This week’s list of data news highlights covers August 14, 2021 – August 20, 2021 and includes articles on humanoid robots and using a supercomputer to calculate 62.8 trillion digits of pi.
Tesla has announced that it is making a humanoid robot capable of walking 5 miles an hour, carrying 45 pound objects, and deadlifting 150 pounds. The robot will automate tasks that are too unsafe, repetitive, or boring for humans.
Facebook has launched a virtual reality service that enables users to design a customizable cartoon avatar and meet with their coworkers around a virtual conference room table. The virtual conference room will include interactive whiteboards for users to brainstorm and write ideas.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a machine learning model to make laser-cutting safer. Laser-cutters are machines that etch designs into materials with a laser beam. The model warns users of potentially harmful substances on the material’s surface by analyzing the surface’s microstructure. The team trained the model on 38,000 images of 30 different materials.
Scientists at the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden in Switzerland have used a supercomputer to calculate pi to over 62.8 trillion digits. The effort took 108 days and 9 hours, and broke the previous world record of 50 trillion digits.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis have created an AI system that can detect health patterns in wildlife populations. The system analyzes information from records at 30 wildlife centers in California and reports anomalies and unusual patterns found in the data.
The Technology Innovation Institute in Abu Dhabi has partnered with Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech, a quantum computing company based in Barcelona, to build a quantum computer in Abu Dhabi. The machine will be the first large-scale quantum computer in the Middle East.
Researchers at Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in Los Angeles have developed an AI system that can detect COVID-19 from a lung scan. The team trained the system to identify biomarkers signifying the presence of COVID-19 in 704 chest x-rays and tested it with 1,597 images from people with and without the virus.
The health department in Chesapeake, Virginia has partnered with the local sanitation department to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Health officials will use data from wastewater testing to identify areas of community spread and hold vaccine clinics in neighborhoods with high rates of transmission.
Zesty.ai, a building analytics company in California, has partnered with the California FAIR Plan Association, the state’s insurer of last resort, to better price wildfire insurance plans. Zesty.ai’s AI system uses aerial imagery and climate data to assess wildfire risks for individual properties.
Rare Realities, an augmented reality (AR) software company, has launched an AR app that turns local surroundings into pixelated blocks, as seen in the video game Minecraft. Users can point their phones towards the surrounding environment and swipe across the screen to determine which areas become blocks.
Image credit: Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker