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August 28, 2011

Matternet and the other Newest Singularity University Startups

Venture Beat covered the closing ceremonies of the third summer session of the Singularity University.


Matternet is the most technologically ambitious.

What is The Matternet?

Autonomous, electric, aerial vehicles. In the first phase, it utilizes small-scale electric vehicles deployed with vertical take-off and landing capability, limited payload-bearing capacity and range. In the longer term, we will have a wide range of AAVs suitable for different payload capacity, flying range and weather conditions.

Medical UAV. image provided by Cyber Technology (WA) Pty/Ltd.

Ground stations
They create and use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be used to ferry medicine and other goods to remote places such as rural villages in Africa. In such places, people often have to walk 20 miles to a clinic to receive treatments as simple as blood tests or pills. With Matternet, UAVs can carry the payloads instead from point to point or to automated ground stations. At some point the ground stations will be so plentiful that the UAVs could transfer items over long distances.




* AI-driven logistics software that regulates the navigation of AAVs through the system, handles customer requests and decides packet routes optimized in real time for the urgency of the delivery, network load, weather conditions and other risk factors.

Exponential Technologies

Exponentially advancing technologies in the following convergent fields of energy storage, nanotechnology, 3D printing, sensors and artificial intelligence will make possible a rapid development of AAV technology and the Matternet.



Increased Battery Storage and Alternative Energy Source

* Battery storage capacity is increasing exponentially, while battery weight is reducing. In addition, advances in photovoltaics, combined with novel technologies such as energy beaming, make the unlimited flight range more promising.

Nanotechnology and Manufacturing

* As nanotechnology and 3D printing advances exponentially, stronger and lighter materials for building AAVs will lead to the increased efficiency and reduction in costs. Figure 1A shows the exponential increase in the number of patents in nanotechnology.

Ubiquitous Sensors and Artificial Intelligence

* Due to the advancement in the technology and reduction in the cost of sensors, new applications for AAVs will become available, increasing market opportunities. Figure 1B illustrates that the exponentially increasing computing power that doubles every 1.8 years.

* As costs of materials, sensors and batteries reduce, AAVs will become increasingly affordable. This leads to the reduction in our capital and operating costs.

* As the energy efficiency increases, the Matternet will be able to transport larger loads for longer distances within shorter time than any current infrastructure.

* AI-driven logistics software is the key value proposition of the Matternet. The Matternet will empower local entrepreneurs to innovate applications within the Matternet, alleviating poverty and accelerating economic growth.

Other Singularity University Companies

One of the new companies was doing focused on girls. Nina D’Amato, one of the student in the program, said her education-focused team worked on an idea called Smart Girls, which seeks to improve the learning environment for girls in classrooms around the world. The goal is to make girls more effective by giving them skills for creativity, problem solving and imagination.

Another Singularity startup, Our Global Story, focuses on connecting people through video documentaries. The team is encouraging teens and others to have cross-cultural experiences by creating videos that can help others understand their lives. It also encourages live dialogue via real-time translation technologies, so Palestinians and Israelis can have video chats.

Primerlife is focused on improving global health for the 2 billion people who don’t have basic healthcare needs. Singularity University student Warren Brinkley said his company hopes to use artificial intelligence, genetic data, and healthcare expertise to determine whether people are at risk for certain kinds of diseases. They ultimately hope to create a “personal coach” to help people with their health needs based on sifting through huge amounts of data. The startup has already raised $185,000 and is seeking $500,000 more.

Senstore hopes to simplify the creation of health-based sensors so that they can be quickly and easily deployed throughout the world. Anthony Evans, a co-founder, said the goal is to create a platform for sensors that could do things like detect cancer early or call 911 with your mobile phone if you’re having a heart attack. The platform will allow developers to prototype and commercialize health sensor devices easily. These devices can collect data and send it as needed to emergency services or your doctor.

The problem that Senstore is addressing

Most health conditions could be improved by monitoring with health devices. While the sensors for such devices are getting exponentially cheaper, smarter and more connected it is slow, difficult and expensive to build such devices and take them to market. Consequently, billions suffer from preventable health conditions.

Senstore solution

Senstore is providing the technical and social infrastructure to empower the DIY developer community to build health sensor devices. By partnering with existing technology platforms where they are already available and building new services where required we lower the barriers of entry into this space. This encourages more developers to join the ecosystem, replicating the patterns that led to the foundation of the internet and mobile technology industries. Our solution is based on:
* Needs collection: from patient communities, medical institutes, insurance companies, global health organizations and social media resources
* Technology: providing a technology stack, including hardware boards, communication modules, software libraries, software development tools, analytics and cloud-based infrastructure
* Engaged developers community: collaborating to share best practices and collaborate on open source software

Clarence Tan (who had a mobile communications company before joining Singularity University) said that his goal was to attack the problem of corruption that drains as much as $1 trillion from economies around the world. His team has created Corruption Tracker, which uses crowdsourcing technology to identify pockets or regions of corruption. The idea is to use a mobile app that enables people to anonymously report corruption — such as a policeman taking a bribe — to the Corruption Tracker. The team can investigate the matter and verify it and then post the information so others can see it.

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