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Twilio paid $8.5 million in cash for assets of Kurento Open Source Project

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson waves an API flag on Wall Street on the morning of the company's initial public offering.


Twilio has been making strides to improve its WebRTC capabilities and part of its strategy includes making acquisitions to advance its objective. In September, the cloud-based telephony company purchased the team behind the Kurento Open Source Project and its assets. At the time, the financial terms were not disclosed, but now we know the deal was for $8.5 million in cash.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twilio revealed that it had picked up proprietary WebRTC media processing technologies, select licenses, patents, and trademarks, and some employees who worked on the service, although specifics were not provided.

Of the total purchase price, $1.5 million was set aside in escrow for 24 months and 10 days from the acquisition date as a precaution. Twilio wanted to make sure there weren’t any “breaches of general representation, warranties, claims, and tax compliance matters” that hadn’t been uncovered during its due diligence.

Kurento was started by open-source development firm Tikal Technologies. It’s a project that provides developers with a toolkit to integrate group communication. The vision was “to democratize multimedia technologies, helping all developers to include advanced multimedia capabilities into their [web] and smartphone applications in a simple, direct, and fast manner.”

The acquisition doesn’t spell the end of the project, however. Tikal Technologies will continue to maintain it, but Twilio is spending resources to stabilize Kurento’s core functionality so it’ll still be compatible with all major WebRTC-compatible browsers.

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Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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