Abundance Insider: April 14, 2017 Edition

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Peter, Marissa, Cody, Kelley, Greg, Sydney and AJ

P.S. Exponential Manufacturing is nearly 30 days away, and Exponential Finance is less than 60. These two Summits from Singularity University are your chance to connect with the SU community and discover how exponential technologies are redefining the future of manufacturing and finance. PHDATTEND and save up to  on Exponential Manufacturing at XMANU.CO/PHDATTEND, and Exponential Finance at XFIN.CO/PHDATTEND.

Germany to Legalize Automated Driving Technology That Allows "Eyes-Off" the Road

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What it is: Germany recently updated the country's Road Traffic Act to allow domestic car manufacturers to deploy Level 3 (L3) autonomy. When L3 features are activated, drivers can take their eyes off the road and rely on the vehicle to monitor the roads; however, drivers must be available to take over should a situation require human assistance. While automakers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, GM and Tesla are closing in on L3 and beyond, legislation must be amended to legalize fully autonomous driving. Germany is making swift progress to become Europe's first country to allow L3 autonomous driving, which could be as soon as September 2017.

Why it's important: Evidence that we're one step closer to a future of full autonomy, which will significantly change the auto industry and its legal framework. Legislators in Germany want minimum requirements like the recording of lateral control, system active status, and handover requests for accident reconstruction and insurance claims. A tsunami of change is coming -- who will ride atop the wave, and who will get crushed by it? Join the Discussion

Spotted by Gaetan Soltesz / Written by Sydney Fulkerson

Lightform: The Magical Little Device That Transforms Whole Rooms Into Screens

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What it is: A new device developed by the startup Lightform turns any surface into a video screen using projection mapping, or projected augmented reality. The device uses a projector to cast a series of patterned grids onto any surface and then uses an onboard camera to assess the location and dimensions of objects the camera locates in the projected scene. Lightform even scans the area periodically and creates a new map of the space if anything has moved since its last mapping. Eventually, the company hopes to develop high-resolution AR projections that can track objects and human input in real time. Preorders for Lightform are anticipated for summer 2017.

Why it's important: Lightform's technology is an incredible example of a screen-free future -- a future where high-res AR projections become so "functional and ubiquitous" that they make screens obsolete. Decades ago, this technology was too expensive and complex for people to use in their daily lives -- and Lightform has demonetized and dematerialized what it will take to shift from human interactivity on smartphones and other screens to full immersion and interactivity through mixed reality. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Sydney Fulkerson

A Self-Healing, Water-Repellent Coating That's Ultra Durable

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What it is: A team at the University of Michigan has created a self-healing, water-repellent coating that can be sprayed onto virtually any surface. Current water-repellent materials lack the durability needed for applications like clothing or ship hulls. Instead of searching for one specific chemical system, as has been the focus for decades, this team looked at the problem at a more fundamental level, examining the properties that make a water-repellent system durable. They found that most existing water-repellent materials rely on their specific geometry (microscopic pillars), which also makes them fragile. This new material is far more resilient, healing itself hundreds of times, "even after being abraded, scratched, burned, plasma-cleaned, flattened, sonicated and chemically attacked."

Why it's important: As the researchers note, marine vessels account for 90% of the world's cargo; improving water repellency could dramatically improve the fuel efficiency of vessels while reducing maintenance requirements. Expect additional insights to emerge by applying these self-healing properties to other applications. Additionally, this research is a reminder of the power of creating breakthroughs by approaching problems from a fresh perspective and asking fundamentally different questions. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin

This Contact Lens Could Someday Measure Blood Glucose and Other Signs of Disease

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What it is: Gregory S. Herman, Ph.D., a chemical engineering professor from Orgeon State University, recently shared his work on bio-sensing contact lenses to better monitor blood glucose levels in the future at the American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting. Herman's research supported how transparent biosensors embedded into contact lenses could be a more efficient way for people to consistently monitor their blood glucose levels. Herman and his team successfully tested this idea by fabricating a biosensor that had a transparent sheet of indium gallium zinc oxide (or IGZO, a semiconductor found in electronics), field-effect transistors, and glucose oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down glucose. In the future, Herman believes over 2,000 transparent biosensors could be embedded in a 1-millimeter square patch of an IGZO contact lens.

Why it's important: Once developed, transparent biosensors would be able to transmit vital information about a person's health straight to their smartphone or any of their other Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled devices. What's more, each of these connected devices is itself comprised of a dozen sensors measuring everything from vibration, position and light to blood chemistries and heart rate. We're rapidly approaching a trillion sensor economy and entering a world of instant, high-bandwidth, communications and near-perfect information -- including personal health data. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Sydney Fulkerson

Tesla Just Passed GM to Become America's Most Valuable Carmaker

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What it is: Tesla recently saw its market capitalization rise to $50.9 billion -- $64 million higher than General Motors -- making it the sixth-biggest carmaker by market cap. The electric car maker is now within $1 billion of Honda Motor Co. and edging closer to becoming one of the top five automakers worldwide. This market cap comes with news that GM expects to earn over $9 billion in 2017, while Tesla is expected to lose over $950 million. In Bloomberg's coverage, analysts addressed this disparity, saying, "Tesla's products have a captivating impact on consumers and shareholders alike," and as a result, their market advantage "will be difficult to replicate."

Why it's important: When most think of the automotive industry, they picture brands like Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Ford. These companies were built at a time when cars were just machines. Today, cars aren't simply machines; they are mobile computers. Because of their fresh approach to transportation, Tesla has been able to outmaneuver the competition in a truly disruptive fashion. How will traditional automakers respond? Join the Discussion

Spotted by Cody Rapp / Written by Sydney Fulkerson

Sperm Loaded with Drugs Could Target Gynecological Cancers

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What it is: A team led by Mariana Medina-Sanchez from the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Germany has created a drug delivery system that uses sperm to carry the active ingredient into a tumor. The sperm is soaked in a drug, enclosed in an iron-coated harness, and then delivered to the tumor by a combination of the sperm's own propulsion and external steering using magnetic fields. More work remains, but early trials have shown that the mechanism succeeds at entering cancer cells and delivering their payload.

Why it's important: From the DNA-based microcomputers we shared last week to programmable 3D printed hydrogels and now iron-coated sperm cells, we're seeing an explosion in the number and variety of approaches to treat cancer more effectively and with fewer side effects. We're discovering that tumor growth may be an inevitable process of aging, so as these and other novel approaches to drug delivery continue to advance, we come even closer to completely eradicating deaths due to cancer. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin

FDA Allows Marketing of First Direct-to-Consumer Tests That Provide Genetic Risk Information For Certain Conditions

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What it is: 23andMe now has U.S. government approval to market its genetic tests, making it the first direct-to-consumer tests authorized by the FDA. With a simple saliva sample, consumers can access information about their potential for developing 10 diseases or conditions, ranging from Celiac disease to Alzheimer's. The FDA approved the company's application through the de novo premarket pathway for novel low-to moderate risk devices that are not substantially equivalent to an already legally marketed device. Because the process now includes clear controls on testing accuracy, peer-reviewed research, and clearly communicated findings to consumers, additional tests from 23andMe may be exempt from premarket approval.

Why it's important: As healthcare digitizes and the speed of innovation increases, linear systems like the regulatory approval process must similarly adjust to protect consumers without stifling innovation. This FDA approval is a step in the right direction. With much clearer guidelines in place, look for individualized, consumer-based services like 23andMe to push disruption in the current healthcare system from the outside in. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin

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P.S. Exponential Manufacturing is nearly 30 days away, and Exponential Finance is less than 60. These two Summits from Singularity University are your chance to connect with the SU community and discover how exponential technologies are redefining the future of manufacturing and finance. PHDATTEND and save up to  on Exponential Manufacturing at XMANU.CO/PHDATTEND, and Exponential Finance at XFIN.CO/PHDATTEND.

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