Category Coatings

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.

ROBOTICS | BIOLOGY | ETHICS

Scientists Use Stem Cells from Frogs to Build First Living Robots

Designed by an evolutionary algorithm and less than 1mm long, researchers at the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University used cells from African clawed frogs to create programmable living organisms. If ethical concerns can be navigated, the “xenobots” could one day deliver drugs in the body, locate and digest toxic materials, and clean microplastic pollution from the oceans. [THE GUARDIAN]

COATINGS | MATERIALS

Smudge-Proof, Bendable Coating Resists Scratches

Researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario have created the first coating that is wear-resistant, flexible, transparent, and omniphobic. And it’s easy to make. [C&EN]

PRODUCTIVITY

Let’s Face Facts, The Digital Revolution Has Been a Huge Disappointment

The paradox of increasing investment in digital technology yielding negligible productivity growth is a conundrum that has left economists baffled. What must be done to shift these results in a better direction? Learning from past mistakes, making different choices, and putting the technology to good use is a start. [DIGITAL TONTO]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | HUMOR

We Shouldn’t Bother the Feral Scooters of Central Park

In this absurdist tale of feral scooters in the not-so-distant-future, optics research scientist and author Janelle Shane considers what can happen when artificially intelligent systems evolve. [NYT OPINION]

PHOTOGRAPHY | NATURE

How One Photographer Captures the Glory of Birds in Flight

If birds could leave visible trails in the sky, what would they look like? Catalan photographer Xavi Bou found out, and here he shares some of the astonishing—almost alien—images he captured. [ATLAS OBSCURA]

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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.

COATINGS | MATERIAL SCIENCE

Researchers Develop Ice-Proof Coating for Large Surfaces

Based on insights from the field of fracture mechanics, researchers at the University of Michigan developed a new class of coatings that sheds ice effortlessly from even large surfaces. The work could move the world closer to reaching the long-sought goal of ice-proofing cargo ships, airplanes, power lines and other large structures. [PCI]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | VOICE ANALYSIS

How to Catch a Criminal Using Only Milliseconds of Audio

A criminal who made repeated hoax distress calls to the US Coast Guard over the course of 2014 probably thought they were untouchable. They left no fingerprints or DNA evidence behind and made sure their calls were too brief to allow investigators to triangulate their location. Unfortunately for this hoaxer, however, voice analysis powered by AI is now so advanced that it can reveal far more about you than a mere fingerprint. [WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM]

PERSONAL PRIVACY | CORPORATE SECURITY

Your Browser Extensions Are Leaking Sensitive Data and Your Boss Is Spying on You [links in the text below]

I Found Your Data. It’s For Sale. As many a 4 million people are leaking personal and corporate secrets through Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. The data these extension are gathering and then selling is . . . well . . . alarming: user names, passwords, patient names, medications, tax records, top-secret corporate R&D projects, and corporate network firewall codes. [WASHINGTON POST]

The New Ways Your Boss Is Spying on You. Many companies are employing high-tech surveillance to examine employee activity in the workplace. Advocates insist that monitoring every move and message of employees is necessary to allow companies to root out problems, spot high performers, and better allocate resources. Critics are concerned that workers are giving far too much of their personal privacy.
[WSJ]

DISRUPTION | INNOVATION

Is It Possible to Disrupt a Cow?

The cow is a new sort of target for Silicon Valley: it’s not a hunk of capital, it won’t join your social network, and it certainly won’t be called by an API. It is, instead, evolved to turn feed into protein as efficiently as nature allows, solar powered, fully autonomous, and has achieved a perfect product-market fit. So why are billions in venture capital betting on its competitors? [PERSPICACITY]

PHYSICS

The Greatest Long-Term Threats Facing Humanity

This is NOT a piece about threats that are already here like climate change or Ebola. Instead, it’s a fascinating look at the known, well-understood threats of the far future and speculation about how we might overcome them. And, naturally, it concludes with a spot-on reference to Isaac Asimov’s great short story, “The Last Question”. [BBC]

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