Monthly Archives December 2019

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

ASTROPHYSICS

NASA’s Solar Probe Found Things Near the Sun that We Can’t Explain

The fastest object ever created by humans discovered intensely energetic rogue waves within our Sun and solar wind speeds beyond what any model had predicted. Neither discovery was expected (or can be easily explained), suggesting there are significant gaps in our understanding of the Sun. [MOTHERBOARD]

QUANTUM COMPUTING

In Surprise Breakthrough, Scientists Create Quantum States in Everyday Electronics

Usually thought of as too delicate to coexist with consumer electronics, a team working at the University of Chicago just announced that they can electronically control quantum states in silicon carbide semiconductors. The breakthrough could offer a means to more easily build and design quantum electronics. [UCHICAGO]

INNOVATION

American Innovation, a Murder Mystery

For about a century, American growth was driven by tinkerers, trusts, and corporate labs, which eked out regular advances in products based on engines, electrical circuits, and synthetic materials. Today, another half-century later, a coast-to-coast flight still takes you as long as it took in the 70s, and—with the major exception of computers—nothing in your luggage is likely to be much more useful or valuable than your parents’ equivalent. Who killed American innovation? There are a lot of suspects. [WSJ OPINION]

MATERIALS SCIENCE

Tiny Magnetic Particles Enable New Material to Bend, Twist, and Grab

A team of researchers from Georgia Tech and Ohio State has developed a soft polymer material that uses magnetic fields to transform into a variety of shapes. The material—which incorporates two types of magnetic particles and a shape-memory polymer— could enable a range of new applications from antennas that change frequencies on the fly to gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects. [PHYS ORG]

ASTRONOMY | SPACE

The 15 Most Awe-Inspiring Space Images of the Decade

Scientists revealed an astonishing amount about the universe over the last decade. Here—in pictures—are some of their most inspirational accomplishments. [VOX]

Read More

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

ASTROPHYSICS

Scientists find ‘Monster’ Black Hole So Big They Didn’t Think It Was Possible

Stellar black holes are caused by the death of star, and there are estimated to be 100 million in the Milky Way. An international group of scientists recently discovered one with a mass 70 times that of the sun, more than three times larger than current theories predicted was possible. Figuring out its origin is the next step. If you want to read more, this article by one of the team members that discovered it is a good place to start. [WASHINGTON POST | CONVERSATION]

SOLAR ENERGY

Sunshine Coast University Switches On a Solar-Powered Thermal Battery

Sunshine Coast University in Australia recently turned on its new solar-fed thermal battery. Using rooftop solar arrays and a battery that stores 7 MW of energy in water, the system powers more than 40% of everything on campus from air conditioning to lighting to computer processing. The school will save $100 million in electric bills over the next 25 years and eliminate 92,000 tons of CO2 emissions. [PV MAGAZINE]

INNOVATION

Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation

As companies get larger, they start to value process over product, and the product people end up reporting to the process people. The company loses its ability to compete as an innovator. In response, they often turn to hackathons, design thinking classes, innovation workshops and other innovation theater activities that rarely deliver a shippable product. There’s a way to fix this. [STEVE BLANK writing in HBR]

SECURITY

A New Hack Uses Lasers to Send Inaudible Commands to Your Amazon Echo

Researchers used laser light to insert acoustic signals into micro-electro mechanical system microphones (MEMS). The result? The microphones produced electric signals as if the laser light was genuine audio. While it does not appear this security flaw has yet been exploited, scientists warn that any device using MEMS (smart phones, speakers, and even cars) is vulnerable to attack. [NEXT WEB]

NEUROLOGY

‘Promising Evidence’ Shows Mindfulness Meditation Can Slow Cognitive Decline

A recent study finds that practicing mindfulness meditation, training your mind to stay in the moment and relieving it from outside distractions and stress, can boost cognitive reserves. While more research is needed, this may be helpful for people living with mild cognitive impairment, often a precursor to Alzheimer’s. [STUDY FINDS]

Read More