New neighbors
PayPal's Start Tank opens its doors to six more startups
Entrepreneurs working in PayPal's Start Tank, which offers chosen companies free office space up to a year. (Photo by Dina Rudick / Globe Staff)
It's getting harder for startups to score free office space at PayPal's Boston office. PayPal executive David Chang, who oversees the "Start Tank" program that sets up chosen entrepreneurs with office space that PayPal isn't yet using, says only about 11 percent of applicants got in this fall. That's compared to a 20 percent acceptance rate earlier this year. Read More
Ow my head
The secret to do-it-yourself brain hacking: Don't?
(Shutterstock)
Can zapping the human brain make it smarter? Scientists and the military are investigating the effects of "transcranial direct current stimulation" — that is, shocking the brain with low doses of current — as a possible enhancer of physical and mental tasks. (Others are doing it for fun and profit). As Mary Shelley as that sounds, the practice seems to have caught on strong in the DIY community.   Read More
The empire strikes back
Empire Robotics shows its hands ... and they're fingerless
Via Empire Robotics
The candidate for best robotic hand looks like a beanbag and claims to grip anything. A Boston builder of robot hands, Empire Robotics, is showing its first commercial grippers today: the enchanting and entirely fingerless VersaBall. Interestingly, this first demonstration is in partnership with Universal Robots, who happens to be local bot maker Rethink Robotics’ competitor. Read More
Layoffs at adtech firm
Video analytics startup Visible Measures cuts staff
Photo of Visible Measures' office near South Station, from the company's blog.
One of Boston's best-funded adtech startups, Visible Measures, has been shedding employees, with the latest round of layoffs taking place yesterday. According to former employees and executives at other companies who have been fielding resumes from laid off employees, the cuts represent 30 or more people, about one-quarter of Visible Measures' workforce. CEO Brian Shin declined comment yesterday evening, pointing me to a public relations rep who hasn't responded to phone calls or e-mails. The layoffs affect employees across all departments, says one former employee, adding that the company may have simply grown too fast in a hyper-competitive business: "A serious case of cart in front of horse," he says. Read More
'Airbnb of education'
Flashnotes looking to help, not disrupt, the education establishment
Screenshot from flashnotes.com video

A few years ago, Boston startup Boundless found itself in the midst of a bitter legal battle after debuting e-textbooks that resembled those of established publishers. Now another Boston startup, Flashnotes, is revealing a wholly different edtech strategy by working hand-in-hand with one of those very same publishers, Cengage Learning.

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