Would you watch your pets 24/7 if you could? PetBot hopes so. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign this week for its robot that lets people monitor and interact with their pets from a distance. PetBox is a box-shaped device that comes with a webcam, which you can orient with the accompanying mobile app to face your pets. If you and your pet are close, the app will let you know. Both the device’s hardware and software are open source so that people can develop new applications and features. The company is hoping to get $190 per PetBox sold, but is the price right for a robotic babysitter?
Move over Google, there’s a new self-driving car in town (or in the U.K, at least). The town of Milton Keynes has decided to invest in its own self-driving technology, which will allow for a fleet of autonomous pod cars to run between the city’s shopping center, office parks and central train station. The first 100 pods are set to hit the streets by 2015 as part of a £65 million infrastructure investment by the town. Passengers will be able to pay £2 per trip and summon the cars through a smartphone app. They won’t get you to your destination in a hurry, though: each pod will be capped at a top speed of 12 miles per hour.
Valve Corporation, the company behind wildly popular game titles like the “Half Life” series and “Team Fortress,” has an ambitious plan to change the way you see game consoles. The company hopes to have prototype Steam Machines in the hands of 300 beta testers by the end of the year. While many details of the company’s upcoming Steam Machine are unknown, media teams across the country were recently invited to Valve’s Washington headquarters to try out the innovative console.
Check out the latest prototype of the Steam Machine controller in action below:
In today’s fast-paced society, don’t you wish you could take more breaks at work? You may be able to without ever leaving your desk. Calm.com is a free site and app that guides users through relaxation experiences in which they can view the peaceful nature of a landscape while listening to calming ambient background noise. After receiving $415,000 in February from angel funds, the site moved to a subscription-based model after an initial free introductory period. However, the new fees haven’t hurt web traffic. Since its launch in May 2012, the site has attracted roughly 500,000 unique visitors per month.
If you were hoping to play Google’s new augmented reality game, you’re in luck. Niantic Labs, the Google company behind Ingress, has removed the need for an invitation to play the game. Ingress allows players to capture portals by traveling to real-life locations and then defend these portals from competing players. This comes ahead of the game’s full roll-out: on December 14, Ingress will lose its beta tag. Niantic Labs is creating a special founder’s badge for all users who manage to reach a certain level before the game’s official debut, as well as a special “Elite Agent” status for the players with the best stats and achievements thus far.
What did we miss this week in the Startups and Entrepreneurship arena? Share in the comments!