Every week our researchers go through the top tech innovation headlines and provide their analysis on important updates, trends, and developments across all 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 this week below.
FedEx adopts its subsidiary SenseAware's sensors for Express packages to provide real-time insights
"FedEx plans to adopt the real-time logistic sensors, known as SenseAware ID, for its overnight shipping customers to provide real-time insights into the packages. SenseAware's sensing solutions have been already adopted by many industrial companies to monitor their assets' real-time locations, conditions, and events through the logistic journey. FedEx's adoption would enable the individual and e-commerce users to gain the same privileges that industrial users usually have in logistics. Additionally, during the pandemic, healthcare and pharmaceutical products distributed using FedEx's service would allow all parties to have visibility throughout the journey. Companies should be aware of SenseAware's solutions for shipping."
PurpleAir's sensing solutions help map the pollution evolution on the West Coast
"PurpleAir's sensors show the real-time air pollution on the West Coast, and some installed in indoor environments show how wildfires have caused pollution that impacts the air people breathe at home or in offices. Despite our mixed takes on various air quality (AQ) sensing solutions, we have demonstrated our optimism on PurpleAir's low-cost AQ monitoring solutions. Although it is difficult to justify the ROI of AQ sensors from a business perspective, the emerging interests in public health, urban planning, and financial risk management associated with hyperlocal air quality may stimulate data demand. Companies should be aware that the investment value of companies like PurpleAir is beyond the sensors, in their capability to monetize the data."
DuPont Animal Nutrition partners with Proteon Pharmaceuticals, recognizing phage technology to reduce antimicrobials in poultry production
Laura Krishfield, Research Associate | @LKrishfield
Lux Take: Very Important
"DuPont Animal Nutrition is partnering with Proteon Pharmaceuticals to bring phage technology to new geographic markets. The target livestock remains unclear; however, Proteon's solution is validated through testing in Europe and Asia, suggesting these as early opportunities, followed by North America. While using bacteriophages in animals is a viable alternative to antibiotics, developers like Proteon are subject to extensive testing for safety and efficacy, which can impact regulatory approval and public acceptance among diverse global markets. Companies should view DuPont's support as a major vote of confidence in Proteon's technology for reducing antibiotic use as well as for continued momentum for phages."
KIST develops new membrane reactor for separation of hydrogen from ammonia
"Researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) developed a new membrane reactor that simultaneously decomposes ammonia and separates out pure hydrogen at 450 °C. While at an early stage, research projects like this rank among the most important in the hydrogen space. There is no hydrogen economy without an international network for hydrogen transport, and ammonia is rapidly gaining ground as the hydrogen carrier of choice. The main challenge with using ammonia as a hydrogen carrier is the feasibility and cost of separating out pure hydrogen – on top of KIST's technology, those interested should also monitor CSIRO's progress with its membrane reactor."
Ingredient informatics continues to witness funding momentum as NotCo raises $85 million Series C funding
"This funding round was co-led by Future Positive and L Catterton, with participation from a number of other investors, including Kaszek Ventures, and brings NotCo's funding raised to date to $115 million. NotCo will use this fund to scale up and expand to other international markets, including the U.S. The company's data science and machine learning-based approach to develop plant-based products has gained commercial traction, as it recently collaborated with Burger King to roll out the plant-based Rebel Whopper in Chile. As NotCo gears up for its U.S launch in early 2021, it will undoubtedly enter a crowded space. Nevertheless, this is another data point for the growing momentum for ingredient informatics to expedite new product launches."
Climeworks to launch new direct air capture facility with Audi in Iceland
"Climeworks will launch a 4,000 metric ton per year direct air capture (DAC) commercial facility in Iceland in collaboration with Audi – the two companies previously collaborated on a demo-scale CO2-to-fuels project that also included Sunfire back in 2015. This time, the captured CO2 will be stored underground through a natural mineralization process. Since 2015, Climeworks has shifted from selling DAC units to offering CO2 sequestration as a service; the company intends to sequester ambient CO2 and offer credits to clients looking to offset their emissions. According to the press release, Audi will buy 1,000 credits from the upcoming Icelandic project."
China to host 1 GW agrivoltaic installation
"Chinese Baofeng Group plans to expand a 640 MW, 2.9 meter-height agrivoltaic system in the Binhe New District to a 1 GW plant. The first section of the project was connected to the grid in 2016 and has been coupled with the production of goji berries. During this period, the agrivoltaic system has reportedly reduced water evaporation levels between 30% and 40% and increased vegetation coverage by 85%. Driven by the multiple advantages of agrivoltaics, this project points at the shape of things to come – those interested should expect large-scale agrivoltaic projects to come online in the short term."
Wave of smallsat launches means COVID-19 lull is subsiding for satcom industry
"Isar Aerospace is building Germany's first private rocket for 2021 launch to deploy small satellites. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin is providing its software-defined AI for nanosats being deployed by the University of Southern California's La Jument project. Both initiatives are chasing SpaceX's Falcon 9, which launched 57 Starlink Internet satellites into orbit in August. The launch was SpaceX's 12th mission for 2020, with a goal of deploying 400 to 800 satellites to enable internet coverage. SpaceX has also gained FCC approval for 1 million land-based terminals, which have actuators that constantly adjust to the location of the passing satellites. The activity means we are shaking off the COVID-19 pause to resume the smallsat space race."
DeepMind uses graph neural networks to improve Google Maps traffic prediction
Cole McCollum, Analyst | @cmccoco
Lux Take: Average Importance
"Researchers at Google's AI research arm DeepMind worked with Google Maps to improve the accuracy of its real-time traffic predictions and estimated times of arrivals (ETAs) by up to 50% in various locations. The researchers used graph neural networks (GNNs), an emerging area of machine learning research, to accomplish this task. GNNs are particularly useful for modeling and predicting network dynamics like networks of roads. With GNNs starting to make an impact in real-world applications, those interested should begin exploring them for their own use cases, such as other mobility use cases, modeling protein-protein interaction networks, or generating new information in knowledge graphs."
- Press Release: Antimicrobial Coatings are on the Frontlines of COVID-19