Enterprise-IoT platform Particle acquires IoT hardware startup RedBear for an undisclosed sum

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Particle, a company providing IoT hardware, software, and connectivity solutions bought Shenzhen and Hong Kong-based IoT hardware firm RedBear Labs, makers of RedBear Duo and a variety of other connectivity boards. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Buying RedBear marks Particle’s first acquisition. Particle has deployed IoT connectivity solutions in various industries from industrial and municipal IoT applications to manufacturing facilities. It implies the San Francisco-based company has focused on ‘enterprise market’ and entering the enterprise IoT market in China may prove to be a huge win for the company in coming years. And, what best way than to acquire a thriving local startup.

The company’s partnership goes back to Particle’s launch of three meshed devices, i.e. Argon, Boron, and Xenon as RedBear helped the company in product development of meshed devices for IoT connectivity.

RedBear started out by launching Particle-powered product, the RedBear Duo, a thumb-size development board for IoT projects on Kickstarter in November 2015. It got an overwhelming support from backers and delivered the product in the promised time of three months. Now the startup is set to contribute its hardware development experience to Particle’s Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Wi-Fi-enabled IoT hardware.

“Particle is committed to building the best team in the business to enable anyone to create IoT solutions that produce real value. The RedBear team impressed us with their track record of enabling IoT makers to bring their ideas to life in a third of the time and a tenth of the cost as in the past. This acquisition enables Particle to bring new products to market faster and scale to meet soaring demands for IoT connectivity, adding valuable expertise from the heart of the electronics industry in Shenzhen.”Zach Supalla, Particle co-founder, and CEO.

The enthusiasm of sharing a company already serving 8500+ clients in North America and elsewhere was evident from the statement by RedBear’s CEO.

“Particle and RedBear share the same laser focus on creating connected solutions that help product creators at any stage create value with IoT.” Chi-Hung Ma, CEO of RedBear and Particle Director of New Product Development.

It appears Particle will also benefit from RedBear’s existing network of customers and the reseller network the latter has developed in Asia, Europe, North- and South-America.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

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Particle introduces IoT development hardware: Adds mesh support

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Particle, an integrated IoT company has announced new hardware Particle Mesh to its product portfolio. Based on OpenThread networking protocol, the company launched three meshed devices Argon, Boron, and Xenon in alliances with the Thread Group. These are IoT hardware development kits.

The traditional IoT devices depend on the cloud to connect and relay messages between devices, even those which are few meters away. With Particle Mesh, networks have increased coverage and can capture more data with higher reliability at a reduced cost-ultimately making IoT solutions more intelligent, by using the thread platform. They help collect sensor data, exchange local messages, and share their connection to the cloud.

The company aims to solve connectivity problems and improve the collection of data with the mesh network, something that is a “market in need”, says CEO Zach Supalla. “When we’re pursuing a new technology, we’re doing it because it solves some customer problem that we can point to,” Supalla said.

The Particle Mesh family includes three mesh-ready devices: Argon and Boron which work alone or as gateway nodes for mesh network, and Xenon, a mesh-only endpoint. All three devices integrate with Particle Device Cloud, the company’s cloud management platform.

The device kits are set to ship in July followed by modular version later in 2018 at a discounted price of $ 9. The company is also adding Particle Mesh network management capabilities to its device management console, which will also launch towards the end of this year.

Postscapes reported that Particle raised $ 20M Series B round in July last year from Spark Capital.

Particle Mesh from Particle on Vimeo.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

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Particle unveils new mesh networking hardware

US IoT firm Particle has launched a range of hardware devices that gives developers easy access to mesh networking technology.

The aim is to help organisations develop affordable networks that span multiple locations and carry large amounts of data at speed.

According to Particle, mesh networks make IoT solutions more intelligent. The new hardware “marks an important advance to help developers revolutionise industries, from manufacturing and logistics to smart home devices”, said the company in a written statement.

Overcoming obstacles

The IoT is a simple concept – interconnected devices, services, and data – but the reality can be complex, especially when dealing with legacy infrastructures. Many companies run into obstacles when attempting to build and link multiple connected products together.

For example, IoT devices often use cellular and Wi-fI technologies to connect to the cloud. However, when it comes to deploying them in rural areas, connections are often unreliable and are frequently disrupted. And when a multitude of devices is connected to the same network, power and downtime problems often arise.

Mesh infrastructures can help address these issues, said the company. With Particle Mesh, developers can create local networks for low-cost, low-power devices to run on. These feed back to a Wi-Fi or LTE gateway.

“This also instills redundancy, so if one endpoint fails the network automatically self-heals to the nearest device with no downtime or lost data,” said Particle.

Mesh-ready devices

With Particle’s new offering, organisations can buy a range of mesh products that link up to the Particle Device Cloud. These are designed to work as a family of IoT devices.

In that family are: Argon, a Wi-Fi and mesh-enabled unit that functions as a gateway for different devices; Boron, which can work with LTE/2G/3G-enabled devices; and Zenon, an endpoint device that connects to Argon or Boron and creates local networks.

The products are available to pre-order, but Particle has yet to announce an official release date.

Supporting budding IoT gurus

Zach Supalla, co-founder and CEO of Particle, said the company has helped “150,000 creators bring their products online – and learned a lot about the toughest problems that innovators encounter”.

He claimed that the products are an easy way to set up an IoT network. “We built Particle Mesh to address a gap in the market: building local networks to connect IoT products to each other without being a networking guru,” he said.

Particle is based on mesh networking technology OpenThread, which was developed by Alphabet-owned Nest Labs.

Grant Erickson, principle software engineer at Nest Labs and president of the Thread Group, added: “Thread was created to support developers in building connected products with a networking protocol that activates the internet in IoT.

“Built on Thread, Particle Mesh enables a welcome expansion beyond the connected home to industrial use cases that will drive the next wave of growth of IoT.”

Internet of Business says

As the IoT spreads and more organisations see the value in the data that smart devices can gather in real time (where possible), connectivity, speed, and ease of deployment will become the critical factors, alongside low cost. Edge and mesh environments are emerging as essential components and enablers of the IoT, and this will remain the case for as long as core communications infrastructures remain slow, patchy, or unreliable.

For example, the UK has a national infrastructure provider which claims that 10MBPS broadband is “superfast”. As long as that is the case, many organisations will rely on innovation within the IoT community to speed their ambitions to market.

The post Particle unveils new mesh networking hardware appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

‘Particle Mace’ Update with iOS 11 and iPhone X Screen Support is Now Available

Back at the beginning of December, we posted that indie developer Andy Wallace was contemplating an update for his space non-shooter Particle Mace [$ 2.99] that would bring it up to current 64-bit standards and make it playable on iOS 11. In that same post I also gushed pretty hard about just how much I loved Particle Mace ever since it was released back in January of 2015. No, I am not embarrassed at how much I gushed over the game. Anyway, that iOS 11 compatibility update is now available and in addition it brings with it full support for that beautiful screen on the iPhone X. Being that this is one of the best one-handed portrait games in the world, iPhone X support is very exciting to me indeed.

If you’re not familiar with Particle Mace, you’re best off watching the trailer above, as it’s a tricky game to explain. In short, it’s a space shooter type of game with no shooting, and instead your ship is affixed with a group of particle maces which you’ll swing into enemies and asteroids using the momentum of zipping around in your ship. It works so so well and is one of the most unique games on the entire App Store. We loved Particle Mace in our original 5 star review from back in 2015, and I couldn’t be happier to see this absolute classic come back from the 32-bit Appocalypse graveyard.


The Brilliant ‘Particle Mace’ May Get Updated for 64-Bit and the Developer is Seeking Out Beta Testers

Over the past decade I’ve grown to love a lot of iPhone games, but there’s a handful of games that I love on a whole different level, like I SUPER DUPER LOVE them. Andy Wallace’s Particle Mace [$ 2.99] is one of those games. Released in early 2015, Particle Mace on first blush looks like your typical retro-inspired top-down space shooter. Except… you can’t shoot. After finding your ship’s weapons nonfunctional, you improvise by tying a bunch of garbage to an array of bungie-like cords to your ship. You defeat enemies and smash asteroids by zipping around and using your momentum to sling that makeshift weapon (let’s just call it oh I don’t know a PARTICLE MACE) into them, and it is honestly one of the most unique and satisfying gameplay mechanics I’ve ever used. Here’s the trailer for Particle Mace so you can see what I’m very poorly attempting to explain in action.

So anyway, yeah, I love Particle Mace. Unfortunately, due to not being updated since close to when it released, it wasn’t 64-bit ready and therefore was a victim of the dreaded 32-Bit Appocalypse that hit when iOS 11 released back in September. I made peace with losing a bunch of my older 32-bit games, but Particle Mace was one of the harder pills to swallow. After not receiving any updates for so long, and not seeing much action from the developer in our forums, I sort of assumed it was dead for good. I didn’t delete it from my phone or anything, JUST IN CASE, but I highly doubted we’d see a 64-bit update. But what’s this? A glimmer of hope? Developer Andy Wallace took to Twitter to say he was investigating updating the game for 64-bit, and asked if owners of iOS devices in various shapes and sizes wouldn’t mind helping out with it.

I haven’t replied to the tweet myself just yet, so let me take this opportunity to say – Hi Andy! I have an iPhone X and would love to help test the Particle Mace update! If you’re interested in testing too, hit him up on Twitter. If you’re one of those holdout types who haven’t updated to iOS 11 just yet and you missed out on Particle Mace when it released, I (obviously) highly recommend you check it out as it’s still available in the App Store for non-iOS 11 folks. We gave it 5 stars in our review, I gushed over it during one of our TA Plays videos, and I picked it for my personal Best Games of 2015 list. I understand how difficult and costly/time-consuming updating older games can be for small indie devs like this, so if the update isn’t in the cards it’s not in the cards, but hopefully this glimmer of hope will result in an iOS 11-compatible update for Particle Mace and I can once again enjoy one of my very favorite iPhone games.


Fermilab is Looking for New, Practical Uses for Particle Accelerators

Accelerator Access

Particle accelerators have proven to be invaluable to the attempts of science to answer some of the most complex questions offered up by the field of physics. Now, the Department of Energy’s Fermilab facility is set to embark on a project that will hopefully offer up various other useful applications.

The Accelerator Application Development and Demonstration program will help Fermilab scientists collaborate with various partners to investigate new ways to utilize compact particle accelerators.

“A2D2 has two aspects: One is to investigate new applications of how electron beams might be used to change, modify or process different materials,” read a statement from Fermilab’s Tom Kroc “The second is to contribute a little more to the understanding of how these processes happen.”

Anyone who has a novel idea of how to apply the technology will be able to submit their proposal to Fermilab. The end goal is to convert established tools and concepts into useful commercial applications — and there are already some interesting plans being put in motion.

Paving the Way

One of the first projects will use accelerators to create pavement that won’t be damaged by extreme heat or cold. Instead of asphalt, this process would use a material that could be strengthened by passing an accelerator over it.

Accelerators can be used to drive chemical reactions using electron beams, which is much quicker and more efficient than conventional methods.

Additionally, the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is scheduled to test out the technology’s capacity to overhaul water purification techniques, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also set to test out its capabilities.

More potential uses are going to be facilitated by an even smaller, portable accelerator currently in development. For the portable version, environmental cleanup is one such potential application currently being touted by Fermilab.

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Scientists Find Evidence of a Particle That is Its Own Antiparticle

The Angel Particle

For every fundamental particle in the universe, there is an antiparticle with the same mass and the opposite charge — at least that’s what we thought. When particles and antiparticles meet, they immediately destroy each other in a burst of energy, but physicists have long theorized that somewhere in the universe exists an exception to this rule. Scientists have finally found the first strong evidence for this type of particle, which they’re calling the “angel particle.”

Back in 1928, physicist Paul Dirac predicted that all fundamental particles had their opposites, and a few years later the positron was discovered. This was the first antimatter particle and the opposite of the electron, and it confirmed the prediction. By 1937, physicist Ettore Majorana had calculated that there was a missing member of the fermion family. Electrons, protons, quarks, neutrons, and neutrinos are all fermions with corresponding antiparticles, but Majorana believed that there should be an additional particle which was its own antiparticle.

Initially neutrons and neutrinos were the most likely Majorana fermion suspects, since they have no charge — but antineutrons have since been discovered. This leaves just neutrinos, and physicists are working to find out whether they might in fact be their own antiparticles. That answer is not likely to be forthcoming anytime soon, because those experiments are very difficult to do. In the meantime, scientists are searching for “quasiparticles.”

Quasiparticles And Smoking Guns

Quasiparticles aren’t exactly natural particles. They’re created when the collective behavior of electrons in a solid material gives rise to certain properties typically found in particles that areweakly interacting in free space. Thinking of the ways physical properties often change at the nanoscale, imagine a nanomaterial that behaves as if it’s comprised of bouncing bubbles, exhibiting collective behavior. The quasiparticle is really the behavior, not a physical particle per se.

Similarly, quasiparticles exist only within very specific conditions. If they exhibit all the right properties, however, they might be considered to be Majorana fermions. Researchers from Stanford and the University of California say they found a “smoking gun experimental signature” that indicates these hypothetical fermions are real.

The team stacked quantum materials to create a superconducting topological insulator in hopes of revealing these quasiparticles along the edges. When magnetic material was added, the researchers observed electrons moving along one edge in one direction, and along the other edge in the opposite direction. Then, by sweeping a magnet over the material, they slowed the electrons down and forced them to change directions. Quasiparticles then began emerging from the materials in pairs, turning in half-steps compared to the electrons. This made sense to the researchers, since they were only half particles.

This loss of half of each quasiparticle pair in this process was precisely the evidentiary phenomenon the researchers had been hoping to find. Senior author of the paper Shoucheng Zhang proposed that the quasiparticle be called the “angel particle” based on Angels and Demons by Dan Brown — a novel which describes a matter and antimatter bomb. While this discovery is for now still theoretical, this knowledge could one day be of service to improving the security of quantum computers.

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