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It’s been a great year for new startups and 2019 promises to be no less exciting, with new technologies to adopt, frontiers to explore, and environmental and sustainability challenges to overcome, testing entrepreneurs’ innovative capabilities to the max.
Here are five companies already promising to make an impact on the world that are ones to watch in 2019 and beyond.
In the so-called New Space Age, a new generation of space startups are taking the industry to new heights, including SpaceTime Enterprises. Its SpaceTime service aims to democratise space by giving consumers and businesses, virtual and augmented reality real-time views of space and immersive space experiences at better than retina level resolution, but starting at ‘loose change’ prices.
Formed in August 2018 SpaceTime Enterprises is a joint venture between boutique space mission consultancy In-Space Missions and REWIND, an Emmy award-winning creative agency specialising in VR/AR experiences.
In addition to delivering innovative VR/AR products where a consumer can experience the Earth ‘live’, the SpaceTime satellites and service will deliver a whole-Earth, live imagery dataset with applications for news media, meteorology, disaster relief, education, marine pollution and more.
CEO Doug Liddle says: “The time is right to do this now as we leverage a combination of recent advances in low cost nanosatellite platforms, high performance video compression, real time ground station networks and user handset/headset AR/VR technology.”
The plan is to launch an exploratory pathfinder spacecraft in June 2019, which will be followed in early 2020 by the first generation of operational spacecraft.
With pets consuming a significant proportion of the world’s meat and fish, and a growing trend for feeding human grade meat to dogs and cats, scientists are asking the question, ‘Is it time we started feeding our four-legged friends something different?’ Insects maybe?
New pet food startup Yora has developed a dog food made from insects, combined with oats, potato and natural botanicals that looks and tastes like regular food. The business was founded by Tom Neish who had calculated that the 500 million pet cats and dogs in the world consume around 23 billion tons of meat each year.
Insects, already being touted as a sustainable solution to global food shortages, are packed with essential proteins, fats, minerals and amino acids. They use a fraction of the resources to farm – Yora’s grubs are reared in a brand new, high tech facility in Holland – and with a 40% insect protein yield, the company has its sights set on revolutionising the pet food market.
One in three children born today will develop dementia in the course of their lifetimes, while the cost of treatment for the disease is expected to reach $2 trillion globally by 2030. However, early diagnosis of dementia has the potential to save $118,000 per patient, and London-based startup Cognetivity has just raised $4.1 million dollars to commercialise a new breakthrough technology that uses AI to improve dementia diagnosis rates across the UK.
Founded by a team of Cambridge PhDs, Cognetivity has developed an integrated cognitive assessment (ICA) test that challenges large portions of the brain with natural images, and is designed as a quick, easy-to-use tool for clinicians.
The five minute test, administered via an iPad, carries out analysis by proprietary AI which clusters test performance in terms of accuracy, speed and image properties to calculate the user’s risk of having early signs of dementia, with a previously unattainable level of accuracy. By diagnosing patients with dementia earlier, doctors will be able to provide faster treatment and ongoing monitoring that can radically improve patients’ lives.
Imagine getting on a plane, flying to any destination, and getting off again, without the hassle of going through passport control. UK tECH startup ObjectTech aims to make that traveler’s dream a reality by creating digital passports using technology that combines biometric verification and blockchain technology.
As well as containing the data currently stored in existing e-passport chips, the digital passports will include biometric data such facial recognition or fingerprint data. A key element of the digital passport is that it also protects the privacy of the individual through the creation of what ObjectTech describes as a ‘self-sovereign identity’. The ‘gate-less’ border technology will be tested at Dubai’s new airport.
Bee Vectoring Technologies
Canadian tech firm Bee Vectoring Technologies (BVT) has developed a commercial alternative to pesticide spraying of food crops using bumblebees to distribute a naturally occurring, organic, inoculating fungus during their natural foraging cycle, makes it one to watch.
The BVT system, which has been in R&D for several years, has commercially reared bumblebees walk through a specialist tray dispenser of organic, inoculating powder before exiting their hive and dropping spores on each plant they visit. The powder contains a naturally occurring fungus, clonostachys rosea. When absorbed by a plant it enables it to effectively block destructive diseases such as botrytis in strawberries.
The process is 100% natural, harmless to bees, animals and humans, and reduces the need for chemical pesticide spraying. In recent large-scale commercial demonstrations on strawberries in Florida, not only did the BVT system deliver comparable or improved disease protection over sprayed chemicals, it also delivered fruit yield increases of between 7% and 29%. In a recent trial on blueberries in Nova Scotia, yield increases were recorded at 77%.
December 30, 2018 at 04:30AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs