Science & Energy
SpaceX is getting into the satellite business. CEO Elon Musk confirmed via tweet that the rocket company is in the early stages of creating a large fleet of micro-satellites, and there will be an announcement about it in 2 to 3 months. A Wall Street Journal report last week outlined plans for 700 satellites weighing less than 250 pounds. It stated Musk is working with Greg Wyler, the former head of Google’s satellite division, who owns a portion of the radio spectrum. The satellites could be used to provide internet to remote parts of the planet.
Nest has worked out a deal with Electric Ireland, where customers of the Irish utility who sign a two-year contract get a free Nest thermostat. The Irish electric market is deregulated and consumers have a choice, so a free Nest gives a customer a reason to sign up and stay with one provider. It’s also going to provide valuable data about electricity consumption that both Nest and presumably the utility can use. Nest CEO Tony Fadell shared the news at the Web Summit in Dublin this week and claimed that we will see more such deals from Nest. To hear more from Fadell, come to our design conference Roadmap where he’ll be doing an onstage interview with Om Malik.
Fuel3D is prepping to release its relatively inexpensive consumer 3D scanner next year after raising $6.4 million in a second Series A round. Investors contributed $2.6 million in the first round in February. On top of increasing production, Fuel3D will use the money to expand into commercial applications such as biometrics and eyewear. The startup recently started shipping its first units to Kickstarter backers, who were originally scheduled to receive them in April. 3D scanners are of particular interest to 3D printer owners, who can use them to scan physical objects and then print a replica.