As cannabis reform continues to take shape at an unprecedented rate, so too are the industry's technological innovations. From "PotBots" to the auto industry coming full circle, here are some of the latest cannabis tech advancements attracting interest.
PotBotics Introduces a Trio of Robot Aides
Cannabis startup PotBotics was launched with the goal of "bringing science to medical marijuana." It has three products: PotBot, the "world's first virtual budtender" that recommends medical marijuana to patients using "cutting edge neural-net algorithms" to determine recommended strains and cannabinoid levels; BrainBot, a wireless electroencephalography helmet that doctors can use to analyze a patient's brain waves to determine which strains and cannabinoid levels might be ideal; and NanoPot, an advanced DNA reader designed for growers to scan cannabis seeds.
Watch PotBotics describe its product line in more detail:
PotBotics CEO David Goldstein appeared on MSNBC's Code Forward program to explain the driving force behind his company, citing "a lot of pain points for patients right now" in the medical marijuana industry. PotBotics' recommendation engine focuses on 27 different ailments, with strain recommendations stemming from the specific neurological responses of the patients being scanned. If it sounds complex, that's because it is, relying on science, anatomy, and cannabis research to determine the best strains for ailing patients.
PotBotics is still in its early stages, so it'll be interesting to see how its innovations are received. How many doctors' offices would be willing to invest in a strain-recommendation engine considering the number of general practitioners who are either uninformed about or unwilling to get involved with medical marijuana?
Potential hurdles aside, if PotBotics can help both doctors and patients better determine the ideal regimen of cannabinoid dosage and strains to treat specific illnesses, it would be a huge turning point for the medical cannabis industry.
Automakers Turn to Hemp…Again
The North American International Auto Show is currently underway, and automakers are adopting the use of recycled and sustainable materials to construct their vehicles. Ford is now requiring that seat fabrics sold on vehicles in North America be made up of at least 30% recycled content. Design manager Barb Whalen called it "the right thing to do, for the environment, for ourselves and our customers. Even though oil prices are cheaper, it’s still the best thing.”
Plant-based materials such as eucalyptus fibers and, yes, hemp, are also being utilized, both for their sustainability and because they're lighter in weight than synthetic materials. Said Pierre Demortain, a sales executive for French automotive parts supplier Faurecia:
"Hemp is a plant that doesn’t need irrigation or pesticides to grow and can reduce door weight by 25 percent."
Faurecia uses hemp in combination with petroleum raw materials to construct its plastics, although it plans to eventually transition to 100 percent natural plastics in the next two to three years.
If you're experiencing some déjà vu, it's probably because auto pioneer Henry Ford was a huge evangelist of hemp's industrial value. He even built a car that incorporated hemp materials. Check out a prototype in action from 1941:
Now here we are, 75 years later, exploring the possibility that hemp cars could be the "wave of the future." Took us long enough.
Stay tuned for more tech spotlights from our rapidly-growing industry!