Vericool raises $19.1 million for its plant-based packaging replacement for plastic coolers

Vericool, a Livermore, Calif.-based startup that’s replacing plastic coolers and packaging with plant-based products, has raised $19.1 million in a new round of financing.

The company’s stated goal is to replace traditional packaging materials like polystyrene with plant-based insulating packaging materials.

Its technology uses 100% recycled paper fibers and other plant-based materials, according to the company, and are curbside recyclable and compostable.

Investors in the round include Radicle Impact PartnersThe Ecosystem Integrity FundID8 Investments and AiiM Partners, according to a statement.

“We’re pleased to support Vericool because of the company’s track record of innovation, high-performance products, well-established patent portfolio and focus on environmental resilience. We are inspired by the company’s social justice commitment to address recidivism and provide workplace opportunity to formerly incarcerated individuals,” said Dan Skaff, managing partner of Radicle Impact Partners and Vericool’s new lead director. 


Source: Tech Crunch Startups | Vericool raises .1 million for its plant-based packaging replacement for plastic coolers

Facebook expands 'community help' hub for people in quarantine

As Facebook sees "unprecedented" demand for its services, the company is now encouraging its users to help out their neighbors. The social network is expanding its "community help" feature to reach people affected by the coronavir…
Source: Engadget | Facebook expands 'community help' hub for people in quarantine

NBA 2K tournament starts Friday with Kevin Durant, Trae Young and more

Confirming yesterday's leak, the NBA announced an esports tournament that will kick off this Friday, with games broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2. The NBA 2K Players Tournament will pit 16 current NBA players against one another, with finals scheduled…
Source: Engadget | NBA 2K tournament starts Friday with Kevin Durant, Trae Young and more

The entire Overwatch League regular season will be online-only

The Overwatch League has canceled all of its live events for the remainder of the 2020 regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matches will take place in an entirely online format until August at the very least.
Source: Engadget | The entire Overwatch League regular season will be online-only

Twitch's Mod View puts all of its moderation tools in one place

Behind every successful Twitch channel, there's at least one person who's there to moderate chat. The best mods create a safe space where everyone in a community can express themselves. It's not an easy job, but in an attempt to make it a…
Source: Engadget | Twitch's Mod View puts all of its moderation tools in one place

OrbitFab secures National Science Foundation funding to propel its satellite refueling tech to space

On-orbit satellite refueling technology is closer than ever to a practical reality, which could help immensely with the cost and sustainability of orbital businesses. Startup OrbitFab, a 2019 TechCrunch Battlefield finalist, is one of the companies working to make orbital refueling a reality, and it just secured a new contract from the National Science Foundation’s early-stage deep tech R&D initiative America’s Seed Fund to further its goals.

The contract is specifically for development of a solution that provides rendezvous and docking capabilities in space, managing the end-to-end process of connecting two spacecraft and transferring fuel from one to the other. OrbitFab last October at Disrupt unveiled its connector hardware for making this possible, which it now refers to as its Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface (RAFTI). RAFTI is designed as a replacement for existing valves used in satellites for fueling and draining propellant from spacecraft, but would seek to establish a new standard that provides easy interoperability both with ground fueling and with in-space refueling (or fuel transfer from one satellite to another, depending on what’s needed).

Already, OrbitFab has managed to fly twice to the International Space Station (ISS), and last year it became the first-ever private company to supply the orbital lab with water. It’s not resting on its laurels, and this new contract will help it prepare a technology demonstration of the docking process its RAFTI facilitates in its own test facilities this summer.

Longer-term, this is just phase one of a multi-par funding agreement with the NSF. Phase one includes $250,000 to make that first demo, and then ultimately that will lead to an inaugural trial of a fuel sale operation in space, which OrbitFab CMO Jeremy Schiel says should happen “within two years.”

“This will involve 2 satellites, our tanker, and a customer satellite, in a low LEO [low Earth orbit] docking, exchanging fuel, and decoupling, and repeating this process as many times as we can to demonstrate our capability,” he wrote via email.

There have been a number of technical projects and demonstrations around orbital refueling, and some of the largest companies in the industry are working on the challenge. But OrbitFab’s approach is aiming for simplicity, and ease of execution, along with a common standard that can be leveraged across a wide range of satellites large and small, from a range of companies. Already, OrbitFab says it’s working with a group of 30 different campaigns and organizations on making RAFTI a broadly adopted interface.

If successful, OrbitFab could underpin a future orbital commercial operating environment in which fuel isn’t nearly as much a concern when it comes to launch costs, with on-orbit roving gas stations addressing demand for spacecraft once they reach space, and paying a price for propellant that’s defrayed by common, bulk shipments instead of broken up piecemeal.


Source: Tech Crunch Startups | OrbitFab secures National Science Foundation funding to propel its satellite refueling tech to space

Ubisoft offers free games to encourage you to stay at home

Ubisoft thinks it has a simple way to encourage people to stay at home and wait out the COVID-19 pandemic: shower them with games. It's running a month-long campaign that will give away free games, trials, discounts and other offers to give you s…
Source: Engadget | Ubisoft offers free games to encourage you to stay at home

FCC mandates strict caller ID authentication to beat back robocalls

The FCC unanimously passed a new set of rules today that will require wireless carriers to implement a tech framework to combat robocalls. Called STIR/SHAKEN, and dithered over for years by the carriers, the protocol will be required to be put in place by summer of 2021.

Robocalls have grown from vexation to serious problem as predictable “claim your free vacation” scams gave way to “here’s how to claim your stimulus check” or “apply for coronavirus testing here” scams.

A big part of the problem is that the mobile networks allow for phone numbers to be spoofed or imitated, and it’s never clear to the call recipient that the number they see may be different from the actual originating number. Tracking and preventing fraudulent use of this feature has been on the carriers’ roadmap for a long time, and some have gotten around to it in some ways, for some customers.

STIR/SHAKEN, which stands for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited / Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs, is a way to securely track calls and callers to prevent fraud and warn consumers of potential scams. Carriers and the FCC have been talking about it since 2017, and in 2018 the FCC said it needed to be implemented in 2019. When that hadn’t happened, the FCC gave carriers a nudge, and at the end of the year Congress passed the TRACED Act to spur the regulator into carrying out its threat of mandating use of the system.

Rules to that effect were proposed earlier this month, and at the FCC’s open meeting today (conducted remotely), the measure passed unanimously. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who has been vocal about the lack of concrete action on this issue, gladly approved the rules but vented her frustration in a statement:

It is good news that today the Federal Communications Commission adopts rules to reduce robocalls through call authentication. I only wish we had done so sooner, like three years ago when the FCC first proposed the use of STIR/SHAKEN technology.

Commissioner Brendan Starks called the rules a “good first step,” but pointed out that the carriers need to apply call authentication technology not just on the IP-based networks but all over, and also to work with each other (as some already are) to ensure that these protections remain in place across networks, not just within them.

Chairman Ajit Pai concurred, pointing out there was much work to do:

It’s clear that FCC action is needed to spur across-the-board deployment of this important technology…Widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN will reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing, allow law enforcement to identify bad actors more easily, and help phone companies identify—and even block—calls with illegal spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach their subscribers. Most importantly, it will give consumers more peace of mind when they answer the phone.

There’s no silver bullet for the problem of spoofed robocalls. So we will continue our aggressive, multi-pronged approach to combating it.

Consumers won’t notice any immediate changes — the deadline is next year, after all — but it’s likely that in the coming months you will receive more information from your carrier about the technology and what, if anything, you need to do to enable it.

Source: Tech Crunch Mobiles | FCC mandates strict caller ID authentication to beat back robocalls

Remastered 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' is available now on PS4

As expected, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is now available on PlayStation 4. If you own a Sony console, you can download the game today for $20. PC and Xbox One owners can pre-order the remaster today but will have to wait until…
Source: Engadget | Remastered 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' is available now on PS4

Save $60 on Master & Dynamic’s much-improved true wireless earbuds

Master & Dynamic's improved true wireless MW07 Plus earbuds are on sale for $240 via Best Buy today. That's a $60 savings off one of the company's newest models. It's a deal of the day, so this price won't last for long. If yo…
Source: Engadget | Save on Master & Dynamic’s much-improved true wireless earbuds