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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers May 7, 2022 to May 13, 2022 and includes articles on using an AI system to find new asteroids and building a robotic chef that can taste food.

1. Taking a Picture of the Milky Way’s Black Hole

Researchers with the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, an international organization of research institutions, have created the first image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The team used a supercomputer to simulate black holes and combine data from images taken over the course of multiple nights.

2. Measuring Heart Function

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have created an AI system that can detect weak heart function from electrocardiogram signals from an Apple Watch. The team trained the system with 125,610 electrocardiograms from 2,454 patients.

3. Tasting Food

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have built a robot chef that can determine whether food has been salted enough at different steps of the cooking process. The robot uses a salinity sensor to determine the saltiness of dishes. The team trained the robot with nine variations of scrambled eggs and tomatoes, each with a different level of saltiness.

4. Locating Plastic Pollution

The Minderoo Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Australia, has created a tool that can detect plastic waste in the environment from satellite data and create a map of plastic pollution in real time. The tool, called Global Plastic Watch, consists of an AI system that uses the data to locate plastic pollution.

5. Monitoring Water Usage

Officials in Miami-Dade County, Florida are outfitting the region’s 25 largest commercial water users with smart water meters. The companies can use the meters to identify and rectify water misuse.

6. Evaluating Cancer Mutations

Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have created a machine learning model that can identify cancer mutations and determine their severity better than current methods. The model uses clinical data for 13 million variants of 1,911 genes thought to have an impact on the development of cancer to aid clinicians in evaluating the mutation.

7. Building Water Infrastructure

Researchers at Cornell University have used a supercomputer to determine the impact different water infrastructure projects have on water costs in local communities. The team found that communities with surface water infrastructure projects like canals could access water more cheaply. 

8. Improving Video Quality

Google has updated its virtual meeting function to include two AI systems that can fix bad images. One system can sharpen bad images caused by poor Internet connectivity or a bad camera. Another can improve the lighting of the image.

9. Teaching Yoga

Researchers at the University of Denver have built a robot that can teach yoga and meditation courses. The robot, known as Ryan, has an AI system that can track movement and maintain conversations. 

10. Finding New Asteroids

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany have created an AI system that can identify asteroid trails in images from the Hubble Space Telescope. With the help of citizen scientists, the team used the system to find nearly 1,500 new asteroids. 

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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