Four Key Strategic Takeaways from the 2017 Open Data Science Conference in Boston: From Teams and Priorities to Communication and Crowdsourcing

Lux Research recently attended the 2017 Open Data Science Conference (ODSC) in Boston, a large, multi-day event with speakers ranging from Amazon’s Data and Analytics Practice Lead to the U.S. EPA’s Chief Data Scientist. The conference presented a solid mix of technical topics and strategic advice, covering trends in applied data science and specific techniques within analytics, big data, and machine learning. Although the agenda included a variety of technical deep-dives, four particular strategic themes stood out for us, each speaking to some of the bigger challenges and opportunities facing big data and analytics today: Continue reading

Calysta Raises a $40 Million Series D, but is it Targeting the Right Market?

What They Said

On May 1, 2017, start-up Calysta (client registration required) announced it closed its $40 million Series D round, led by Mitsui & Co., Temasek, Pangaea Ventures, and Cargill. This follows the company’s $30 million Series C in February 2016, led by strategic partner Cargill. Calysta developed a fermentation process to produce a bacterial protein, branded FeedKind, which it plans to sell to the aquaculture industry as an alternative to fishmeal.

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Understanding Maturing Application Areas for Hydrophobic Coatings

Hydrophobic coatings, which repel liquids due to a high solid-liquid interfacial energy, have been aggressively developed over the last two years for a variety of applications in infrastructure, aerospace, automotive, textiles, electronics, and packaging. Lux wanted to understand which application areas of hydrophobic coatings have demonstrated dominance and which continue to struggle since 2015. We created a Lux Innovation Grid containing only companies with a “Positive” Lux Take and colored them by corresponding application (see Figure 1). Continue reading

CJS Production Technologies

CJS Production Technologies: Coiled tubing umbilical products

Lux Take: Positive


  • CJS is a manufacturer of two coiled tubing umbilical products for assisting in artificial lift operations, the FlatPak and ArmorPak
  • The FlatPak is an encapsulated rectangular matrix of coiled tubing used for rigless conveyance and actuation of downhole pumps
  • The ArmorPak is a steel coiled tubing umbilical developed for installation of ESPs in high-pressure and high-temperature conditions
  • The company claims its clients have saved up to 50% in installation costs for downhole pumps by encapsulating coiled tubing using CJS’s products
  • CJS’s primary business model is to perform artificial lift services for oil operators with deployments done in North America, China, and Venezuela to date; key clients include ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy and Husky Energy
  • Readers interested in rigless installation of downhole pumps should engage with CJS; the company is looking for joint ventures to enter new markets outside North America

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Solid-State Technology Enables Development of the Flatscreen of Microwave Ovens

The way consumers interact with their food is changing dramatically. The development of novel technologies opens the door for new ways to make decisions about and obtain food, new ways to prepare the food in our homes, and allows us to quantify and track the impact of consumption on our bodies. The consumer kitchen is the target of multiple technology developments, from Innit’s connected kitchen to Pantelligent’s smart frying pan and the development of the Smart Knife that detects freshness, safety, and nutrient status of foods during the act of cutting. As kitchen appliances become smarter, one consumer appliance sticks out as sorely out of date. That appliance is the microwave oven. Continue reading

Biggest Month in Cellulosic Ethanol Production is Misleading

In March, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) saw a record 617,908 gallons of cellulosic ethanol registered for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). This is the highest number of RINs generated in a single month since the RFS was established. However, before we begin announcing the ramp-up of commercial cellulosic ethanol production, a comparison to historical production numbers shows that things are still (slowly) proceeding at a business-as-usual pace.

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Japan’s Second Round of Production Tests from Methane Hydrates is all about Energy Independence

What They Said

Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) recently announced the country would start its second offshore production test this month to dissolve methane hydrates and extract natural gas in the offshore sea area along Atsumi Peninsula to Shima Peninsula. The tests will be carried out in two wells and will be performed over a five-week period. Japan has an estimated 40 trillion ft3 of methane hydrates with the country aiming to commercialize production from the deposits by 2025.

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Norsk Titanium Receives Production Part Order from Boeing, Highlighting a Bright Future in Aerospace Metal Additive Manufacturing

Norsk Titanium (client registration required) recently announced that Boeing has ordered titanium structural components for the 787 made using Norsk’s additive manufacturing process. Norsk received FAA approval for the components in question in February 2017 after more than a year of testing by Boeing. Its printing process, Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD), combines additive and subtractive steps: first building up a part using plasma arc deposition from a wire feedstock, then CNC machining the part to the final specifications. Compared to conventional titanium manufacturing, the RPD process can reduce cost by up to 70%, primarily from its comparatively low buy-to-fly ratio of 1.5:1. At the same time, compared to powder-based 3D printing processes (which can sometimes achieve even lower 1.1:1 buy-to-fly ratios), RPD is faster and can produce larger parts, up to 2 m across. Other wire-based metal 3D printers, such as those from Sciaky, achieve similar speed and part size to RPD but do not incorporate subtractive machining in a single production tool. To meet the increased production demand from Boeing’s purchase order, Norsk plans to move production from Norway to a facility in Plattsburgh, NY, which will have nine printers operating by the end of 2017. Ultimately, the company claims it will be producing several tons of titanium components for each 787, which would reduce the Boeing’s material cost per plane by as much as $2 million to $3 million. Continue reading

The Promise of Behavior Change: How Digital Solutions Deliver on Wellness

The ability to deliver on wellness, health, and safety by designing successful behavior change interventions is seeing an all-time high demand. Digital tools hold the promise of delivering scalable, personalized, and timely behavior change interventions.

While most digital behavior change tools have yet to showcase effectiveness, some interventions designed to align with behavior science are likely to deliver.

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There is extreme inconsistency and contradiction amongst global regulatory bodies that oversee biotechnologies, particularly around regulations pertaining to genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetic engineering (GE). GE technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 and TALENs are gaining popularity, but fractured regulations are holding many of these technologies back from commercialization. Continue reading