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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A startup is bringing improved vision to industrial robots.

Why it matters: As important as the manual abilities of robots are, they need the ability to properly see their environments before they can take a bigger role in industrial workplaces.

What's happening: Akasha Imaging, which focuses on deep imaging and robotic vision, closed on Wednesday a $10.75 million Series A funding round led by Khosla Ventures.

  • Akasha uses deep learning to produce 3D images in unstructured environments, which can help train industrial robots to "see" their surroundings and more precisely handle products of all shapes and sizes.
  • "We can create synthetic data and use that to test [robots] in the real world," says Kartik Venkataraman, Akasha Imaging's CEO. "And because the data is synthetic, we can do our testing remotely."

Details: Vision — as you'll know if you've ever tried to, say, wrap a holiday present after misplacing your glasses — is key to manual work. That's especially true if you're operating in the less than fully predictable real world.

  • With robots, "even if our colleagues on the electronics side have done a perfect job, without good vision it's the equivalent of blindfolded humans trying to do packaging," says Achuta Kadambi, the company's chief scientist. "We help take the blindfold off."

The bottom line: Kadambi believes robotic vision will mean robots eventually "will be able to do tasks that are impossible today" — even for humans.

Go deeper: Robots vs. retail workers

Go deeper

Ohio special election win cements Jim Clyburn’s kingmaker status

Jim Clyburn. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Rep. Jim Clyburn is cementing his Biden-era kingmaker status with Shontel Brown's win in Ohio,  showing progressives he has a finger on the pulse of Democratic Party politics in a way they must acknowledge.

Driving the news: "I was going to stay right here in South Carolina minding my business until I got called stupid,” Clyburn told Axios in an interview Wednesday.

Manhattan, Westchester prosecutors request evidence from Cuomo investigation

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.

Scoop: Buzzy media startup Puck launches in beta

Puck.news

Puck, a splashy new digital media company, is coming out of stealth mode, Axios has learned. The company debuted its landing page, puck.news, on Wednesday, and will officially launch its website in September.

Why it matters: The company has been quietly building a roster of top talent, but hadn't confirmed its branding or exact business plans up until now.