Category Management

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.

CHEMISTRY | ENERGY

Eliminating the Middleman Improves the Production of Clean-Burning Hydrogen

The hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) relies on electrocatalysts to derive oxygen and molecular hydrogen from water. Now researchers have synthetically conjugated a water-splitting catalyst to a graphite electrode to cut out the catalytic mediator. The result: rather than having HER proceed through a step-wise path involving redox intermediates, the conjugated catalyst facilitates a direct route to the reaction. [C&EN]

AEROSPACE | BIOLOGY

A Crashed Israeli Lunar Lander Spilled Tardigrades on the Moon

The first private spacecraft to reach the moon was loaded with an archive of human knowledge, DNA, and . . . dehydrated tardigrades. On April 11, the the lunar lander crashed, ejecting the package onto the lunar surface where—presumably—it will remain for a very, very long time. [WIRED]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

Identifying and Defusing Idea Bullies

Do you think you might have an idea bully in your life? Chances are you do. This short read presents ways to help you spot (or self-identify as) a potential idea bully and a discussion about how to bring them back into the fold as powerfully contributing team members. [FUTURE SHAPERS]

ECONOMICS | AUTOMATION

Who Will Own the Robots?

Could the proliferation of increasingly efficient AI provoke social upheaval by eliminating huge numbers of jobs while producing great wealth for a very few? These concerns have been around since the Industrial Revolution, but there is surprisingly little evidence regarding the impact of automation on employment. Is there a way forward that is both fair and broadly delivers benefits? [MIT TECH REVIEW]

AGRICULTURE | INNOVATION

15 Agtech Startups to Watch in 2020

The world population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050. Simultaneously, the agriculture industry is facing increasing production costs, labor shortages, land management inefficiencies, food waste, and disconnected consumers demanding transparency to the origin of their food. Agtech startups worldwide are developing innovative solutions to tackle these challenges. [ROCKETSPACE]

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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.


MATERIALS SCIENCE | TEXTILES | VIDEO

Old Bread Becomes New Textiles

Researchers are hoping to grow a biomass of fungi on bread waste and then use it to spin yarn and to create a new class of nonwovens. [UNIVERSITY OF BORAS]

PHYSICS

Scientists Are Working to Confirm the Existence of a Mirror Universe

Almost thirty years ago, scientists studying how neutrons break down into protons may have unwittingly fired particles through a passage into a parallel universe. This summer, in a series of experiments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, physicist Leah Broussard is set to find out if this passage actually exists and how to open it methodically. Her results and those of several related experiments may suggest a new explanation for dark matter. [MACH]

INNOVATION | STRATEGY | MANAGEMENT

Innovative Companies Are Trouncing the Rest of the Market

Joseph Mezrich’s Innovation Index describes a finding that more executives should be paying attention to: companies that spend their cash on R&D (instead of on stock buybacks) nearly doubled the returns of their competitors, and the analysis applies to both technology companies and large manufacturers. In this Kraft Heinz case study, Colin Robinson applies the Mezrich framework to illustrate what happens when an industrial giant ignores innovation. [CNN | ECONIC]

ENERGY | CHEMISTRY

Magnets Can Double the Efficiency of Water Splitting and Could Help Usher in a Hydrogen Economy

Recent experiments at the Institute of Chemical Research in Catalonia, Spain, have shown that simply bringing an ordinary permanent magnet within touching distance of a water-splitting reactor can double process efficiency, slashing the amount of energy required to obtain hydrogen. [ROYAL SOCIETY OF CHEMISTRY]

HYDRAULICS | BATTERIES | VIDEO

Electrochemistry Helps This Fish Bot Shimmy

This robotic fish has fins powered by a flow battery with liquid electrolyte doubling as hydraulic fluid. [C&EN]

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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.

SCIENCE

The Future of Helium is Up in the Air

Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, but what we have on Earth today is all we have: it’s is only created as a byproduct of the (very slow) underground decay of uranium and thorium, and we are experiencing a worldwide shortage. Everything from optical fibers and semiconductors to MRI imaging, airbags, and the Hadron Collider (start on page 7) will be profoundly affected. [SMITHSONIAN | ACS]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The Secrets of Machine Learning: Ten Things You Wish You Had Known Earlier to be More Effective at Data Analysis

A lengthy but in-depth look at the failures and successes of machine learning and how this information can be used to achieve higher quality, more valuable data science. [ARVIX]

TEAMWORK | MANAGEMENT

Small Teams of Scientists Have Fresher Ideas

“Big teams take the current frontier and exploit it,” says James Evans, a University of Chicago sociologist who studies the history of science. “They wring the towel. They get that last ounce of possibility out of yesterday’s ideas, faster than anyone else. But small teams fuel the future, generating ideas that, if they succeed, will be the source of big-team development.” R&D organizations should take note: small teams produce markedly more disruptive work than large ones. [ATLANTIC]

INTERNET OF THINGS | BUSINESS MODEL

How Does an Icebox Pay for a Data Plan?

While the widely circulated prediction of the world having 50 billion connected devices by 2020 has proven wildly optimistic, the IoT market continues to grow steadily. Many in the industry are betting that cellular IoT will be the winning connectivity choice, but provisioning is a challenge. As in many areas, the problem is not the technology, it’s the business model. [EETIMES]

AEROSPACE

NASA Captured Photos of Merging Supersonic Shock Waves

Supersonic shock waves are created when aircraft travel faster than the speed of sound. The air pressure can’t keep up with the speed of the aircraft, builds up, and results in a sonic boom. Recently, two U.S. Air Force craft were not only traveling faster than the speed of sound, but they were so close that their shockwaves merged and NASA was able to capture it on camera. [LIVE SCIENCE]

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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.

ENGINEERING

Mimicking the Structure and Function of Ant Bridges in a Reconfigurable Microswarm for Electronic Applications

A short read on how engineers are emulating the collective behavior of self-organizing social insects and applying what they’ve learned to artificial robotics systems in electronics. [ACS NANO]

ASTROPHYSICS

Sneaky Meteor Evades Earthling Detection, Explodes with Force of 10 Atomic Bombs

In mid-December 2018, a meteor—with an impact energy of about 10 atomic bombs—shattered over Earth. Aside from systems designed to enforce international nuclear testing treaties, the second largest meteor event of the last 30 years went almost completely unnoticed because it happened over the Bering Sea. Thankfully, NASA’s Planetary Defense Conference Exercise spent time this week running a doomsday drill to figure out what to do when we learn of a pending strike that is more serious. [POPSCI and INVERSE]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

Behind the Black Hole Image: One Giant Leap for Teamwork

The first ever picture of a black hole was unveiled with much fanfare last month, but buried beneath the excitement was the story of how it came to be. And there was nothing easy about it. This article provides insight into how a group of scientists, across various countries and disciplines, debated, interrogated, and collaborated to make what many thought was a far-fetched dream, into reality. [WSJ]

NEUROSCIENCE

People Can Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field, Brain Waves Suggest

We’ve long been aware that birds and fish use magnetoreception for navigating the Earth. By exposing humans to an Earth-like magnetic field pointed in different directions, scientists now have evidence that people subconsciously respond to Earth’s magnetic field as well. Why we have this ability and how our brains use the information remains an open question. [SCIENCE NEWS]

GEOLOGY | VIDEO | INFOGRAPHIC

Watch 100 Years of Earthquakes Rock the World in this Incredible Animation

Earth is an incredibly dynamic planet. Now, thanks to improved seismometer technology and the dedicated work of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, we can see just how active it is and has been. The graphic embedded in the linked article is flat, but you can find the global view of the same data here. [FORBES and NOAA]

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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.

POLYMERS | MATERIAL SCIENCE

A New Spring for Polymers in Japan

Supported by government funding, researchers in Japan have invented an array of novel polymers. One such material is a new type of aerogel called superfunctional air, or Sufa. Made of up to 98% air, it has superb insulation properties and transparency similar to glass, making it excellent for use in windows. And unlike other aerogels, it is softer, retains its shape after being pressed, and dries on its own, dramatically driving down production costs. [C&EN]

BATTERIES | ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Electric Car Battery with 600 Miles of Range? This Startup Claims to Have Done It

Innolith, a Swiss startup, claims to have made the world’s first 1,000 Wh/kg rechargeable lithium battery. With most electric car batteries topping out at about 250 Wh/kg, it sounds like a specious claim. But Innolith says the difference lies in the technology: they use an inorganic, salt-like material instead of the highly flammable organic solvent traditionally used in “wet” lithium-ion batteries. Plans are to launch a pilot program in Germany, and have the batteries ready for market by 2022. [VERGE]

MANAGEMENT | PSYCHOLOGY

Maslow Didn’t Make the Pyramid that Changed Management History

According to a new study by three management professors, the ubiquitous Maslow’s Pyramid infographic was not designed by the psychologist, but by a management consultant inspired by a theorist’s flawed interpretation of Maslow’s ideas (which many believe to be flawed themselves). When the oversimplified interpretation was applied to business management, it took on a life of its own. [QUARTZ]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Teaching Machines to Reason About What They See

Researchers want computers to reason more like humans. To accomplish this, they are merging statistical with symbolic programming. Popular in the mid-twentieth century, symbolic AI uses less data and inputs, instead relying on rules and logic to help machines connect images with words and make comparisons, much like a young child would. Studies led by the MIT-IBM research team are showing promising results. [MIT]

PHYSICS | VIDEO

Video: Phase-Changing Material Keeps Ice at Bay

Accumulation of ice on wind turbines or power lines can be damaging and dangerous. This short video details how dimethyl sulfoxide, which freezes at a higher temperature than water, is employed to keep ice from forming on surfaces. [C&EN]

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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.

BLOCKCHAIN

Once Hailed as Unhackable, Blockchains Are Now Getting Hacked

While the security of blockchain technology has been one of its major selling points, recent hacks of multiple cryptocurrency exchanges have raised alarms. In response to hackers making off with millions by exploiting flaws in the technology, several startups have been created to detect these vulnerabilities and fix the issues before hackers find them. [TECH REVIEW]

MATERIALS SCIENCE | POLYMERS

New Form of Self-Healing Material Discovered

Many self-healing materials are limited by manufacturing costs and complex chemistry, limiting their commercial potential. This new, ethylene-based functionalized polyolefin is much simply to develop and does not required external factors to trigger the self-healing mechanism. The versatile material can be formed into tough elastomers which can be stretched and then return to their original shape even after being subjected to mechanical damage. [DIGITAL JOURNAL]

FUTURE OF WORK | MANAGEMENT

A Harvard Dropout’s Plan to Fix College Admissions With Video Games

Acquiring a degree from college has long been used as the litmus test for entry into the job market. But what if there was a more effective way for employers to identify talent than checking off a list of degrees a prospective employee has earned? The startup Imbellus, founded by a young Harvard dropout, has developed a solution in the form of problem-solving video games that measure critical thinking, adaptability, and decision making skills, qualities economists and employers say are much needed in rapidly changing workplaces across the world. McKinsey is already using the technology to evaluate job candidates and finds that it predicts success better than the written testing they have traditionally done. [BLOOMBERG]

NEUROSCIENCE | ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Columbia Engineers Translate Brain Signals Directly Into Speech

By utilizing artificial intelligence and speech synthesizers, neuroengineers have created technology that translates thought into recognizable speech. This development could spearhead new ways for computers and brains to connect directly and help people who have lost the ability to speak. [COLUMBIA]

TECHNOLOGY

Ten Recent Low-Tech Inventions That Have Changed the World

This non-exhaustive list takes a quick look at low-tech inventions that many probably take for granted. From improved water filters to paper microscopes, these inventions have changed the lives of many. [MIT TECH REVIEW]

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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.

GEOLOGY

Earth’s Magnetic Field is Acting Up and Geologists Don’t Know Why

Driven by a fast moving jet of liquid iron beneath Canada, Earth’s north magnetic pole is traveling away from North America, has crossed the International Date Line, and is headed towards Siberia. It is changing so rapidly that experts have to update the World Magnetic Model, which governs all modern navigation, a year earlier than scheduled. [NATURE]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | MATERIALS SCIENCE

Artificial Intelligence Meets Materials Science

Developing and launching new advanced materials can take decades, but an engineering research team at Texas A&M is employing machine learning, data science, and a wealth of expert knowledge to accelerate the process. Their autonomous program uses an algorithm that—while working with very little initial data—adaptively picks the best machine learning models to find the optimal material to fit any given criteria. [PHYS ORG]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

Hiring Intrapreneurs: A Practical Guide

If you can ignore the goofy graphics and the too-cute analogies, there is a wealth of good information in here about the nature of intrapreneurs and what it takes to support their work, an effort that can be richly rewarding for any company. [BOARD OF INNOVATION]

MANAGEMENT | LEADERSHIP

19 Workplace Predictions for 2019

A quick, sarcastic look at some of the biggest challenges facing employers and employees in the coming year. [LINKEDIN]

PHYSICS | CHEMISTRY

The Periodic Table is an Icon. But Chemists Still Can’t Agree on How to Arrange It

The at-once recognizable shape and patterns of the 150 year-old periodic table may one day be not so recognizable. While new elements have been discovered and added to the table over the years and have changed its look slightly, there are many scientists who believe its current iteration is not its best configuration. Some think the question comes down to whether the table is shaped by physics or chemistry. As the debate rages on, we may just end up with more than one table hanging in our labs and classrooms to tell a more complete picture of chemistry. [C&EN]

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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.

AERONAUTICS | POWER ELECTRONICS | VIDEO

MIT Engineers Fly First Ever Plane With No Moving Parts

Inspired by Star Trek shuttles, researchers have developed the first plane with no moving parts. It’s powered by ionic wind, a silent but mighty flow of ions that generates enough thrust to propel the plan over a sustained, steady flight. Achieving this silent flight milestone required a number of breakthroughs including a power system that can generate 40,000 volts in a light-weight package. [MIT]

INNOVATION | MANAGEMENT

Who Are My Stakeholders? A Quick Innovation Manager’s Guide


Managing stakeholders and their expectations is an important aspect of any business’s success. This informative guide identifies the different types of stakeholders and their attributes to help managers govern business and stakeholder relationships accordingly. [HYPE INNOVATION]

INNOVATION | LEADERSHIP

Innovation Dies When Fear Rules

When mistakes are made, it’s important to own up to them and learn from them. But employees cannot do so if they are afraid to speak up. Changing the culture of fear in a business will help to ensure there is space for innovation to thrive. [GAME CHANGER]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | TRAFFIC

AI in China: How Uber Rival Didi Chuxing Uses Machine Learning to Revolutionize Transport

Didi Chuxing, the world’s largest ride-sharing service is heralding the use of artificial intelligence to change how traffic works in large cities. Advancing technology in everything from autonomous cars, cloud-based traffic management, app-based augmented reality services for drivers, and more, Didi is looking to tackle all our transportation woes. [FORBES]

NEUROSCIENCE

‘Social Network’ BrainNet Lets People Communicate Mentally

A team from the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon have developed BrainNet, a system which detects brain waves with EEGs and communicates this information to another person via transcranial stimulation. Using this brain-to-brain interface (BBI), various volunteer groups played a Tetris-like game with 80% accuracy even though the person manipulating the pieces could not see them, instead getting the information needed directly from the brain of a person in another room. [GEEK]

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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.

MATERIALS | ENVIRONMENT

Artificial Photosynthesis Breakthrough Could Turn CO2 into Plastics Cheaply

Scientists have long been able to capture and convert harmful CO2 into useful products. Researchers at Rutgers University have discovered that utilizing a new man-made photosynthesis process using nickel and phosphorus, which are both plentiful elements, converting CO2 is cheaper than ever. Next step, commercializing the technology and further investigation to go from the lab to producing plastics and other common materials. [NEW ATLAS]

ECONOMICS | INNOVATION | MANAGEMENT

Leaping Before the Platform Burns: The Increasing Necessity of Preemptive Innovation

10 years into the long recovery from the Great Recession, recessionary risks are rising. How is your business going to behave in the next downturn? History suggests that you will have a strong incentive to cut innovation investment and double-down on efforts to maximize efficiency and value extraction from existing core offerings. This is the wrong answer. In this wide-ranging piece, the authors draw on lessons from biology, computer science, and high-performing firms to suggest more successful strategies that you should start implementing now. [BCG HENDERSON INSTITUTE | REUTERS]

PHYSICS

A New Theory Unifies Dark Matter and Dark Energy as a “Dark Fluid” With Negative Mass

Drawing on a idea developed and then abandoned by Albert Einstein a century ago, a new theory attempts to explain why 95% of the universe appears to be missing. Astrophysicist James Farnes’ theory posits that dark matter and dark energy—unproven, placeholder theories designed to make the math accurately describe the observable behavior of the universe—with a new placeholder: a dark fluid with negative mass. If proven , the theory would challenge our fundamental understanding of the universe. [MOTHERBOARD]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

5 Important AI Predictions (for 2019) Everyone Should Read

Recent technological breakthroughs have raised questions and concerns about how they will improve, or destroy, our current way of life. Here are five Artificial Intelligence predictions that provide insight into some of those changes for the upcoming year and beyond. [FORBES]

BIOLOGY | GEOLOGY | PALEONTOLOGY | ANTHROPOCENE

How Giant Intelligent Snails Became a Marker of Our Age

Fossils and geochemical changes in the layers of the Earth’s crust are what scientist use to learn about geologic times past. New markers are being recorded, such as plastics, radioactive isotopes,–and the giant African land snail. Aided by its own natural survival traits and hitchhiking on human migrations around the globe, these large snails may play a key role in telling the story of the current Anthropocene era. [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.

ENERGY | PAINT

Solar Paint Can Split Water Vapor and Generate Hydrogen

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a solar paint that can absorb water vapor and split it to generate hydrogen. The paint relies on a new synthetic molybdenum-sulfide compound which both absorbs water and also acts as a semiconductor which catalyses the splitting of water molecules. [SCIENCE DAILY]

FUTURE OF WORK | AUTOMATION

Machines Will Create 58 More Million Jobs Than They Replace

As a counterpoint to a story we included back in July describing the millions of workers who are likely to be displaced by automation, the World Economic Forum now reports that while 75 million worldwide jobs may be lost to automation in just the next four years, 133 million will be created over the same period as business develop a new division of labor between people and machines. The report warns, however, that a lose-lose scenario is still possible if businesses do not invest in “upskilling” their workers. [WASHINGTON POST]

LEADERSHIP | MANAGEMENT

The Biggest Mistakes Bosses Make When Making Decisions — and How to Avoid Them

It almost goes without saying that decision making is one of the most crucial aspects of leadership. Now research shows that how bosses make decisions is just as important as what decisions they make. Do it right, and you have employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and bosses. Do it wrong, and you have employees who are frustrated, resentful, angry and confused. Unfortunately, too many bosses do it wrong. Where do decision-making processes go awry? And how can bosses make it right? Here are four ways that bosses trip themselves up. [WSJ]

TEXTILES | TECHNOLOGY | VIDEO

Kjus Launches the First Ski Jacket Powered by a Charged Membrane

Swiss brand Kjus, just launched a new ski jacket powered by a an electronically charged textile membrane that it claims moves sweat away from the body 10 times faster than traditional membranes. This new technology, developed by Osmotex, is known as Hydro_Bot and works using electro-osmosis controlled by a small module inside the garment. The jacket comes with a USB charging cable and—of course—a corresponding smartphone app. It can be yours for $1700. [WEARABLE TECHNOLOGIES]

ASTRONOMY

Six Strange Facts about the Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua

On October 19, 2017, the first interstellar object, ‘Oumuamua, was discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey. It’s even stranger than you think, and we still can’t rule out the possibility that its origin is artificial. [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN]

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