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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers July 30, 2022 to August 5, 2022 and includes articles on practicing complex surgeries with virtual reality and using an AI system to create an advertising campaign. 

1. Monitoring Tigers

India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NCTA) has used over 26,000 cameras to capture over 24 million images of tigers around the country. Conservationists are using an AI system to identify tigers found in the images and quantify the total tiger population in the country. The NCTA plans to use an AI system to map patrol routes throughout sanctuaries to better monitor tigers next. 

2. Deodorizing Landfills

Researchers at the University of New Orleans, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs have used a supercomputer to simulate the diffusion and dispersion of chemical compounds that can deodorize a landfill. The team found that effectiveness of certain compounds depends on both their diffusion rates and molecular composition. Waste management researchers can use the research to identify the best deodorizing compounds before conducting large scale industrial experiments. 

3. Predicting Risks of Extinction

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have created a machine learning model that can predict extinction risks for species of animals or plants that conservationists have little information on. The team trained the model with information on 28,363 species with adequate data. 

4. Processing Pictures of Galaxies

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have used a supercomputer to process new images from the James Webb Space Telescope. The new images show Maisie’s galaxy, one of the oldest galaxies ever pictured, as it was 290 million years after the Big Bang. Its existence suggests that galaxies began forming sooner than previously thought.  

5. Improving 3D Printing

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a machine learning model that can adjust the speed and direction of 3D printers in real time. The team trained the model with a simulation of 3D printing. Researchers can use the model to determine ideal parameters for 3D printing during the manufacturing process.

6. Piloting Autonomous Food Trucks

Officials in Chiba, Japan have launched a trial program for an autonomous food truck. The truck will travel to pre-programmed locations where visitors can buy packaged food using a touchscreen and their smartphone. 

7. Streamlining Hospital Operations

Tampa General Hospital in Florida has partnered with Enroute, a U.S.-based software development company, to use an AI system to streamline patient movement in the hospital. Medical providers and hospital staff will use the system to coordinate multiple patients’ transportation simultaneously and improve efficiency while admitting, moving, or discharging patients. 

8. Detecting Poor Driving Behavior

National Highways, a government-owned company that oversees major roads in the United Kingdom, has partnered with the Warwickshire police department to improve drivers’ behavior in the nearby area. The team will place a stationary van equipped with cameras and an AI system on the side of the road to detect if passing drivers are holding a mobile phone or wearing a seatbelt.

9. Creating Advertising Campaigns

Heinz, a U.S.-based food processing company, has created a new advertising campaign for its ketchup. The company used OpenAI’s DALL-E 2, a text-to-image AI system, to create interesting pictures of ketchup bottles, including a bottle swimming in a pool and an impressionist depiction of a bottle. 

10. Operating with Virtual Reality

Doctors at the Instituto Estadual do Cérebro Paulo Niemeyer in Brazil have successfully separated conjoined twins. The staff prepared for the surgeries by creating digital versions of the twins’ brains and using virtual reality to conduct trial surgeries with specialists in London. 

Image credit: Flickr user Kurtis Garbutt

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