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: 

Robo-doping: The use of performance-enhancing algorithms to gain a competitive advantage in esports competition. Esports is a fast-growing field, and that has only accelerated in the midst of COVID-19. In digital competitions, there are no guidelines or rules against the use of simulation programs to enhance performance. Some factors that conspire to enable robo-doping include fast internet speeds, cloud-based platforms, and automation systems. These same factors can also manipulate technology we use in our day-to-day lives. 

Farming tech is getting a NASA-inspired upgrade. In increasingly tight, urban homes, we don’t all have room for gardens. The Rotofarm, by an Australian company called Bace, is a space-friendly hydroponic system, and it doubles as a beautiful sculpture in your home. With a circular design, which rotates plants like a Ferris wheel through the day, the Rotofarm is able to fit nearly five feet of growing area inside a countertop footprint of just 11 inches. 

The pandemic made almost 60% of consumers consider postponing high-value purchases. This lack of clear direction from consumers has put the next decade of growth and market share up for grabs. Some experts are saying the next era must be driven by true creativity and managed risk-taking, which is often inspired by customer obsession, but not defined by it. Expose your teams to new technology, new art, and new foods, and build a sustainable innovation capability to transform this inspiration into valuable new ideas.

Singapore-based smart electric motorbike startup, Ion Mobility, has raised $3.3 million in funding to launch its products across Southeast Asia, starting with Indonesia. Founded just last year, Ion Mobility aims to create more sustainable and affordable mobility alternatives for Southeast Asia’s large population of motorbike users. According to a Statista report, Indonesia alone had roughly 115 million motorcycles in use in 2018, which was about half of its total population that year. 

Student Spotlight: Innovation to Bridge the Gap for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

MBA Student, Eva Michalkova, has obtained an Ivy League diploma, worked for a former US President, has been a contestant in multiple beauty pageants, and has been a world traveler since the age of six. But what is her life’s mission? Eva’s goal is to empower, lead and support the independence and integration of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals into the hearing-dominant world. 

When Eva was two years old, she was taken to an audiologist for examination because she did not respond to sounds. The results confirmed her hearing impairment – 99% hearing loss in both ears. Her mom became her rock and inspiration for Eva’s innovative career path. “My mom has been a huge inspiration of mine since I was a small kid,” says Eva. “When my hearing impairment was discovered, she did not give in, and she devoted all her time and effort to my personal development and spoken language acquisition. My mom is a truly capable woman who worked hard in silence to bring out the best in me. She was a leader who has shown incredible resilience during the most challenging times, and her determination over so many years has inspired me to be a resilient, responsible, reliable, and hard-working person.”

A few years ago, a visit to her audiologist led her on a path that would inspire her next career move: “I was handed a pair of the most advanced hearing aids, wired to a computer. They were so small — if they fell out you could accidentally swallow them  and not even notice. Increasing music volume, turning on ‘zen mode,’ setting up a restaurant mode, or pairing them with my iPhone —  I became a superwoman. I left the office so excited; I was blessed to have had my ears upgraded. But I also realized that not all people with hearing impairment are fortunate to communicate with their physicians so seamlessly and have the same advantages as I did. Therefore, my fiance and I signed up for two hackathons to address this obstacle and create a solution. That’s when the No F-ears mobile app prototype was founded.” 

The app was instantly popular and cleverly named to convey the idea, “No ears, no fears.” Its main goal was to dramatically improve the most important aspects of the deaf-hearing community experience, including booking appointments and doctor visits. A live chat tool facilitates a real-time conversation between a hearing doctor and deaf patient, simultaneously translating text into spoken words and vice versa. Since its launch, it has won multiple awards, including two international startup prizes: the 2018 Social Innovation Weekend Hackathon Award and the 2019 Social Impact Award in the Czech Republic.

The hackathon weekends proved to be a pivotal time in Eva’s career. “Both events provided us with a unique opportunity to meet new people and broaden our horizons. Executing an idea requires dedication, persistence, money, and time — not just a marketing budget. To solve the problem you have to know it from top to bottom. Innovators usually rise to the top as a result of substantial life-long expertise in their field, not from problem-solving in a vacuum.” Eva realized the problem was much more significant than just the communication barrier. Her vision could go far beyond a single app, so she created MIRAIO

MIRAIO is the world’s first go-to platform for all people with any hearing loss, at any stage of their lives. Unlike traditional organizations in this industry that communicate with their customers mainly through newsletters and blogs, MIRAIO connects with its audience through social media support with closed captions. The platform guides the viewer through real-life scenarios to ensure a successful integration into a hearing world. 

The global company has become even more popular during the recent pandemic. “COVID-19 and its stay-at-home measures have sparked a massive change in how deaf and hard-of-hearing people access information and healthcare,” says Eva. “The existing institutions’ traditional processes don’t focus on younger customers’ needs, use twenty-first technology, social media, or other modern tools and technology. We are the leaders, the advocates who speak up, and help both the hearing and deaf world move forward. We challenge the deeply-rooted status quo of the deaf society and its identity, and change the narrative of how people with hearing impairment are perceived in the hearing world” 

With the creation of MIRAIO, Eva was inspired to pursue her MBA with Quantic to continue to expand her platform and inspire others to become advocates for her cause. She knew she would need a flexible program to optimally fit into her busy schedule. “To succeed in the fast-paced business world, I aspired to obtain the business skills I needed to accelerate my career. I was looking for a solution that would be flexible with my schedule so I didn’t have to choose between my job and education — with Quantic, I could do both!” 

Eva’s goal is to have the global community eventually reach a point where deaf individuals can seamlessly interact with the hearing world and be independent, with no need for sign-interpreters. “The first and most essential step is to acknowledge the importance of inclusion and awareness of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Equity, inclusion, diversity —  when “hearing peers” use these terms, there is often a lack of understanding in regards to what it means to be truly inclusive of the deaf community. There needs to be profound and consistent efforts to make our voices heard, so that we can enact real change in this world.”

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 your show: A virtual video presentation startup, mmhmm, launched in May as “a kind of joke,” but recently raised more than $31 million in funding and already has a user waitlist. During the pandemic, most of our social and business interactions moved to video chat. This app allows users to change their virtual rooms, backdrops, feature Instagram photos, show content “over your shoulder,” and share immersive slides or live videos. With a simple gesture on a trackpad, you can move your face around the screen, shrink or enlarge your image, or disappear completely. Beyond video conferences, the app can be used for bigger opportunities, like helping creators record and stream more interactive content on YouTube, TikTok, and elsewhere.

Proper LAB attire: The US Army Research Laboratory has developed augmented reality goggles for combat dogs, designed to let them receive orders at a distance. Each set of goggles is specially fit for each dog, with a visual indicator that allows the dog to be directed to a specific spot and react to the visual cue in the goggles. The goggles themselves are not new – military dogs are already used to wearing them as protection in bad conditions or for aerial drops, but the augmented reality system is a new development.

Drive my car: A U.K. startup is creating augmented reality technology for vehicles in the form of holographic displays. The company, Envisics, brings together technologies like computer vision, machine learning, big data analytics and navigation to build hardware that integrates into vehicles to project holographic displays. This provides enhanced “dashboards” of information to drivers, with features like mapping, navigation guidance, and hazard warnings. The company announced yesterday that it has raised $50 million in a Series B round of funding.

What came first, the chicken or the vegan egg: A French startup is launching a vegan egg that looks, cracks, and tastes like the real thing. Les Merveilloeufs (a play on the French words marvelous and eggs), created this 100% plant-based egg that will launch across restaurants in Paris. Unlike its competitors, their version bears the distinct yolk and whites of the traditional appearance of eggs. 

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.

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: 

Find your beach: As the Northern Hemisphere is gearing up for colder temperatures, some British tech workers are moving to warmer places. Many workers are working remotely, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this, there has now been a recent spike in some tech workers moving temporarily to warmer countries, while others plan on visiting multiple locations and staying in Airbnbs. 

On today’s menu: Food tech startups in Singapore are serving up lab-grown milk and other edible products from natural ingredients. This type of cell culture technology is an effort to boost national self-sufficiency. Singapore imports 90% of its food, due to land scarcity, and is vulnerable to food shortages and price volatility. The situation was exacerbated when COVID-19 first struck. Efforts like this can reduce the island-nation’s import bill, as well as its carbon footprint.

Always home: Think you might’ve left the stove on or window open? Ring’s latest security camera is a drone that flies around the inside of your house when you’re not home. The new Always Home Cam is an autonomous device that can now give residents a perspective of any room, without needing multiple cameras. Once it’s done flying, the Always Home Cam returns to its dock to charge its battery.

Promoting diversity: Tech companies are looking to take concrete actions to improve diversity within their workplaces, and encouraging others to do the same. Two Seattle-based entrepreneurs, Michael Brown and Don Hyun, have launched Diversity Window: A platform that helps organizations make meaningful transformations around the culture of diversity and inclusion through surveys, tools, metrics, and sourcing. Companies can now analyze employee diversity data, set diversity hiring goals and create reports to share with employees and the public.

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: 

The private New Zealand rocket company, Rocket Lab, may beat NASA back to Venus to search for extraterrestrial life. The company plans to dispatch its own atmospheric probe to Venus to scout signs for living organisms. Rocket Lab has been working on its Venus mission for months. They plan to have a spacecraft eject an 80-pound probe that will enter the planet’s atmosphere at over 24,000 miles per hour. During its brief descent, it will sample the atmosphere and relay that data back to its Photon mothership before it succumbs to the brutal conditions near the surface.

Buon appetito! Spain’s traditional cuisine is beginning to see more innovative food tech startups appearing on the scene. The CEO of Europe’s biggest startup accelerator, Eatable Adventures, José Luis Cabañero, believes it is due to the presence of “strong biotech research centres in Spain.” From 3D food printing to transforming food waste to packaging, here is a roundup of startups that are changing the food tech landscape. 

Singapore says it will now start paying people to exercise with Apple’s smartwatch. The city-state announced Tuesday that it would reward residents with hundreds of dollars if they use the new Apple health to track working out, health check-ups and immunization appointments. Apple described the partnership as “the first of its kind.” 

“Singapore has one of the world’s leading healthcare systems, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them,” said chief operating officer Jeff Williams.

The business of edtech and digital learning has been booming. Billions of dollars have been invested in tools and platforms that promise to improve the learning outcomes and lives of students. But for all the investments, headlines and flashy IPOs, edtech has little to show in terms of transformative outcomes. What is it about digital learning that has schools so keen on reopening despite the health and reputational risks? Why hasn’t digital learning lived up to its promise? Quantic President, Tom Adams, speaks about the future of high-tech learning solutions and emerging changes in pedagogy.

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:

We have contact: A new Covid-19 contact-tracing app will be launched across England and Wales on September 24, the government has announced. The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to register visits to hospitality venues and will implement Apple and Google’s method of detecting other smartphones. Businesses are being asked to display QR code posters to support the app.

Ticket to ride: The Irish e-mobility startup Zipp Mobility has announced that the UK Department for Transport has approved its e-scooter model for trials across the UK. This approval comes as part of a strategy to explore greener and more ‘socially distanced’ methods of urban transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scooters also have nano-septic handlebar wraps, which the startup states reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by 99.98%.

Out-of-this-world innovations: For more than six decades, space programs have been developing technologies and making new discoveries. Sometimes, this research is in service of solving hard problems we face on Earth, for instance, developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Other times, astronauts spend their time with less mission critical endeavors: sneaker performance for commercial partners like Adidas. In either case, the discoveries made in orbit have applications that improve our Earth-bound lives. Read on to learn how space labs are hurtling toward the next big breakthrough.

(3D) picture perfect: A team of researchers at Google have come up with a technique that can combine thousands of tourist photos into detailed 3D renderings that take you inside a scene… even if the original photos used vary wildly in terms of lighting, or include other problematic elements like people or cars. It’s an advanced, neural network-driven interpolation that manages to include geometric info about the scene and could revolutionize how 3D renderings are created across all industries by allowing for much more variation in the source imagery.

Optimization in the healthcare arena: Quantic Alum and Vice President of Operations at Focused Software, Anne Michael, is working to streamline data entry, protect confidential health information and create overall efficiency, so that patient care can be the main focus.

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:

Play the Game: Harbor, an emergency preparedness platform, aims to gamify the process of doing everyday preparation for disasters. The program takes a look at the user’s location and the general state of their home to determine types of risks to that individual user and their property. The platform curates a weekly checklist for the user to stay prepared, whether it’s keeping track of the amount of water on hand, or checking the battery levels and functionality of a smoke alarm.

Look Ma, No Hands: In mid-August, the UK government’s Department for Transport (DfT) issued a call for evidence on the use of Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS), which marks a tentative but positive step towards automated driving technology being permitted for use on the UK’s roads, which could see the first such systems hitting the pavement as early as Spring 2021.

Brain Power: The interface for Elon Musk’s brain-hacking company, Neuralink, will allow people with neurological conditions to control phones or computers with their minds. Musk will give a progress update today and hopes to create a “superhuman condition.” The device the company is developing consists of a tiny probe containing more than 3,000 electrodes attached to flexible threads thinner than a human hair, which can monitor the activity of 1,000 brain neurons. 

Seas the Opportunity: Across the globe, seaweed production has doubled and is becoming a booming business. Why? Not only is it used in many cosmetics, food products and medicines, but scientists suggest it can help fight climate change and offset carbon emissions. It can now be used in other forms, working with textiles and plastic alternatives, including biodegradable packaging, water capsules, and drinking straws.

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:

To the moon and back: A Japanese startup company, ispace, is working to put a private lunar lander on the moon sometime in the next few years. The company raised more than $28 million in a Series B funding round. It will also launch a new data platform that will allow businesses to use the information it collects to help with commercial development. 

Lots of buzz around this experiment: Local officials in Florida have approved the release of 750 million mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to reduce local populations. The aim is to reduce the number of mosquitoes that carry diseases like dengue or the Zika virus. The British-based, US-operated company, Oxitec, produces the bugs and has already seen positive results from field trials in Brazil.

A tradition unlike any other: Medieval ‘wine windows’ in Italy have reopened to serve wine, Aperol Spritz, gelato and more. These windows, built around 1530 and once part of everyday life, are now becoming essential again for restaurant and cafe owners. Now, several wine windows have re-opened for the first time in generations, and are being used to serve food and drinks in a socially distanced way. 

Calories not included: A breakthrough with biomorphic batteries could allow robots to store up to 72-times more energy through a system similar to biological fat reserves. This type of biomorphic technology is based on living forms and is ideal for humanoid robots being developed to work and operate within environments designed for humans.

What if blankets had the power to advance healthcare technology, during the coronavirus pandemic? Executive MBA Students, Olivia Lin and Edward Shim, developed a Studio 1 Labs bed sheet that can be used in hospitals to monitor patients’ vitals and respiratory distress.

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:

Water, water everywhere: A new invention called QuenchSea is on its way to help people turn seawater into freshwater. Hydro Wind Energy has created a 1.5-pound hand-held desalinator, which is manually operated and can make up to 3 liters of potable water per hour. The company says the desalinator will go into full production after the London and Dubai-based tech startup passed its crowdfunding goal by more than 700 percent.

Don’t stand so close to me: Britain started testing a new smartphone app Thursday to help people find out whether they’ve been close to someone infected with COVID-19. This comes after security concerns torpedoed an earlier effort to use technology to track the disease.

Pour one out: A global coffee crisis may be in our future. Coffee is becoming harder to grow, due to climate change and environmental conditions. A recent study estimates that by 2050, the amount of land that can sustain coffee will have fallen by 50 percent. 

Has your office officially hit Zoom fatigue? Don’t worry! From trivia to scavenger hunts, try one these new virtual team-building activities.

Girl Up, United Nations Foundation Communications & Digital Media Associate and Quantic Alum, Naomi Naik, helps girls broaden their social impact skillset, apply STEM for good, and create policy change. This leadership program, founded by the United Nations Foundation, reaches tens of thousands of girls around the world.