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.

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]

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.

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]

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.

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]

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.

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]

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.

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]

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.

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]

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.

MANAGEMENT | WORK-LIFE BALANCE

You Could Be Too Much of a Team Player

Amid a sweeping workplace trend pushing collaboration, some people are finding they play a little too well with others, turning some personal qualities that might be strengths in other settings into weaknesses at work. The good news: changing just a few behaviors can regain 18% to 24% of the time you spend collaborating. [WSJ]

ENERGY

Alternative Photovoltaic Systems for the Houses of the Future

Following California’s new mandate requiring solar-powered systems for residential construction, this article highlights technologies likely to get a bump and discusses those that may be coming in the future. Coverage of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) includes alternative roofing materials, window glazings, solar facades, and energy-harvesting concrete. [ARCHITECT]

PHYSICS

Settling Arguments About Hydrogen with 168 Giant Lasers

With gentle pulses from gigantic lasers, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California transformed hydrogen into droplets of shiny liquid metal. Their research, reported on Thursday in the journal Science, could improve understanding of giant gas planets like Jupiter and Saturn whose interiors are believed to be awash with liquid metallic hydrogen. [NYTIMES]

3D PRINTING | MANUFACTURING

Five Myths About 3D Printing

Like any fast-developing technology, 3-D printing, described more technically as “additive manufacturing,” is susceptible to a variety of misconceptions. While recent debates have revolved around 3-D-printed firearms, most of the practical issues in the field come down to the emergence of new manufacturing techniques. The resulting culture of innovation has led to some persistent myths. Here are five of the most common. [WASHINGTON POST]

ECONOMICS | INFOGRAPHIC

Here’s How America Uses Its Land

There are many statistical measures that show how productive the U.S. is, but it can be hard to decipher how Americans use their land to create wealth. The 48 contiguous states alone are a 1.9 billion-acre jigsaw puzzle of cities, farms, forests and pastures that Americans use to feed themselves, power their economy and extract value for business and pleasure. This series of infographics derived from Department of Agriculture statistics break it all down. [BLOOMBERG]

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.

MANAGEMENT | DECISION MAKING | INNOVATION

Are MBAs Killing Our Companies and Our Economy?

If you wonder why most businesses still think of shareholders as their main priority or treat skilled labor as a cost rather than an asset—or why 80 percent of CEOs surveyed in one study said they’d pass up making an investment that would fuel a decade’s worth of innovation if it meant they’d miss a quarter of earnings results— it’s because that’s exactly what they are being educated to do. MBA education has fostered the sort of short-term, balance-sheet-oriented thinking that is threatening the economic competitiveness of the country as a whole. Is it time for a change? [EVONOMICS]

MATERIALS

Alan Turing’s Only Chemistry Paper Yields Desalination Technique

In 1952, computer science pioneer Alan Turing published his only chemistry paper which suggests a way to explain the formation of patterns such as spots and stripes in nature. And it turned out to suggest a way for scientists to do this on purpose. Chinese researchers created one of these “Turing structures” with patterns at the molecular level, resulting in a membrane that effectively filters the salt out of salt water. [DISCOVER]

MANAGEMENT | WORK-LIFE BALANCE

This 4-Day Work Week Experiment Went So Well, the Company Is Keeping It

A first-of-its-kind four-day work week experiment in New Zealand has come to an end after two months, but the trial went so well the company actually wants to make the changes permanent. While lots of research has shown the numerous benefits a reduced work week can provide to employees, what’s remarkable about this trial is that employees worked four days a week but got paid for five. [SCIENCE ALERT]

ASTRONOMY | GEOLOGY | ASTROBIOLOGY

Underground Lake Found on Mars? Get the Facts

Liquid water is refreshingly abundant on moons in the outer solar system, but it has proven surprisingly tough to find in reliable quantities on Mars—until now. Radar scans of the red planet suggest that a stable reservoir of salty, liquid water measuring some 12 miles across lies nearly a mile beneath the planet’s south pole. What’s more, the underground lake is not likely to be alone. [NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC]

MATERIAL SCIENCE | SENSORS

The Smart Home Ecosystem: Market and Competitors

Driven by investment and consumer enthusiasm, the global smart home market is expected to reach $123 billion by 2022, more than double the size of its $56 billion value in 2018. This comprehensive infographic from ABI Research is designed to provide vision on where vendors need to position themselves to maximize return on investment, create new revenue streams, shape their go-to-market strategies and hone in on the true competitors for mergers and acquisitions as well as product development. It’s pretty dense: download the PDF to get the best view. [ELECTRONICS 360 | ABI]

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.

LEADERSHIP | MANAGEMENT | BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE

The Surprising Power of Questions

Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organizations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust among team members. This article draws on insights from behavioral science research to explore how the way we frame questions and choose to answer our counterparts can influence the outcome of conversations. [HBR]

MATERIALS | SEMICONDUCTORS

Heat-Conducting Crystals Could Help Computer Chips Keep Their Cool

As consumers demand smaller, faster and more powerful electronic devices that draw more current and generate more heat, the issue of heat management is reaching a bottleneck. Researchers at UT Dallas and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a potential solution: crystals of a semiconducting material called boron arsenide that have a thermal conductivity of 1000 watts per meter-kelvin, second only to diamonds. Boron arsenide’s semiconducting properties are very comparable to silicon. [SCIENCE DAILY]

HUMAN EVOLUTION | ANTHROPOLOGY

A Group of People with an Amphibious Life Have Evolved Traits to Match

A group of people in the Malay Archipelago, the Bajau, spend the majority of their lives at sea, and historical evidence suggest they have been living this way for at least 1,000 years. Unsurprisingly, their diving abilities are prodigious: they sometimes descend more than 70 meters and can stay submerged for up to five minutes. By studying DNA samples from the Bajau and comparing it to the DNA of closely-related, land-living neighbors, scientists have uncovered natural selection at work on modern humans. [THE ECONOMIST]

ELECTRIC VEHICLES | TRANSPORTATION

Sweden Builds First Ever Electrified Road for Charging Vehicles as They Drive

Around 1.2 miles of electric rail has been built into a public road just outside Stockholm, and plans are in place to expand the project throughout other parts of the country and the world. The electrified road works by transferring energy from the rail through a moveable arm on the bottom of an electric car or truck. Those behind the initiative estimate that only the major routes – around 3 per cent of the total road network – would need to be modified to considerably cut carbon emissions. [INDEPENDENT]

ENVIRONMENT | INFOGRAPHIC

7 Striking Maps that Visualize the Human Footprint

Humans have changed the face of the planet. Our impact has been so profound, in fact, that many have declared the dawn of the Anthropocene epoch, or the age of human influence, a term that is not without controversy as can be seen here or—hilariously—here. This ambitious graphic from Reldresal looks at the human footprint from a number of different angles, some expected and others creative. [VISUAL CAPITALIST | BBC | REDDIT | WINNER]

Read More

Throughout our work week, in the course of our research for clients across many industries and fields, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we deliver five interesting things we came across during the preceding weeks. And no filler.

3D PRINTING | ELECTRONICS

3D Printing Circuits Onto Human Skin

Micheal McAlpine of the University of Minnesota has developed a technique to draw an electrical circuit directly onto the skin; uses could include chemical sensing, solar charging, heart monitoring, and more. The system uses computer vision to adjust its position in real time, allowing it to print complex designs onto unreliable surfaces. In addition to laying down “wires” composed of silver flakes in solution that cure at room temperature, the targeting system has also been used to layer cells onto an open wound on a mouse. [DISCOVER]

STRATEGY | MANAGEMENT | INNOVATION

Do You Have an Organization That Can Manage the Present and Invent the Future?

An open letter to CEOs from Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (inventors of the Business Model Canvas). They point out that “innovation is only an expensive gamble when you do it wrong,” and then go on to lay out their view of a 21st century organizational structure that can be world class both at managing factories AND manufacturing new growth engines. “If you don’t want to end up like Kodak, Nokia, or Blackberry, then you have to start now.” [THINKGROWTH.ORG]

SLEEP SCIENCE | PODCAST

Your Lack of Sleep Is Killing You. Literally.

An intensely interesting, long-form interview with Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science. Dr. Walker knows more about the science and impact of sleep than anyone alive, and he’s a great communicator. If you don’t have time to listen on your commute or in the gym, there’s a good review of Walker’s recent book, “Why We Sleep,” here. In addition to the link at the headline, you can also find the podcast on iTunes or anywhere else that carries popular podcasts. PG13 warning: the interviewer, Joe Rogan, occasionally uses colorful language, and there is a brief discussion of mind-altering substances. [THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE]

NUCLEAR POWER | ENERGY

This Is How a Molten Salt Nuclear Reactor Works

After nearly forty years of almost no development, interest in thorium for clean power generation is picking up again, with new plants coming on line in the Netherlands and China. Thorium is incredibly abundant in the Earth’s crust, and molten salt thorium reactors have many advantages over existing plant designs: they can’t melt down, produce almost no plutonium, can—in fact—consume plutonium from existing stockpiles, produce only tiny amounts of other transuranics, are smaller and cheaper to operate than traditional fast breeders, and produce waste that remains dangerous for a much shorter time. [POPULAR SCIENCE]

MATERIAL SCIENCE | SENSORS

Graphene Opens Up New Applications for Microscale Resonators

A range of sensing and communications technologies, such as satellites, already rely on tiny devices called resonators—also known as vibrating microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS). But engineers have faced limits in the temperatures these tiny components can withstand and the range of frequencies that they can pick up. Now scientists at Case Western Reserve University have constructed resonators out of a single layer of graphene that can withstand high temperatures and operate across a broad range of frequencies. [C&EN]

Read More