Economic Factors

A classic blunder?

Published 4.28.2017
LWRAS regularly considers factors both economic and political that might impact the markets covered here.

Trump ups the ante in North Korea. Could it be because the reporting about the “big briefing” he did with the entire Senate indicate that the Senators were unimpressed? Wouldn't Congressional approval be needed before starting a new Korean war? One can only hope.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

Trump also went out of his way to flatter Chinese president Xi, as though Xi is as easily flattered as he is. In the mean time, the US administration seems to be preparing for war, in which casualties will be horrendous.
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Energy

Falling panel prices tempt consumes, but storage is still the issue few mention

Published 4.27.2017
Solar power reliability is enhanced when storage is part of the installation. In the US, storage is seldom, if ever, part of the installation. Typically, the power is sent to utilities that then have to use or store it. Perhaps in Britain this is changing.

Investment manager Ancala Partners and energy storage provider Anesco said their joint effort led to the completion of their first portfolio-scale deployment of batteries at 10 solar plants across Britain.

Roughly 4% of British energy demand is met with solar power generation. Solar power proponents in Britain are concerned that the government’s emission cutting efforts might wane post-Brexit as the country negotiates new trade agreements.
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Optics

Brief takes on recent items in optics

Published 4.20.2017
Although the ultimate goal here is to publish much monger, more in depth analysis of the optics and optical materials industries, LWRAS will still publish briefer takes on interesting items.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University developed broad band anti-reflection coatings (ARC) for polymer optics.

Fabricated using glancing-angle deposition (GLAD) of Teflon AF, a commercial fluoropolymer, the simple bilayer graded-index AR coatings are hydrophobic and antifogging, and exhibit a solar-spectrum-averaged (between 400 and 1600 nm) reflectance of <1% over a wide range of incidence angles. Using the GLAD process, the researchers were able to continuously vary the refractive index of the coating in the range from approximately 1.17 to 1.33 by varying the deposition angle, and found that the coatings adhere strongly to a variety of common polymer optical materials.

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Haptic Technology

Immersion in the between times

Published 3.17.2017
Haptics is an area of focus here. Immersion is a bellwether stock for haptics at LWRAS, because the company owns significant intellectual property (IP) relating to the software “engines” (programs) to control the hardware actuators on phones to create different sensations. Immersion’s history is replete with challenging the infringement of others, and overall the company has won more of these battles than it has lost.

Currently, Immersion is suing Apple. Preliminary court rulings haven’t been a complete disaster for the company, but neither is success assured. Apple is a tenacious in court battles, and its pile of money is greater than Immersion’s. Uncertainty regarding the outcome of the Apple suit is weighing on the company’s stock prices at the moment, but far worse is the lack of a new contract with Samsung. A new contract with Sony has yet to emerge as well.

It may be that Samsung and Sony are waiting to learn the outcome of the court case. SONY lost a court battle with Immersion years ago, and Samsung paid royalties for years. The loss of the Samsung revenues explains the shortfall in performance in the fourth quarter of 2016 (2016Q4), which Immersion reported at the end of February.
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