Bot Cyber Attacks and Smart Sensors – Tech Predictions for 2019

Business Cloud asked a variety of tech leaders and futurists for their predictions for 2019.  The answers almost all involve AI, communications and sensors.  This represents a quite remarkable shift away from the app driven idea of innovation that has held sway for the past decade to a more balanced view of both the hardware and the software making use …

The Difficulty of Commercialising Graphene When You Don’t Actually Use Graphene

graphene lightbulb moment

There has been a lot of discussion about the lack of commercial applications of graphene, and the reason may be that much of what has been sold as graphene isn’t. A recent paper in Natureconcluded that: . . .As one can clearly see, the majority of the companies are producing less than 10% graphene content and no company is currently …

Why Does Discussing Graphene Often Lead to Punch Ups?

There’s nothing like a fight to enliven the afternoon session of a conference, and over the years graphene has delivered this in spades. It arouses passions stronger than its fabled strength, especially when academics and companies inhabit the same space. But why can’t academics and companies just get along? I’ve witnessed other almost violent outbursts over production methods, the ability …

Why Successful Nanomaterials Companies Are Always Outliers

I’m speaking at a conference later this week Photonex,  where I’ll be repeating my mantra about never investing in materials companies. I’ve been banging on about this since the early days of nanotechnology, when buckyballs and nanotubes were the hot materials. The fashionable materials business model is tried (and for reasons that escape me) trusted and goes like this: Identify …

The Dawn of Graphene City?

We’ve been waiting for years for Manchester to create some graphene related businesses despite being the global hub for graphene research. One has finally popped up, Graphine Ltdwhich claims that “Graphene can further enhance the already excellent properties of rubber and elastomers by improving their strength, elasticity, flexibility, thermal stability, resistance to chemicals and durability. With the support of Grafine …

A Northern Powerhouse Built On Concrete And Steel? – Get Real

Brexit changed a lot of things in Britain, including the government which led to the loss of any champion in Westminster for the Northern Powerhouse. But while the Northern economy is less visible politically there is still plenty happening, as revealed by this month Bessemer Society confab in Sheffield. In a way the collapse of the government sponsored Northern Powerhouse …

Industrial Strategy and Five Year Plans – Not Always A Bad Idea

Industrial strategies have a bad name in the UK and deservedly so. Repeated attempts at government intervention to stimulate industrial sectors led to a string of failures from Blue Streak to INMOS and reached their peak with British Leyland in the 1970s; a company where people who had no interest in making anything other than tea were herded together in …

Nanotech and Water: It Took Ten Years Just To Get To The Starting Line

It is just over four years since I drove through an ice storm in Georgia and South Carolina for the meeting that led to the founding of G2O Water Technologies.  In case anyone thinks that this was the toughest bit of entrepreneurship, let me give you the background story. My involvement with water began in September 2004 when along with …

Graphene may well change the world but will it change Manchester?

Graphene City I spent Thursday at the National Graphene Institute in Manchester at SME and Investor events. While the key applications of graphene appear to be composites, composites and more composites, there was a mood of optimism that graphene is now entering its teenage years and approaching some kind of maturity. Hopefully that will break the teenage addiction of most …

Thinking Beyond the Academic Bubble

escaping the academic bubble

Recent elections and a certain referendum highlighted the dangers of living in a bubble or an echo chamber. This can include surrounding yourself with people who always agree, creating a safe space on social media by filtering out anything that may contradict your world view, imposing a tyrannical Steve Jobs / Kim Jong-Un style culture by firing or executing anyone …