• We’re getting closer to hydrogen-powered cars
  • The gas station attendants of the future will be robots
  • Want a second opinion? Ask the AI

Dear Reader,

This is one of the biggest weeks of the year in the world of technology… the annual Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas.

It’s hard to believe, but this year more than 175,000 people will attend the event. The conference is so massive, Las Vegas is the only destination in the U.S. capable of supporting the event.

I’ve lost count of how many times I attended when I was working in corporate high tech. I won’t be attending this year, but one of my team members, Nick Rokke, will be attending in my stead.

He’ll be scouring the conference floors looking for bleeding-edge tech and announcements that might be a catalyst for a great investment opportunity.

Conferences, exhibitions, invite-only events, closed-door meetings, and regular discussions with industry professionals are so important to keeping our fingers on the pulse of technology and great investments.

And if we discover anything interesting, we’ll be sure to provide an update in The Bleeding Edge.

Hydrogen-powered cars may be the future…

A common question we get from subscribers is about hydrogen as a fuel source. “Why aren’t hydrogen-powered cars on the road?” they ask. Hydrogen seems to be a perfect “green” fuel.

Hydrogen as fuel is an exciting prospect because it puts out no CO2 emissions. The only output is a little bit of water. It’s a perfectly clean fuel.

Hydrogen would be a much cleaner energy source than the gasoline we use today. And it would also be cleaner than battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs).

Many people may not know this, but EV batteries contain toxic chemicals. Plus, we still largely generate the electricity used to charge them by burning fossil fuels.

Worse yet, we lose about 7% of the energy the fossil fuels produce in the process of transmitting electricity from the power plant to homes or charging stations.

So hydrogen as a fuel source is attractive. But the problem is that the production of hydrogen is not economical. Hydrogen is very expensive to make.

The cleanest way to produce hydrogen is to extract it from water. That’s called electrolysis. But the amount of energy used in this process far exceeds the amount of energy stored in the hydrogen.

And the most common way of producing hydrogen fuel today is using a steam-methane reforming method. This method is responsible for about 3% of global CO2 emissions.

This is basically the same as burning fossil fuels to produce electricity for our electric vehicles.

Obviously, using more units of energy from fossil fuels to produce fewer units of “clean” energy at high costs simply doesn’t make sense. That’s why hydrogen-fueled cars haven’t replaced EVs.

But researchers at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia just discovered a potential solution…

Using inexpensive magnets, these researchers were able to double the output of oxygen from the electrolysis of water. As it turns out, the magnets influence the electron spins, which act as a catalyst to form oxygen to oxygen bonds.

That in turn also doubled the output of hydrogen… making the process twice as efficient.

Now, there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done to see if this new method can be implemented at scale.

But it’s a great starting point. This fascinating breakthrough could eventually result in hydrogen manufacturing economics that would make hydrogen-powered cars viable at scale.

Volkswagen’s EV-charging robots…

Speaking of cars…

Some readers may remember gas station attendants. In the past, you’d pull into a filling station, and you’d tell the attendant to “fill ’er up.”

Well, fueling station attendants might be making a comeback. But this time, they’ll be robots.

Volkswagen (VW) just announced a new initiative to make robots that will refuel electric vehicles for drivers. Here’s a great visual:

Volkswagen’s Robots

Source: Volkswagen

We can see a robot with “eyes” pulling along an energy unit behind it. The robot approaches the car that needs refueling, opens the charging socket with its robotic arm, and plugs in the power unit.

Then, when the car is fully charged, the robot would unplug the power unit, close the socket, and return to its own charging station. That’s where it would plug the energy unit back in to recharge.

Now, this isn’t the first time someone has proposed a mobile EV charging robot. Tesla is already working on its own version as we speak. Tesla’s proposal is more along the lines of having a robotic arm attached to its own charging stations. VW’s approach could function in any parking garage.

There’s no doubt that mobile charging robots will become mainstays at parking garages, office complexes, and shopping centers.

In the near future, we will have a refuel app or button on our cars. After parking in a garage like the one pictured above, we would press the app on our console screen to summon the charging robot. The robot will then charge our car for us while we go about our business.

This is a great view of the future of fueling our vehicles, and it will have a profound impact on the traditional gas station infrastructure. Parking complexes will be designed so these robots have charging stations and can easily navigate in between cars.

And since consumers will be able to refuel while going about their day, there will be far less need for gas stations. This won’t happen overnight, but as electric vehicle production continues to grow exponentially, we’ll quickly see these kinds of technology solutions pop up as this new fueling infrastructure is built.

It’s not too late for gas station owners to start thinking about ways to repurpose their businesses.

This AI is an expert at diagnosing breast cancer…

Google just released scientific research showing how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to analyze medical images. In this case, Google trained its AI to read mammograms for signs of breast cancer.

Google trained its AI on roughly 91,000 mammograms from both Great Britain and the United States. These are mammograms where the radiologist had already made a diagnosis.

Without knowing that diagnosis in advance, the AI made its own determination. And the results were amazing…

The AI reduced false negatives by 9.4%. And it reduced false positives by almost 6%.

False negatives are where the cancer is missed, and the patient does not receive the treatment she needs. False positives are where the radiologist diagnoses cancer where there is none. That leads to unnecessary procedures, which are expensive and unpleasant for patients.

So the AI can ultimately help save lives and reduce unnecessary procedures and health care costs.

I know a false negative reduction of 9.4% and a false positive reduction of nearly 6% may not sound like much. But let’s take a look at the numbers…

There are two million new cases of breast cancer every year globally, leading to over half a million deaths.

So we’re talking about potentially saving 188,000 lives every year. And saving 120,000 people each year from undergoing treatments they don’t need. That’s huge.

Now, I should point out that this AI is not going to replace human experts. Instead, it’s going to augment the radiologist. It will be a second set of eyes, so to speak.

And from an investment standpoint, this is a sign of big things to come for AI applications. I’m on record as saying that AI hit an inflection point in 2019 and that we will see a rapid rise in AI applications this year. This is a great example.

Ultimately, technology companies that develop AI or are built on AI will make for some of the best investment opportunities of our lifetimes.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

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