The Lilium Jet © Lilium
The Lilium Jet © Lilium

World of innovation – where supply chains make a difference

The first lightweight aircraft by Lilium Aviation made its maiden flight in April (see footage at The Lilium Jet – a ‘flying car’ – can make complex manoeuvres. The jet is powered by 36 electric jet engines mounted to its wings via 12 moveable flaps.

Israeli company Eco Wave Power (EWP) is building a 4.1MW power plant at Manzanillo Port in Mexico. The EWP convertors draw energy from the movement of the sea through uniquely shaped floaters, known as Wave Clappers, which rise and fall with the up-and-down motion of the waves and therefore generate power.

A wearable airbag that integrates with a compatible motorcycle is now available from protective racing gear manufacturer Alpinestars. Using sensors, it’s designed to inflate before impact to protect a rider’s upper body.

Elon Musk-owned Neuralink is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain/machine interfaces to connect humans and computers. Electrodes can be inserted above the cortex to act as a link between brain and microchip.

The world’s largest floating solar power plant, with enough capacity (40MW) to power a town, has been switched on in Huainan. The coolness of the water makes it efficient and it can help mitigate evaporation by intercepting sunlight before it hits a reservoir’s surface.

Want to know if what you’re about to eat or drink has gone off? Plastics firm Braskem has developed a way to make plastic containers change colour as they react to the changing pH levels of their contents.

The AgroSolar Irrigation Kit pulls water from any water source using solar power. Designed by agriculture tech firm Sunculture, solar panels provide the pump’s electricity and water is pumped into a raised water storage tank.

The latest biodegradable bags are made from tapioca starch, potato, bananas and sugarcane. If placed in a glass of water, the bag can dissolve in a day and it is also edible, causing no harm to animals if ingested. They have been launched by EnviGreen Biotech India.

Crunching the numbers

The number of bushels of US corn used to make ethanol in 2015/16. In 1980/81, less than 0.28m bushels were used to make fuel. Now supply exceeds demand, forcing farmers into new markets.

What Mitsubishi Motors lost in the last financial year. The company had been rocked by a fuel-efficiency scandal, but Mitsubishi expects to bounce back quickly, predicting a profit of around $6bn this year.

Number of US McDonald’s offering a ‘McDelivery’ on the UberEATS app. With 75% of the population within three miles of a McDonald’s in their five largest markets, there’s “significant potential with delivery”, said CEO Steve Easterbrook.

Amazon takeover
Timeline of Amazon’s acquisitions
2010: Quidsi Inc (baby care) $545m
2012: Kiva Systems Inc (robotics) $775m
2014: Twitch Interactive Inc (gaming platform) $970m
2015: Elemental Technologies Inc (software) $296m
2016: Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (airline) $397.6m
2017: Whole Foods $13.7bn

Coventry, West Midlands
Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd
Plymouth, Devon
Plymouth Community Homes
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