United Parcel Service recently filed a patent application teaching blockchain-based ledgers for shipping and tracking packages. The patent is UPS' second in the cryptocurrency sector, filed over a year after their first. The claims cover determining the cost and timeline for shipping a package depending on its contents and value using historical data stored in a distributed ledger. The application's specifications also discuss a blockchain wherein each block corresponds to data about a package as it is transported to its destination and tracked in real-time. This method would be more accurate and more secure, which may appeal to customers in an era when online shopping and home delivery are increasingly prevalent.
The patent also suggests that UPS is trying to differentiate itself from the U.S. Postal Service, which has four patent applications published in the cryptocurrency space. The USPS' patents are directed more towards identity management than shipping applications. FedEx, the other major American parcel delivery competitor, is not in the space currently. As the pandemic affects funding and revenue for all three organizations, their patent movement could indicate further ways in which each group looks to stand out. You can view more industrial applications for cryptocurrency and blockchain on the Magic Number® Patent Radian®.
Just this past week, the London-based biotech-startup DNANudge was granted their second patent application. The application (U.S. App. Num. 20200234807) teaches a method and smart device capable of using a wearers DNA to assist in making healthy choices while grocery shopping. First, the wearer submits an initial DNA sample to DNANudge for analysis. The analysis specifically looks for DNA markers that indicate a predisposition to certain hereditary disorders. Once a predisposition is identified, the data is uploaded to an app on a smartphone that communicates with a bracelet worn by the customer. This bracelet contains a bar code reader and indicator lights. As the wearer grocery shops, they are able to scan the bar codes of foods using the bracelet. The bracelet then uses the stored genetic information of the wearer to determine whether the food being scanned is a healthy choice based on their predispositions toward a disorder. If the food is a healthy choice, the bracelet lights up green, but if not, the bracelet flashes red. This system allows people to make healthier split-second decisions while grocery shopping and is customized for each customer based on their hereditary information. Additionally, the bracelet has an activity monitor and may flash yellow if the wearer remains sitting for too long.
The device can also be used to control weight by monitoring calorie intake against calories used throughout the day. Some foods that would normally flash green may actually flash yellow or red if the person has consumed too many calories already, or not actively burned enough calories that day. Currently, the product is only available in the UK, but with the wearable technology growing so quickly in the US, it is only a matter of time before it's available here. Make sure to stay up to date with the latest patent activity by subscribing to the Magic Number AI Biotech/Diagnostic Patent Forecast ®.
With the country opening back up, people have started moving around again. That poses an important question on the risk of using ride-sharing services. On July 24, a COVID-19 death renewed the issues of ride-sharing drivers facing dangerous working conditions to make ends meet. While both Uber and Lyfthave implemented safety measures regarding the coronavirus such as requiring drivers and passengers to wear masks, sanitizing the vehicle is solely the driver’s responsibility. Thus, there exists a need to reduce the risks of coronavirus exposure for ridesharing services to allow safe commute for passengers and drivers.
Just this past week, NuVinAir published a novel application (U.S. Patent Application 20200231128) that could mitigate the risk of spreading contagious diseases in ride-sharing services or in any other enclosed spaces where microbial contaminations could linger. This application introduces an apparatus that is able to clean the surfaces by releasing a gaseous cleaning agent throughout the enclosable environment. NuVinAir has been at the forefront of ensuring healthier commutes since 2015 and with the addition of an EPA-approved product that is able to kill the coronavirus while guaranteeing the user’s safety, the product could become a necessity for transportation services in today’s climate.
Dark matter makes up 83 percent of all the stuff in the universe. To try to detect it, scientists need a radiation-free environment. To that end, they've built labs deep underground, where surface radiation can't get through and interfere. But background radiation from everyday radioactive materials is a major contaminant. The solution? Old lead from ancient shipwrecks. Lead can shield detectors from all kinds of radiation if it's not radioactive itself. Ancient lead is ideal, not just because its unstable lead-210 isotope would have largely decayed away over the centuries into stable lead-206, but also because the sea has shielded it from cosmic rays, which can kick-start a material’s radioactivity. So where alchemists failed, modern scientists have finally succeeded at "transmuting" lead into gold, and the search is on for these shipwrecks.
You can! According to Westrock MWV and Dominos, the leftover grease and cheese is generally not enough to prevent the pizza box from moving through the recycling stream. Even in cases where the grease was 10% of the box weight, the cardboard did not lose its strength. The cheese solidifies and is screened out during the pulping process. This is gigantic news as approximately 600,000 tons of corrugated board are used each year for pizza boxes. Find out more here.
Additionally, with its recently published patent application, it appears that Westrock has been continuously researching and developing applications corrugated paperboard. The patent application is directed to a cup including a paperboard substrate and an aqueous barrier coating. Maybe we will see Dominos offering a corrugated paperboard pizza box and cup in the future?
Zapata Computing, which spun out of Harvard in 2017, has launched an ambitious unified Quantum Operating Environment, Orquestra. Orquestra offers one location to use any quantum hardware or software, creating a convenient work environment for quantum programmers. Currently, Orquestra supports software platforms like Qiskit, Cirq, Q#, Pyquil, and others, and supports submitting jobs to hardware from IBM, Rigetti, Honeywell, Microsoft, Atos, and more. Orquestra’s goal is to orchestrate workflows across multiple different coding languages and across both classical and quantum computers. Submit an algorithm to Orquestra and it will handle the rest.
The launch of Orquestra on April 21, 2020, is the culmination of years of work and funding. Back in 2019, Zapata raised $21 million in an investment round led by Comcast Ventures and Prelude Ventures, and more recently, on March 3, 2020, Zapata has partnered with Honeywell Ventures. Combining the ease-of-use of Orquestra with Honeywell’s powerful quantum computers—including the most powerful quantum computer in the world, with a quantum volume of 64—will greatly benefit both partners.
Zapata has zero issued patents, but several are on the way. Since the beginning of 2020, Zapata has had six patent documents publish (the most recent publishing on July 16, 2020). These patent applications were filed in late 2018, and so are only now reaching the 18-month publication date—the first date that they become visible to the rest of the world. Judging from the number and frequency of documents published just over the past few months, it is likely that Zapata has many more patent applications filed with the USPTO that we cannot see yet. Quantum computing is a collaborative effort, and Zapata seems to have all the connections. With a large patent portfolio, they would obtain even more leverage for an eventual acquisition.
On July 17, 2020, Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) became a Quantum Hub in IBM’s Q Network. The Q Network is a network of companies, academic institutions, and research labs with access to IBM’s advanced quantum computing systems and development tools and the goal of bringing quantum computing to the mainstream through collaboration. CQC joined IBM’s Q Network as a member back in 2018, allowing them to run experiments and algorithms on IBM’s quantum computers over the cloud.
CQC and IBM have both benefited greatly from the collaboration, including CQC receiving significant investment from IBM on February 10, 2020. Now, CQC is joining the ranks of Keio University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NC State University, and others to expand membership of the Q Network. As a Quantum Hub, CQC will grant its member organizations access to some of the most advanced quantum computers in the world for use in chemistry, finance, optimization, machine learning, neural language processing, and security applications. And even better, CQC is unique among the Quantum Hubs in that it offers a six-month access term to its clients. This unique shorter-term period is an excellent on-ramp for corporations to get involved with quantum computing.
With 176 issued quantum computing patents, IBM is a giant in this space. But even IBM cannot do everything alone. IBM’s Q Network is a community developed to help overcome IBM’s shortcomings by matching their institutional expertise and advanced quantum computers with talent in companies across the world. By giving CQC a larger role as a Quantum Hub, IBM is fulfilling their promise of making quantum computing a joint effort.
In this week's issued patents, GW Pharmaceuticals was the recipient of 3 new patents (US Pats. 10,709,671, 10,709,673, & 10,709,674), all related to the treatment of epilepsy using CBD.
Patent ‘671 teaches how to use cannabinoids, specifically CBD, to treat focal seizures in children and young adults suffering from Dravet’s syndrome. Focal seizures are seizures that originate in one part of the brain and can potentially spread to other parts of the brain. Physicians categorize simple focal seizures into four types: Motor, Sensory, Autonomic and Psychic (Johns Hopkins). A high purity CBD composition containing anti-epileptic drugs and low amounts of cannabidivarin (CBDV) were suggested to be effective at reducing focal seizures in patients with treatment-resistant Dravet’s syndrome. Similarly, patents ‘763 and ‘764 disclose a way to treat atonic seizures using a high purity CBD composition. Atonic seizures are a type of seizure that cause loss of muscle strength.
GW’s Epidiolex has made waves in the cannabis and pharmaceutical industry, with sales reaching an incredible $296 million at the end of their launch year in 2019 (CNBC). GW Pharmaceuticals remains the top dog in the industry with over 180 cannabis-related patents and patent applications spanning nearly all 12 categories in the Magic Number Cannabis Patent Forecast®. Stay ahead of your competition with a subscription to Magic Number!
Older and sicker people are more vulnerable to serious illness and death and are in danger from the ever-growing COVID-19 outbreaks. As of July 15, more than 40% of the U.S. Coronavrius deaths are linked to nursing homes or long term facilities.
Notably, some nursing homes were able to avoid the coronavirus completely. Michigan nursing homes took precautionary and strict measures swiftly when the state governor ordered lockdowns of nursing homes on March 13 by rigorously disinfecting buildings, putting strict limits on what was brought inside and who could enter, and actively scouring for limited supplies such as masks. As a result, 20 of Michigan’s 83 counties have nursing homes that have not reported a single case of COVID-19 among residents since the start of the pandemic. While precautions involving quality of disinfection, physical distancing limitations, and supply shortages work cohesively in order to protect residents and workers, inventions that would allow for easier enforcement of just one of these precautions would make drastic improvements in protection against COVID-19.
Therefore, attention towards Panasonic’s recently published U.S. Patent Application 20200219623 entailing a risk evaluation system and method is well deserved. The application encompasses an imager that takes images of equipment in different zones at different times and a controller that counts the contact times in different zones and outputs evaluation information. This invention could allow for more efficient cleaning work for reducing contact infection for high touch surfaces in nursing homes or long term facilities (e.g., handrail, light switch, doorknob).
This week's insight highlights a quickly growing company in the field of AI Emotional Intelligence. Affectiva, a spin-off of MIT's Media Lab, was founded in 2009, and began aggressively patenting its technology in 2011. Since then, the company has had 29 patents, and over 80 applications published. Their most recent patent, titled "Vehicle Manipulation Using Occupant Image Analysis," teaches a method that utilizes facial scans and movement monitoring to detect the mood and comfort level of a passenger in a vehicle. Using this information, the car can automatically adjust an array of parameters including the seats, climate, lighting, music, audio stimuli, and mirror arrangement. Additionally, the technology can also be used in autonomous vehicles to adjust the speed and route traversed depending on the perceived mood of the occupant. For example, if the car was to detect a stressful occupant, it may suggest a scenic back road home rather then a busy highway. The patent also teaches safety measures that can be taken based on facial scans and movement monitoring. If the system was to detect for example drowsiness, or overly aggressive behavior, it will recommend the occupant pull over and take a break, or again suggest a less stressful route.
Although '7817 focuses specifically on detecting a vehicular occupant's mood, Affectiva's AI Emotional Intelligence software has many other applications. The software, originally designed to assist individuals with autism, has since been expanded for use in VR, advertisement response tracking, and even political polling response tracking. Make sure to subscribe to Magic Number® AI Biotech/Diagnostics: Neurology Patent Forecast® to stay up to date with the latest patent activity in the emerging field of AI Emotional Intelligence!