Each week, we review the press, highlighting and responding to interesting and relevant articles in the news.

Optical Illusions

Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund has announced a $410M investment into Pennsylvania-based optical tech company, II-VI. II-VI became a key supplier for Apple’s laser tech after acquiring Finisar in 2018, Apple’s previous supplier that received a $390M investment in 2017. Currently Apple uses optical tech for FaceID, Memoji, and Portrait Mode, as well as AR via LiDAR scanner. II-VI’s CEO claims this partnership helps the company to scale and prepare for “a new wave of breakthrough technologies.” This investment will be key for Apple’s AR and VR expansion, something we know the company has set its sights on.

Introduce CareTech To Your Parents

You’ve heard of AdTech, FinTech, BioTech…. But have you heard of CareTech? The UK is leading the charge with two interesting CareTech startups that are tackling the care industry. Birdie builds tools for social care providers, streamlining administration and operations with technology. Birdie hopes that by making operations more efficient, care can be more personalised and preventative. Meanwhile, end-to-end care platform Lifted helps families manage home care via an app, connecting them with carers and real time wellness updates.The secular trends of a shifting demography and aging population are issues that the field of CareTech can work to remedy. Altio sees great potential for innovation in this underfunded and under-resourced sector.

Source: The Economist, from IEA

Making Room for Renewables

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently reported that in 2020, renewable-energy generation grew at its fastest rate in 20 years. While the global energy demand was down by 4%, renewable energy grew by 45%. The surge may partly be thanks to a rush to add renewable capacity before government subsidies expired (in America, China, and Vietnam). IEA predicts growth to continue in the next few years, accounting for 90% of new power capacity expansion. Wind and solar are leading this surge, with 90% and 50% growth in 2020, respectively. Though these numbers are promising, building capacity for renewable energy is just one part of the equation. The benefits of renewable energy make little to no difference if global demand for energy is still rising. How can we degrow our consumption while transitioning to renewable energy?