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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up December 4, 2020

Lux Research
December 4, 2020

Every day our researchers comb through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert analysis on important updates, trends, and developments across industries. Our analysts evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the first week of December below.

World's first regulatory approval of cell-based meat comes from Singapore

10085-thumb-squareThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"In a major milestone for the cell-based meat space, Singapore granted approval to Eat Just's cell-based chicken. As part of the approval, Eat Just conducted 20 production runs in 1,200 L bioreactors. While Eat Just can now legally sell the cell-based chicken in Singapore, no details were revealed in terms of when it actually intends to do so (but likely soon) or at what price. Those interested should also note that Singapore is a small market; thus, larger countries will need to remove regulatory barriers to unlock a mass market. Although still modest in size the next two likely to follow Singapore are Israel and Japan. Regardless of where, expect more approvals to occur as cell-based meat draws closer to becoming a commercial reality."

Lime achieves profitability

chad goldbergChad Goldberg, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"The scooter giant recently announced it had become the first micromobility company to become cash flow positive for a full quarter, signaling a key milestone for one of the early scooter pioneers and the industry as a whole. Lux sees the news as a validation that these new mobility solutions are in fact here to stay, a concern long held by skeptics and supporters alike. While the new financial stability will likely not alter current business models or strategies significantly, it will allow for easier reinvestment and further focus on optimizing the company's next-generation scooter, the Gen4, which boasts key features like a swappable battery, enhanced suspension, and tougher aluminum frame that intends to extend operating life."

Fitbit preliminary research predicts onset of COVID-19 and likelihood of hospitalization with 50% accuracy, 70% specificity

Danielle Bradnan, Lux ResearchDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"While Fitbit has been using digital biomarkers to monitor employees for the likelihood of an immune response since June 2020, the company has steered away from making claims about COVID-19 specifically. Recently, Fitbit published a paper demonstrating its accuracy at detecting COVID-19 specifically. The accuracy may appear low at first glance, but the ability to detect a communicable disease with any level of accuracy is revolutionary, and with additional funding granted by the U.S. Army, the accuracy is likely to go up. Companies should view this research as a call to arms regarding the importance of digital biomarkers not just in the fight against COVID-19 but as a way to enter the healthcare space."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Showa Denko partners with McDonald's to pilot plastic gasification

8710-thumb-squareAnthony Schiavo, Senior Analyst | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"Gasification typically targets municipal solid waste, but here it's being used on a pure plastic waste stream. The goal is to produce hydrogen for FCVs – this makes sense in Japan, but the hydrogen infrastructure in the rest of the world doesn't yet support it. Still, clients should monitor the success and potential further rollout of gasification of plastic while recognizing that it's uniquely suited to certain regions."

AutoX launches completely driverless fleet in Shenzhen

Kern, Josh

Josh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_ Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"The company claims it is the first in China to launch a driverless fleet with no backup controls or safety driver. WeRide previously launched a driverless fleet in Guangzhou but with teleoperated controls. AutoX will be testing 25 cars as part of the Shenzhen fleet and plans to scale to 10 cities globally in the next six months. The wide range of cities the startup tests in gives it a unique advantage over those like Cruise, which mainly tests in one urban area. Still, AutoX mainly focuses on the Chinese market, which has unique characteristics in its traffic laws and pedestrian behavior. Like other Chinese autonomous vehicle companies, AutoX relies on connected infrastructure and prioritizes cities that invest in that infrastructure."

Making Sense of Sustainability

General Electric unveils 6 MW onshore wind turbine

Seoane da Silva, PatriciaPatricia Seoane da Silva, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"General Electric (GE) is next in a line of manufacturers (e.g., Vestas) targeting 5 MW+ onshore wind turbines. GE's new Cypress wind turbine is rated at 6 MW and has a rotor diameter of 164 meters. Similar to other models on the market, the new turbine will incorporate a two-piece blade to facilitate transportation and reduce installation costs; in addition, the new model is claimed to facilitate up-tower repairs and will feature condition-based predictive maintenance services. As onshore turbines reach moderately higher capacities, companies should expect permitting and transportation to play a crucial role. Regarding the latter, larger turbines and blade sizes will create an opportunity for concepts like Nabrawind's modular blade joint."

Quantum startup Zapata raises $38 million Series B

Lewie Roberts Lux Research

Lewie Roberts, Senior Research Associate | @roberts_lewie Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"
The round was led by Comcast Ventures, Pitango, and Prelude Ventures; Series A investors BASF and Bosch were joined by new strategic investors like Honeywell Venture Capital (see Honeywell's quantum plans) and Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. Zapata plans to use the funding to scale its team and to drive adoption of its data analytics platform with the pursuit of quantum advantage. It notes that "While continuing critical work on optimization and simulation, Zapata believes the nearest-term quantum use cases are in Machine Learning." Companies who are bottlenecked by today's supercomputers on machine learning problems are encouraged to engage with Zapata to investigate if it can help."

Amnesty International formally opposes Google's Fitbit acquisition

Danielle Bradnan, Lux ResearchDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Low Importance

"Amnesty International recently voiced its objections to the delayed acquisition, which is extremely unusual given the typical topics the organization addresses. This speaks to the actual problem with this acquisition – which is that by acquiring Fitbit, Google will have unprecedented access to the healthcare data that forms the basic infrastructure of healthcare – which is beyond the current legal language we have to describe either privacy or antitrust. This acquisition will move forward simply because regulations around this kind of action have not been developed yet, and clients should be alert to both the increasing challenges of competing with Google in healthcare and the regulatory changes it is likely to incite in the future."

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