Beyond the Lab #2
In today’s email:
Deeptech Institute launching
Honey-bee computer chips
A warning on tech-meat
The #1 piece of news I'm watching today...
Europe’s next deeptech Hub
The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) will open next year, with $3.75 million in AWS funding, $3 million from Google, and $285k from DeepMind.
In September 2022, the Institute will launch as part of Bulgaria's Sofia University. It has been established in collaboration with two of Europe's leading deeptech research institutions, Switzerland's ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).
There's another $6.5 million in backing from Bulgarian web hosting firm SiteGround, plus a half-million dollars from Bulgarian entrepreneurs, and an initial ten-year endowment of $100 million from the Bulgarian government.
These numbers might not sound huge, in contrast to the scale and the expense of deeptech; but they represent a clear collaborative effort between Euro governments and major tech conglomerates to develop a strong R&D startup environment.
Key science/vc/tech news for today.
Using honey, researchers at Washington State University created a memristor, a technology that can handle and store data as memory. The device was about the size of a human hair in length and had on/off rates of 100 and 500 nanoseconds, respectively.
This device is small and has a simple structure, but it works similarly to human neurons. This means that if we can connect millions or billions of these devices together, they can be used to create a neuromorphic system that functions like a human brain.
The idea is to connect the dots with a minimum of fuss. The researchers see potential in using such an approach for neuromorphic computing, which comprises computers organized like the brain's neurons and synapses.
IPES-Food warns that there are a lot of false claims about meat and protein that are being made in the public sphere. This can lead to a disproportionate focus on "protein" and a failure to account for the differences between different types of meat production and different parts of the world.
Meat and protein are a massive focus for sustainability and technology because of climate change and food security concerns. Governments all over the world are backing big meat, dairy, and seafood companies as they roll out new technologies like plant-based alternatives, lab-grown meat etc. But the answers might not be quite so simple...
A collaborative research group has discovered the protein that inhibits the formation of organic nitrogen compounds in plants. This protein, if manipulated, could potentially be used to encourage plant growth, improving biomass production and crop harvests.
The use of drones in farming can make crop spraying more precise, economical and safe, and due to these benefits, it is taking off on farms worldwide. However, it also brings new challenges: as drones have small tanks, they need to carry a more concentrated mix of actives and spray very fine drops to be effective.
That’s why, as one of the leading global supplier of specialty chemicals for agriculture, Clariant has launched DropForward: a focused approach to providing precision application with adjuvants and co-formulants. The company offers its customers Synergen DRT: the first solution to come out of its DropForward concept. Synergen DRT, the drift control agent and biological activator specifically for drones. Developed in Clariant’s high-tech facilities in Germany, and under real-life conditions in Brazil, this high-performing adjuvant allows the application of standard pesticides under the low volume conditions of small drone tanks.