-officer, #coo, #cto, #cultured-meat, #director, #executive, #food, #food-and-drink, #future-fields, #getty-images, #machine-learning, #meat, #orbillion-bio, #san-francisco, #steak, #supply-chain, #tc, #y-combinator

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The Roblox final fantasy

Hello friends, and welcome to Week in Review.

Last week, I talked a bit about NFTs and their impact on artists. If you’re inundated with NFT talk just take one quick look at this story I wrote this week about the $69 million sale of Beeple’s photo collage. This hype cycle is probably all the result of crypto folks talking each other up and buying each other’s stuff, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be lasting impacts. That said, I would imagine we’re pretty close to the peak of this wave, with a larger one down the road after things cool off a bit. I’ve been wrong before though…

This week, I’m interested in a quick look at what your kids have been talking about all these years. Yes, Roblox.

If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny.


David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox - Roblox Developer Conference 2019

(Photo by Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Roblox)

The big thing

Roblox went public on the New York Stock Exchange this week, scoring a $38 billion market cap after its first couple days of trading.

Investors rallied around the idea that Roblox is one of the most valuable gaming companies in existence. More than Unity, Zynga, Take-Two, even gaming giant Electronic Arts. It’s still got a ways to go to take down Microsoft, Sony or Apple though… The now-public company is so freaking huge because investors believe the company has tapped into something that none of the others have, a true interconnected creative marketplace where gamers can evolve alongside an evolving library of experiences that all share the same DNA (and in-game currency).

The gaming industry has entered a very democratic stride as cross-play tears down some of the walls of gaming’s platform dynamics. Each hardware platform that operates an app store of their own still has the keys to a kingdom, but it’s a shifting world with uncertainty ahead. While massive publishers have tapped cloud gaming as the trend that will string their blockbuster franchises together, they all wish they were in Roblox’s position. The gaming industry has seen plenty of Goliath’s in its day, but for every major MMO to strike it rich, it’s still just another winner in a field of disparate hits with no connective tissue.

Roblox is different, and while many of us still have the aged vision of the image above: a bunch of rudimentary Minecraft/Playmobile-looking mini-games, Roblox’s game creation tools are advancing quickly and developers are building photorealistic games that are wider in ambition and scope than before. As the company levels-up the age range it appeals to — both by holding its grasp on aging gamers on its platform and using souped-up titles to appeal to a new-generation — there’s a wholly unique platform opportunity here: the chance to have the longevity of an app store but with the social base layer that today’s cacophony of titles have never shared.

Whether or not Roblox is the “metaverse” that folks in the gaming world have been hyping, it certainly looks more like it than any other modern gaming company does.


SHENYANG, CHINA – MARCH 08: Customers try out iPhone 12 smartphones at an Apple store on March 8, 2021 in Shenyang, Liaoning Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Other things

Apple releases some important security patches
It was honestly a pretty low-key week of tech news, I’ll admit, but folks in the security world might not totally buy that characterization. This week, Apple released some critical updates for its devices, fixing a Safari vulnerability that could allow attackers to run malicious code on a user’s unpatched devices. Update your stuff, y’all.

TikTok gets proactive on online bullying
New social media platforms have had the benefit of seeing the easy L’s that Facebook teed itself up for. For TikTok, its China connection means that there’s less room for error when it comes to easily avoidable losses. The team announced some new anti-bullying features aimed at cutting down on toxicity in comment feeds.

Dropbox buys DocSend
Cloud storage giants are probably in need of a little reinvention, the enterprise software boom of the pandemic has seemed to create mind-blowing amounts of value for every SaaS company except these players. This week, Dropbox made a relatively big bet on document sharing startup DocSend. It’s seemingly a pretty natural fit for them, but can they turn in into a bigger opportunity?

Epic Games buys photogrammetry studio
As graphics cards and consoles have hit new levels of power, games have had to satisfy desired for more details and complexity. It takes a wild amount of time to create 3D assets with that complexity so plenty of game developers have leaned on photogrammetry which turns a series of photos or scans of a real world object or environment into a 3D model. This week, Epic Games bought one of the better known software makers in this space, called Capturing Reality, with the aim of integrating the tech into future versions of their game engine.

Twitter Spaces launches publicly next month
I’ve spent some more time with Twitter Spaces this week and am growing convinced that it has a substantial chance to kneecap Clubhouse’s growth. Twitter is notoriously slow to roll out products, but it seems they’ve been hitting the gas on Spaces, announcing this week that it will be available widely by next month.

Seth Rogen starts a weed company
There’s a lot of money in startups, there’s really never been a better time to get capital for a project… if you know the right people and have the right kind of expertise. Seth Rogen and weed are a pretty solid mental combo and him starting a weed company shouldn’t be a big shock.


A Coupang Corp. delivery truck drives past a company's fulfillment center in Bucheon, South Korea, on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. and that could raise billions of dollars to battle rivals and kick off a record year for IPOs in the Asian country. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Extra things

Some of my favorite reads from our Extra Crunch subscription service this week:

Coupang follows Roblox to a strong first day of trading
“Another day brings another public debut of a multibillion-dollar company that performed well out of the gate.This time it’s Coupang, whose shares are currently up just over 46% to more than $51 after pricing at $35, $1 above the South Korean e-commerce giant’s IPO price range. Raising one’s range and then pricing above it only to see the public markets take the new equity higher is somewhat par for the course when it comes to the most successful recent debuts, to which we can add Coupang.” More

How nontechnical talent can break into deep tech
“Startup hiring processes can be opaque, and breaking into the deep tech world as a nontechnical person seems daunting. As someone with no initial research background wanting to work in biotech, I felt this challenge personally. In the past year, I landed several opportunities working for and with deep tech companies. More

Does your VC have an investment thesis or a hypothesis?
“Venture capitalists love to talk investment theses: on Twitter, Medium, Clubhouse, at conferences. And yet, when you take a closer look, theses are often meaningless and/or misleading…” More


Once more, if you liked reading this, you can get it in your inbox from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny.

#apple, #apple-inc, #china, #cloud-gaming, #computing, #coupang, #docsend, #dropbox, #electronic-arts, #epic-games, #extra-crunch, #facebook, #gamer, #getty, #getty-images, #iphone, #microsoft, #online-games, #roblox, #smartphones, #software, #sony, #tc, #technology, #twitter, #week-in-review, #zynga

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Springtide, an autism treatment center network, raises $15.6 million

With one in 54 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the US, the issue of how to treat patients diagnosed with the condition has become almost as acute as the prevalence of the condition itself.

That’s one reason why Jia Jia Ye and the team at the healthcare startup studio Redesign Health, were able to raise $15.6 million in a recent round of funding for the new startup, Springtide Child Development.

A longtime executive in the healthcare industry with previous stints at OneMedical and Oscar, Ye and Redesign Health’s team began talking two years ago about potential business ideas. The group settled on autism care because of what they saw as the clear need in the market, Ye said.

“Why this immediately clicked is that the supply and demand imbalance was super clear,” Ye said. 

Simply put, Springtide combines the concierge medical business model with early childcare and education businesses like Sylvan Learning to offer autism care through specialists and a team of registered behavioral technicians.

To ensure that as many people as possible can use Springtide’s services the company takes both private insurance and Medicaid.

So far, the company has one clinic set up in Connecticut providing both remote and in-person services, and it plans to launch several sites throughout the Northeast on the back of its $15.6 million in financing.

Joining Ye in designing the company’s facilities and treatment services is Dr. Tiva Pierce, who previously worked at Constellation Health Services, which provides behavioral and physical healthcare through schools.

Like many companies which had an in-person services model, Springtide had to pivot to delivering remote care as soon as the pandemic lockdowns hit the Northeast.

Image Credit: Thetaree Sarmkasat iStock / Getty Images Plus

The company charges Medicad $46 per hour and commercial payers will be charged between $50 and $60 per hour, but the company’s services will only cost families their typical co-pay and deductible.

Taking Medicaid was a priority, Ye said, to increase access for more people who need it.

Already, the families in the US spend about $17 billion on ABA therapy, according to Ye. And the overall spending on autism related issues is $68 billion, she said.

The financing, which came from Deerfield Management and Optum Ventures, will be used to expand the company’s footprint and staff, which currently numbers roughly 30 employees.

“The rapidly growing autism care market is highly fragmented and uncoordinated, which creates significant challenges for children and their families who deserve to have access to care that is consistently of exceptional quality,” said Julian Harris, M.D., Partner at Deerfield. “Springtide offers an interdisciplinary, in-center care experience with a tech-enabled wrap-around for families who want their children to get all of their care in one setting.  With an emphasis on outcomes measurement, we hope that Springtide can serve as a platform for care and research, ultimately establishing the gold standard in this field.

#autism, #connecticut, #executive, #getty-images, #healthcare, #healthcare-industry, #medicaid, #optum, #optum-ventures, #oscar, #tc, #united-states

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Spirit Airlines starts testing biometric check-ins

Discount carrier Spirit Airlines today announced that it is introducing biometric check-ins in its ticket lobby at Chicago’s O’Hare airport to streamline the check-in process and reduce face-to-face interactions between its employees and passengers during the pandemic.

The new process is straightforward, though it still involves one customer service agent at the beginning, who will check the flier’s ID before approaching the new check-in/bag drop units. If passengers opt in to the biometric procedure — and this remains optional — they scan their ID and the system will compare the photo with a facial scan captured by the machine.

Over time, Spirits hopes to do away with the first step of having an agent check the ID, but it is waiting for TSA approval to do so.

If everything works according to plan, the passenger can then drop of their bags and go their merry way (until they hit the TSA checkpoint, but that’s not the airline’s fault).

Image Credits: Spirit / Getty Images

“We started looking at ways to improve the check-in experience in 2019 as part of our pledge to invest in the Guest,” Spirit President and CEO Ted Christie explained in today’s announcement. “We knew early on that automation and biometric photo-matching would make the check-in process smoother. Now in 2020, we’re realizing those same elements are just as valuable when it comes to helping people feel comfortable flying. Limiting touchpoints and unnecessary face-to-face interactions will change the way airports operate.”

Before the pandemic, this would have looked like an obvious effort to save money by reducing the number of employees needed to run the check-in counters (with self-service bag drops having already become somewhat of a standard procedure). Now, it feels like just the right move, even as the number of travelers remains at record lows.

Image Credits: Spirit Airlines

Currently, 600 passengers use Spirit’s bag drop at O’Hare. In its tests, the airline found that the new process drops the average processing time by 70 seconds.

Spirit stresses that none of the data is transmitted to the government and that it doesn’t leave Spirit’s possession. Biometrics and especially facial recognition have long been good for controversy at airports, at least in the U.S., with Homeland security testing biometric scans before boarding international flights, for example, and the TSA now testing self-service checkpoints to get passengers through its security lines. And while a lot of fliers now feel comfortable using CLEAR to get through security with only their fingerprints or a facial scan, there is still a large chunk of the flying public that will feel somewhat uncomfortable with this, even during a pandemic and despite the airline’s argument that it doesn’t share data with the government.

Image Credits: Spirit Airlines

#access-control, #airline, #authentication, #biometrics, #check-in, #chicago, #cryptography, #facial-recognition, #getty-images, #tc, #transportation, #united-states

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Lana has launched in Latin America to be the one-stop shop for gig workers financial needs

Lana, a new startup based in Madrid, is looking to be the next big thing in Latin American fintech.

Founded by a serial entrepreneur Pablo Muniz, whose last business was backed by one of Spain’s largest financial services institutions, BBVA; Lana is looking to be the all-in-one financial services provider for Latin America’s gig economy workers.

Muniz’s last company, Denizen, was designed to provide expats in foreign and domestic markets with the financial services they would need as they began their new lives in a different country. While the target customer for Lana may not be the same middle to upper-middle-class international traveler that he had previously hoped to serve, the challenges gig economy workers face in Latin America are much the same.

Muniz actually had two revelations from his work at Denizen. The first — he would never try to launch a fintech company in conjunction with a big bank. And the second was that fintechs or neobanks that focus on a very niche segment will be successful — so long as they can find the right niche.

The biggest niche that Muniz saw that was underserved was actually in the gig economy space in Latin America. “I knew several people who worked at gig economy companies and I knew that their businesses were booming and the industry was growing,” he said. “[But] I was concerned about the inequalities.”

Workers in gig economy marketplaces in Latin America often don’t have bank accounts and are paid through the apps on which they list their services in siloed wallets that are exclusive to that particular app. What Lana is hoping to do is become the wallet of wallets for all of the different companies on which laborers list their services. Frequently, drivers will work for Uber or Cabify and deliver food for Rappi. Those workers have wallets for each service.

(Photo by Cris Faga/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Lana wants to unify all of those disparate wallets into a single account that would operate like a payment account. These accounts can be opened at local merchant shops and, once opened, workers will have access to a debit card that they can use at other locations.

The Lana service also has a bill pay feature that it’s rolling out to users, in the first evolution of the product into a marketplace for financial services that would appeal to gig workers, Muniz said.

“We want to become that account in which they receive funds,” he said. “We are still iterating the value proposition to gig economy companies.”

Working with companies like Cabify, and other, undisclosed companies, Lana has plans to roll out in Mexico, Chile, Peru, and eventually Colombia and Argentina.

Eventually, Lana hopes to move beyond basic banking services like deposits and payments and into credit services. Already hundreds of customers are using the company’s service, through the distribution partnership with Cabify, which ran the initial pilot to determine the viability of the company’s offering.

“The idea of creating Lana was initially tested as an internal project at Cabify,” Muniz wrote in an email. “Soon Cabify and some potential investors saw that Lana could have a greater impact as an independent company, being able to serve gig economy workers from any industry and decided to start over a new entrepreneurial project.”

Through those connections with Cabify, Lana was able to bring in other investors like the Silicon Valley-based investment firm Base 10.

“One of the things we’ve been interested in is in inclusion generally and in fintech specifically,” said Adeyemi Ajao, the firm’s co-founder. “We had gotten very close to investing in a couple of fintech companies in Latin America and that is because the opportunity is huge. There are several million people going from unbanked to banked in the region.”

Along with a few other investors Base 10 put in $12.5 million to finance the Lana as it looks to expand. It’s a market that has few real competitors. Nubank, Latin America’s biggest fintech company, is offering credit services across the continent, but most of their end users already have an established financial history.

“Most of their end users are not unbanked,” said Ajao. “With Lana it is truly gig workers… They can start by being a wallet of wallets and then give customers products that help them finance their cars or their scooters.”

The ultimate idea is to get workers paid faster and provide a window into their financial history that can give them more opportunities at other gig economy companies, said Ajao. “The vision would be that someone can pug in their financial information for services. If they’re working for Rappi and have never been an Uber driver and they want to be an Uber driver, Lana can use their financial history with Rappi to offer a loan on a car,” he said.

That financial history is completely inaccessible to a traditional bank, and those established financial services don’t care about the history built in wallets that they can’t control or track. “Today if you’ve been a gig worker and you go to a bank, that’s worth nothing,” said Ajao.

#argentina, #articles, #bank, #chile, #co-founder, #colombia, #economy, #financial-services, #financial-technology, #food, #getty-images, #gig-worker, #latin-america, #madrid, #mexico, #nubank, #peru, #serial-entrepreneur, #silicon-valley, #spain, #tc, #uber

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AI is struggling to adjust to 2020

2020 has made every industry reimagine how to move forward in light of COVID-19: civil rights movements, an election year and countless other big news moments. On a human level, we’ve had to adjust to a new way of living. We’ve started to accept these changes and figure out how to live our lives under these new pandemic rules. While humans settle in, AI is struggling to keep up.

The issue with AI training in 2020 is that, all of a sudden, we’ve changed our social and cultural norms. The truths that we have taught these algorithms are often no longer actually true. With visual AI specifically, we’re asking it to immediately interpret the new way we live with updated context that it doesn’t have yet.

Algorithms are still adjusting to new visual queues and trying to understand how to accurately identify them. As visual AI catches up, we also need a renewed importance on routine updates in the AI training process so inaccurate training datasets and preexisting open-source models can be corrected.

Computer vision models are struggling to appropriately tag depictions of the new scenes or situations we find ourselves in during the COVID-19 era. Categories have shifted. For example, say there’s an image of a father working at home while his son is playing. AI is still categorizing it as “leisure” or “relaxation.” It is not identifying this as ‘”work” or “office,” despite the fact that working with your kids next to you is the very common reality for many families during this time.

Image Credits: Westend61/Getty Images

On a more technical level, we physically have different pixel depictions of our world. At Getty Images, we’ve been training AI to “see.” This means algorithms can identify images and categorize them based on the pixel makeup of that image and decide what it includes. Rapidly changing how we go about our daily lives means that we’re also shifting what a category or tag (such as “cleaning”) entails.

Think of it this way — cleaning may now include wiping down surfaces that already visually appear clean. Algorithms have been previously taught that to depict cleaning, there needs to be a mess. Now, this looks very different. Our systems have to be retrained to account for these redefined category parameters.

This relates on a smaller scale as well. Someone could be grabbing a door knob with a small wipe or cleaning their steering wheel while sitting in their car. What was once a trivial detail now holds importance as people try to stay safe. We need to catch these small nuances so it’s tagged appropriately. Then AI can start to understand our world in 2020 and produce accurate outputs.

Image Credits: Chee Gin Tan/Getty Images

Another issue for AI right now is that machine learning algorithms are still trying to understand how to identify and categorize faces with masks. Faces are being detected as solely the top half of the face, or as two faces — one with the mask and a second of only the eyes. This creates inconsistencies and inhibits accurate usage of face detection models.

One path forward is to retrain algorithms to perform better when given solely the top portion of the face (above the mask). The mask problem is similar to classic face detection challenges such as someone wearing sunglasses or detecting the face of someone in profile. Now masks are commonplace as well.

Image Credits: Rodger Shija/EyeEm/Getty Images

What this shows us is that computer vision models still have a long way to go before truly being able to “see” in our ever-evolving social landscape. The way to counter this is to build robust datasets. Then, we can train computer vision models to account for the myriad different ways a face may be obstructed or covered.

At this point, we’re expanding the parameters of what the algorithm sees as a face — be it a person wearing a mask at a grocery store, a nurse wearing a mask as part of their day-to-day job or a person covering their face for religious reasons.

As we create the content needed to build these robust datasets, we should be aware of potentially increased unintentional bias. While some bias will always exist within AI, we now see imbalanced datasets depicting our new normal. For example, we are seeing more images of white people wearing masks than other ethnicities.

This may be the result of strict stay-at-home orders where photographers have limited access to communities other than their own and are unable to diversify their subjects. It may be due to the ethnicity of the photographers choosing to shoot this subject matter. Or, due to the level of impact COVID-19 has had on different regions. Regardless of the reason, having this imbalance will lead to algorithms being able to more accurately detect a white person wearing a mask than any other race or ethnicity.

Data scientists and those who build products with models have an increased responsibility to check for the accuracy of models in light of shifts in social norms. Routine checks and updates to training data and models are key to ensuring quality and robustness of models — now more than ever. If outputs are inaccurate, data scientists can quickly identify them and course correct.

It’s also worth mentioning that our current way of living is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Because of this, we must be cautious about the open-source datasets we’re leveraging for training purposes. Datasets that can be altered, should. Open-source models that cannot be altered need to have a disclaimer so it’s clear what projects might be negatively impacted from the outdated training data.

Identifying the new context we’re asking the system to understand is the first step toward moving visual AI forward. Then we need more content. More depictions of the world around us — and the diverse perspectives of it. As we’re amassing this new content, take stock of new potential biases and ways to retrain existing open-source datasets. We all have to monitor for inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Persistence and dedication to retraining computer vision models is how we’ll bring AI into 2020.

#articles, #artificial-general-intelligence, #artificial-intelligence, #column, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #cybernetics, #emerging-technologies, #getty-images, #machine-learning, #opinion, #science-and-technology

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#Gastbeitrag – Stock-Bilder: Darauf sollten Startups bei der Auswahl achten


Ob auf dem Corporate Blog, im Newsletter oder im Social Web: Bilder tragen nicht nur zur Identität einer Marke bei, sie lösen auch Emotionen beim Betrachter aus und können ihn zum Handeln motivieren. Doch besonders für kleine Unternehmen und Startups ist es oft eine große Herausforderung, die richtigen Bilder aus den überfüllten Online-Datenbanken herauszufiltern. Denn: Häufig wissen sie nicht genau, worauf man achten muss und haben keine Zeit, sich intensiv mit dem Thema zu beschäftigen. Am Ende greifen viele deshalb immer wieder auf dieselben, uninspirierten Stock-Bilder zurück. Dabei ist es gar nicht so schwierig, Empfänger zu inspirieren und die eigene Marke sichtbarer zu machen – wenn die richtigen visuellen Mittel ausgesucht werden. 

Lifestyle-Bilder verbinden

Wir lieben Lifestyle-Bilder, mit denen wir uns identifizieren können. Positivität, Lebendigkeit, „aus dem wahren Leben gegriffen“ – Bilder mit diesen Kriterien steigern Aufmerksamkeit. Betrachter wollen reale Bilder und erwarten, dass sie sich selbst und ihre subjektive Welt darin wiederfinden, so eine aktuelle Studie von iStock by Getty Images. Doch wie sieht die Welt der Betrachter aus? Die einfachste Methode, positiven Anklang zu finden, ohne dafür den Empfänger in- und auswendig zu kennen, ist die Authentizität. Marken müssen beweisen, dass ihre Bilder echt sind, sonst werden sie vielleicht irgendwann nicht mehr ernst genommen. Eine Verbindung zum Betrachter schaffen wir also nur mit Bildern, die Menschen in all ihren Facetten zeigen und ihr Leben authentisch spiegeln. Tatsächlich sagen 80 Prozent der kürzlich im Rahmen der Studie befragten Personen, dass Unternehmen Menschen mit allen Körperformen und -typen zeigen sollten. 68 Prozent der Befragten wünschen sich von den Unternehmen, bei denen sie kaufen, einen Sinn für Diversität.

Abstrakte Hintergründe vielseitig einsetzen

Es ist nicht leicht, unterschiedliche Kunden, die sich in verschiedenen Lebensphasen befinden, mit visuellen Inhalten zu bedienen. Welches Bildmaterial schafft es, eine Verbindung zu allen Menschen herzustellen? Die Lösung ist einfach: Konzentrieren Sie sich auf den Hintergrund. Ein heller, dramatischer, abstrakter Hintergrund eignet sich wunderbar für die verschiedensten Objekte. Zudem funktionieren sie so universell, dass sie nahezu für jede Stimmung – ob positiv oder negativ – eingesetzt werden können. Sie verleihen Inhalten einen Farbakzent, sind einfach zu beschneiden und über eine Vielzahl von Größen und Medien hinweg zu verwenden.  

Illustrationen für mehr Transparenz 

Inzwischen gibt es viele Marken, die versuchen, ihre Kunden „hinter die Kulissen“ zu versetzen und ihnen einen 360-Grad-Blick in ihr Geschäft gewähren. Das ist schlau, denn: 74 Prozent der befragten Verbraucher geben an, dass sie wissen wollen, wie ihre Produkte, die sie kaufen, hergestellt werden. Während einige Unternehmen mehr Transparenz zeigen möchten, kann die Erstellung von Inhalten „hinter den Kulissen“ jedoch zeitaufwändig und teuer sein. Illustrationen hingegen sind eine einfache und effektive Art und Weise der Kommunikation von Geschäftspraktiken. Sie ermöglichen es, den Lebenszyklus eines Produkts – von der Idee über die Erstellung bis hin zum Vertrieb – zu visualisieren. Auch das Unternehmen selbst kann beispielsweise mit einer Zeitleiste, die die Unternehmensgeschichte erzählt, in den Vordergrund gestellt werden. Illustrationen funktionieren in allen demografischen Bereichen und sind in einer Vielzahl von Formaten erhältlich, die zu jedem Branding passen. Ein weiterer Vorteil:  Illustrationen haben eine langanhaltende Anziehungskraft und müssen dementsprechend nicht ständig aktualisiert werden.  

Kuratoren als Mentoren nutzen

Inspiration kann man sich inzwischen fast überall holen – also, wieso nicht von den Profis lernen? Kuratoren stellen ständig eine Vielzahl von tollen und wirkungsvollen Fotos online zur Verfügung. Die freizugänglichen Bibliotheken sind großartige Orte, um selbst kreativ aktiv zu werden und nach neuen Anreizen zu suchen. Oft haben Kuratoren ihre Sammlungen nach bestimmten Themen, Farben oder Konzepten geordnet. So unterstützen sie dabei, mit täglich neuen und aktuellen Inhalten die richtigen Ideen für das eigene visuelle Branding auszuwählen. 

Ein kleines Unternehmen oder ein Startup zu führen, ist keine leichte Aufgabe. Doch mit diesen Tricks haben Kleinunternehmer heute viele Möglichkeiten, hochwertige, inspirierende visuelle Darstellungen auszuwählen, die sie beim Aufbau ihrer Markenidentität unterstützen. So können sie eine emotionale Bindung zu Kunden herstellen und der Konkurrenz immer einen Schritt voraus sein. 

Über die Autorin
Jacqueline Bourke ist Senior Manager, Creative Insights bei iStock by Getty Images.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #gastbeitrag, #getty-images, #istock

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Fox News Removes a Digitally Altered Image of Seattle Protests

Fox News acknowledged that one photo was a combination of several images, and a second was taken in a different city.

#demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #fox-news-channel, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #getty-images, #seattle-wash, #seattle-times

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Knowde could make billions building the digital marketplace for the $5 trillion chemicals industry

Ali Amin-Javaheri grew up in the chemicals business.

His father had worked for Iran’s state-owned chemical company and when the family fled the country in the nineteen eighties during the Iran-Iraq war, they first settled in Houston where employers welcomed the senior Amin-Jahaveri’s experience.

Houston in the 80s was dominated by the petrochemicals industry and by the time the family later relocated to Washington State, Amin-Jahaveri was already deeply steeped in a world of covalent bonds, chemical cracking, and the molecular coupling and decoupling of matter.

For the former Texas chemical kid, moving to tech-heavy, rain-soaked Washington, dominated at the time by Microsoft, was a bit of a shock, the founder recalled. But it was the 2000s and everyone was in tech so Amin-Jahaveri figured that’d be his path too.

Those two worlds collided for the young University of Washington graduate in his very first job — his only job before launching his first startup — as a programmer and developer at Chempoint.

“Completely through happenstance I was walking around a certain part of Seattle and I walked by this building and it had all these logos outside the office. I saw this logo for a company called Chempoint and I was instantly intrigued,” Amin-Jahaveri said. “I walked up to the receptionist and asked what they were doing.”

In the summer of 2001, Amazon was an online bookseller a little over seven years old, the dot-com boom hadn’t gone completely bust quite yet and business-to-business marketplaces were a hot investment.

“It was a startup with just a handful of folks,” said Amin-Jahaveri. “There wasn’t a business model in place, but the intent was to build a marketplace for chemicals… The dot-com boom was happening and everything was moving on line and the chemicals industry likely will as well.”

Fifteen years later, Chempoint is one of the last remaining companies in a market that once boasted at least fifteen competitors — and the chemicals industry still doesn’t have a true online marketplace. Until (potentially) now, with the launch of Amin-Jahaveri’s first startup — Knowde.

A volumetric flask, used during the process of determining phosphorus content in crude edible oil, sits in a laboratory of the quality assurance department at the Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. edible oil refinery plant in Patalganga, India, on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For the vast majority of Americans, the chemicals industry remains a ubiquitous abstraction. Consumers have a direct relationship with the energy business through the movements of prices at the pump, but the ways in which barrels of oil get converted into the plastics, coatings, films, flavors, fillings, soaps, toothpastes, enamels and unguents that touch everyone’s daily life are a little bit less obvious.

It’s a massive industry. The U.S. accounted for 17% of the global chemicals market in 2017 and that percentage amounted to a staggering $765 billion in sales. Worldwide there are thousands of chemicals companies selling hundreds of different specialty chemicals each and all contributing to a total market worth trillions of dollars.

“The market is $5 trillion,” said Amin-Jahaveri. “Just to be super clear about that.. It’s $5 trillion worth of transactions happening every year.”

It’s no secret that venture capitalists love marketplaces. Replacing physical middlemen with electronic ones offers efficiencies and economies of scale that have a cold logic and avoid the messiness of human contact. For the past twenty years, different entrepreneurs have cropped to tackle creating systems that could connect buyers on one side with sellers on another — and the chemicals industry has been investors’ holy grail since Chempoint made its pitch to the market in 2001.

“The chemicals industry is the most interesting of all of them. It’s the biggest. It’s also the most fragmented,” said Sequoia partner Shaun Maguire. “There were three companies in the world that all did about $90 billion in sales and none of those three companies did more than 1.6% of sales of the entire industry.” 

Those kinds of numbers would make any investor’s jaw drop. And several firms tried to make a pitch for the hotly contested financing round for Knowde. Maguire first heard that there looking for funds to pursue the creation of the first true marketplace business for the chemicals industry through a finance associate at Sequoia, Spencer Hemphill.

Hemphill knew an early Knowde investor named Ian Rountree at Cantos Ventures and had heard Rountree talk about the new company. He flagged the potential deal to Maguire and another Sequoia partner. It only took one hour for Maguire to be blown away by Amin-Jahaveri’s pedigree in the industry and his vision for Knowde.

From that initial meeting in September to the close of the company’s $14 million Series A round on March 11 (the day the markets suffered their worst COVID-19-related losses), Maguire was tracking the company’s progress. Other firms in the running for the Knowde deal included big names like General Catalyst, according to people with knowledge of the process.

Sequoia wound up leading the Series A deal for Knowde, which also included previous investors Refactor Capital, 8VC, and Cantos Ventures.

The tipping point for Maguire was the rapid adoption and buy-in from the industry when Knowde flipped the switch on sales in early January.

An employee of International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) picks up perfume components on December 8, 2016 at the company’s laboratory in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. / AFP / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP via Getty Images)

For at least the past fifty years, the modern chemicals industry has been defined — and in some ways constrained — by its sales pitches. There are specialty manufacturers who have hundreds of chemicals that they’ve made, but the knowledge of what those chemicals can do is often locked inside research labs. The companies rely on distributors, middlemen, and internal sales teams to get the word out, according to Maguire and Amin-Jahaveri.

The way that things are done is still through field sales teams and product catalogs and brochures and face to face meetings and all that stuff,” said Amin-Jahaveri. “This industry has not evolved as quickly as the rest of the world… And we always knew that something has got to give.”

One selling point for Knowde is that it breaks that logjam, according to investors like Maguire.

“One of the references said that they had a bunch of legacy flavors from the seventies,” Maguire said. “It was a  Madagascar Vanilla that none of their sales people had tried to sell for 25 years… By putting them on Knowde the sales numbers had gone up over 1,000%… That company does over $5 billion a year in sales through flavors.”

The change happened as the old guard of executives began aging out of the business, according to Amin-Jahaveri. “Between 2002 and 2012 nothing happened.. There was no VC money thrown at any type chemical company and then it started changing a little bit,” he said. “The first domino was the changing age demographic… these consumer product companies kept getting younger.”

Amin-Jahaveri’s previous company grew to $400 million in revenue selling technology and services to the chemicals industry. It was back-end software and customer relationship tools that the industry had never had and needed if it were to begin the process of joining the digital world. Knowde, according to Amin-Jahaveri, is the next phase of that transition.

“Our plan is to connect the chemical producers directly with the buyers,” Amin-Jahaveri said. “And provide all the plumbing and storefronts necessary to manage these things themselves.”

All that Knowde needed to do was collate the disparate data about what chemicals small manufacturers were making and had in stock and begin listing that information online. That transparency of information used to be more difficult to capture, since companies viewed their product catalog as an extension of their intellectual property — almost a trade secret, according to Amin-Jahaveri.

Once companies began listing products online, Amin-Jahaveri and his team could go to work creating a single, searchable taxonomy that would allow outsiders to find the materials they needed without having to worry about differences in descriptions.

Knowde has broken down the chemicals industry into ten different verticals including: food, pharmaceuticals, personal care, houseware goods, industrial chemicals. The company currently operates in three different verticals and plans to extend into all ten within the year.

Amin-Jahaveri knows that he’s not going to get a meaningful chunk of business from the huge chemical manufacturers like BASF or Dow Chemical that pump out thousands of tons of commodity chemicals, those deals only represent $2 trillion of the total addressable market.

That means another $3 trillion in sales are up for grabs for the company Amin-Jahaveri founded with his partner Woyzeck Krupa.

While the opportunity is huge, the company — like every other new business launching in 2020 — is still trying to do business in the middle of the worst economic collapse in American history. However, Amin-Jahaveri thinks the new economic reality could actually work in Knowde’s favor.

“It’s going to be one more trigger event for these chemical companies that they have to go online,” he said. The personal relationships that drove much of the sales for the chemicals business before have dried up. No more conferences and events means no more opportunities to glad-hand, backslap, and chat over drinks at the hotel bar. So these companies need to find a new way to sell.

Maguire sees another benefit to the movement of chemical catalogs into an online marketplace, and that’s internal transparency within chemical companies.

“Even the biggest companies in the world do not have an internal search feature even for their own chemicals,” said Maguire. “I talked to two of the biggest companies in the world. In the case of one chemist who is a friend of mine. If you are trying to formulate some new concoction how do you find what chemicals you have in the company? If it’s in my division it’s pretty easy.. If I need chemicals from another division… there’s no way to search it right now.”

#8vc, #amazon, #articles, #basf, #cantos-ventures, #chemicals, #dow-chemical, #energy, #food, #general-catalyst, #getty, #getty-images, #houston, #india, #iran, #iraq, #microsoft, #nature, #oil, #online-marketplace, #paris, #pharmaceuticals, #photographer, #plastics, #programmer, #refactor-capital, #seattle, #tc, #texas, #united-states, #university-of-washington, #washington

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Can API vendors solve healthcare’s data woes?

A functioning healthcare system depends on caregivers having the right data at the right time to make the right decision about what course of treatment a patient needs.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic and the acceleration of the consumer adoption of telemedicine, along with the fragmentation of care to a number of different low-cost providers, access to a patient’s medical records to get an accurate picture of their health becomes even more important.

Opening access to developers also could unlock new, integrated services that could give consumers a better window into their own health and consumer product companies opportunities to develop new tools to improve health.

While hospitals, urgent care facilities and health systems have stored patient records electronically for years thanks to laws passed under the Clinton administration, those records were difficult for patients themselves to access. The way the system has been historically structured has made it nearly impossible for an individual to access their entire medical history.

It’s a huge impediment to ensuring that patients receive the best care they possibly can, and until now it’s been a boulder that companies have long tried to roll uphill, only to have it roll over them.

Now, new regulations are requiring that the developers of electronic health records can’t obstruct interoperability and access by applications. Those new rules may unlock a wave of new digital services.

At least that’s what companies like the New York-based startup Particle Health are hoping to see. The startup was founded by a former emergency medical technician and consultant, Troy Bannister, and longtime software engineer for companies like Palantir and Google, Dan Horbatt.

Particle Health is stepping into the breach with an API -based solution that borrows heavily from the work that Plaid and Stripe have done in the world of financial services. It’s a gambit that’s receiving support from investors including Menlo Ventures, Startup Health, Collaborative Fund, Story Ventures and Company Ventures, as well as angel investors from the leadership of Flatiron Health, Clover Health, Plaid, Petal and Hometeam.

Image via Getty Images / OstapenkoOlena

“My first reaction when I met Troy, and he was describing what they’re doing, was that it couldn’t be done,” said Greg Yap, a partner with Menlo Ventures, who leads the firm’s life sciences investments. “We’ve understood how much of a challenge and how much of a tax the lack of easy portability of data puts on the healthcare system, but the problem has always felt like there are so many obstacles that it is too difficult to solve.”

What convinced Yap’s firm, Menlo Ventures, and the company’s other backers, was an ability to provide both data portability and privacy in a way that put patients’ choice at the center of how data is used and accessed, the investor said.

“[A service] has to be portable for it to be useful, but it has to be private for it to be well-used,” says Yap. 

The company isn’t the first business to raise money for a data integration service. Last year, Redox, a Madison, Wis.-based developer of API services for hospitals, raised $33 million in a later-stage round of funding. Meanwhile, Innovaccer, another API developer, has raised more than $100 million from investors for its own take.

Each of these companies is solving a different problem that the information silos in the medical industry presents, according to Patterson. “Their integrations are focused one-to-one on hospitals,” he said. Application developers can use Redox’s services to gain access to medical records from a particular hospital network, he explained. Whereas using Particle Health’s technology, developers can get access to an entire network.

“They get contracts and agreements with the hospitals. We go up the food chain and get contracts with the [electronic medical records],” said Patterson.

One of the things that’s given Particle Health a greater degree of freedom to acquire and integrate with existing healthcare systems is the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016. That law required that the providers of electronic medical records like Cerner and EPIC had to remove any roadblocks that would keep patient data siloed. Another is the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, which was just enacted in the past month.

“We don’t like betting on companies that require a change in law to become successful,” said Yap of the circumstances surrounding Particle’s ability to leapfrog well-funded competitors. But the opportunity to finance a company that could solve a core problem in digital healthcare was too compelling.

“What we’re really saying is that consumers should have access to their medical records,” he said.

Isometric Healthcare and technology concept banner. Medical exams and online consultation concept. Medicine. Vector illustration

This access can make consumer wearables more useful by potentially linking them — and the health data they collect — with clinical data used by physicians to actually make care and treatment decisions. Most devices today are not clinically recognized and don’t have any real integration into the healthcare system. Access to better data could change that on both sides.

“Digital health application might be far more effective if it can take into context information in the medical record today,” said Yap. “That’s one example where the patient will get much greater impact from the digital health applications if the digital health applications can access all of the information that the medical system collected.” 

With the investment, which values Particle Health at roughly $48 million, Bannister and his team are looking to move aggressively into more areas of digital healthcare services.

“Right now, we’re focusing on telemedicine,” said Bannister. “We’re moving into the payer space… As it stands today we’re really servicing the third parties that need the records. Our core belief is that patients want control of their data but they don’t want the stewardship.”

The company’s reach is impressive. Bannister estimates that Particle Health can hit somewhere between 250 and 300 million of the patient records that have been generated in the U.S. “We have more or less solved the fragmentation problem. We have one API that can pull information from almost everywhere.”

So far, Particle Health has eight live contracts with telemedicine and virtual health companies using its API, which have pulled 1.4 million patient records to date.

The way it works right now, when you give them permission to access your data it’s for a very specific purpose of use… they can only use it for that one thing. Let’s say you were using a telemedicine service. I allow this doctor to view my records for the purpose of treatment only. After that we have built a way for you to revoke access after the point,” Bannister said.

Particle Health’s peers in the world of API development also see the power in better, more open access to data. “A lot of money has been spent and a lot of blood and sweat went into putting [electronic medical records] out there,” said Innovaccer chief digital officer Mike Sutten.

The former chief technology officer of Kaiser Permanente, Sutten knows healthcare technology. “The next decade is about ‘let’s take advantage of all of this data.’ Let’s give back to physicians and give them access to all that data and think about the consumers and the patients,” Sutten said.

Innovaccer is angling to provide its own tools to centralize data for physicians and consumers. “The less friction there is in getting that data extracted, the more benefit we can provide to consumers and clinicians,” said Sutten.

Already, Particle Health is thinking about ways its API can help application developers create tools to help with the management of COVID-19 populations and potentially finding ways to ease the current lockdowns in place due to the disease’s outbreak.

“If you’ve had an antibody test or PCR test in the past… we should have access to that data and we should be able to provide that data at scale,” said Bannister. 

“There’s probably other risk-indicating factors that could at least help triage or clear groups as well… has this person been quarantined has this person been to the hospital in the past month or two… things like that can help bridge the gap,” between the definitive solution of universal testing and the lack of testing capacity to make that a reality, he said. 

“We’re definitely working on these public health initiatives,” Bannister said. Soon, the company’s technology — and other services like it — could be working behind the scenes in private healthcare initiatives from some of the nation’s biggest companies as software finally begins to take bigger bites out of the consumer health industry.

#api, #cerner, #chief-digital-officer, #chief-technology-officer, #collaborative-fund, #digital-healthcare, #digital-services, #disease, #financial-services, #flatiron-health, #getty-images, #google, #greg-yap, #health, #health-care, #health-systems, #healthcare-technology, #innovaccer, #kaiser-permanente, #madison, #menlo-ventures, #new-york, #palantir, #partner, #practice-fusion, #primary-care, #redox, #software-engineer, #startup-health, #story-ventures, #tc, #telehealth, #telemedicine, #united-states, #wisconsin

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft completes testing ahead of Artemis 1 Moon mission

NASA has completed the testing process meant to simulate performance in in-space conditions for its Orion crew spacecraft, developed by Lockheed Martin and designed to carry crew on the agency’s Artemis missions. The missions aim to return the next American man and deliver the first American woman to the surface of the Moon. It reportedly “aced” the tests according to NASA, which include thermal vacuum and electromagnetic interference performance checks.

Obviously, it’s not business as usual at NASA amid the ongoing coronavirus situation (it isn’t business as usual anywhere), but NASA still managed to finish up the testing it needed to do at its Glenn research facility in Ohio. Glenn is the site of world-leading testing facilities that simulate flight conditions, including wind tunnels and vacuum chambers, and Orion’s testing completion at the facility means it’s now ready to move on to NASA Kennedy and Florida.

It’ll fly to Kennedy aboard NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft, which is a specially-built cargo aircraft with an extremely wide body designed for the purposes of transporting larger-than-normal cargo just like the Lockheed-built Orion capsule.

LONG BEACH, CA – DECEMBER 09: The B-377-SGT, also known as the “Super Guppy Turbine,” sits at Boeing’s C-17 plant at Long Beach Airport on Tuesday. The Super Guppy is notable for its prominent forehead and enormous mid-section, as well as four turbine engines and propellers. The plane is operated by NASA and used to transport large cargo, such as components for the International Space Station. The Super Guppy’s last visit to Long Beach was during the Apollo missions.
///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Slug: SuperGuppy.1210.jag, Day: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 (12/9/14), Time: 10:51:53 AM, Location: Long Beach, California – B-377-SGT, “Super Guppy Turbine” – JEFF GRITCHEN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
(Photo by Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

NASA in general appears to be progressing with its preparations for both Artemis, as well as for other ongoing key programs like its Commercial Crew program, which will see privately operated rockets fly astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time.

It has taken additional precautions to ensure the health of its astronauts meant to fly on the first crewed Commercial Crew mission, however, and its NASA Marshall facility also announced today that it’s limiting access to “mission-essential personnel” after one staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night.

#aerospace, #aircraft, #artemis-program, #boeing, #california, #florida, #getty-images, #glenn, #international-space-station, #lockheed-martin, #long-beach, #marshall, #nasa, #ohio, #orion, #science, #space, #spacecraft, #spaceflight, #tc

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