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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of data news highlights covers January 1, 2022 to January 7, 2022 and includes articles on updating COVID-19 digital vaccine passports and launching autonomous tractors. 

1. Identifying Bone Fractures

Researchers at Boston University have developed an AI system that can identify limb, pelvis, lumbar spine, and rib cage fractures from x-ray images. In tests, medical professionals missed 29 percent fewer fractures when assisted by the AI system.

2. Suggesting New Year’s Resolutions

The Smithsonian Institution FUTURES exhibit has added an AI system that can suggest New Year’s resolutions. Janelle Shane, a research scientist in Boulder, Colorado, trained the system with recent New Year’s resolutions found on Twitter.

3. Creating New Antibiotics

An international team of researchers has identified an antibiotic drug candidate that can fight infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The team used a supercomputer to simulate the drug’s solubility and effectiveness, and found that the drug may be 56 times more effective against resistant bacteria than certain leading antibiotics. 

4. Classifying Fish Calls

Researchers at Oregon State University have created a machine learning model that can identify fish species from their calls. The team trained the model with data from over 400 damselfish calls. In tests, the model distinguished damselfish calls from other calls with 94 percent accuracy. The model can help researchers understand changes in fish movement patterns and the marine ecosystem due to climate change. 

5. Launching Autonomous Shuttles

City officials in Peoria, Arizona have launched two autonomous shuttles to transport residents around the city’s medical district. The shuttles will travel along a 2.5-mile route and carry up to 8 passengers at once.

6. Zapping Weeds

Carbon Robotics, a U.S.-based robotics company, has created an autonomous robot that can kill weeds. The company equipped the robot with an AI system that can identify and zap suspected weeds using laser beams in agricultural fields.

7. Modeling the Solar System’s Formation

Astrophysicists at Rice University have used a supercomputer to model the solar system’s formation. The team found that the sun likely had three rings before the formation of planets. 

8. Monitoring Traffic

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation has partnered with Rekor One, a U.S.-based traffic intelligence company, to monitor traffic in Philadelphia’s naval yard. The team will deploy sensor technology to collect data on traffic patterns and smog emissions, and use the information to plan future infrastructure projects. 

9. Updating COVID-19 Vaccine Passports

Public health officials in New York have updated the state’s digital vaccine passports to include vaccination records from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The update will enable around 117,000 vaccinated individuals to prove their vaccination status from a mobile device.

10. Farming with Autonomous Tractors

John Deere has created an autonomous tractor that can till soil in agricultural fields. The tractor’s AI system uses data collected from 12 on-board cameras to determine movements.

Image credit: Flickr user Leszek Leszczynski

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