Morning Brew - ☕ The LED law enabling vertical farms

Introducing...Haitz's Law.
Morning Brew June 06, 2022

Emerging Tech Brew


Hope you had a good weekend. This year marks the 200-year anniversary of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine, which inspired the first computer.

Babbage eventually drew up plans for a more ambitious, general-purpose computing system called the Analytical Engine. In 1843, that theoretical machine became the system for which Ada Lovelace, a colleague of Babbage’s, wrote what is considered the first computer program.

In today’s edition:

The “law” enabling vertical farms to flourish
🕶 VR in the workplace

Jordan McDonald, Hayden Field, Dan McCarthy


Moore’s Law’s quiet cousin

Moore’s Law’s quiet cousin Kynny/Getty Images

Chances are, you’ve heard of Moore’s Law, the “social fact” that has explained semiconductor progress for over half a century. But how about its lesser-known, distant cousin called Haitz’s Law, which theorizes the rate of progress in LED lighting, a critical enabling technology for indoor farming?

The law is named after Roland Haitz, a scientist who worked for Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies, and posited in 2000 that every 10 years the amount of light generated by an LED bulb increases by a factor of 20, while the cost per lumen (unit of useful light emitted) falls by a factor of 10. And since then, it’s mostly held true.

  • To put Haitz’s Law in even more plain terms: LEDs have become more powerful while also becoming less expensive.

Why it matters: This advancement has been critical for the indoor-farming sector, as the expenses of powering a farm packed with HVAC systems, hydroponic infrastructure, and thousands upon thousands of bright, 24/7 lights can add up.

  • In some operations, LED lighting alone can account for between 50% and 65% of the electric bill, according to the 2021 Global CEA Census Report.
  • AppHarvest, an indoor grower based in Morehead, Kentucky, uses over 30,600 LEDs in one farm.

The LED lighting market was worth nearly $69 billion in 2021, per IMARC research, led by manufacturers like Philips Lighting, Samsung, Acuity Brands, and GE Lighting, and the firm estimates it will reach $121 billion by 2027.

  • There are also lighting companies focused specifically on indoor farming, like Sananbio.

Looking ahead...Vertical farming execs told us the law’s progress could taper off in the next decade or so.

“We’ve seen efficiencies on the cost of lights themselves, and we certainly see lots of efficiencies in terms of the fixtures and how efficient they are with the energy,” Bowery Farming CEO and founder Irving Fain told us. “There will be a plateau…But even if Haitz’s Law plateaus, it’s still come a meaningfully long way, and then there’s other areas for innovation around the light that can create even further efficiencies as well.”

Read the full story on site.JM



Marketers in the metaverse

imagery of Goodway Group in the metaverse Illustration: Dianna “Mick” McDougall, Photos: Better Than Unicorns, Goodway Group

“Strap on your VR glasses; we’ve got a meeting,” could become a common refrain for marketers.

Why? Several agencies and marketing firms have already invested in VR headsets like Meta’s Oculus, indicating that, one day, the metaverse could be the industry’s new Zoom.

  • Some are hosting annual summits in VR. Others are shifting meetings from Zoom to VR workspaces like Horizon Workrooms (which is currently in beta testing), or experimenting with VR glasses and platforms like Decentraland to better advise clients on the subject.
  • One CEO told us he bought his employees Oculus headsets just so they could bond over activities like VR minigolf.

“The technology allows us to connect in ways better than having the bat phone in the middle of the conference table and everybody shouting into it,” Simeon Edmunds, SVP and creative director of Mediahub’s R+D Lab, told Marketing Brew. “We’re finding usefulness not just in helping us produce a better work product, but also in understanding what’s emerging.”

Mediahub started using the metaverse in December—specifically rented land in Decentraland—as a recruitment tool to differentiate itself from its competitors, Edmunds told Marketing Brew.

Edmunds and R+D Lab creative technologist Lacey Nein hosted a class on the metaverse and one on NFTs, Nein told us, and the agency has been setting up VR headsets in rooms at some of its offices around the world for employees to test out when they stop by, according to Edmunds.

  • He estimated that more than 40% of Mediahub staffers globally have tried them out so far.

“We’re not trying to force people into this thing,” Edmunds said. “We want them to see, ‘Oh, this is cool,’ and then move from that.”

Read the full story from Marketing Brew here.AM


Compliance doesn’t have to be complicated


In order to close major customers, startups must prove their products are secure. But preparing for and obtaining the most sought-after security compliance standards can be time consuming and *very* expensive. Unless you use Vanta.

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  • Fix items on your to-do list with guidance and alerts from Vanta.
  • Complete your audit with a highly rated, independent auditor.

Get $1,000 off when you get compliant with Vanta.


Coworking with…Grzegorz Mrukwa

Coworking with…Grzegorz Mrukwa Illustration: Francis Scialabba; Photo: Grzegorz Mrukwa

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Emerging Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies. Click here if you’d like a chance to be featured.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

I’m helping enterprise and fast-growing companies to make fact-based decisions on a large scale. It requires a surprising amount of effort to gather the facts at a very granular level and draw reliable high-level conclusions out of it. There are both technological and scientific challenges to doing it well.

What’s your favorite emerging-tech project you’ve worked on?

AI for detecting brain tumors. It automatically analyzes MRI scans and, within a few minutes, supports the doctor with suggestions of where the suspected regions are. This delineation and a few supporting metrics may be used to assess cancer severity or adjust therapy for specific patient needs.

What emerging tech are you most optimistic about? Least? And why?

That’s a tough choice. For most optimistic, I see two:

  • Low/No-code “modern” data stacks. They introduce a lot of simplicity and require much less maintenance. This will decrease the barrier for large-scale data utilization.
  • Recent self-supervised and unsupervised NLP breakthroughs. Their utility is often confirmed far beyond text in images, audio, and other kinds of data. Moreover, a major part of model training can be conducted without massively annotated data, like with Wikipedia.

I’m least optimistic about some ideas around NFTs in the metaverse. Digital goods are in most cases almost infinitely replicable. Building an NFT-only metaverse would introduce serious limits to that and would change the digital reality forever.

One thing we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile?

It may sound like a slogan, but I strongly believe that changes related to emerging tech need to be designed with people in mind. A lot of engineers designing data/ML/other solutions focus on technological integrations only, but forget about the people that will actually be influenced by the developed system. At the same time, these people will be crucial for the success of the solution.



McKinsey & Co

10 tech trends for the next 10 years. Whether you’re an AI developer or someone who’s trying to impress at your next strategy meeting, don’t miss this report on the top 10 trends in tech. McKinsey lays out everything you need to know about clean technologies, next-gen computing, and the future of connectivity. Get it here.


image of earth with planes flying around it Francis Scialabba

Stat: During a 77-mile flight from Stuttgart, Germany, to Friedrichshafen, Germany, a new altitude record was achieved for hydrogen-electric aircraft: 7,230 feet. Cruising altitude for commercial aircraft is typically upwards of 30,000 feet.

Quote: “I clicked the link and I was in...Right over the internet, I can see photos from within the hospital, I can do the same API trick.”—Asher Brass, head of cyberanalysis for Israeli healthcare cybersecurity startup Cynerio, on security vulnerabilities he helped detect in hospital robots

Read: How Masayoshi Son used SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund to remake the world in its image.

One powerful app: Enable your workforce to work better from anywhere. This ebook from RingCentral reveals how to securely future-proof your communications across devices and scale with ease. Get it here.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


  • Japan is trialing a deep-ocean turbine that generates electricity from the ocean current. It’s estimated that it could eventually produce the equivalent of 60% of Japan’s current electric-generation capacity.
  • Tiger Global, the hard-charging venture firm, has suffered losses of 52% so far this year.
  • Meta is reorganizing its AI team. It’s also got a new COO, Javier Olivan, following Sheryl Sandberg’s announcement last week that she would step down from the role.
  • GM is lowering the price of its Chevy Bolt EVs, despite surging demand for EVs. Also, Cruise—GM’s autonomous-vehicle arm—just received commercial approval for its robotaxi service in San Francisco.
  • Rimac, a luxury electric-car company, raised a $500+ million funding round with participation from Porsche.


News quiz branding Francis Scialabba

Click here to take our weekly news quiz, which offers the potential to win the best prize of all: feeling smart.


For a spelling bee: The top spelling search in each US state, according to Google Trends.

For a futuristic AMA: Amy Webb, the futurist who we spoke to about synthetic biology a few months ago, did a fun and thought-provoking AMA on Reddit last week.


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Written by Jordan McDonald, Alyssa Meyers, Hayden Field, and Dan McCarthy

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