ProtoCycler: the desktop filament maker aiming to make 3D printing more sustainable - (blog)

ReDeTec is looking to impact desktop 3D printing in a big way, by making it a more environmentally sustainable and cost-efficient process. With its all-new ProtoCycler machine, the Toronto-based startup is offering makers an efficient way to reuse and make their own 3D printing filament at home. Initially launched through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014 (which raised 146% of its $50K goal), the ProtoCycler is nearly ready to ship.

Once you have a 3D printer at home or in the office, the only real costs that follow you around are for 3D printing materials. And while filaments range in price significantly, having to buy new spools regularly to keep up with your making needs can really put a dent in your bank account. In addition to costs, physically seeing how much plastic is used for your prints (especially failed ones or rough prototypes) can be disheartening from an ecological perspective.

Of course, buying filaments made from recycled materials is a good solution for your environmental concerns, though perhaps less so for your financial ones. That's where ReDeTec comes in with its ProtoCycler: the only desktop recycler system in the world that includes a built-in grinder, diameter feedback, and automatic spooling.

According to ReDeTec founder Dennon Oosterman, the ProtoCycler is also the only desktop filament recycler with a third-party safety certified extrusion system. Called MixFlow, ReDeTec's patent-pending plastic extrusion process does away with the problematic drill bit/wood auger system that many extruders use and instead integrates a "proper extrusion grade screw," which allows for the recycled plastic pellets to be melted consistently and smoothly.

Oosterman and the ReDeTec team were inspired to develop their own desktop filament recycling device at university. As he told 3Ders, "We first became interested in 3D printing when our lab at the University of British Columbia got some 3D printers. We used them quite a bit for our engineering degree and thought it would be a good class project to recycle some of the waste back into 3D printer filament. It turned out to be far more difficult than we'd hoped!"

Aiming to fill a gap in the home 3D printing market, the dedicated ReDeTec team set about developing the ProtoCycler. Now, in the final stages of readying its product, the startup is hoping that it will help to make desktop 3D printing more sustainable. So far, the UL Certified ProtoCycler is equipped to produce ABS and PLA filament, though its developers have suggested that more types of plastic materials (printable at 260 degrees or lower) will soon also be extrudable.

Excitingly, ReDeTec was recently recognized for its work at Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) 2017, the world's largest startup competition, judged by Sir Richard Branson. While Vantage Robotics took home first prize for its innovative flying camera, ReDeTec was awarded third place for its ProtoCycler device.

The experience at XTC 2017 was incredible, says Oosterman. "The people we met and the publicity we've gotten since have been incredible," he told 3Ders. "And it's generated some fundraising interest as well, which is always helpful. I would highly recommend applying to XTC for anyone starting a business that will impact the world in a positive way, as the network of people you meet is truly the best I've come across in my time with ReDeTec!"

ReDeTec co-founders Dennon Oosterman (left) and Alex Kay (right)
As the Toronto-based startup prepares to launch its product, it is also looking forwards, continually thinking of ways to improve its technology and to have a positive impact on the 3D printing community. According to ReDeTec, it is aiming to scale up its technology, and is hoping to develop a more modular system for its technology, as well as a motorized grinder.

"Ultimately we want people to be able to create whatever they want, in a way that's so affordable, sustainable, and safe that children can do it in grade school year after year. ProtoCycler and FDM printing get pretty close...but there's still some limitations we'd like to remove once we have a chance," commented Oosterman.

The ProtoCycler can be ordered through ReDeTec's website, and is retailing for $900.

Source: This article was curated form the original written by Tess for and can be read here:

Why China's Silicon Valley Is a Magnet for Tech Millennials ... - Bloomberg

When Alex Chen and his brother Harrison wanted to get their ping pong-playing robot up and running, it wasn't Silicon Valley they turned to for help.

Instead it was Shenzhen, a former fishing village bordering Hong Kong that has the strongest claim to be China's answer to Silicon Valley. About a thousand startup accelerators are active in the city, drawn by its proximity to factories capable to churning out all manner of gadgets.

"It's the capital for hardware,'' said Duncan Turner, managing director for accelerator Hax. "All the suppliers are here, you've got an ecosystem of both manufacturers and also critically, engineering expertise.''

Shenzhen is now home to more than 11 million people and some of China's most recognizable technology names, including Huawei, Tencent and dronemaker DJI.
— With assistance by Robert Fenner

Source: This article was curated form the original for Bloomberg and can be read here:

Why benefits of 3D printing are attracting more manufacturers - TechTarget

Rain Wang couldn't have started the sunglasses manufacturing company Skelmet Inc. without the customization capabilities of 3D printing. Indeed, the technology is what enabled a vision to become a physical reality, albeit one that still needs financial backing from crowdsourced investors.
Skelmet, co-founded by Wang and James Cao in Cambridge, Mass., uses algorithmic scanning to capture the unique shapes of an individual's head to create customized sunglasses. But the process would have ended there if not for a 3D printer's ability to shape nylon plastic into eyewear that, Wang said, is perfectly tailored for each customer's distinctive facial contours.

"3D printing technology is absolutely amazing for customized products," she said. "It creates small structures, [which] traditional molding can't do."

Benefits of 3D printing coming to production processes

Skelmet is one of many companies either complementing or moving past long-standing manufacturing methods, such as molding, to embrace the flexibility and responsiveness of 3D printing.

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing's agile ability to turn digital models into solid objects continues to attract attention, and now has many manufacturing companies adding the technology to their production processes, even if they outsource the printing capability itself.
Just over 70% of manufacturers have found a way to use 3D printing, according to a 2016 survey by PwC and the Manufacturing Institute. Prototyping is currently the most popular use, with just over a third of manufacturers using additive manufacturing for prototyping only. But that use is expanding. Although many once saw 3D printing as best confined to low-volume specialty use, 52% of manufacturers now expect to use the technology in high-volume production processes within the next five years.

Fortune 500 companies, such as General Electric, Boeing and Ford, have made headlines for incorporating 3D printing into their in-house parts manufacturing processes. But beyond the headlines, many other companies recognize the potential of 3D printing and are closely researching how and when they should invest in the technology, according to Jack Beuth, a mechanical engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering.

Additive manufacturing for innovation, efficiency

Manufacturers of metal components have a particularly strong interest in 3D printing, and are trying to figure out the specific benefits of 3D printing in terms of their production processes, Beuth said of the companies that consult with Carnegie Mellon's Next Manufacturing Center, of which he is the director. These companies are reviewing capital and labor costs before purchasing the printers, while many others, for now, are outsourcing 3D printing. A few are buying the machinery, he said.
Far removed from Cambridge and the plastics of sunglasses, Vector Space Systems also sees potential in 3D printing and, last year, used it to create a fuel injector that's been successfully tested on one of the company's rocket engines. Vector hopes that 3D printing can someday make a space-ready injector that weighs less than those made with a traditional lathe. In the aerospace industry, weight reduction in even fractions can save big money in the long run of rocket production.

"With 3D printing, we can create an internal lattice structure that's more hollow and makes the injector lighter," Vector CTO John Garvey said.

By creating a honeycomb injector structure that's almost as strong as a conventionally produced one, unnecessary solid material can be removed. There are still many more tests to conduct -- including those that must assure the residual powders of printing don't obstruct any injector orifices -- but Garvey believes, if progress continues, in a few years, Vector will strongly consider purchasing its own industrial 3D printer to at least complement lathe manufacturing.

"Cost is definitely an element, but for us, we're not trying to save on costs," Garvey said. "We're looking for innovation and turning around rocket fuel performance. We'll even pay more for that."

Cost complicates the benefits of 3D printing

Despite the widespread interest noted in the PwC and Manufacturing Institute survey, manufacturers noted strong barriers to adoption, and cost was an important one. But, like additive manufacturing itself, the issue has many layers.

Large companies that can afford 3D printing should purchase a machine not just for basic production, but also for developing prototypes for testing or tooling, Carnegie Mellon's Beuth said. Companies that use metal 3D printers can also work outside of variable sets, and can use different powers in the machine -- both value-added features of such an investment.

If you can make any kind of positive cost-effect argument for buying a machine now, you should do it, because 3D printing is progressing. Jack BeuthCarnegie Mellon College of Engineering
"If you can make any kind of positive cost-effect argument for buying a machine now, you should do it, because 3D printing is progressing," Beuth said. Particularly, "3D printing for metals is in the same place now that personal computers were in the mid-1980s. As that [progression] showed, things change fast."

Still, cost is a challenge for small companies and entrepreneurs, and they will have to outsource, sending computer-aided design files to 3D printing farms, Beuth said.

That's what Spencer Wright, a product designer who owns a single-person shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., does. He designs high-end bicycle components and sends the configurations to a metal 3D printing farm to manufacture. He also has experience with polymer 3D printing, an area that Beuth sees as the next to advance.

"Some companies are building entire business models around 3D printing," Wright said. "Every manufacturing technology has its limitations, and that's true of 3D printing. But it has unique and interesting design challenges, and that's fascinating. There's a chance to explore this new kind of design and create a line of parts."

Source: This article was curated form the original written by Albert McKeon for Tech Target and can be read here:

Sliced 3D Printing Digest: Artec 3D, ColorFabb, Creaform, EnvisionTec's new printer and Formlabs partnership - 3D Printing Industry

In this edition of Sliced, the 3D Printing Industry digest, we feature Artec 3D, Threeding, ColorFabb, NeoMetrix Technologies, Creaform, EnvisionTec, Twindom, Zahn Dental, and Formlabs.

3D Scanning to preserve historic artifacts

3D scanning company Artec and 3D printing marketplace Threeding scanned a private palaeontology collection. To scan the fossils, Artec Spider and Eva scanners were used.

In other news involving scanning to preserve historic artifacts, 3D Printing Industry are on the road with Jonathan Beck of Scan the World as he travels around France capturing 3D scans of ancient artworks. Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don't miss our next article about the Scan the World cultural heritage project.

The scanning of process. Photo via Threeding.
The scanning of process. Photo via Threeding.

NeoMetrix Technologies announces reseller status for Creaform

NeoMetrix has sold Creaform's 3D scanning products since 2010. Now, the company has strategic reseller status. Creaform are the producers of several scanning devices such as the HandySCAN700 and MetraSCAN Elite 3D Scanners. While NeoMetrix Technologies of Florida are an additive manufacturing solutions company.

Dan Perreault, President of NeoMetrix Technologies, said, We believe that we achieved this level of success with Creaform products because of our philosophy of addressing each specific customer's needs, rather than just pushing to sell products.

ColorFabb's new Headquarters

Dutch filament company, ColorFabb has announced a new headquarters in Belfeld, Netherlands. Having started out in a small garage, the company are understandably very proud of their progress.

The new headquarters. Photo via ColorFabb.
The new headquarters. Photo via ColorFabb.

Regarding this new location, the company said, We have an ambitious vision and to accomplish this vision we need the right tools. Moving into the new building is important for colorFabb, since it enables us to bring that vision to reality in 2017 and beyond.

The filament production area. Photo via ColorFabb.
The filament production area. Photo via ColorFabb.

EnvisionTec unveils new printer

The Vida cDLM 3D printer, from EnvisionTec was announced during Chicago's LMT Lab day. The 3D printer uses the Continuous Digital Light Manufacturing (cDLM) technique and is intended for the dental industry.

Al Siblani, CEO, said, We are excited to bring the Vida cDLM to the dental industry. Our expanding dental 3D printer line is now unrivalled for productivity, accuracy and flexibility of materials.
The dental sector is increasing making use of 3D printing, as Straumann recently announced they are looking to acquire a 3D printing company.
The Vida cDLM 3D printer. Image via EnvisionTec.
The Vida cDLM 3D printer. Image via EnvisionTec.

Dental company to retail Formlabs 3D printers

Also in the world of dentistry, Zahn Dental, a Henry Schein company, will sell Formlabs SLA 3D printers. Zahn Dental is the largest distributor to dental laboratories in North America. This announcement adds commercial validation to the 3D printing industry's value proposition for the dental industry. As 3D Printing Industry recently reported Dubai's Dental Authority hoping to begin 3D printing teeth later this year.

Ken Haldeman, General Manager at Zahn Dental said the agreement, "underscores our commitment to providing customers with digital solutions they can rely on for their surgical needs."

By continuing to offer innovative material and technology, we – together with our partners, such as Formlabs – are helping drive the adoption of digital dentistry, which is powered by 3D printing.

Twindom releases updated 3D body scanner

Californian scanning company Twindom has updated their portable body scanner. According to Twindom, the device can now be assembled in just 20 minutes. This due to a new twist and lock feature which means there is no need to fiddle with screws or bolts.

Twindom, as well as their clients, transport the scanner to a number of events to scan customers. For this reason, to assemble the device quickly and easily is obviously very beneficial. Will Drevno, one of the co-founders of Twindom said, One of the biggest asks we would get from customers taking their Twinstants to lots of events to sell 3D printed figurines, were for making the setup process simpler.

In addition, the company has also tweaked their software to create a more seamless scanning process.

Source: This article was curated form the original written by Corey Clarke for #D Printing Industry and can be read here:

Apple and Silicon Valley Struggle to Navigate Trump's Waters - The Mac Observer (blog)

In the weeks since his inauguration, there has been much discussion about President Trump's relationship with the media. Rightly so. Media is not alone in feeling the affects of the chaotic political climate that we are currently experiencing. The ramifications are also clear in tech, where companies have struggled to balance politics and business, even as the two intersect one another like never before.

Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Tim Cook, Tech Exec Meeting in December, 2016
Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Tim Cook, in a meeting with tech executives in December, 2016
Silicon Valley and the Travel Ban

A number of leading figures in Silicon Valley, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, voiced their dislike of Trump's travel ban against people from seven muslim-majority countries.

In an email to Apple staff obtained by Recode back in January, Mr. Cook said: "Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do. I've heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support."
Staying silent

Speaking at Glasgow University a couple of weeks later, Cook quoted one his idols, Martin Luther King. He seemed to be urging others to speak out. "Dr King said something so incredible, it wouldn't be the actions of people that would be the problem, it would be the appalling silence of the good people. I think that's a lesson to all of us. If we stand and say nothing, it's as if we agree. We become a part of it," Cook said.

You can add into this difficult mix the possibility that US Customs may begin asking foreigners for the passwords to their social media accounts as part of a new vetting process. Appearing before House Committee on Homeland Security, new Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said: "We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say? If they don't want to cooperate then you don't come in."

Data privacy, even in cases relating to terrorism, is something that Apple has fought previous US governments on. It's also a subject that both interests liberal-leaning Silicon Valley and has the potential for harming business for U.S. tech companies.

Apple the outlier

Apple, then, is something of an outlier among many major corporations. It has a history of speaking out on a variety of political and social issues. For many, owning Apple products is arguably as much about expressing a set of values as it is owning a phone or a laptop. After-all, this is the company that always pitched itself as the anti-establishment rebels with that advert.

The company is also big enough that it has some cover. It's not likely any President would do anything that really threatens Apple in any major way.

Other companies, though, are in a more difficult position. They are trying to maintain lines of communication with an administration many—but not all—oppose. Senior Valley figures have been pictured in meetings with the new President, as shown in the photo above. Access to any president is important for business, and this hasn't changed just because there's a new president. At the same time, though, a revamped Executive Order on immigration on its way. That's likely to raise a ruckus from Silicon Valley again.

All of which speaks to the difficulty Apple and the rest of the tech world are having and will continue to have in navigating the new waters of Donald Trump's presidency.

Source: This article was curated form the original written by Charlotte Henry for Mac Observer and can be read here:

Honey-like inks lead to a new 3D printing method - 3D Printing Industry

Research at the University of Akron, Ohio has developed a new method of 3D printing by extruding inks from a nozzle in layers and using light to simultaneously cure it. The technique is termed "Direct-print photopolymerization for 3D printing" and works in almost opposite way to traditional stereolithography (SLA).
Direct 3D printing in comparison to SLA
Stereolithography (SLA) is the technique used in 3D printers from companies such as DWS, 3D Systems and Formlabs.
3D Systems Figure 4 prints. Photo by Michael Petch
3D Systems Figure 4 prints. Photo by Michael Petch
Using light and photopolymers has certain advantages, in particular the resolution and level of detail it is possible to achieve. However, the disadvantage of is that many resins used in the process contain solvents, and so aren't suitable for all applications, i.e. in medicine.
This method from the University of Akron proposes a method of direct writing of ink into a layered object, rather than forming something out of an entire vat of material. The inks are also solvent-free so they can be applied in more toxicity sensitive areas of industry.
The first 3D printer 3D Systems' SLA-1. Photo by Michael Petch
The first 3D printer: 3D Systems' SLA-1. Photo by Michael Petch
Honey-like inks
The process of direct-print photopolymerization (DPP) relies upon engineering the rheological properties of an ink so that it is liquid when being extruded, for fluidity of design, but quickly becomes solid to allow the formation of layers.
To create the ink researchers used existing resins as a base including FullCure® 930 and TangoPlus from Stratasys. 3D Printing Industry recently took at look at how these resins were used to make a multi-material robotic fish at the Tandon School of Engineering and the Politecnico di Torino. Usually, these resins would be extruded purely as a liquid, as seen in the figure below.
(a) Extrusion of liquid resin, (b) extrusion of the modified viscoelastic ink. Photos via Morteza Vatani & and Jae-Won Choi
(a) Extrusion of liquid resin, (b) extrusion of the modified viscoelastic ink. Photos via Morteza Vatani & Jae-Won Choi
To manage the rate at which the ink flows and becomes solid, fumed silica powders were added to resins, allowing for the honeyed texture, that also cures when an external lamp is applied.
Setup of the DPP system. Image via Morteza Vatani & and Jae-Won Choi
Setup of the DPP system. Image via Morteza Vatani & Jae-Won Choi
As a result, a type of viscoelastic ink is created, one that is both thick and honey-like, but also stretchy.
"a highly flexible and powerful route" leading towards reliable large-scale 3D printing
Having both viscous and elastic qualities allows for the flow and structural integrity require of a 3D printed object. Engineering the rheology of this material in this way, without such intensive use of light-curing, allows the specific creation of certain mechanical, physical and electrical functionalities with a DPP 3D printed part.
DPP 3D printed parts including (f) with embedded electronics. Photos via Morteza Vatani & and Jae-Won Choi
DPP 3D printed parts including (f) with embedded electronics. Photos via Morteza Vatani & Jae-Won Choi
The conclusion of the research paper finds that DPP is "a highly flexible and powerful route for the fabrication of complex 3D polymeric structures". In the future, "a large-scale fabrication process will be investigated while shrinkage and curling due to uneven curing rates across the layer need to be eliminated or minimized".
The full paper on Direct-print photopolymerization for 3D printing can be read here in the Rapid Prototyping Journal 2017. The research is co-authored by Professor Morteza Vatani who specialises in the additive manufacturing of metallic and ceramic devices, and Dr. Jae-Won Choi associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Akron.

Source: This article was curated form the original written by BEAU JACKSON for Business Insider and can be read here:

These 'normal Silicon Valley houses' hide test labs - The Mercury News

In Silicon Valley, the house next door might not be full of techies, but it could be stuffed with tech products.
Up in the East San Jose hills, where suburban developments give way to isolated homesteads, Netgear rents a house where it tries out equipment to make sure it's ready for market.  Nestled into a residential neighborhood in Menlo Park, startup Plume rents a new two-story house to test its Wi-Fi system. On Communications Hill in San Jose, KB Home has a model house to show off the smart home products customers can get preinstalled. And startup Abode uses three homes rented by its co-founders as its labs.
Above: This living room and kitchen at a model home at the Promenade at Communications Hill in San Jose by KB Home features smart devices that can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet.
From San Jose to San Francisco, companies that are inventing the future are increasingly turning to houses to test and show off their products before they are rolled out to consumers nationwide.
"This is where the sausage gets made," said Plume CEO Fahri Diner. "This is literally our test house."

Plume CEO Fahri Diner shows off the company's Wi-Fi hardware at a test home in Menlo Park, Calif., Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)Plume CEO Fahri Diner shows off one of the company's Wi-Fi "pods" at the Menlo Park home the startup rents to test its products. Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group
Take Netgear. The Wi-Fi router maker rents a 2,500 square-foot, two-story home in the hills east of San Jose's Alum Rock neighborhood. From the outside, the mauve-colored house looks unremarkable, except for the large plot of land it sits on.
But inside, along with furniture like couches, tables, chairs and beds, the home is full of routers, televisions, computers, tablets and smartphones. Those devices are used to test and measure the signals coming from Netgear's Wi-Fi devices. Pretty much all of Netgear's Wi-Fi products, except for its lowest-end devices, get tested at the house — sometimes multiple times — before they head to store shelves, said Mark Merrill, the company's chief technology officer.
Above: This nursery at the Promenade development is outfitted with temperature and carbon monoxide sensors.
The location of the company's San Jose house, which it first started renting more than four years ago, is no accident. Netgear was looking for a place that was close to its North San Jose headquarters so its engineers could easily swap out equipment or make adjustments. But it wanted a location where it wouldn't have to worry about competing with signals from nearby houses.
Netgear CTO Mark Merrill photographed in a home rented by his company in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. Tech companies have sometimes bought or rented houses to test their equipment in real world environments. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)Mark Merrill, Netgear's chief technology officer, stands among some of the equipment his company tests at a house it rents in t he East San Jose hills. Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group
"We wanted a place where we could do real-world testing without too much interference," Merrill said.
Plume took the opposite approach: it wanted its equipment to compete with other signals. The company's Wi-Fi devices are controlled from cloud servers that are programmed to switch channels on the fly depending on demand and interference, said Diner, its CEO.
It also wanted a house close to its Palo Alto headquarters; it previously had a larger home it used in San Mateo.
Plume's been testing its Wi-Fi system in the house since late 2015, soon after the home was built. It has set up loads of equipment — some $20,000 worth of smart televisions, game consoles, computers and smart home gadgets — to test and stress the home's Wi-Fi network.
"We wanted to make our system very resistant and consumer tolerant," Diner said.
Another startup, Abode, has a different spin on the Valley-home-as-tech-lab trend. The company, which offers a smart home and house security system, uses the homes rented by its founders to test out its equipment. In an older, two-story Mission-style home he rents in Saratoga, co-founder Chris Carney has set up automatic door locks, sensors that can tell if windows or doors are open, security cameras that start recording if they sense motion, and an Amazon Echo.
The home is one of three that double as residences and test labs. Each one, intentionally, is a different kind of space in a different location. Co-founder Brent Franks has a loft in San Francisco, while their third co-founder, Andy Fouse, has a home in a rural area near State College, Pennsylvania.
Brent Franks, co-founder of Abode, a startup that makes smart home products, is photographed at a home where his products are installed and tested in Saratoga, Calif., Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. In Silicon Valley, the home next door may not be a simple residents. It could, instead, be a lab for tech equipment. Companies both large and small are renting or buying houses to test out their tech products in the real world. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)Brent Franks, co-founder of Abode, inside the Saratoga home rented by his partner Chris Carney that's used to test the gadgets from the smart home product maker. Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group
Part of the reason Carney chose the Saratoga house was to be in an area where cellular coverage was spotty, Franks said.  Abode's system uses a cellular connection as a fallback way to connect to the internet and to determine a house's location, and the company wanted to test how its system would handle the challenge, he said. Carney also wanted a larger house where he could install lots of different home automation products and connect them to Abode's main "gateway" gadget, Franks said.
"We had to figure out how to adapt our service for urban versus non-urban environments," Franks said.
Like Abode, KB Home's house is filled with smart home equipment. But in its case, the house, which is right next to a new development on Communications Hill, is more a showcase than a lab.
Starting last fall, the home builder began offering to install home automation products that are compatible with the Home app on Apple's iPhone and iPads in the south-central neighborhood in San Jose and another one in Fremont. The model home it uses to demonstrate the products includes an automatic door lock, remotely controllable window shades and lights, a smart thermostat and a baby cam.
At least in Plume's case, it appears that tech products make for good neighbors. People who live near the company's house had no idea it was being used as a test lab and had few complaints.
"They don't make any noise at night," said George Smith, a primary care doctor who lives right across the street. "They're not a problem."
Tech companies occupying houses that might otherwise be available for families could be courting controversy, given the sky-high rents and home prices in Silicon Valley. But they're likely having a minimal effect on the housing market, said Chris Trapani, founder and CEO of the Sereno Group, a Bay Area residential real estate firm. Trapani said he hadn't heard of other companies using houses as test labs and doesn't believe the practice is widespread.
"Of all the reasons why inventory is low, that's probably no. 37," he said.

Source: This article was curated form the original written by Troy Wolverton for Business Insider and can be read here:

Lawsuits could mean that the Silicon Valley self-driving-tech bubble is about to pop - Business Insider

Otto truckAn Otto self-driving semi.Otto See Also

The gloves are coming off in the Silicon Valley race to dominate the self-driving-tech world.
Google's Waymo is now suing Uber and its recent acquisition, Otto, accusing it of stealing technology secrets.

As Business Insider's Alexei Oreskovic and Danielle Muoio reported on Thursday:
"At the center of the suit is Anthony Levandowski, one of the original members of the team that worked on Google's self-driving-car project. In January 2016, Levandowski left Google after nine years to found Otto, a startup focused on autonomous trucks. Six months later, Uber acquired Otto in a deal valued at $680 million. Waymo alleges that Levandowski 'downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo's various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo's LiDAR and circuit board' six weeks before resigning from Google."

This lawsuit follows one filed by Tesla for similar reasons. Tesla recently sued the former head of Google's car project, Chris Urmson, and Sterling Anderson, who ran Tesla's Autopilot program from 2015 to 2016, accusing them of stealing the electric-car maker's intellectual property in pursuit of a new venture, Aurora Innovation.

In that lawsuit, there was this interesting language:

"The Autopilot features that are built into every Tesla vehicle, and continually updated through free over-the-air updates, are widely regarded as the most advanced, safest, and most reliable technology in the autonomous area. In their zeal to play catch-up, traditional automakers have created a get-rich-quick environment. Small teams of programmers with little more than demoware have been bought for as much as a billion dollars. Cruise Automation, a 40-person firm, was purchased by General Motors in July 2016 for nearly $1 billion. In August 2016, Uber acquired Otto, another self-driving startup that had been founded only seven months earlier, in a deal worth more than $680 million.
"Anderson and his business partners ... decided to take a run at a similar fortune."

Compared with the ascent of the electric car roughly a decade ago, the stakes for autonomous technology seem much higher. There were some legal skirmishes back then, particularly when it came to Elon Musk, now Tesla's CEO, and one of the company's founders, Martin Eberhard.
But most of the electric-vehicle startups from back then either folded or went bankrupt, leaving Tesla more or less alone in the space. The big automakers created some electric vehicles, such as Nissan's Leaf, but their sales have been disappointing. In fact, to stoke the market, Tesla open-sourced its electric-vehicle patents in 2014.

Tesla autopilotTesla Autopilot in action.Tesla

Tesla's battery and drivetrain technologies are distinctive — thousands of lithium-ion cells wired together in a rather monolithic design — but electric vehicles are hardly a huge innovation. They've been around, in one form or another, for a century.

Self-driving tech is a different story, and no one is interested in sharing.

Building a perfect bubble

Taken together, the Waymo and Tesla lawsuits strongly indicate that there's a self-driving-tech bubble developing in Silicon Valley. With less than a year of work, some engineers can sell out for hundreds of millions or a cool billion.

That's the going rate for self-driving tech that works, according to Ford's chief technical officer, Raj Nair. Ford just took a majority stake, to the tune of $1 billion, in Argo AI, a machine-learning startup, to advance its own ambitious self-driving-tech efforts. The company says that $1 billion is about what it costs to develop so-called Level 4 autonomy, which is one stage shy of the vehicle completely driving itself, with no human input.

Entrepreneurs can smell money and quick, lucrative exits. The traditional carmakers are flush with cash after several years of booming US sales, and they don't want to be left behind in the race to bring self-driving cars to market. (They were far more low-key when it came to electric cars, effectively letting Tesla assume all the early risk.)

self-driving uberSkye Gould/Yu Han/Business Insider

And a new arrival like Uber is riding high on its nosebleed valuation of more than $60 billion. Not moving into self-driving tech now would be catastrophic if the market were to shift hard in that direction over the next decade and ride-hailing services were saddled with a massive commitment to high-cost human drivers — it would have to pay up to license autonomous technologies, which is an integral part of Ford's business plan.

In other words, fear has broken out. That, rather than a meaningful market for self-driving vehicles, is swelling the bubble. Now that the lawyers have entered the picture, that bubble could be close to popping.

As autonomous vehicles have ascended and surpassed electric cars as the futuristic preoccupation of choice in the tech industry, I have the ominous feeling that I've seen this movie before. While there are impressive self-driving-tech experiments being conducted across the US, the technology is far from being commercialized.

The ambition is present, but it was also there when we saw numerous electric-car startups rise and fall after the financial crisis. As it turned out, while people wanted Teslas, they didn't want electric cars — sales today amount to only about 1% of the global market.
The frenzy to get bought — and get bought in a hurry — signals that self-driving cars could fall victim to a similar dynamic. If we see more high-profile lawsuits, I'll get even more worried.

Source: This article was curated form the original written by Matthew DeBord for Business Insider and can be read here:

The Institute Of Hip-Hop Entrepreneurship Is Here To Craft Your Hustle - Okayplayer (blog)

IHHE's Tayyib Smith & Meegan Denenberg Explain How They Groom Young Entrepreneurs To Craft Their Hustle & Empower Their Dreams.

Philadelphia's Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship, founded by Tayyib Smith and Meegan Denenberg of Little Giant Creative, "uses the ethos of Hip-Hop to connect nontraditional, ambitious young entrepreneurs with the resources, knowledge, and contacts needed to take their ideas from concept to reality." The 9-month program funded by the Knight Cities grant and inspired by hip-hop's creative economy leverages the capital of the cultural zeitgeist during weekend sessions that groom students to build and ultimately pitch their ventures to investors.

These entrepreneurs are the rising standard bearers working outside the spotlight, where they create solutions for social justice, civic engagement and product development with the potential to carry them beyond their respective cities and expectations. The byproduct of the founders' combined experience in marketing and entertainment, the institute itself is similarly capable of impacting lives and changing how people view opportunities for mobility and business incubation within hip hop culture. So how did we get here and what's the real story behind the IHHE? Tayyib and Meegan explain how they created the space to craft your hustle.

Okayplayer: Can you talk about your journey thus far and how that has led to your success or growth as an entrepreneur?

Tayyib Smith: I don't consider myself to be successful. I think I've done a couple of things that have worked. I have a different scale in terms of success. I think I've been continually trying to redefine what that is. In terms of my path, I had always been passionate about music. I worked first as a street promoter and eventually became a club promoter. I moved to Colorado for a bit. I worked at the Fox Theatre and Red Rocks. Promoting parties and producing my own events. About 1996, I came back to Philly where I was waiting tables and still trying to do my own promotion thing. I got hooked up with King Britt, who had always encouraged me to follow whatever it is I was trying to do creatively. He introduced me to Vikter Duplaix and James Poyser. I ended up working for their production company, Axis Music Group, for abou t 4 or 5 years. Halfway through that period I started to do administrative work, A&R'ing and acting as the U.S. legal manager for BBE Music — for Peter Adarkwah out of London. That was a really interesting time in Philly because he was doing the Beat Generation stuff — the series of records from people like Pete Rock, Marley Marl, Jazzy Jeff…J Dilla's Welcome 2 Detroit. Somewhere around 2004 or 2005, while I was still doing that, I started managing a band called The Nouveau Riche that had Khari Mateen, Dice Raw and Nikki Jean in it. Between that and how difficult the business was becoming, I was getting disillusioned with music. I had always, on the side even at Axis and BBE, acted as a marketer doing brand collaborations and partnerships. These were the early Scion years. I made some good relationships and got to book a lot of really cool people through that. We did events for Triple Five Soul and a couple of other brands. Then when I was done with music and trying to figure out what path I wanted to take, a former colleague had approached me with the idea of starting Two.One.Five Magazine. Little Giant Creative was always the parent company of the publication. The print publication was our focus for three years.

OKP: How did you become partners and what has the experience of building Little Giant been like for you?

Meegan Denenberg: I lived and worked in New York before returning to Philly, where I was Director of Marketing For Philly Car Share. I was planning their 5-year anniversary. We were doing this big b-boy activation and Tayyib was recommended when we were looking for someone who might be able to help pull this off. The event happened and was very successful, but I subsequently left PCS to do some consulting. When I started coming to him to talk about things that were happening, I think he and his then business partner had come to a point where they realized that the magazine wasn't sustainable and they needed to have some kind of business model that would generate income. At that point they had been approached by VILLA for a lookbook and a fashion show. I don't know that anyone had had prior experience in that realm and since that had been my whole career, I started putting together documents. When I came on board, it was pretty much at a p oint when the situation was do or die. The magazine really wasn't sustaining itself and we needed to pay staff. We realized that marketing was the thing that would provide some income. I took a leadership role with the company and about a year later Heineken approached us. We developed an event series for Heineken Green Room. Our subsequent dealings with bigger clients like that has had a lot to do with having an agency background. After Heineken, we added Vitamin Water and a host of others. At the end we had to make the decision that a paper magazine just wasn't financially viable. We talked to experts in the field that told us we were not going to have room to grow in that format. Especially if you want to be recognized as a national brand, a magazine isn't the way to go. So I started focusing on the growth of the company itself. We parted ways with Tayyib's old partner a nd for the next 3 years we worked on the Philly 360 initiative with Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation. We did the Vitamin Water Uncapped live series. We added Drexel to our roster of clients. We expanded Heineken Green Room to D.C. and then to New York.

OKP: How have you evolved as an entrepreneur since the beginning of your career?

TS: I looked at my time at Axis Music Group as kind of like college. And my time developing Two.One.Five and Little Giant at different phases of my career, was like graduate school. I would say the magazine was graduate school and the current phase is probably when I've learned the most and become a little more astute about partnerships, relationships, and personal brands. The things we invest in. How I devote my time. Now I'm a little more thoughtful and more selective about what I get involved in. Before I was a lot more accessible and just down for the cause. If I had a friend who wanted to be a rapper? Someone wanted to be a producer? I was kind of that person in the scene that would invest in you. Now, because we have an overhead and salaries and employees — because I have business partners that I'm responsible to, I have to be much more prudent in the decisions I make.

To be continued...

... Source: This article was curated, in part, from the original written by KARASLAMB. The rest of the interview can be read here:

Boulder software firm attracts $6.7 million from Silicon Valley investors - The Denver Post

Software developed in Boulder that lets users analyze data without knowing a lick of code has attracted funding from Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

SlamData, which launched its open-source product in 2014, said Wednesday that it raised $6.7 million in a Series A round led by Shasta Ventures, a Menlo Park firm noted for being an early investor in connected-thermostat Nest Labs. Its investment in SlamData is the firm's first in Colorado in more than 10 years.

"SlamData is an enterprise game changer. They are the first company that lets you write once to any kind of data source — transforming how today's businesses can quickly explore, analyze and derive value from their ever-increasing data sources," Nitin Chopra, principal at Shasta Ventures, said in a statement.

The software offers one program for users to explore and analyze unstructured data sources from NoSQL, Hadoop and cloud APIs. Previously, programmers had to build their own software to analyze data from multiple sources.

The new funding, which brings the company's total to $10.3 million raised since 2015, will be used to double staff to 30 employees, said Jeff Carr, SlamData's co-founder and CEO. One recent hire is Sreeni Iyer, previously at retail-intelligence firm Quad Analytix. Iyer, who is senior vice president of engineering, will be based in Silicon Valley and head up the new office there. SlamData also has an office in the United Kingdom.

Existing investors True Ventures, also from the Bay Area, and Access Venture Partners in Westminster also participated in the round.

Source: This article was curated from the original written by TAMARA CHUANG for the Denver Post

3D Printing Model Yachts - NauticExpo e-Magazine

Among its many applications, 3D printing has been used recently to create accurate scale models of boats and yachts. CRP Technology, an Italian 3D printing company, masters this new technology using the selective laser sintering technique with Windform composite materials. NauticExpo e-mag talked to Franco Cevolini, Technical Director of CRP Technology.

NauticExpo e-magazine: How did you come to 3D print a model of a small boat?

Franco Cevolini: The Livrea 26 was designed by Daniele Cevola and Francesco Belvisi in collaboration with Yam Marine Technology. They wanted an accurate model of the sailboat combining classic features with high-performance materials. Our team was fascinated with the idea of creating a scale model that would showcase their approach. Three-dimensional printing was THE process of choice. The result was a 1:14 scale model of the Livrea 26. The designers' aim was to bring about a radical change in the way they design and build watercraft. We might consider this new philosophy as Boat Building 2.0, since 3D printing and the latest generation materials offer yacht designers the potential to unleash their imaginations.

NE e-mag: What material did you use to print this model?

Franco Cevolini: For 3D printing the Livrea 26 model, we decided to use Windform XT 2.0, a carbon-filled polyamide material which ensures maximum mechanical performance. Windform XT 2.0 is a high-quality laser sintering material. It is characterized by great stiffness, excellent strength and reduced weight.

The Livrea 26 3D printed model (Courtesy of CRP Technology)

NE e-mag: What are the main applications of this material?

Veronica Negrelli: Windform XT 2.0 evolved out of the groundbreaking high-performance Windform XT, a carbon fiber-reinforced composite particularly suitable for demanding applications such as the motorsports, aerospace and unmanned aerial vehicle sectors. We use selective laser sintering. Unlike other methods of 3D printing, products require very little additional tooling—they don't usually have to be sanded or otherwise finished once they come out of the machine.

NE e-mag: Are you confident that 3D printing will soon replace many traditional production systems?

Franco Cevolini: Three-dimensional printing offers the possibility to build extremely complex or tiny parts that are difficult or impossible to tool. That's why it's particularly suited for creating boat parts, prototypes or scale models. Thanks to our knowledge, materials and machines, we can create previously impossible geometries with great dimensional precision. In the case of the Livrea 26, the interior parts were printed in sections and then assembled to achieve the required accuracy. The printing process can include internal details, making it the ideal choice for small production runs of items that are usually handcrafted or made with standard technologies.

NE e-mag: Do you have more projects in the nautical sector? Do you foresee making yacht parts previously manufactured using traditional methods?

Franco Cevolini: Yes to both questions. Due to ongoing confidentiality agreements, we are not allowed to tell you more at the moment. But we know that our technologies perfectly fit nautical industry needs.

Another firm which specialized in scale model yachts is DeeThree, an offshoot of Northampton University in the UK. They started with a 62-foot yacht by the renowned Princess yard. It was a challenge as no CAD data were available.

DeeThree director Joe Mitchell says that they had to use a mathematical model called NURBS and software such as Rhyno and Maya to produce a 3D computer model. It was then split into 130 parts to produce highly-detailed pieces with 3D printing techniques. Internal elements were spray-painted in selected colors before assembly.
"The project required techniques from SLS, stereolithography and CNC milling and laser cutting to complete it start-to-finish in just 20 days," says Mitchell. But the project didn't end with the model. Dee Three also developed an augmented reality and a virtual reality application to allow the sales team to display the V62 scale model anywhere.

Source: This post is curated from the original written by Maria Roberta Morso and can be read here:

Utah becomes breeding ground for technology entrepreneurship -

NUVI celebrates it new headquarters facing the "Silicon Slopes" in Lehi, Utah in 2016. Nuvi is one of dozens of technology startups along Utah's Wasatch Front. (NUVI Instagram)

Unicorn companies, Silicon Slopes, and high-tech mecca — all phrases that have investors turning their heads in recent years to look at Utah's entrepreneur potential.

Utah was ranked No. 1 in innovation and entrepreneurship and No. 2 in high-tech performance by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this year, and it has also recently landed the number one spot on CNBC's America's Top States for Business.

This attention may seem unexpected, but the Beehive State has a history with successful tech companies such as WordPerfect, a word processing application created in 1979 by two BYU alumni: graduate student Bruce Bastian and computer science professor Alan Ashton.

Utah is now home to several "unicorn" companies, or companies that are worth $1 billion on paper. Businesses such as Domo, Vivint Smart Homes, Qualtrics, Pluralsight and InsideSales, started in the 1990s and have become notable unicorn companies.

In the 2000s, more companies headquartered in Utah cropped up, creating a series of tech companies dotting the Wasatch range between Davis and Utah counties. The corridor earned the moniker Silicon Slopes, a reference to its startup culture that is similar to that of California's Silicon Valley.

Today, there are 4,388 technology companies in Utah that employ more than 53,000 Utahns. According to, these companies employ 8.6 percent of the state's workforce and provide 14.3 percent of Utah's payroll.

Several factors have scored Utah the number one spot in tech employment growth in the western region. Utah stands at a 6.69 percent combined tax rate. This is a welcoming statistic for start-ups who want a financially promising start. also stated that cheap real estate might be a deciding factor for companies who choose to plant their feet on Utah soil. For example, a $400,000 home in Utah can buy 2,898 square feet compared to 518 square feet in San Francisco.

Aside from its financially-friendly characteristics, Utah is also home to prestigious universities that produce a surplus of engineering and technology talent — including BYU.

The BYU Information Technology (IT) program was the the first university in the nation to become an accredited IT program in 2008, and since then has been recognized as one of the top programs in the nation due to its participation in the Special Interest Group for Information Technology Education, or SIGITE, conferences.

Overall, Utah has a strong emphasis on education, and Gov. Gary Herbert has put particular importance on the tech-friendly agenda in recent years.

In 2015, state legislators approved legislation providing the Utah Science Technology and Research Governing Authority with $18.5 million to support research teams at Utah State University and the University of Utah, and an additional $2.54 million to support technology outreach and innovation.
Gary Lunt, a technology entrepreneur and one of the founders of the BYU IT program said most of the students from BYU's IT program use their technical skills to contribute to established companies, but about 10 percent of them will go on to start their own companies.

"To be successful in that, they need to take risks, have strong technical skills, and want to be an entrepreneur, which means they have to be their own boss and learn how to run a business . . . something we don't teach in the IT department," Lunt said.

Lunt said other states have strong talent, too, but that Utah has fostered a positive environment for entrepreneurs and businesses by providing incubation centers where entrepreneurs can work together and reduce their start-up costs.

One such incubation center is The Startup Building in Provo, which offers offices, co-working spaces, conference room, and an event space to help start-ups get on their feet and collaborate with other entrepreneurs.

Manager at The Startup Building Anders Taylor said the physical closeness provided in one space is a great way for entrepreneurs to network with other business entities and gain valuable collaboration.
Taylor also said a newer thought process in the start-up world, called the Lean Start-up model, contributes to the success of some entrepreneurs who visit The Startup Building.

"Instead of going out to find money to fund your idea, you spend time validating that your idea is a good one by doing customer interviews, researching the market, knowing who your competitors are . . . it's an academic way to making sure that you will have the best chance of success," Taylor said.
That's not always an easy thing to do. For many aspiring entrepreneurs, the hardest part of getting started is finding the time, Taylor said.

"If start-ups seek out good mentors who know about the start-up world, and follow good methods like the Lean Start-up method, they won't spend a lot of time and money on a bad idea," Taylor said.
In general, Taylor explained a supportive start-up community is crucial for beginning businesses, and Utah has proven to be a good home for growth in both technology and the entrepreneurship now, and hopefully in the years to come.

Source: This article was curated from the original written by Lauren Hanson and can be read here:

Why 'experience' can hurt tech workers in Silicon Valley - Yahoo Finance

Silicon Valley is an industry whose foundation was built, byte by byte, with youthful innovation.
Look no further than some of tech's greatest minds for proof. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were 21 and 25 when they co-founded Apple (AAPL). Sergey Brin and Larry Page were twenty-something Stanford University graduate students when they built the search engine that became Google (GOOG, GOOGL) in the garage of a home in Menlo Park, Calif.  

And Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University to pursue and develop Facebook (FB) — a move Peter Thiel likely appreciates, given the billionaire tech investor offers the Thiel Fellowship, a two-year program that rewards select fellows who are 22 or younger with cash to drop out of (or take a leave of absence from) college to pursue and develop tech ideas.

While tech often reveres youth, the opposite can be true. Movies like "The Intern" and "The Internship" mock the notion of ageism in tech, but for some people in the real world, being over 40 (or even 30) can be a real liability. That's may be because of a fast-paced work environment that can shift on a dime, or because older people are frequently associated with being familiar with older technologies. And while it's illegal to discriminate against workers over 40, suc h cases can ultimately be difficult to prove.

"This is not an area where anyone values past experiences much, and there is logic to that: things change too fast," says Steve, a 43-year-old software engineer at a consumer-focused startup in San Francisco, who asked that we not use his real name out of concern for his privacy.

The numbers show that tech is an unusually young industry. The median age for the typical US worker is 42, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, but in tech, workers are frequently a decade younger (or more). To wit, data compiled from salary firm PayScale, which compared data in 2016 from 18 different tech employers, revealed the median age of workers at companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and SpaceX is 29, with only three companies — IBM (IBM), Oracle (ORCL) and HP (HPQ) — reporting a median employee age over 33.

For "older" employees who do land tech gigs, youthful workplaces can provide social challenges. In an attempt to blend into his employer's work culture, where many of his colleagues are in their 20s, Steve tries to look and dress younger, dying his hair to cover up gray and slathering on a slew of anti-aging skin products — "anything with retinol," he explains — to look more youthful. He even stays on top of the latest trends in entertainment so he can chat about movies and music with his millennial colleagues over lunch or beers.   

The data supports Steve's concerns about fitting in. According to a tech salaries report released this mo nth from Hired, a San Francisco-based tech worker recruiting firm, candidates seeking tech jobs between the ages of 25 and 30 receive the highest number of average job offers. 

Once candidates pass the age of 45, the average tech worker salary and average number of job offers starts going downhill. Tech companies on average offer $132,000 to candidates between the ages of 50 and 60, comparable to what employers offer candidates at least 10 years junior, and who presumably, have at least 10 years less of work experience.

Ageism Hired chart

"There are a variety of factors that could contribute to this trend, but we see this as an example of unconscious biases hurting the hiring process," Hired data scientist Jessica Kirkpatrick, who authored the report, told Y ahoo Finance. "Some hiring managers may not realize that they naturally prefer younger candidates for culture fit reasons, but their bias during the interview process can have a lasting impact. Different ages bring new experiences and ways of thinking to the table and should be considered a standard part of any company's commitment to diversity. " 

Kirkpatrick based her "ageism"-related findings on salary data gathered from over 280,000 interview requests and jobs offers over the last 12 months from over 45,000 job seekers in 16 cities, including San Francisco and New York. 

The youthful tech culture is a real concern for tech workers like Anne, a 38-year-old project manager at a San Francisco startup who also declined to have her real name used for privacy reasons. Having worked at several tech companies over the last 10 years, Anne is already considering a career change. Her reasoning, put simply: she feels like she's "aging" out of the industry already.

The startup she currently works at does not offer what she considers family-friendly policies. For example, her employer offers just six weeks of paid maternity leave on top of two months of unpaid leave, which the company can currently get away with given the majority of Anne's colleagues are in their 20s and likely less focused on having families. 

"It's hard to connect with people around you every day when you're more concerned about health plans and maternity leave policies, and your coworkers are more worried about which bar to have happy hour at," explained Anne, who is trying to have her first baby with her partner.  

Some tech companies, to be fair, are making efforts to provide better benefits that might appeal to workers over the age of 30. Facebook, for example, has made significant strides thanks to Zuckerberg himself, who famously took two months of paternity leave in late 2016 and early 2017 to spend time with newborn daughter Max. The chief executive's move spurred Facebook to offer four months of "paid baby leave" to all Facebook employees, regardless of gender or location.

That may be little comfort to middle-aged tech workers who can't snag a job at more inclusive businesses, though.

David, a 40-year-old unemployed user experience designer, has interviewed at over a dozen San Francisco startups for jobs over the last two months, but hasn't received an offer yet. He attributes part of the challenge to simply looking significantly older than the 20-something founders and CEOs who interview him.

"I was thinking I should maybe change my hair and shave my beard to look younger," David wonders. "What do you think?"
Source: This article was curated from the original which was written by JP Mangalindan and can be read here:

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