Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… Rolls Royce? Rolls-Royce has announced that the company has completed testing of the technology it plans to use in its line of electrically powered planes– one of which they expect will break speed records for electric airplanes. The new plane will be one of the core products of the company’s ACCEL initiative, whose main objective will be to produce zero-emission planes and engines for other plane makers, and to be net-zero by 2050.   

These boots were made for walking: The pandemic has changed everything from how we work, where we socialize, and what we wear. As people spend less time out in the world and more time daydreaming about when a vaccine will arrive, lifestyle shoes are only gaining traction. Comfortable shoe startups are seeing a big increase. Allbirds, a San Francisco-based maker of sustainable kicks, now has its product available in 35 countries and just closed on $100 million in Series E funding. 

Hey Mr. (A.I.) DJ, play me favorite song: Artificial Intelligence is playing the role of DJ across all top music-streaming services. The technology can learn everything from users’ listening habits, volume level choice and favorite genres. It even works to prevent “dead air” time in between tracks and can pepper in some new recommended tunes on that favorite go-to station. 

Future of farming: To help accelerate the future combination of farming and technology, Sunway Innovation Labs (iLabs) is launching Malaysia’s first urban farming innovation hub in November. It will bring together urban farming professionals, tech companies, researchers and up-and-coming professionals to create high-tech solutions for food and agriculture technology. Urban farms are not meant to replace traditional farms, which are typically in rural areas. Expanding urban farms will also reduce the country’s reliance on food imports. Malaysia currently imports about a quarter (24%) of its total food supply.