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Weekly Bot Brief Newsletter on Robotics 3/5/2021

POSTED 03/06/2021

"There is no force on earth more powerful than an idea whose time has come." -Victor Hugo


Bots in The News:Bot Index vs. S & P 500, 03-05-2021

The malaise that was recorded in the prior week for NASDAQ stocks continued again in the first week of March. The Bot Index fell 2.21% while the S & P 500 recorded an eight tenths gain. The worst devastation was noted by 3D Systems whose earnings missed analysts’ expectations. Following the earnings report, a plethora of class action lawsuits hit the company alleging management had provided misleading financial information. As a result, the stock retreated over 30% in just five trading days. Joining 3D Systems in the ‘disappointment to investors’ column, were the two EV stocks – Tesla and NIO Ltd. – who fell 11.53% and 16.69% respectively. Increasing competition from Li, XPeng and Ford’s new Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles was the culprit in the double-digit declines.

On the positive side of the performance spectrum were several defense-related issues – Textron (+3.14%), Raytheon Technologies (+4.42%), Lockheed Martin (+3.06%), Northrup Grumman (+3.17%) and Teledyne (+4.27%). Boosting Textron was a Barron’s Magazine feature entitled, ‘5 Industrial Stocks Poised to Benefit From Rising Inflation’. Raytheon’s gain was possibly inspired by a Bloomberg report that hinted that the company may be in the process of selling its services business unit for a billion dollars.

Undersea Advances Continue:

Two articles this week captured our attention as we continue to assert that robotics will open new discoveries in our planet’s vast oceans. The first appeared in the scientific journal – Nature, this Wednesday. Apparently, scientists from Zhejiang University have created and tested a new concept in 2020's Decade of Bot Performancedeep water robotic exploration. The design is uniquely suited to perform in the massive pressures of ultra-deep water by mimicking the soft sided wings of a manta ray and the body of a snailfish. In trials in the Mariana Trench, the robot performed well in 11,000 meters for 45 minutes in its initial voyage. The hope is that the concept can be enlarged to accommodate visual and/or physical extraction of data.

Also noted this week was the announcement that N.C. State University has utilized the Mantis shrimp to develop an optical sensor that is small enough to fit within a smart phone but capable of hyperspectral and polarimetric imaging. Those two multiple syllabic descriptors refer to abilities to expand scientific image analysis of light spectrums and surface geometry. According to Science Advances, “This state-o-the-art imaging method has the potential to revolutionize many fields ranging from astronomy, agriculture, defense, space exploration and medicine. In particular, SPI (spectral polarization imaging) plays a crucial role in biomedical imaging, such as diagnosing human cancerous tissues.”

Again, the Bot Brief maintains its hypothesis that robotics will play a crucial role in bringing the bounty of the oceans to the advancement of humankind. As we explore interstellar space, the harsh conditions within our own planet may provide a treasure trove of applications that can increase our understanding of our environment and of future environments.

Member: American Economic Association, Society of Professional Journalists, United States Press Association. Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts, Robotic Industries Association, Member IEEE.

The Bot Brief is a weekly newsletter designed for economists, investment specialists, journalists, and academicians. It receives no remuneration from any companies that may from time to time be featured in the brief and its commentaries, analysis, opinions, and research represent the subjective views of Balcones Investment Research, LLC. Due to the complex and rapidly changing nature of the subject matter, the company makes no assurances as to the absolute accuracy of material presented.