The #WrapUps are posts that summarize the ins and outs of the startup & innovation and tech ecosystem. Stay tuned for more news on our blog!

Join us in Toulouse!

Toulousea metropolis of truly European dimensions, benefits from a range of unique advantages and genuine potential for growth, with an extremely favorable economic environment. A world leader with regards to the air and space industry, the Toulouse urban area is currently enjoying particularly impressive national growth rates in terms of employment and population. Firms generating international orders, start-ups, leading universities and colleges, laboratories and R&D centers, clusters, incubators: a multitude of players of all sizes working side by side and to mutual benefit, making Toulouse a major hub of innovation.

One sole development agency for showcasing Toulouse
The merger of Invest in Toulouse, Toulouse Convention Bureau and the Toulouse Métropole Tourist Office brought all the bodies responsible for the promotion of the area to the general public under one umbrella. The mission of the Toulouse Métropole business, meetings & tourism development agency is to conceive and direct the marketing activity for the Toulouse area in order to bolster its national and international notoriety, seek out wealth and job creators and to improve the existing conditions for welcoming them.

Source: So Toulouse


Serial Battery Entrepreneur’s New Venture Tackles Clean Energy’s Biggest Problem
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MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang has launched his latest storage bet, a flow battery startup designed to make renewable energy directly competitive with fossil fuels.

The scale of the company’s ambition—and challenge—is telegraphed in the name: Baseload Renewables. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup’s stated mission is to produce batteries that are capable of producing reliable grid power from renewable sources around the clock, and cost at least five times less than where lithium-ion batteries are likely to plateau.

That’s approaching the price point where the idea of “seasonal storage” becomes economically feasible—meaning arrays of these batteries could store enough solar power during times of excess generation through the summer to continue meeting regional demand through the long, cloudy winter, Chiang says.

Source: MIT Technology Review


Carbon Prints Amazing Materials

A sleek mechanical arm plunges into a pool of what looks like milky gray ink in Carbon’s lab in Redwood City, California. The black arm slowly moves upwards, pulling a latticed plastic cube out of the bath, shiny and dripping with ink: a large-scale model of the porous structure of bone. Joseph DeSimone, Carbon’s CEO and cofounder, looks on. DeSimone, a polymer chemist, helped invent these machines, and he still gets a kick out of watching them work. It is a form of 3-D printing, but it’s done in a novel way that is faster than previous techniques and works with many more types of plastics.

The way the printer pulls the object smoothly from the pool of milky liquid, millimeter by millimeter, gives the illusion that an existing structure is emerging. In fact, the liquid is a light-sensitive precursor material; a digital projector is continuously projecting ultraviolet light onto the bottom of the lattice, the first of two steps that harden the material to form the plastic object. Using its process for rapidly printing objects with high-performance polymers like polyurethanes and epoxies, four-year-old Carbon is pursuing an approach fundamentally different from other methods of 3-D printing, which put down layers of plastic one at a time. That limits the quality of many 3-D-printed products, but Carbon fabricates an object in a continuous process, avoiding some typical problems. DeSimone says his technology enables Carbon to print polymer objects rapidly, in some cases thousands of times faster than other 3-D printers, and use a wider range of materials, including rubber-like elastomers and durable, hard plastics.

Source: MIT Technology Review


Human Legacies When Robots Rule the Earth

While the raw abilities of these computers have improved at an exponential rate over many orders of magnitude, the rate at which human jobs have been displaced has remained modest and relatively constant. This is reasonably because human jobs vary enormously in the computing power required to do those jobs adequately. This suggests that the rate of future job displacement may remain mild and relatively constant even if computing power continues to improve exponentially over a great many more orders of magnitude.

Even if it takes many centuries, however, eventually robots may plausibly do pretty much all the jobs that need doing. A future world dominated by robots could in principle evolve gradually from a world dominated by humans. The basic nature, divisions, and distributions of cities, nations, industries, professions, and firms need not change greatly as machines slowly displace humans on jobs. That is, machines might fit into the social slots that humans had previously occupied. However, there could also be much larger changes in the organization of a robot society if, as seems plausible, machines are different enough from humans in their relative costs or productivity so as to make substantially different arrangements more efficient.

Source: MIT Technology Review


A Radar for Industrial Robots May Guide Collaboration with Humans

Working alongside an industrial robot can be frustrating and even downright dangerous. But a new sensing system could make human-robot collaboration a cinch.

Humatics, an MIT spinout, is developing an indoor radar system that should give robots and other industrial systems the ability to track people’s movements very precisely. This could make industrial systems significantly safer, make it possible to track worker performance in greater detail, and lead to more effective new forms of collaboration between people and machines. “We very much see this enabling robots to live in human environments,” says David Mindell, a professor in the aeronautics and astronautics department at MIT, who is the company’s co-founder and CEO.

Existing sensors, including cameras and depth sensors, are often affected by lighting and offer only a rough idea of a person’s position in three-dimensional space. Emerging safety systems allow people to work in closer proximity to powerful robots, but they shut these systems down completely if a person moves too close. By tracking a person’s motions very precisely, the new system could make it possible for a powerful robot to work in concert with a person, perhaps handing something to a human coworker. “You could get rid of the cages around big robots,” Mindell says.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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