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Five Coolest Things in Business This Week: 10 August 2018

Business · 4 min read

5 Coolest things in business this week

An Israeli startup can literally smell what you need to eat, while carmaker Ford is once again innovating on the assembly line. Here is our rundown of the five most exciting ideas coming out of the business world this week.

The diet breathalyzer

There is no shortage of diets out there for those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle, but picking the right one can be tough. Now an Israeli-based health and wellness company wants to make that choice for you. Lumen uses a pocket-sized device that measures gases on your breath to determine what you need to eat. It relays the information to an app, which comes up with a personalized food and fitness plan. You can even upload photos of your meals to see how it fits with your diet regimen. The idea, which has earned Lumen $7 million in funding, could be a game-changer in how health companies market fitness to their customers - not only is the firm offering an innovative solution, it can help you stick to it. 

The future of trucking

Self-driving cars may be where all the excitement is focused when it comes to autonomous vehicles, but the trucking industry is where the real money can be made. US startup, Kodiak Robotics, demonstrated this recently after news broke that they had landed $40 million in funding. The company, which was only founded in April, is led by former Google and Uber bigwigs who view long-haul trucking as the future of driverless tech. Kodiak has been fairly secretive about the details of their operation thus far, but with 70 percent of US freight handled by trucks and a serious shortage of drivers, there is no doubt that the demand is there. “We believe self-driving trucks will likely be the first autonomous vehicles to support a viable business model, and we are proud to have the support of such high-profile investors to help us execute on our plan,” said Kodiak CEO Don Burnette.

Uber’s UK rival

Ola has been leading the ride-hailing revolution in India for years and now it’s ready to break into Europe. The company this week announced it was going to launch its services in the UK in a bid to rival global giant Uber, which has clashed with licensing authorities ever since entering the British market. Unlike its main competitor, Ola will offer private car ride-hailing as well as traditional taxi services. With an approach focused on safety and cooperation with local authorities, they are aiming to prove that Uber’s hard-line business style isn’t the only path to success. Interestingly, Japan’s Softbank is a major investor in both companies - nothing like a little friendly competition to foster innovation.

The workers’ supersuit

Once again, Ford is at the forefront of assembly line technology. Despite increasing automation, many carmakers still rely on a human touch to operate their production plants. However, the strain of heavy lifting and repeated physical motion can take a toll on employees. That’s why Ford this week debuted a special exoskeleton suit for workers in 15 plants around the world. The EksoVest can provide as much as 15 pounds of lift assistance per arm but is lightweight enough that it doesn’t significantly hinder movement. The technology has the potential to radically change the way factory employees carry out their work - far beyond the realm of automobiles. Boosted efficiency and safety sounds like a win for everyone.

A cure for baldness?

Nothing elicits consumer skepticism quite like products that claim to cure that most frustrating of men’s hair conditions: baldness. US biotech firm Samumed may be about to make that a thing of the past, however, with a futuristic, science-based solution. In a nutshell, Samumed’s researchers are working on experimental treatments that target specific stem cells in an effort to reverse the side effects of aging. If successful, their treatments will not only regrow hair - they could help to reduce wrinkling and regenerate cartilage on worn-down joints. It’s no wonder, then, that investors are lining up to get a fat piece of this pie. Just this week Samumed announced $438 million in new investment, bringing the company’s total valuation to a whopping $12 billion. 

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