Brian Heater

Brian Heater

Hardware Editor

Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. He worked for a number of leading tech publications, including Engadget, PCMag, Laptop, and Tech Times, where he served as the Managing Editor. His writing has appeared in Spin, Wired, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Beast and various other publications. He hosts the weekly Boing Boing interview podcast RiYL, has appeared as a regular NPR contributor and shares his Queens apartment with a rabbit named Lucy.

The Latest from Brian Heater

Automating the income gap

This is going to be another one of those “let’s ask ourselves some difficult questions” newsletter introductions, so if you’re in the U.S., I certainly won’t blame you for not giving

It’s time to talk about killer robots

Looking for a Thanksgiving dinner table conversation that isn’t politics or professional sports? Okay, let’s talk about killer robots. It’s a concept that long ago leapt from the pages of scienc

Researchers are building robots that can build themselves

Researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms are working on an ambitious project, designing robots that effectively self-assemble. The team admits that the goal of an autonomous self-building robo

This manta ray-inspired soft robot flies through the water

Biologically inspired soft robots make a lot of sense in a lot of different scenarios, but as with any class of technology, they have their limitations. Among other things, these compliant structures

Soft Robotics raises $26 million as staffing shortages continue across industries

I spent last week in Boston, meeting with several of the area’s top automation startups. Soft Robotics — based in nearby Bedford, Massachusetts — is one of those names that comes up a lo

Qualcomm debuts latest flagship Snapdragon chip and a new AI platform

It’s that time of year again. It can drop 20 degrees on any given day, and we’re stuck indoors watching people watch Qualcomm announce new chips and reference designs in sunny Hawaii. The Snapdrag

Scene Report: Boston

What surprised me most on returning to Boston* for the first time since the onset of the pandemic was just how clustered things are. I’m not a great scheduler and I don’t know the city’s geograp

Ghost Robotics fires back against ‘baseless’ Boston Dynamics lawsuit

A legal dispute over robotic patents is devolving into a war of words, as Ghost Robotics fires back against Boston Dynamics. The Philadelphia firm calls the suit both “obstructive and baseless&#8221

Tatum is building a robot arm to help people with deafblindness communicate

Precise numbers on deafblindness are difficult to calculate. For that reason, figures tend to be all over the place. For the sake of writing an intro to this story, we’re going to cite this study fr

This robotic dog can walk over just about any terrain

Quadruped robot developers like Boston Dynamics have taken great pains to develop systems capable of traversing all manner of terrain. For the right price, you can pick up a robotic dog that can take

Amazon hardware head confirms layoffs in memo

Update: Spokesperson Kelly Nantel tells TechCrunch, “As part of our annual operating planning review process, we always look at each of our businesses and what we believe we should change. As we’v

Amazon begins layoffs as economic woes mount

Update: Spokesperson Kelly Nantel tells TechCrunch, “As part of our annual operating planning review process, we always look at each of our businesses and what we believe we should change. As we’v

Boston Dynamics sues Ghost Robotics over robot dog patent infringements

If you know anything about Ghost Robotics, it’s likely one of two things: 1) They make robot dogs. 2) Sniper rifles can be mounted to those robots. A majority of the Philadelphia firm’s press cove

Pickle picks up $26M for its truck unloading robots

Fulfillment has arguably been the hottest robotics category over the past two years, as companies have looked to stay competitive with Amazon, even amid ongoing labor shortages. Still, one of the most

Attabotics raises another $71M to grow its vertical robotic warehouse solution

“Amazon remains the best member of our business development team,” Attabotics founder and CEO Scott Gravelle says with a hint of snark, “as companies go look for alternatives and look for ways t

Amazon eyes devices group as it undertakes broad cost cutting

The Echo business has always looked like Amazon playing the long game from the outside. Above all, the company’s home consumer hardware is a convenient vessel for getting Alexa into millions of home

Facing economic headwinds, Amazon consolidates robotic projects

Westborough, Massachusetts is a quiet town of 22,000, 40 minutes by car southeast of Boston. BOS27 is among the town’s newer residents. The 350,000-square-foot Amazon facility opened its doors a lit

Dispatches from the conference room

Greetings on a brisk New England morning. I’m finally here on my long threatened trip to Boston. I was planning to be here in early July ahead of our robotics event, but SARS-CoV-2 and its many vari

Amazon previews its new delivery drone, the MK30

Following this morning’s debut of the Sparrow bin-picking robot, Amazon just unveiled MK30, the latest iteration of its delivery drone. The system is the successor to the MK27-2, which is set to deb

Amazon debuts Sparrow, a new bin-picking robot arm

The bin-moving robots designed by Kiva Systems still form the foundation of Amazon’s warehouse robotics play a decade after it acquired the startup. There’s a reason — for example — th
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