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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up June 25, 2021

Lux Research
June 25, 2021

Every day our researchers read through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert opinions on important developments and industry news. Our analysts then evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

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

FDA rejects digital therapeutic for assessing severity of Parkinson's tremor, creating potential hurdles for clinical use

Danielle Bradnan, Analyst at Lux ResearchDanielle Bradnan, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Verily claims that this more precise assessment of tremor will allow physicians to better personalize drug regimens for patients, but the FDA considers this information alone insufficient to help inform drug decisions. The FDA contends that data around how well a patient can manage themselves through dressing and using the bathroom is also needed. The explicit need for human intervention combined with the digital tool means developers must consider additional modes of data collection when creating a tool for regulatory approval. Those interested in leveraging digital biomarkers clinically should either consider this requirement when developing solutions or look to launch products in more digital-friendly markets, such as Germany."

Dow and Shell progress with electric cracking project

Runeel Daliah

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Dow and Shell partnered in 2020 to investigate the feasibility of electric cracking technology – the companies have now finalized process concepts and identified the components and partners needed to scale the technology. A MW-scale pilot unit is set to launch in 2025, pending investment support. This is a major project for the chemicals industry, as steam cracking is a major source of emissions in the production of base chemicals – electrification is the most direct, albeit challenging, approach to decarbonizing its energy consumption."

FDA clears Xandar Kardian's ultra-wideband (UWB) radar sensors, paving the road for healthcare applications

Lisheng GaoLisheng Gao, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Xandar Kardian's UWB radar sensors received FDA clearance for vital signs monitoring. The radar sensors monitor events and vital signs remotely and alert care providers when abnormalities are detected. Receiving the FDA clearance will have two significant impacts. First, it validates the performance of using UWB radar sensors for vital signs monitoring in healthcare facilities. Second, the clearance will likely facilitate Xandar Kardian's future strategy in deploying its solutions in professional care facilities. Those interested in using radar sensors for healthcare use cases, especially for smart care facilities, should engage with the company."

Yet another controlled environment agriculture (CEA) company makes moves to go public

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Laura Krishfield, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"Local Bounti, a producer of leafy greens within a technology-enabled greenhouse situated in the northwest U.S., is merging with publicly traded SPAC Leo Holdings III Corp. Backed by Cargill, Fidelity, BNP Paribas, and Sarath Ratanavadi (CEO of Gulf Energy Development), this merger will bring Local Bounti $400 million in gross proceeds that the company will use to construct seven new greenhouses by 2025. While this news is interesting given the growing trend of CEA companies going public (e.g., AppHarvest, AeroFarms), the key takeaway is Cargill's participation indicating that CEA is a big opportunity. The diversity of industry investing in the space continues to grow, and thus, opportunities for growth or impact investments remain.

Will 3D Printing Replace Conventional Manufacturing? Download the Executive Summary

Volkswagen taking additional steps to realize its goal of 3D-printing thousands of metal parts annually

https://members.luxresearchinc.com/analysts/11113

Tugce Uslu, PDEng, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Volkswagen announced its plans to 3D-print 100,000 parts per year through its partnership with HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy in 2018. Three years later, the company has entered into another partnership to realize this goal in the next few years. The new partner, Siemens, will help Volkswagen's Wolfsburg 3D printing group increase the number or parts printed at once using its software. High-volume production in a cost-competitive manner is still a hurdle in 3D printing, and other automakers are also working on addressing this issue in different ways but all through software innovation. Thus, companies should expect to see more software-related partnerships and efforts to increase volume in the automotive 3D printing space."

Norway publishes its National Hydrogen Strategy

Runeel Daliah

Runeel Daliah, Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"You can read the strategy here. Norway is a major oil and gas producing nation, but the country also has significant potential for renewable energy due to its considerable hydropower and wind resources – the country is getting ready to award the first licenses for offshore wind development in the North Sea. Hydrogen is closely intertwined with offshore wind and will play a key role in decarbonizing the Norwegian economy."

Superscattering metamaterials block light waves in open air

Anthony Vicari Analyst at Lux ResearchAnthony Vicari, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Researchers at Nanjing University have demonstrated a superscattering metamaterial capable of blocking the passage of microwaves through open air. The metamaterial consists of iron-rich ceramic rods arranged along one side of a 5 cm-wide gateway. In principle, there is no physical limit to the size of opening or range over which such a metamaterial can block light, or to the frequency ranges that could be so blocked. The researchers call these "illusion devices" for their ability to prevent light from propagating through open spaces or to change the appearance of objects on the other side of an opening. Potential applications include EMI shielding, and analogs of such devices could be used for acoustic and ocean waves as well."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Paper from University of California, Berkeley, proposes novel simulation tool to optimize agrivoltaic installations

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


"This simulation approach relies on a digital twin of the installation and machine learning algorithms. The final tool can be tailored for bifacial and monofacial modules tilted at different angles and is capable of tracing incoming rays of sunlight to assess the optical performance of the system. Thousands of configurations can seemingly be evaluated in the span of an hour; using machine learning algorithms, the best configurations are optimized, and less promising features are disregarded. It remains unclear if and how this simulation tool can evaluate crop growth, but, all in all, companies should regard this type of research as another sign of the growing adoption and standardization of agrivoltaic systems."

GM collaborates with Wabtec to commercialize batteries and fuel cells for rail industry

Jinze Dai

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"GM and Wabtec signed an MoU to develop and deploy GM's Ultium batteries and Hydrotec fuel cells for Wabtec's locomotives. The context is that GM is building two battery manufacturing plants in the U.S. through its JV with LG Energy Solution, and Wabtec demonstrated 100% battery-powered locomotives called FLXdrive. It is anticipated that Wabtec will test out GM's fuel cells on its high-usage and long-range locomotives. The penetration of batteries and fuel cells into the rail industry is accelerating, with another example being Cummins' fuel cell supply to Alstom's passenger trains. Those developing batteries and fuel cells should pay attention to the rail industry and note GM's clear shift to focusing on heavy-duty fuel cell applications."

Better Juice raises $8 million in seed funding for its sugar reduction technology

Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D.Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"This funding round was led by Israeli investment group iAngels and will help Better Juice scale its sugar reduction technology based on immobilized non-GMO microorganisms. The company plans to build a full-scale manufacturing plant in Israel to increase its production capacity by 40×. Better Juice has previously demonstrated the industrial applicability of its technology by partnering with processing engineering company GEA Group for bioreactor setup and Brazilian company Citrosuco on the application front. Those interested in sugar reduction for fruit juices should engage with the company, as its technology caters to the clean-label trend by converting fruit sugars to prebiotic and nondigestible fibers and sugars."

Did you miss last week's news round-up? Check out the blog here. Make sure you never miss a headline by subscribing to our newsletter.

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