E’ville Biz: Embodied Intelligence brings A.I. to Emeryville, Trader Vic’s unveils $1,210 Cocktail, Cell Design Labs Acquired, Animation Mentor Unveils New Digital Platform

Published On January 3, 2018 | By Rob Arias | Local Business, News & Commentary

Four Emeryville companies have made headlines recently including Embodied Intelligence, Cell Design Labs, Animation Mentor and Trader Vic’s.

Embodied Intelligence, founded by an alum of Elon Musk’s OpenAI venture, has set up shop in Emeryville to build complex algorithms that teach machines to learn tasks using VR. They are backed by $7 million in funding from Amplify Partners and other investors.

Cell Design Labs, who are developing immunotherapies for the treatment of prostate cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma among others, were acquired by Foster City-based Gilead Sciences.

To honor what would have been “Trader” Vic Bergeron’s 115th birthday, the classic establishment unveiled a limited edition Anniversary cocktail. But instead of the signature Mai Tai he made famous, it’s his personal favorite.

Animation Mentor, who moved their campus from the EmeryTech building to directly across from the Pixar campus on Park Ave, unveiled a new ‘digital campus’ based around a social learning platform. Animation Mentor was founded in 2005 by three veteran animators from Pixar and ILM.

A.I. Researchers Leave Elon Musk Lab to Begin Robotics Start-Up

By Cade Metz
During a recent speech at the University of California, Berkeley, Pieter Abbeel played a video clip of a robot doing housework.

In the clip recorded in 2008, the robot swept the floor, dusted the cabinets, and unloaded the dishwasher. At the end of it all, it even opened a beer and handed it to a guy on a couch.

The trick was that an engineer was operating the robot from afar, dictating its every move. But as Mr. Abbeel explained, the video showed that robotic hardware was nimble enough to mimic complex human behavior. It just needed software that could guide the hardware — without the help of that engineer.

Read More on NYTimes.com →

Animation Mentor Unveils New Digital Platform

By Tom McLean
Animation Mentor has unveiled its new digital campus — a social learning platform where students will attend classes, meet friends and classmates, and get one-on-one feedback from professional animators working at Pixar, DreamWorks and Industrial Light & Magic, among others.

“The most exciting thing about Animation Mentor has always been the incredible community of mentors and students. It’s literally a big family,” says Bobby Beck, co-founder and Pixar alumnus. “And now it feels like our new platform will better facilitate what we’ve been doing all along: helping artists achieve their dreams through the power of community and social learning.”

Read More on AWN.com →


Gilead, Kite to Acquire Cell Design Labs for Up-to-$567M, Growing CAR-T Footprint

Gilead Sciences and its Kite cell therapy subsidiary have agreed to acquire Cell Design Labs for up to approximately $567 million, in a deal designed to grow the buyers’ footprint in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) and other cellular therapies.

Gilead and Kite said the deal will enhance their R&D efforts with new technology platforms, allowing both to speed up the development of next-generation cell therapy candidates.

Based in Emeryville, CA, Cell Design Labs focuses on developing immunotherapies that deploy the company’s proprietary molecular modules targeting cancer and other diseases. The company is developing two propriety technology platforms. One platform is Throttle™, an “on switch” designed to modulate CAR T-cell activity using small molecules.

Read More on Genennews.com →

What Trader Vic Would’ve Been Drinking on His 115th Birthday

A $1,210 rum cocktail will honor the famed restaurateur this weekend.

By Richard Carleton Hacker

Sunday, December 10, 2017 marks the 115th anniversary of the birth of Victor Jules Bergeron—better known as Trader Vic—the entrepreneurial restaurateur who is indelibly linked to Polynesian-themed rum drinks, including the Samoan Fog Cutter, the Tiki Puka Puka, and the Zombie. But Trader Vic’s most original and internationally celebrated libation is the Mai Tai, even though he had some help in naming it.

The legend of the Mai Tai—and of Trader Vic—had its beginning in 1934, when, during a trip to Havana, Bergeron discovered rum, or more appropriately, rum cocktails. He returned to the rollicking saloon he owned in Oakland, Calif. called Hinky Dink’s (after a popular World War I ditty) and started making daiquiris, mojitos, and Planters Punch, but often with a little extra rum-tweaking.

Read More on RobbReport.com →

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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