April 2014

Science & Technology
  • Researchers from King’s College London have successfully grown a layer of human skin from stem cells using a new low cost and scalable technique that more closely replicates skin attributes than more established methods. The process has applications in treatment of skin conditions, as well as drug and cosmetic testing. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Southampton are developing pressure sensors that could help prevent development of sores among prosthetics wearers. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that bacteria ‘plan ahead’ to reduce growth rates when food is scarce. The research could lead to new ways of tackling dangerous bacteria such as MRSA. More.
  • The UK government announced that it is to fund the construction of a £200m polar research ship, which is set to launch in 2019.
  • Scientists at Duke Univeristy have reportedly grown self-healing muscle, which could ultimately lead to new treatments for human muscle damage. More.

  • Researchers from University College London and the University of Iceland are investigating solid carbon storage, which is achieved by mixing captured carbon dioxide with water and then reacting it with basalt to form carbonate minerals. This potentially addresses a major concern in current CCS projects. More.

  • Researchers at Stanford University are reportedly developing a low-energy process  for converting carbon monoxide into ethanol. More.
  • SpaceX took a significant step towards development of a reusable rocket booster, potentially paving the way for a significant reduction in the cost of space travel.

  • A study conducted by researchers at MIT identifies multiple benefits of building floating nuclear power plants, a concept already being deployed by Russian energy company Rosatom. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an app to combat jet lag, which works by guiding users to adjust light levels. More.
  • UK-based Armtrac has reportedly developed a mine-sweeping robot that is proving to be particularly successful. More.
  • US AID launched the US Global Development Lab to generate and diffuse science-based solutions to global challenges.
Business 
  • Balderton Capital closed a $305m fund that it will use to invest in European technology companies. Boulder-based Ganesh Capital launched to invest in businesses that will ‘make the world a better place’.
  • Estonian start-up Lingvist, which claims to make language learning more efficient, announced that it has raised €1m from investors including Inventure. More.
  • Avelliant, the UK-based radar technology developer, raised a further £6m from investors including DFJ Esprit.
  • Closely, which helps small businesses to monitor the social footprint of competitors, raised $3m from investors including Grotech Ventures.
  • Digital advertising revenues surpassed those of broadcast television for the first time, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. More.
  • A World Bank study indicates that collaboration between firms in Kenya is hampered by general avoidance of patents More.
  • Canadian mining group Nautilus Minerals signed an agreement with Papua New Guinea that will enable it to open the World’s first deep ocean mine. Robotic excavators will operte at depths of around 1500m to extract ores of copper and gold. More.
  • US-based Understory, which is developing a network of advanced ground-based weather and environmental condition monitoring stations that will provide data to inform business decisions, raised $1.9m from investors including True Ventures and RRE Ventures.  More.

  • US-based SpeechVive, which is developing technology to enable suffers of Parkinson’s disease to communicate more effectively,  raised $700,000 from investors including Ambassador Enterprises.
  • UK-based Big Health, which develops ‘behavioural medicine programs’ to address problem with sleeping, raised $3.3m from investors including Index Ventures.
  • US-based Truevitals, which is developing technology to enable constant monitoring of human or animal vital signs without attaching sensors, raised funding from the Institute for Commercialization of Public Research. More.
  • Sweden-based Bima, which provides insurance via mobile phones to customers in emerging markets, raised $22m from investors including LeapFrog Investment sand Kinnevik.
  • UK-based Mirada Medical, a developer of image-based diagnosis software for the medical industry, received backing from Albion Ventures.
  • US-based Wellframe raised $1.5m to develop mobile solutions for remote patient after-care.

  • Doximity, a professional networking site focused at the medical community that enables collaboration on patient treatment, raised $54m from investors including DFJ, T. Rowe Price Associates and Morgan Stanley Investments. More.
Other
  • CitizenGlobal launched a platform to enable emergency services to receive, manage and share videos submitted by eyewitnesses, enabling more effective responses to a crime or emergency.
  • Operation Underground Railroad is reportedly using data mining technology to tackle human trafficking. More.
  • Estonia-based WellBiome has launched a service to analyse gut bacteria in order to deliver personalised diet recommendations.