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Weekly Bot Brief on Robotic Research and Investment Review 6-8-2018

POSTED 06/11/2018

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

Bot Index Highlights:Bot Index vs. S & P 500, 6-11-2018

Both the Bot Index and the general market rose in last week’s activity. The Bot Index slightly outperformed the S & P 500’s gain of 1.62% to record its second highest level since inception in 2015. Closing at 194.03, the Bot Index has almost doubled while the S & P 500 has price returned about 36%.

While there was only one Bot stock that recorded a double digit increase during the week, there were several notable stories that positively impacted Bot components. Shares of 3-D Systems led the gainers with it’s 11.41% increase. The stock benefitted by a Seeking Alpha article entitled ‘3-D Systems: Buy this Industry Disruptor’ and a Ripon Advance report entitled ‘Sizzling Stock Alert:’. From the titles, both analyses offered favorable opinions which certainly benefited the stock.

Closely following 3-D Systems was IRobot’s 9.16% jump. Since April 27th, the stock has been on a surging pattern that has taken the stock from $58.58 to its Friday closing of $69.57. Also showing continuing strength from the prior week were Immersion Corp. who gained 7.21% following its 10.53% move of the June first week and Teledyne who added 3.93% on top of its 3.35% improvement. Other notable gainers included AeroVironment, up 4.31% and Ekso Bionics who rose 6.47%.

In a similar pattern as the prior week, virtually all the stocks that disappointed were Asian-based. Hiwin Technologies dropped 5.87% to lead the worst performers and was closely followed by Cyberdyne (-4.51%), Yaskawa Electric (-.5%), Fanuf (-2.3%) and Keyence Corp. (-1.45%). The sole domestic name of any weakness was from Accuray Inc. who fell 3.33% due to Zacks inclusion into its Strong Sell category on Monday.

Bots in the News:

A Switzerland based firm ecoRobotix announced it has developed an artificial intelligence robotic distributor of pesticides. While that may not sound too exciting, the implications of having a solar powered device that can deliver very specific weed-killer without dosing crops is an economically attractive agriculture and environmental breakthrough. In fact, the robot utilizes 20 times less herbicide than aerial or tractor delivery. The cost saving is significant and the impact upon the environment is immeasurable.

McDonalds is investing in an upgrade for its in-store ordering technology. Each quarter for the next two years the company will place self ordering kiosks in stores and smart phone service to speed up delivery and more customization of food items.

In PERHAPS an attempt to stem concerns about robots stealing jobs at Amazon, the chief technology officer for the firm at the MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Next conference discussed the company’s robotic strategy. He indicated that with the 100k robots in the fulfillment centers, the company still employs over 500k workers. He indicated that the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon is helping third party vendors, unrelated to Amazon, distribute their wares.

In a joint communication by Florida Atlantic University and the U.S. Navy, the combined efforts of research on drone application within the defense structure of Navy vessels is rapidly evolving. The Navy is ‘pushing to develop and buy its drones faster, integrate them more aggressively in exercises and other activity, and work more closely with universities and other non-traditional research partners particularly in the design of new prototypes’.

On its new website flyer.aero a startup company, supported by one of the founders of Google, has unveiled its offering of a new flying car. The aircraft is currently operational and has a training facility in Lake Las Vegas which allows individuals to actually fly the vehicles at a minimal speed above the lake surface. The car is named Kitty Hawk which electrically powers ten rotors, allowing for vertical off an landing.

Following the Immersion Corp. issues with Apple regarding patent infringement, the current supplier of Apple’s power management chips is reportedly in talks with the touch screen company Synaptics. Dialog Semiconductor has made an all cash offer of $59 per share which was rejected by Synaptics. Dialog has been under some pressure by Apple’s decision to cut back its purchases of Dialog products in the coming months.

The Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee has developed a new supercomputer that has the computing power of 200 million billion calculations a second. That make it the fastest computer in the world. It uses AI chips from Nvidia and IBM.

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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 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.

Balcones Investment Research can be reached at its website BalconesInvestmentResearch.com and is headquartered in Florida; with offices in Texas and North Carolina, United States