- The tech that comes after AR glasses…
- The Great Recalibration is gaining steam…
- We’re at the final frontier in mapping human DNA…
Before we get started today, I want to encourage all readers to sign up for my State of the Tech Market strategy session. It’s taking place tomorrow evening at 8 p.m. ET.
This event is a bit different from my normal presentations. We are going to take a holistic look at our investment approach in light of the current macroeconomic climate.
In addition, I’m going to discuss a specific asset class that is under the radar right now. This is an asset class that can easily outpace inflation, yet it doesn’t react to macro news stories or economic conditions the way most sectors do.
So our session tomorrow night will be for the benefit of all investors. We’ll talk big-picture strategy, and we’ll also dial in on an area in which most investors are probably underexposed right now.
For interested readers, please set aside an hour or so to join me at 8 p.m. ET tomorrow evening. The event is free. I just ask that you register in advance right here.
The ultimate hands-free augmented reality…
We have been tracking the progress of augmented reality (AR) company Mojo Vision for about a year now. This is a company focused on something right out of science fiction – AR-enabled contact lenses.
And Mojo Vision just released a new prototype that gets us one step closer to these contacts becoming a reality.
Here it is:
An AR Contact Lens
Source: Mojo Vision
This contact lens comes loaded with technology.
An ARM-based processor powers the lens. We talked about ARM yesterday. Its processors are extremely small and power-efficient, making them perfect for this application.
Mojo Vision’s contact lens also contains a tiny 0.5 millimeter (mm) microLED display. And it’s remarkably dense. The display has 14,000 pixels per inch – about 300 times as many pixels per inch as our smartphone screens.
This microLED display overlays high-resolution images right in the wearer’s field of vision.
The lens also contains eye-tracking technology. This allows it to display digital images in just the right spot, depending on where a person is looking.
And, of course, the lens comes equipped with wireless connectivity. A small wireless radio communicates around the 5 Gigahertz (GHz) range designed for shorter-distance transmissions.
The clear benefit of Mojo Vision’s lenses is that they will be the least intrusive way to have augmented vision. The added convenience of not having to wear glasses will certainly be attractive to many. And, of course, these lenses are completely hands-free.
AR-enabled contacts also have the benefit of aiding people who have more severe problems with their vision. In fact, this is the initial target market for Mojo Vision.
AR-enabled lenses can enhance images and allow wearers to zoom in on objects, just like we do when we zoom in with our smartphone cameras… That’s quite a compelling feature.
So I expect to see this product serve as a replacement for normal contact lenses at first. Then, as the components inside get smaller over time, and the battery technology improves, we’ll see AR-enabled lenses become popular among people who don’t already have vision problems.
This latest product innovation by Mojo Vision is impressive and a good sign of what is to come next.
We are still a few years away from a commercial launch of AR contacts like these, but we have a lot to look forward to later this year with what I predict will be a string of new AR eyewear designed for the mass market.
And that means that there will be some fantastic investment opportunities (details here)…
The Great Recalibration is accelerating…
Last week, I gave a presentation on what I call the Great Recalibration. My talk took place at the Legacy Research Investment Summit in Washington, D.C., and I explained how we are in the early stages of reversing the decades-long trend of centralizing manufacturing in Asia.
That’s the Great Recalibration… Developed countries are moving away from a highly centralized manufacturing model – prone to supply chain shocks – to one that reshores highly automated, modern factories in America and Europe.
This reduces logistics costs and complexity because products are being manufactured closer to the markets in which they are sold. This also creates a more robust supply chain, creates jobs, and is actually better for the environment as fewer carbon-based fuels are required to ship products back and forth around the world.
Well, a major development from robotics company Boston Dynamics just signaled that this trend is accelerating.
Regular readers may remember Boston Dynamics’ “Stretch” prototype. Equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision software, Stretch can work in any warehouse or logistics facility. It moves up to 800 boxes an hour using its mobile and dexterous arm, and it can lift up to 50 pounds.
Boston Dynamics just released Stretch for sale this month.
Here’s a look at how the first-generation commercial product looks compared to the prototype:
Source: Boston Dynamics
As we can see, the commercial version has been refined quite a bit. It’s not as rigid and angular as the early prototype. This is mostly for cosmetic purposes. The commercial version looks much more professional.
Also of note, the new arm contains 50 smaller suction cups. That’s different from the prototype, which featured 18 larger suction cups. This will ensure stability as Stretch lifts heavy boxes.
Boston Dynamics also confirmed that the commercial version of Stretch can work for 16 hours straight before it needs to be recharged… the equivalent of two consecutive human shifts. And, of course, the robot never needs to stop for breaks.
Put it all together, and we have a robot that can greatly improve productivity in a warehouse or logistics facility. That’s especially critical given the persistent labor shortages we are experiencing.
And sure enough, the market agrees.
Stretch has already sold out. Boston Dynamics is now taking orders all the way out for a 2024 delivery. The company can’t make enough robots to meet current demand.
Talk about a timely offering.
And Boston Dynamics announced that shipping conglomerate Maersk, retail giants Gap and H&M, and logistics company DHL have each placed multiyear orders for Stretch. These are major corporations who are already knocking down the doors to get access to Boston Dynamics’ tech.
So this is a fantastic development for Boston Dynamics.
I remember when it was a private company, and I was hoping that it would make it into the public markets. It was acquired by Softbank years back, and then Softbank sold the company to South Korean conglomerate Hyundai.
Unfortunately, other than investing in Hyundai, there is no way to gain exposure to Boston Dynamics directly. However, there are a bunch of other bleeding edge companies well-positioned to benefit from this trend.
The Great Recalibration is gaining steam. We all will benefit as AI, robotics, and automation solve the labor shortage and strengthen the global supply chain.
Unlocking the final secrets of the human genome…
We’ll wrap up today with big news from the world of DNA and genetics.
A group of geneticists from the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) Consortium just finished mapping the last unknown part of the human genome. This is an incredible milestone.
It’s a common misconception that we mapped the entire human genome back in 2000. This is something that’s often stated because it’s mostly true. Geneticists mapped over three billion base pairs – about 92% of the human genome.
So the work done back in 2000 certainly gave us a comprehensive picture of our own DNA. But there was still 8% that we didn’t know much about.
What’s more, this final frontier contains about 200 million base pairs. It’s projected that 2,000 of these contain gene predictions, of which 100 are related to protein coding. And, of course, protein coding is vital to our bodily functions.
That’s why this work is so important. Mapping out the remaining parts of the human genome will give us an even better understanding of the human body. And it will help us develop and deliver even more therapeutics for the genetic diseases that plague humanity.
That being the case, we may wonder – why did they only map 92% of the genome at first? Why not map it all?
The original genetic sequencing used Illumina’s short-read technology. This approach has been the workhorse of the industry and allowed us to capture the majority of our genetic sequence with great accuracy while quickly reducing the costs of doing so.
But going all the way to complete the job has required different techniques and a lot more time and cost.
The T2T Consortium used ultra-long sequencing techniques from Oxford Nanopore and very high fidelity sequencing from Pacific Biosciences. This approach is much slower and more expensive, but it’s far more accurate.
In time, these combined sequencing technologies will be used to proactively sequence every patient’s genome. We’ll know exactly what our genetic makeup means to our health, if there are any risks, and in time we’ll know how to manage and/or correct any unwanted mutations.
There’s still a lot of analysis to be done, but sequencing the entire human genome is a historic accomplishment.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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