Middle Bit: Wal-Mart launches shelf scanning robots in 40 stores

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will roll out shelf-scanning robots in approximately 40 stores to replenish inventory faster and save store employees time when products run out, according to a story Thursday on Reuters.com. 

According to the story, the robots are about two feet in size and come with a tower on their backs that is fitted with cameras. It will scan aisles to check stocks, missing items and if products have bene left in the wrong place by customers.

Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King told Reuters the robots are 50 percent more productive, can scan shelves three times faster than their human counterparts and improve accuracy levels.

The Arkansas-based company has been piloting robots in a handful of stores in Arkansas,  California and Pennsylvania.

Biotech entrepreneurs can apply for Iowa competition

An industry summit in Ankeny called Partnering For Growth will feature a competition that would give biotech entrepreneurs an opportunity to get their innovations in front of potential investors, according to a story Wednesday in The Des Moines Register.

According to the story, the Partnering For Growth competition is set for March 20-21 in Ankeny.

Presentations will be focused on the development of biofuels and biomaterials, advances in food, ag and plant genetics plus progress in animal health, human health and medical technology.

Applications to present will be accepted through Jan. 5; A panel of biotech leaders will pick one company to win $5,000.

Amazon receives 238 bids for HQ2

Amazon received 238 proposals from cities and regions across North America for where it should open its second headquarters, the company announced Monday.

And according to Fortune.com, 54 states, provinces, districts and territories in the United States, Canada and Mexico were represented in the bids.

The Seattle-based company said it would invest $5 billion and create up to $50,000 jobs for, “Amazon HQ2.”

Amazon will make a decision next year.

What else happened…


Best Buy expands after-school tech program – The Denver Post

Indoor skydiving company to expand STEM programming – The Denver Post


Cargill will buy Cedar Rapids-based Diamond V – The Des Moines Register


Dubai startup opens office in Detroit, raises $1.5 million – TechCrunch.com


How Amazon’s HQ2 could affect the price of rent in Minneapolis – TCBmag.com


Kansas-City startup launches grass-fed beef delivery – SPN

KC primes teen entrepreneurs for success – StartlandNews.com

Hyperloop to AP: Kansas City to St. Louis a top-five finalist – StartlandNews.com

Other newsworthy stories about the Midwest…

Heartland startups finally strike back – TechCrunch.com