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Medopad raises $25M led by Bayer to develop biomarkers tracked via apps and wearables – TechCrunch

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Medopad, the UK startup that has been working with Tencent to develop AI-based methods for building and tracking "digital" biomarkers -- measurable indicators of the progression of illnesses and diseases that are picked up not with blood samples or in-doctor visits but using apps and wearables, has announced another round of funding to expand the scope of its developments. It has picked up $25 million led by pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, which will be working together with Medopad to build digital biomarkers and therapeutics related to heart health. Medopad said it is also working on separate biomarkers related to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Diabetes. The Series B is being made at a post-money valuation of between $200 million and $300 million. In addition to Bayer, Hong Kong firm NWS Holdings and Chicago VC Healthbox also participated.


Bayer chooses UK for its AI-focused R&D hub -

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Bayer has continued its policy of setting up R&D hubs to get closer to innovative companies with a UK site that will focus on applying artificial intelligence to drug discovery and disease diagnosis. The cluster – based at Reading's Green Park – is the seventh in the German company's LifeHub network, located at R&D hot spots around the globe, and is further evidence of the UK's leading position in AI technology. According to the Tech Nation 2019 report, the UK is today the world's third biggest market for AI investment after the US and China with funding rising six-fold since 2014. Bayer already has one company getting ready to set up a unit at LifeHub UK. Sensyne Health, which started working with the German group earlier this year, will base a project focusing on applying AI to automate image evaluation in radiology at the site.


RoboDUCK could be used in Japan to keep rice paddy fields free from pests and weeds

Daily Mail - Science & tech

An engineer working for Japanese carmaker Nissan has built a robot to help farmers reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides on their rice crops. The compact robot, called Aigamo, is designed to mimic the natural use of ducks that paddle around in flooded paddy fields. Ducks have been used as natural weed repellents for centuries to tear them up and feed on insects, with their manure even acting as an additional fertiliser. As it glides through the water, two mechanisms on the bottom muddy the water to prevent weeds from getting enough sunlight to grow. The technique was used in the late 20th century with live ducks, called'aigamo,' which would paddle the water with the same results and eat any insects they found along the way.


New Japanese farm drone hovers above rice fields and sprays pesticides and fertilisers

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Japanese farmers are testing a new drone that can hover above paddy fields and perform backbreaking tasks in a fraction of the time it takes a labourer. The drone applies pesticides and fertilizer to a rice field in 15 minutes - a job that takes more than an hour by hand and requires farmers to lug around heavy tanks. Developers of the new agricultural drone say it offers high-tech relief for rural communities facing a shortage of labour as young people leave for the cities. Pictured is a farmer in Japan's Tome region trialling the new technology'Our ultimate goal is to lower rice farming costs to one-fourth of what it is now,' Hiroshi Yanagishita, President of Nileworks, the Tokyo drone start-up behind the technology, told reporters Thursday. Nile-T18 was recently tested in Japan's Tome area – a region that has supplied rice to Tokyo since the 17th century.


Indoor vertical farming in Asia and beyond: Digging deep in data - Asia News Center

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And through all those millennia, farmers have literally battled the elements. They have read the seasons and bred new crop types largely through trial and error. By the late 20th century we had increased food production with mechanization, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, irrigation and a lot more. Today, humankind is growing more food than ever. But, here's a crucial question: How long can we keep farming like this?


Tech-savvy Chinese farmers use drones to spray pesticide

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Farmers in China have caught up with the country's booming drone trend and started using unmanned aircraft to spray pesticide onto the fields. Not only that, a team of villagers in central China recently bought 30 of these bug-zapping vehicles in hope of turning it into a new business. Zhu Xiwang and his neighbours said they hoped their squad of agri-drones to could help them start a pest-killing service, according to Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to People's Daily Online. This £24.8K flat pack folding home takes just SIX HOURS to build Pictures show the 30 drones lining up on a field, ready to take off. The unmanned aircraft, known by its model name MG-1S, is produced by Shenzhen-based Da Jiang Innovation, one of the largest drone manufacturers in China.


Stocks tick higher in a quiet start; Apple is a bright spot

Los Angeles Times

U.S. stocks were slightly higher Wednesday morning as utility companies climbed. Energy companies were trading lower as the price of oil continued to slip. Stocks are at their lowest levels in two months after large losses in two of the last three days. The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 31 points, or 0.2%, to 18,097 as of 10:05 a.m. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,132.