When a cold front moved into Somerville the middle of last week, the team at Understory sat by their computer screens, watching it engulf the city in real time. As part of a new partnership with the city, the weather tracking company is looking at Somerville as a giant lab to stress-test its novel design for a local weather monitor.

Just a year ago, Understory raised $1.9 million in funding, changed its name, and moved from Madison, Wis., to Boston to join the Bolt hardware accelerator. It is currently based at the Somerville incubator Greentown Labs, and so this project provides the company with an opportunity to tinker with its new technology in its backyard. For the city, it’s a first shot at gathering high-density weather data that it can put to use during events like snowstorms.More →

Now that we are all comfortable talking to artificial personas on our smartphones — “Siri, who are the Sox playing tonight?” — Cynthia Breazeal thinks we’re ready for a robot companion that lives on the kitchen counter. Breazeal took a leave of absence from MIT, where she runs the Personal Robots Group within the Media Lab, to develop Jibo, a playful “family robot” that will cost about $500. Her company started taking pre-orders last summer.More →