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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
Sidewalk delivery robot

This week’s list of data news highlights covers August 21, 2021 – August 27, 2021 and includes articles on delivering food with sidewalk delivery robots and measuring the depth of floodwaters with solar-powered sensors.

1. Delivering Food

The University of Kentucky has partnered with Starship Technologies, a sidewalk delivery robot company, to launch an autonomous food delivery service on campus. Students and faculty can order from seven campus eateries on the Starship app and receive food from a sidewalk delivery robot within minutes.

2. Salvaging Vineyards’ Grapes

California winemakers have partnered with Tastry, a U.S.-based wine science company, to identify commercial options for grapes damaged by wildfire smoke. The company uses an AI system that analyzes the chemical composition of grapes and the level of smoke damage to suggest patterns of grape combinations for wine.

3. Monitoring Traffic

The city of Port Phillip, Australia has partnered with U.K.-based transport technology company Vivacity Labs and Bicycle Network, an Australian nonprofit that advocates for bicycle riding, to install roadway sensors that monitor and collect real-time data on pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicle traffic. City officials will use the data to improve traffic management and plan traffic infrastructure projects.

4. Finding Evidence of Rare Bats

The Chichester Natural History Society in the United Kingdom used an AI system to find evidence of the rare Kuhl’s Pipistrelle bat in Sussex. Coordinators in the Chichester Natural History Society uploaded audio recordings from private gardens in West Sussex to the British Trust for Ornithology’s Acoustic Pipeline, which then used an AI system to identify the bat’s social calls. 

5. Forecasting the El Niño-Southern Oscillation

Researchers at Pusan National University in South Korea, Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Germany, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa have used a supercomputer to show that climate change will weaken the intensity of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, an intermittent variation of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and wind speeds in the overlying atmosphere.

6. Improving Cloud Movement Forecasting

The U.K. National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has partnered with U.K.-based non-profit climate research organization Open Climate Fix to develop an AI system that can forecast cloud movements by the minute. The National Grid ESO will use the system to better predict the effect of cloud movement on solar grids.

7. Measuring the Depth of Floodwaters

The St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 4 has partnered with city officials in Mandeville, Louisiana to install a solar-powered flood sensor in a flood-prone part of town. The sensor measures the depth of floodwaters during flood events and alerts first responders to unusual water measurements in real time.

8. Detecting Lung Cancer

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed an AI system that can detect lung cancer from a blood sample. When combined with clinical risk factors, a protein biomarker, and computer imaging, the system detected the presence of lung cancer at a rate of 94 percent.

9. Visiting an Augmented Reality Museum

The first augmented reality museum in the United States has opened in Santa Monica, California. Visitors can use an augmented reality app to view 40 interactive exhibits like a fire-breathing dragon and dinosaurs.

10. Predicting Sea Ice Loss

The British Antarctic Survey, the U.K.’s national polar research institute, has developed an AI system that can predict sea ice loss in the Arctic up to six months in advance. Researchers trained the system with satellite data of the region from the past 40 years.

Image credit: Flickr user Erica Fischer

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