Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

SpaceX has launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites, growing the constellation by another 58 spacecraft just 10 days after its most recent Starlink launch. That brings the total number of operational Starlink broadband internet satellites on orbit to 538. SpaceX also split the payload for this Starlink mission for the first time, giving up two of its usual Starlink payload complement in order to also carry three Planet Skysat spacecraft on behalf of that client.

SpaceX’s latest Starlink launch was significant not only because it brings the company closer to its goal of actually operating a consumer-facing broadband internet service, which it hopes to begin doing for a limited pool of customers in the U.S. and Canada by later this year, but also because these Starlink satellites carried new modifications designed to make them more astronomer-friendly.

Starlink, because of its size and the relatively low-altitude orbit that they traverse, has been criticized by nighttime scientific observers because they present a potentially bright distraction as they pass overhead. SpaceX launched one Starlink satellite equipped with a new deployable sun visor it created that can block reflections of sunlight off of their antenna surfaces, and on this launch, each of the 58 satellites was outfitted with this new mitigating technology.

Hopefully, that means that Starlink can now exist more harmoniously with scientists who rely on Earth-based observation of the stars and night sky, but the ultimately proof will be in what difference these solar visors make when deployed in volume among the Starlink constellation.

This mission was also the first conducted under SpaceX’s formalized SmallSat Rideshare Program, which offers small satellite operators a chance to book a ride aboard an upcoming SpaceX launch in a relatively flexible, ‘on-demand’ manner using a web portal SpaceX created for the purpose. SpaceX’s efforts to offer more value to the rideshare business reflects a recognition that other launch providers like Rocket Lab, which tailor specifically to that market segment, are significant potential competition to its overall bottom line.

The launch today, which occurred at 5:21 AM EDT (2:21 AM PDT) also included a recovery landing of the Falcon 9 first stage booster used to propel the payload to space. This booster also previously flew on two of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station.


TechCrunch

OurCrowd, the Israeli crowdfunding venture investment platform, today announced the launch of its Pandemic Innovation Fund, with plans to raise a total of $ 100 million. The money will be invested in “urgent technological solutions for the medical, business, educational and social needs triggered by global pandemics and other health emergencies.”

The fund will invest in startups that look at developing vaccines and tests, as well as therapeutics, remote monitoring, digital health and personal protection. In addition, it’ll also look at startups that focus on continuity and disruption management that focus on remote working, distance learning, robotic process automation, home exercise and cybersecurity. That gives the fund a pretty broad mandate, but it’ll also allow the partners to spread the investments across a variety of industries.

“The rapid spread of the coronavirus has validated our vision of a connected digital world poised to solve any crisis through global communication and rapid response,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved. “To ensure that we get the world back on track, there is now an urgent need for innovation. Technology can help us overcome many of the problems resulting from the crisis. It’s time for tech to move fast and fix things.”

OurCrowd has already invested in a number of companies that would have been a good fit for the new fund if they came along today, including MigVax, which recently raised $ 12 million for its coronavirus vaccine efforts, as well as Sight Diagnostics, SaNOtize, TytoCare and others.

The principals for the new fund are healthcare exec Dr. Morris Laster, OurCrowd venture partner and chairman of its medical advisory board Dr. Morry Blumenfeld and OurCrowd venture partner David Sokolic.

“Together we must tackle the current pandemic as well as plan for future ones, because this story is just beginning. Entrepreneurs are uniquely skilled to provide fast and effective solutions to some of our greatest challenges. Our new fund will create the bridge between the innovations we need and the far-sighted investors able to provide the resources required to improve our world,” said Laster.


TechCrunch

Mercedes-Benz is now selling its EQV 300 all-electric premium van in Europe, the second EV to come out of the automaker’s initiative to produce a line of battery-powered models under its new EQ brand.

A concept version of the EQV was first shown in March 2019. But unlike so many concepts destined for nonexistence, this one was marked for series production. The EQV, which can seat up to eight people, is designed to appeal to customers seeking a more luxurious ride. The base price of €71,388 (about $ 78,359) provides a hint at who Mercedes is targeting.

Mercedes is marketing this toward families, upscaled adventurers and corporate clients who might be looking for a shuttle vehicle. The vehicle’s seating can be configured in numerous ways to meet various customers’ needs. It also can be customized for packages, not people.

The EQV comes with a compact electric drivetrain on the front axle that produces 150 kW, or 201 horsepower, as well as a 100 kWh battery pack, and can travel an estimated 418 km (260 miles) under Europe’s WLTP standards. The company is also showcasing its MBUX infotainment system in the EV, which has a number of tech-forward features, such as a self-learning voice control system with connectivity features.

Mercedes is selling the EQV 300 and a longer wheelbase version called AVANTGARDE. Both will be produced at the company’s plant in Vitoria in northern Spain, alongside the V-Class and the Mercedes-Benz Vito.

The van comes with a four-year maintenance plan that covers the battery up to 160,000 km, or eight years. Buyers also get the company’s navigation services for free for 36 months, as well as a membership to EV charger Ionity each for one year. Owners will also have one-year free access to Mercedes me Charge. The feature shows the charging infrastructure network in Europe and lets users start, stop and pay for charging via the Mercedes me app, a credit card or through the media display in the vehicle.

Mercedes announced its “EQ” technology brand in 2016. Since then the company has unveiled several EQ- related concepts as well as its first series-production vehicle, the EQC electric drive SUV. The company has previously said it plans to invest more than $ 12 billion to produce a line of battery-powered models under its new EQ brand and spend another $ 1.2 billion in global battery production.


TechCrunch

Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, has today launched a new app called CatchUp that makes it easier for friends and family in the U.S. to coordinate phone calls or set up group calls with up to 8 people. While there are a number of group chat apps available to users today, what makes CatchUp unique is that the calls it enables are audio-only, not video, and it flags when users are available. In addition, CatchUp won’t need a Facebook account to use the service — the app works with your phone’s contacts list.

CatchUp does seem to take some inspiration from Houseparty, in that users in CatchUp can designate when they’re available to talk by setting their status in the app. This is similar to how Houseparty’s video chat app also lets you see who’s live, by sending out notifications when friends open the app and flagging them as “here” in the app’s interface.

Similarly, CatchUp shows users as “Ready to Talk” in the top section of its homescreen, with offline users and other contacts listed below.

Facebook explains the app’s intention is to address one of the key reasons people no longer make phone calls — they don’t know when someone has time to talk and they don’t want to interrupt them. Meanwhile, calls that can’t be answered go to voicemails that recipients don’t bother checking, which forces communication to go through text messaging or chat apps instead. And while video chats are on the rise, a phone call is often more convenient as users aren’t always video-ready or they’re trying to multi-task, not sit in front of a screen.

CatchUp approaches the problem of not knowing if a phone call would bother someone by allowing you to see who is ready and able to talk as soon as you launch the app.

Users can also create and join groups of friends, family, and mutual contacts in the app, as you can with other chat apps. Or they can place 1-on-1 calls as an alternative to using the phone.

Placing a call is simple as well. It’s just a one-button tap — not a complicated process of calling contacts, then “merging” calls as you do on your smartphone’s Phone app.

Facebook explains the idea for the app actually came about prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent quarantine, but the NPE Team accelerated the app’s development as a result of the pandemic.

While there are already easy ways to make voice calls using Facebook’s own Messenger and WhatsApp apps, the difference is that CatchUp works with your phone’s contacts. Users will have to download the app, but they won’t need to have an existing Facebook account — or an account with any Facebook-owned companies. Plus, the app’s simplified user interface could make it easier for older users, like grandma and grandpa, to navigate. It’s really just a one-screen experience with a toggle button to become “available” to talk.

The app also includes privacy features that allow you to configure which contacts can join your 1-on-1 and group calls.

CatchUp is currently being tested in the U.S. for a limited time on iOS and Android devices. Like other NPE Team apps, Facebook may choose to terminate the app if it’s not adopted by a sizable userbase. To date, the NPE Team has launched a small handful of apps, including meme creator Whale, conversational app Bump, music app Aux, video app Hobbi, couples app Tuned, and Apple Watch app Kit.

 


TechCrunch

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is targeting a liftoff time of 9:14 AM EDT (6:14 AM PDT) today for an Atlas V rockets carrying the Boeing-built X-37B orbital test vehicle on behalf of the U.S. space force, which is an autonomous winged spaceplane that looks a little like a scaled down version of the Space Shuttle .

This is the sixth mission for the X-37B, though it’s the first flown under the U.S. Space Force’s supervision, since the space plane was previously operated by the Air Force before the formation of the new wing of the U.S. armed forces.

The X-37B runs various missions for the U.S., though its specific aims are actually classified. The uncrewed test vehicle spends long periods on orbit circling the Earth while conducting these missions, with its longest mission to date being a record 780 days for its flight that landed on October 27.

This launch was rescheduled from Saturday, due to poor weather conditions, and its delay means that the SpaceX Starlink mission that was scheduled to take off from Kennedy in Florida today is now pushed out to Tuesday, due to a tropical storm that looks to be developing on Monday at its original backup date.


TechCrunch

On Saturday, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) is targeting a liftoff time of 8:24 AM EDT (5:24 AM PDT) for one of its Atlas V rockets carrying the U.S. Space Force’s X-37B orbital test vehicle, which is a fully autonomous winged spaceplane that looks a little like a scaled down version of the Space Shuttle .

This is the sixth mission for the X-37B, though it’s the first flown under the U.S. Space Force’s supervision, since the space plane was previously operated by the Air Force before the formation of the new wing of the U.S. armed forces.

The X-37B runs various missions for the U.S., though its specific aims are actually classified. The uncrewed test vehicle spends long periods on orbit circling the Earth while conducting these missions, with its longest mission to date being a record 780 days for its flight that landed on October 27.

Stay tuned for updates, as weather conditions could mean this launch gets pushed to a backup date.


TechCrunch

Angling for a slice of the multi-billion dollar Medicare Advantage market with a pitch to integrate holistic medical practitioners into its network of service providers has netted Clever Care Health Plan some big backers and a huge market opportunity, the company says.

The company has raised $ 23 million in a new round of funding from investors led by Norwest Partners for its unique take on how to create a new network of healthcare providers for potential Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.

Several healthcare startups have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to tackle the Medicare Advantage opportunity. These include companies like Bright Health, Clover Health, Devoted Health, and Oscar, but, to-date, none have tried to put an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and holistic healing that chief operating officer Myong Lee and his co-founders settled on.

Joining Lee in the launch of Clever Care’s services are chief executive David Firdaus and chief financial officer Hiep Pham. The three have a long history of working together at other health plans. 

We’re looking to have a really unique supplemental benefit on the Eastern Medicine side,” said Lee of the company’s pitch.

Of course, there’s one hitch. Whether the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will approve the treatments for coverage. ““All of this is predicated on CMS approval,” Lee acknowledged.

Already, CMS has identified some holistic medical treatments — notably acupuncture — as eligible for coverage, and Lee and his team are hoping that more approvals could be forthcoming. 

Lee said that the problem was particularly acute for California’s aging immigrant population, which does not necessarily feel comfortable accessing the current healthcare system. Often, these populations are comprised of people who don’t speak English very well and whose needs are going unmet by current providers.

Using his own parents as an example, he said, “There wasn’t anything from their perspective. Nothing that spoke to them from an Eastern Medicine perspective.”

As Norwest general partner Casper de Clerq noted, Medicare Advantage has grown to encompass roughly 35% of all Medicare recipients. “There are 64 million Medicare members and 22 million are on Medicare Advnatage,” de Clerq said. “As this market matures it’s going to become more and more specialized and more niche with different populations that are not properly served. This hyperlocal phenomenon will be more and more important.”

The company said it would use the capital to establish its California Medicare Advantage health plan and hire staff for its two offices in Little Saigon in Orange County and Arcadia in Los Angeles County. 

“Medicare spending was 15 percent of total federal spending in 2018 and is projected to nearly double due to the retirement of the Baby Boom Generation and the rapid growth of per capita healthcare costs,” said Sean Doolan, healthcare partner at Global Founders Capital, which joined the round alongside Norwest. “We are excited to partner with the Clever Care Health Plan team and fully believe in their bold vision to create a progressive and affordable Medicare Advantage plan that will dramatically expand access to high quality care for diverse communities.”


TechCrunch

Created by R the Company. Powered by SiteMuze.