Autodesk puts up $100M fund for 3D printing companies

Gigaom

Autodesk is gearing up to release its open-source 3D printer and accompanying software, both of which it hopes will spur growth in the 3D printer industry. But today it announced another effort to encourage the growing industry: $100 million it will award to the most promising 3D printer companies.

“We will look carefully at companies small or large that are able to both innovate and enhance the ecosystem,” Autodesk consumer group vice president Samir Hanna said in an interview. “We want to make sure we bring the best minds together … that will develop in the fastest possible way the 3D printing ecosystem, hopefully at a much faster pace than has happened to date.”

The fund is aimed at both software and hardware companies. Hanna described the selection process as “deliberately open,” so anyone is encouraged to apply.

Autodesk surprised the industry back in May with the announcement of the 3D printer–its…

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It doesn’t matter if deep learning mimics the brain or Watson is cognitive. It matters if they work

Gigaom

I spent half an hour speaking with IBM Watson VP John Gordon on Tuesday, and no matter how many ways I asked it, he would not acknowledge a gap between peoples’ perceptions of Watson and what the “cognitive computing” system is actually capable of doing. I know there’s misunderstanding out there — I just know it — but Gordon spun his responses to focus on inspiration rather than disappointment, about how easy it is to learn Watson and build new applications now that it’s available as a set of software products and cloud APIs.

It annoyed me at first, but the more I think about it, the less I can fault his strategy. It wasn’t so long ago, he noted, that it was still only Ph.Ds. in IBM Research programming Watson systems for early users; today, pretty much anybody with an application and some data can start experimenting with it. There’s not a lot…

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