10 – Out and about in the rain at night, genome sequencing for all newborns and surviving as a VR start-up

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This is the 10th edition of our Wunderding Letters and a small reason for celebration for us. We hope you enjoy reading it!

AI (Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Autonomous Driving etc.)

Failed sensors, rain on the road, false positives of an obstacle which actually only is the shadow of a bridge, a truck that’s stopped whilst turning right, Black Box problems during the DeepLearning, those are only a few of the challenges which companies and start-ups have to solve on the way to autonomous driving. The AI article of the week gives an insight into the start-up Drive.AI, which is working on a “brain” for self-driving cars. With this start-up, the founders, which previously were working in the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, are pursuing the DeepLearning approach. Even though I have already seen plenty of videos with self-driving cars, I am always fascinated to see onboard videos of cars which are driving steadfast through the night in the rain, finding their way through a labyrinth of roads.
How Drive.ai Is Mastering Autonomous Driving with Deep Learning / IEEE Spectrum / Author: Evan Ackermann

Further AI articles:

GEN (CRISPR, Genome Editing, Personalised Medicine etc.)

Do we want and need the complete genome sequencing for all newborns? This is the question that our Gene article of the week asks. The advantages are: illnesses would be diagnosed earlier in children and thus treatment could be started earlier and the lives of many could probably be saved or made easier. The disadvantages, however, are that the information that such a genome sequencing provides is not necessarily easy to understand and can be misleading and conjure unnecessary worries. Projects, such as BabySeq at the Harvard University have taken up this issue and through studies are now trying to assess the situation through studies for the first time.
Full Genome Sequencing for Newborns Raises Questions / Scientific American / Author: Bonnie Rochmann

Further Gen articles:


Two investors, Greg Castle of Anorak Ventures and Tipatat Chennavasin of The Venture Reality Fund, talk about the situation of the VR start-ups which are suffering within the gaming area under the slower growth of the hyped VR segment. They speak about technical developments, engagement of the large companies such as Facebook, HTC, Microsoft, Intel, the (in their opinion) bubble within the area 360 degree video and Real Volumetric Capture of a Superbowl Match as Gamechanger.
How VR startups can survive the slow growth of 2017 / VentureBeat / Author: Dean Takahashi



The FastCodeDesign article “This $314 Necktie is a Biotech Breakthrough” introduced the start-up Bolt Threads and their laboratory-grown spider silk. For the first time, the biotech company is putting its biomaterials onto the market – in form of a necktie. In cooperation with Patagonia it wants to call attention to the durable, eco-friendly, cheap to make as well as “stylish” material. The next challenge is being able to produce the artificial spider silk on an industrial scale.
This $314 Necktie is a Biotech Breakthrough / FastCompany / Author: Diana Budds


On Friday the SXSW in Austin Texas is going to start. The Accelerator Pitch Event, which took place during the first weekend, is part of the SXSW. And these are the winners from the 10 areas. Helixworks Technologies from Irland was voted as the most innovative start-up. The web-presence of the start-up doesn’t yield a lot. SXSW says that Helixworks produces synthetic DNA for research purposed and want to store digital data with DNA. In our Wunderding Letter edition Nr. 8, we had already introduced you to this DNA-computing project from Caltech. We will try to find out what precisely Helixworks does for the next newsletter.
The start-up Lampix, which turns all surfaces into a smart surface thanks to a projection lamp, won in the area VR/AR.

And if you are considering visiting the legendary SXSW, you should read this short The Verge article on SXSW, conferences and smartphones.

See you soon on Wunderding,

Sarah und Alexander

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