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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers March 5, 2022 to March 11, 2022 and includes articles on detecting underground structures on planets with a quantum gravity sensor and deciphering the emotions in pig calls using AI.

1. Celebrating International Women’s Day

UK-based social media copywriter Francesca Lawson and software consultant Ali Fensome created an AI system that posts data on pay gaps at U.K companies on Twitter. They used the system in a Twitter account that quote tweeted U.K.-based companies that posted International Women’s Day tweets with information on their pay gap.

2. Advancing Dark Matter Research

Researchers at the University of Maryland, University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton University used a supercomputer to estimate the total mass of an axion, a hypothetical particle that dark matter is thought to be made of. The team found that an axion’s mass is likely more than twice as big as previously thought. Scientists can use the calculations to advance research on dark matter.

3. Restoring Ancient Inscriptions

An international team of researchers has created an AI system that can restore text inscribed on ancient pottery, metal, or stone and identify the original location and date of the inscription. The team trained the system with a digital dataset of Greek inscriptions. In tests, historians deciphering texts achieved 25 percent accuracy without the system and 72 percent accuracy with the system.

4. Finding Shipwrecks

Researchers with the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust used a hybrid autonomous robot to find a ship that sank off the coast of Antarctica in 1914. The robot used sonar to scan the ocean floor and transmitted the data in real time to sonar analysts on the surface. 

5. Detecting Heart Disease

Researchers at University College London have created an AI system that can detect heart disease in MRI scans in just 20 seconds. The team trained the system with MRI scans from 1,923 patients with 7 different heart conditions. In tests, the system detected cardiovascular changes with 40 percent greater precision than humans.

6. Scanning Underground Structures on Planets

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have created a quantum gravity sensor that can better detect underground structures such as tunnels on planets. Conventional gravity sensors, which detect these structures by measuring the impact of gravity on different features underground, cannot accurately map small features underground because of variations in temperature, magnetic fields, and ground structures. The quantum gravity sensor improves on this by using atoms of rubidium metal that can detect variations in microgravity vibrations.

7. Deciphering Pig Emotions

An international team of researchers has created an AI system that can decipher emotions from pig grunts. The team trained the system with behavioral data and 7,414 audio recordings from over 400 pigs in a variety of settings. Farmers can use the system to monitor pigs’ wellbeing.

8. Tracking Animals

Researchers at the Max Planck Society, an organization of research institutions in Germany, have created a map of movement patterns for 15 species of animals. The team attached GPS sensors to animals such as blackbirds, Arctic terns, and bats and collected data on their movements with the International Space Station’s antennas. Researchers can use the data to monitor the animals’ wellbeing and determine the impact of human behavior on biodiversity.

9. Accessing Mental Health Treatment

U.S.-based mental health treatment platform Anchored to Hope has partnered with Logan and Champaign counties in Ohio to offer mental health treatment to specialty docket clients. Specialty dockets are court sessions that offer therapeutically-oriented judicial approaches, such as drug courts, mental health courts, and domestic violence courts. If so ordered, clients can receive treatment through Anchored to Hope’s platform, which uses virtual reality to guide meditations and a machine learning model to recommend specific treatments. 

10. Shopping for Furniture

Ikea has opened a pop-up store where customers can create customizable showrooms. Customers can use augmented reality to project a view of three rooms in the space as well as receive design ideas and product suggestions. 

Image credit: Flickr user Damien Walmsley

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