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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers May 21, 2022 to May 27, 2022 and includes articles on collecting data on urban environments and using an AI system to track whales.

1. Advancing Quantum Research

Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have made advancements in the development of a quantum computer network that can send quantum information between distant machines. Previously, researchers could only send quantum information across two physical locations but the researchers have made developments in quantum teleportation that mean they can send such information across three locations. 

2. Recreating Lost Archives

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have created a virtual version of the Public Record Office at the Four Courts in Dublin and its lost archives. Troops destroyed the building, which held seven centuries’ worth of documents, at the start of Ireland’s civil war. The team replicated burnt documents or retrieved duplicate copies, and used an AI system to digitize the archives in a searchable format. 

3. Collecting Urban Data

Officials in Philadelphia have launched a smart city initiative to learn more about the urban environment. Officials will install sensors on streetlights to collect real-time data on air quality, weather, and traffic conditions. The city plans to use the data to improve understanding of environmental and safety conditions and better respond to emergencies.

4. Shopping for Clothes

Amazon has opened its first brick and mortar clothing store in Glendale, California. Shoppers can scan a product’s QR code to learn more about it and send items to a fitting room. An AI system will then use shoppers’ fashion choices to suggest other products and notify shoppers about relevant Amazon deals.

5. Providing Identification

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has announced that residents can add their driver’s license or identification card to iPhones or Apple Watches. Maryland is the second state, after Arizona, to allow residents to provide digital identification from Apple devices. 

6. Tracking Whales

Happywhale, a U.S.-based citizen science organization dedicated to whales, has launched an identification program to track humpback whales. Researchers with the organization use an AI system to match crowdsourced photos of whales to past data and record their locations. To date, researchers have identified over 68,000 whales around the world.

7. Locating Groundwater Reservoirs

The California Department of Water Resources has started using helicopters with sensors to collect data on the state’s groundwater resources. The sensors on the helicopters send electromagnetic signals into the ground and identify subsurface properties with the resultant data. Officials plan to use the data to build a map of the state’s aquifers.

8. Predicting Heart Disease

Researchers at Geisinger, a U.S.-based health system, and Tempus, a U.S.-based biotechnology company, have created an AI system that can predict which patients will develop structural heart disease. The team trained the system with 2.2 million electrocardiograms from 480,000 patients. In tests, the system outperformed previous models designed to detect structural heart disease. 

9. Caring for the Elderly

Officials at the New York State Office for the Aging have launched an initiative to provide elderly residents with robotic companions. The robots contain an AI system that can instruct them to engage in small talk and a microphone, speaker, and touchscreen tablet that residents can use to communicate with loved ones or the robot and keep track of their health and wellness.

10. Playing Soccer

Liverpool Football Club has partnered with neuro11, a neuroscience technology company based in Germany, to improve player performance. Players wear headpieces with electrodes that monitor electrical signals in the brain during certain drills. Coaches then use the data to better understand players’ mental states during specific parts of the game.

Image credit: Flickr user Francisco Moralejo

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