J&J to buy surgical robotics firm for $3.4bn

Consumer and healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to acquire surgical robotics firm Auris for $3.4 billion cash, as part of plans to expand its digital surgery portfolio.
The deal will give J&J’s robotic surgery and medical device division Ethicon access to Auris’ Monarch device, which is used by surgeons via a remote control to direct a camera-ended scope through the patient’s body.

AI firm Peltarion lands $20m funding

Swedish artificial intelligence (AI) startup Peltarion, whose mission is to “advance humankind through artificial intelligence”, has secured $20 million in a Series A financing round led by Euclidean Capital.The raise, which was also saw further investment from Swedish investment family the Wallenbergs and EQT ventures, takes the firm’s total funding to $34 million.

UK smartphone shipments plummet, Brexit partly to blame

UK smartphone shipments declined 14 percent annually from 8.5 million units in Q4 2017 to 7.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.The UK is the largest smartphone market in Western Europe and it is suffering from weak sales, due to longer replacement rates, a lack of wow designs, and Brexit uncertainty causing consumers to hold off on some new purchases.

Google adds to warnings over AI risks

Google owner Alphabet has become the latest tech giant to warn that use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology could pose ethical and reputational issues capable of damaging their business.In financial filings submitted last week, Alphabet Group acknowledged the rapid growth of AI to automate technologies, but cautioned investors that unknown consequences of bots and machine learning could spell trouble for tech giants in the coming years, as consumers acquire better understanding of how the technology works and the impact it has upon their data.

Legacy tech ‘serious cyber risk’ to hospitals

A new report has warned of far-reaching implications that vulnerable legacy applications have for healthcare organisations when defending against cyber attacks. Co-authored by cybersecurity consultancy AbedGraham and healthcare data management specialists BridgeHead Software, the paper pointed out that with the devastating effect of the Wannacry attacks of 2017, and the increase of cyber-crime specifically targeting the healthcare industry, organisations need to take action to protect themselves.

Connells appoints eTech for surveying solution

Connells Survey & Valuation has partnered with eTech Solutions, adopting its mortgage valuation mobile app for the completion of valuation reports. A statement from the property management group explained that moving to eTech’s software will bring efficiencies to its surveying team, providing a platform to deliver further planned enhancements to customer service.

Softbank invests $940m in driverless delivery startup

Nuro, an autonomous delivery vehicle firm has secured $940m from Softbank’s Vision Fund in a funding round that values the company at $2.7 billion. The $100 billion megafund is betting on the Silicon-valley based firm as Nuro races ahead of the pack in developing compact local delivery robots for short, unmanned journeys.

Vendors scaling down robo-taxi ops - research

Top end packages are not living up to consumer expectations, forcing a rethink in how companies approach autonomous technology currently used in robo-taxis, says a new report.

Govt blockchain understanding ‘lamentable’

A panel of experts at the London Blockchain Week conference took aim at regulation yesterday, with one calling the authorities’ understanding of the emerging technology ‘lamentable’.Jonny Fry, chief executive of sector advisory firm Team Blockchain, noted that at industry events he’s attended in other countries, delegates have told him how lucky he is to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – “a regulator that actually listens to industry”.

Amazon buys eero to expand smart home portfolio

Amazon has agreed to buy eero, a specialist in home mesh wireless that was an early mover in the mesh router space. Like other providers, the company uses multiple access points to create a customisable Wi-Fi ‘blanket’ for the home, creating a system that is performing, reliable and simple.

Jumio launches biometric video selfie tech

Jumio, an artificial intelligence (AI) driven digital identity startup is launching a video selfie-enabled authentication tool for banks and other businesses. Jumio Authentication allows customers to record a video of themselves to prove they are the account holder and verify high-risk transactions, restore forgotten passwords and unlock rental cars, in a secure method that replaces manual passwords and guards against online fraud.

Trump signs order for AI investment

Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order mandating federal government agencies to prioritise funding and research into artificial intelligence (AI), according to reports.The US president is said to want to use the American AI Initiative (AIA) to enable agencies to access federal data and research models to help realign the US economy and workforce for the rise of the era of AI, Reuters news reported.