This week’s News of Note from the Silicon Valley – Nov 14, 2014

News – “We’re so grateful that all of you sucked at sports”

“Cause if you could throw a football, we’d all have polio,” followed comedian Seth McFarlane. Humorous or not, he spoke to a roomful of esteemed scientists (as well as a few celebrity presenters) as host of the November 9th Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony, held at the NASA Ames Research Center in the Silicon Valley.

The annual celebration of math and physics handed out $36 Million in prizes this year in its aim of turning scientists into icons. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg backs the event both morally and financially.


Newest – Google takes over a NASA airfield

For many years, Google’s founders have used Moffet Field near Mountain View, California, in the Silicon Valley, as a hub for their private jets. Now, Google agreed to lease the Field from NASA for the next 60 years and invest over $200 million into the property. After renovating, Google will use the site for its own advanced research facilities. Perhaps the new home of Google X?


Next – A Shape-shifting drone (and how drones can map anything autonomously)

There’s a new drone in town that anyone can learn to fly. The next generation of the Phantom from DJI, it’s called the Inspire One. Its coolest feature is that it lifts its legs after takeoff, revealing a 360-degree view for its onboard camera—it also streams HD video.

At Inspire’s press unveiling on Treasure Island this week, Swiss startup and EPFL spin-off Pix4d also announced a new app that works with DJI’s Phantom 2 and turn the drones into autonomous mapping and measuring tools for 2D maps and 3D models.