An Apple iSmoke detector for your home?
The latest news on the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies upending the status quo in the markets:
The iSmoke Detector?
Tony Fadell made a name for himself as one of the design chiefs of the Apple iPod, and he's made it into your home on his own as the man behind the smart thermostat from NestLabs. And he's just getting started on raising the IQ of those boring residential measurement devices that you barely ever think about. Next up—if you believe a bevvy of press reports this past week and ignore the company's no comment—is a smart smoke detector from Nest: Dare we say, the iSmoke?
Former Wall Street Journal reporter turned renegade tech blogger Jessica Lessin broke the news that Fadell's company has been developing a new smoke detector, which could go on sale before the end of the year, a report picked up by AllThingsD, PC Magazine and The Verge, among others.
For the record, NestLabs spokeswoman Kate Brinks declined to comment on the reports to CNBC, in what was a busy week of declining to comment for the smart thermostat company.
(Read more: Who's profiting from your Instagram?)
How Alanis Morissette explains Uber's uphill battle with regulators
Private car service Uber's Corey Owens published a blog this past week titled On Consumers, Competition and Collusion, with the collusion referring most directly to the ongoing battle with transportation market regulators.
"The first CD I purchased was Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged Little Pill.' ... I just listened to two or three songs, but to get those I had to buy the whole album. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during Steve Jobs' negotiations with the labels. ... Or when Reed Hastings first told the studios he wanted to give consumers a la carte access to television shows… over the Internet no less. Or when Jeff Bezos bought the first digital distribution rights for a book, trying to convince the authors and publishers that people would ditch their beloved paperbacks. ... These visionaries were vindicated by putting consumers first. They focused on what consumers wanted. ... They were vindicated by balance sheets that proved putting consumers first can be profitable. ... But what if the holdout labels, studios, and publishers had, instead of just not doing the deal, hired an army of lobbyists?"
The post was triggered by a package of model smartphone app regulations the International Association of Transportation Regulators released Monday as a reference for use by government agencies in drafting local rules.
The association was none too happy about Uber's take. "It's just childish and it's unprofessional behavior. It's nothing short of defamatory," said Matthew Daus, the group's president. "It's very unfortunate they've sunk to this level."
Meanwhile, more regulations to deal with, in more languages: Uber rolled out cars in Dubai and Bogota, Colombia, this past week.
(Read more: Surprising ways companies are using your data)
Drones growing your breakfast cereal
Aerial robotics company 3D Robotics announced this past week it raised $30 million in a Series B funding round, adding to a $5 million Series A round last November. The money will help the company co-founded by former Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson to take over the U.S. farming industry, sort of.
"The opportunity to bring 'big data' to agriculture through low-cost automated aerial crop surveys could be a game-changer for both farming and the UAV industry alike," Anderson said in a release announcing the new round of funding. "Adding UAVs to the precision agriculture toolkit of a 21st century farmer gives them the power to use imaging data to not only increase yield, but decrease water use and the chemical load in both food and environment."
Crowdfunding's latest idea: Bail out small town America ...
When most towns need trash cans, they use money raised from taxes or municipal bonds. But when a city that emerged from bankruptcy less than a year ago needs trash cans, a touch of creativity is required. That's why Central Falls, R.I., is trying to use a method more commonly associated with Internet start-ups and low-budget movies: Crowdfunding.
... And Crowdfunding's latest deep-pocketed investor
Prosper Marketplace, one of the larger players in the peer-to-peer lending space, raised $25 million in a new round of financing, and brought in BlackRock, the money management giant and fixed-income specialist, as a new investor.
(Read more: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas ... as data)
Big Brother's Silicon Valley spy gets some serious cash: Report
A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission will show the company—famous for crunching the data that helped the CEO find Osama bin Laden—raised between $129 million and $195 million.
Aereo's latest plan to annoy the broadcasters
Aereo announced it's adding four more cities to its rollout plan this year—Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and San Antonio—for a total of 27 markets and potentially reach to 105 million people by year-end.
But good news for the broadcasters, maybe: Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia told CNBC that his service isn't necessarily sparking cord-cutting—saying that he believes the majority of his users are either "cord-nevers"—people who have never payed for cable television, or people who still pay for a cable or satellite TV bundle but don't want to pay extra for access on say another television set.
(Read more: The Kit Kat surveillance state)
Big-hearted financial disruptor
Online wealth management firms including Wealthfront have offered enticements to attract individual investors away from a brokerage office and to the online model, like a set amount of initial assets managed for free for new investors. Now, Wealthfront would like to offer the same enticement to an institutional audience: nonprofits. Any registered 501(c) organization can now open an account with Wealthfront and receive free investment management for its first $1 million.
Inside Makerbot's new dimensions
"It's a machine that you put on your desk and you put things on it ... and lasers shoot at it and it turns around and a camera takes a picture of it at every interval, and in less than 12 minutes it turns this physical object into a digital design," Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis told CNBC. "It jump starts the whole digital design process and really allows you to make really beautiful physical models very quickly."
—By Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com