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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up November 13, 2020

Lux Research
November 13, 2020

Each day our researchers comb through the top innovation headlines and provide their analysis on important updates, trends, and developments across industries. Our experts 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 this past week below.

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Markforged's new platform can accelerate 3D printing progress, while its data protection feature remains to be seen

Jerrold Wang, AnalystJerrold Wang, Analyst | @jerroldwang Ico twitter
Lux Take: Truly Disruptive

"The cloud-based platform, Digital Forge, enables data sharing within more than 12,000 Markforged 3D printers deployed globally. The sharing mechanism allows the company's print preparation software, Eiger, to constantly learn from those systems and provide live feedback. While Digital Forge can improve 3D printing efficiency and deployment, data privacy remains a concern. The company claimed that Digital Forge is driven by "fleet federated learning," an interconnected form of machine learning that allows some sort of data encryption. Those interested should reach out to Lux for more details on data protection and how Markforged intends to use it."

Honda to launch world's first Level 3 autonomous vehicle in Japan in early 2021

Kern, Josh

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


"The Honda Legend sedan, which the automaker plans to release by March 2021, will be the first vehicle that allows drivers to experience "hands-off, eyes-off" autonomous driving. While Audi attempted to release a Level 3 vehicle in 2018, it never received government approval to actually enable the feature. By contrast, Honda received a certification from the Japanese government that will legally allow drivers to utilize the feature. The feature will only be available on Japan's expressways at first, and drivers will need to be ready to take over control if the system prompts them to. Level 3 autonomous vehicles will be difficult to scale, as most national governments have yet to standardize the requirements for certifying such features."

Centrica concludes its local energy market trial successfully, benefiting all stakeholders by trading local energy flexibility

Hernandez, Jessica

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Centrica finalized its local energy market (LEM) trial in Cornwall and published a report with key figures and learnings. The £16.7 ($22) million project launched in early 2017, aggregating 100 homes with rooftop solar and stationary batteries into a virtual power plant (VPP) to enable automated participation in energy flexibility trading along with 113 businesses. Over three years, the market saw the local distribution system operator and the transmission system operator simultaneously procuring 310 MWh of energy flexibility. While the trial proved the benefits of trading energy flexibility for consumers and grid operators, a commercial implementation of this type of market would require a coordinated push from governments and industry."

In change of strategy, BMW to build dedicated BEV platform

Robinson, ChristopherChristopher Robinson, Senior Analyst | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"While high-volume manufacturers have pursued dedicated battery electric vehicle platforms (BEV), such as Volkswagen's MEB and PPE or General Motor's BEV3 platform, BMW had focused on a singular platform that can support all powertrain types, from combustion-based vehicles to hybrids and fully electric, a useful strategy to avoid sunk costs in a dedicated platform if BEV sales don't pan out. However, BMW has now changed its tune and will design its own dedicated platform for battery electric vehicles. Those interested should recognize two factors that likely played a role: increasing confidence in the outlook for BEV sales and better access to cost reductions at the vehicle level, such as BYD and Tesla using structural batteries."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research


Intel acquires machine learning operations and model management company Cnvrg.io

McCollum, ColeCole McCollum, Analyst | @cmccoco Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important


"Building on its recent acquisition of machine learning model optimization company SigOpt, Intel's acquisition of machine learning operations (MLOps) company Cnvrg.io highlights a new software-focused strategy to Intel's overall AI strategy. Intel's previous acquisitions related to AI have been hardware-focused, acquiring chip developers like Habana. With these new acquisitions, Intel is likely looking to create integrated AI hardware and software offerings to better compete with companies like Nvidia. Companies should view these acquisitions as a positive move for Intel if it is able to closely integrate them with its AI hardware to enhance training and model performance as well as data science productivity."

Medidata's acquisition of MC10's digital biomarker unit keeps it competitive against big tech players like Verily

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"This move gives Medidata the ability to "level up" its current offerings, which have primarily focused on patient-reported outcomes rather than biometric data. The addition of this business is crucial to keeping its offerings updated with current medical developments. Without this feature, it would face steep competition from a range of players, including tech giants like Verily and startups like HealthMode. Digital biomarkers allow for earlier identification of health concerns and are beginning to function as predictive elements when choosing courses of treatment like drugs. Those looking to enter healthcare should be aware of the importance of this technology and know that this capability is critical for moving forward."

Provizio raises $6.2 million to develop sensor-enabled car accident avoidance platform

Lisheng GaoLisheng Gao, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Provizio recently raised a $6.2 million seed investment to support the development of its sensor- and software-enabled accident avoidance platform. The company claims its platform aims to perceive, predict, and prevent car accidents in real time before the drivers behind the wheel can realize it. Despite the fact that we are seeing increasing activity in developing more advanced autonomous vehicles, the reality is that people will continue to enjoy driving vehicles for leisure. Thus, systems aiming for advanced accident avoidance would be promising for cars. The funds will help Provizio get on track with the development. Companies should watch and see if it is able to form strategic partnerships with auto manufacturers in the near future."

Mycoproteins gain funding momentum as The Protein Brewery raises $22 million Series A

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


"This Series A round was led by Novo Holdings, joined by Roquette Ventures and Unovis Asset Management, and will help the Dutch startup to focus on R&D as well as scale up production of its mycoprotein ingredient "Fermotein." It hopes to commercialize Fermotein upon regulatory approval by 2021 in the U.S. and 2022 in Europe. This investment comes on the heels of Meati Foods' $28 million Series A, indicating the growing momentum for mycoproteins. Mycoproteins are emerging as a contender in the plant-based meat space as they look to fill the existing gaps in terms of texture and nutrition profile, but factors like allergenicity, regulatory approval, and consumer sentiment will play a crucial role in their commercial success."

Nio announces cell-to-pack technology and larger 100 kWh pack

Robinson, ChristopherChristopher Robinson, Senior Analyst | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Nio had previously offered different battery pack sizes in its vehicles, and as we previously noted, due to its battery swapping pursuits, could more flexibly integrate new technologies into its existing fleet. Nio's recent announcement isn't just about different-sized packs and a new chemistry (Lux suspects this is an LFP chemistry); it also marks Nio's adoption of cell-to-pack technology. While its battery swapping pursuits mean Nio is unable to integrate cells as a structural member of the vehicle as BYD and Tesla have done, a demonstrated ability to integrate new pack designs and chemistries into existing vehicles is a notable achievement."

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Fitbit receives $2.5 million from U.S. Army to continue development of digital biomarkers for COVID-19 detection

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Fitbit's current commerically available solution only detects the probability that an individual is experiencing an immune response to a nonspecific pathogen, but Fitbit has also been working on a project more specific to COVID-19. Thus far, the algorithm has been able to detect approximately 50% of cases one day before symptoms start, with a reported 70% specificity to COVID-19. With a new influx of funding for this project, Fitbit is looking to move the needle on asymptomatic detection, which has so far been done only via testing. As a viable solution is likely to become available concurrent with vaccine availability (and not before), it will be a valuable tool for monitoring for asymptomatic cases to manage vaccine deployment."

ADM Ventures invests in Seventure Partners' fund for the microbiome

10085-thumb-squareThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The size of investment was not disclosed. ADM has been aggressive in recent years in expanding its prebiotic and probiotic offerings, including a $244 million acquisition of Probiotics International in June 2018. By partnering with Seventure Partners, ADM is extending its reach in the ecosystem with a reputable partner. The venture firm has invested in microbiome companies since 2008, with notable investments including DayTwo and TargEDys. With food companies needing to master the role of the microbiome, finding ways to engage at an arm's length as ADM is doing will help your organization understand the future of this space, which still has a plethora of possibilities for exploration."

New satellite startups prepare to offer "5G from space" services

Michael Sullivan, AnalystMichael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"SpaceMobile and Lynk announced plans to offer 5G services using LEO satellites that send signals directly to end user devices by piggybacking on incumbent mobile operator spectrum. SpaceMobile is the most advanced, with backing from AT&T and a $110 million funding round featuring Rakuten, Vodafone, and T-Mobile. Opposed to the idea are Verizon and NASA, which are concerned about signal interference. Like SpaceX's Starlink, the companies are targeting low-cost consumer services, but clients should investigate their potential for IoT commercial services, which could dramatically lower the cost of satellite-based IIoT applications like remote asset monitoring."

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L'Oréal partners with bacteriophage company Micreos for skin microbiome applications

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


"Through this licensing agreement, L'Oréal will gain access to Micreos' endolysin technology for cosmetic and skin care applications. Micreos develops the "Staphefekt" endolysin, which is a phage enzyme that selectively kills Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The company has already commercialized its endolysin-containing Gladskin product for a number of skin conditions. While several players in the skin microbiome space focus on the use of probiotics, this partnership will help L'Oréal explore the applicability of phage-based solutions for skin care applications. As the skin microbiome space evolves further, we expect to see more players in the cosmetics industry value chain getting involved through such partnerships for product development."

Industry players collaborate on combining sustainability and 3D printing

Mike Holman Lux Research

Michael Holman, Ph.D., VP, Research | @MichaelHolmanLR Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Founded in 2019, the Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA) boosts 3D printing for sustainability and now has added industry stalwarts like EOS, GE Additive, Siemens Digital Industries Software, and SLM Solutions to founding members like Sintavia and Taiyo Nippon Sanso. While the AMGTA seems more focused on validating and promoting the environmental benefits of 3D printing technology today, innovations to further improve 3D pritnting sustainabilty will be a key trend in coming years. Watch to see if this organization can become an innovation driver as well, as it does bring together a strong complete ecosystem with printer makers, material firms, software developers, and users."

Don't be too optimistic on rapid mass spectrometry test to detect COVID-19

Lisheng GaoLisheng Gao, Analyst
Lux Take: Low Importance


"Breathonix, a spinoff from the National University of Singapore, claimed that it had developed a technique to use mass spectrometry to detect volatile organic compound (VOC) profiles of breath to detect COVID-19 infections. The company claims that the VOC profiles can be the markers for diseases like COVID-19. Despite promising claims, the team failed to address two challenges. First, the specificity of VOC profiles can be problematic for COVID-19 detection, as individual reactions to the virus can be vastly different. Second, if the performance is sufficient for fast screening, mass spectrometry is very expensive and requires professionally trained personnel to operate, which would inhibit its deployment for target use cases."

 

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