The Singularity is Nigh

Spark Nabs $4.9 Million to Turn Your Kitchen Into ‘The Brave Little Toaster’

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Most early attempts at Internet of Things (IoT) devices, like smart cutting boards and rudimentary wearables, haven’t proven their worth enough to become as important to us as our phones and laptops. But as of this morning, IoT startup Spark has raised $4.9 million to bring us smart objects that might actually be useful.

Until now, Spark has focused on selling home kits that let you take everyday objects like lightbulbs and cutting boards and hook them up with sensors and wifi. The new cash will help Spark move on from selling one-off DIY kits to providing thousands of cores for companies that want to use Spark to power IoT products. Read More

the gig economy

Peak Geek: GE Is Hiring TaskRabbits to Deliver Things In Star Trek Costumes

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Sometimes we can’t help but ask ourselves whether the “gig economy” is a giant social science experiment in how much aspiring actors can take from their part-time jobs before they crack. High-maintenance coffee orders? Being a “kickass laundry ninja“? What about wearing a Star Trek costume while running errands for TaskRabbit?

That last one is real, by the way, and it’s for a GE promotion that starts tomorrow. Those who post a shopping and delivery errand on TaskRabbit for less than $35 between October 9 and 13 in either NYC or San Francisco may very well get it for free. In which case it would be accomplished by someone wearing a Star Trek costume. Read More

Smart-Ass House

GE Fantasizes We’ll All Be 3D Printing Dog Snacks By 2025

The future, boys and girls! (GE)

Obviously, Betabeat is very excited about the future (at least until the Singularity comes and we’re all bossed about by robots). Hence our interest in GE’s “Home 2025″ concept designs (via Dvice), which predict what yuppies’ kitchens will look like a decade or so from now.

“This isn’t about the Jetsons or pie in the sky ideas,” explained Lou Lenzi, director for GE Appliances’ Industrial Design Operation, but “reality-based innovation that will be possible over the next decade.”

The results are basically a big Sharper Image catalog, but with more sensors.  Read More

I'll Tumbl For You

Tumblr Debuts Mobile Ads, Allowing Brands to Buy Their Way Into the Dashboard

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Fire up your Tumblr mobile app this afternoon, and you’ll notice something new in the river of posts flowing through your dashboard. Scroll through and for the first time, you’ll see advertising mixed in with the #RHOA GIFs and nail art.

Ad Age reports that starting today, the profit-seeking startup is rolling out sponsored posts in the prime real estate of users’ streams, though only on mobile apps. Launch partners include G.E., Warner Bros. and ABC, and at most you’ll see four per day, identified with a little dollar sign. Read More