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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens
Laser beams

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers September 24, 2022 to September 30, 2022 and includes articles on using an AI-powered laser to zap cockroaches and deploying ADA-compliant autonomous vehicles. 

1. Turning Text Into Videos

Meta has created an AI system, known as Make-A-Video, that can generate new videos from user-submitted text prompts. Researchers trained the system with text-image pairs and unannotated videos. 

2. Improving Diagnostic Rates for Indigenous Peoples

Australia’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics, and the National Computational Infrastructure have partnered with Oxford Nanopore, a U.K.-based DNA and RNA sequencing technology company, to improve research and diagnostic rates for First Nations Australians with rare genetic disorders. The team will collect DNA samples from at least 500 First Nations Australians and use a supercomputer to analyze their genetic data. 

3. Launching Accessible Autonomous Vehicles

May Mobility and Via, two U.S.-based transportation technology companies, have partnered to deploy wheelchair-accessible semi-autonomous shuttles in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Travelers can use May Mobility’s app or call 211 to order a free ride from American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant autonomous vehicles with a human safety operator. The shuttles are the first ADA-compliant autonomous vehicles to operate in the United States. 

4. Testing Planetary Defense Systems

NASA has successfully crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid as part of its first test of a planetary defense system. The spacecraft used an autonomous navigation system to reach the asteroid in its final hours.

5. Eliminating Cockroaches

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland have created a laser that can kill cockroaches. The laser uses AI-powered cameras to locate bugs and determine if they are still moving or not before firing. 

6. Understanding Municipal Budgets

Officials in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have launched a tool to provide better access to municipal budget data. Residents can use the tool to view itemized operating budgets for each department, compare the mayor’s fiscal priorities with spending, and rank budget requests by sustainability and equity. 

7. Detecting Disease Progression

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a machine learning model that can detect signs of disease progression in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The team trained the system with data from clinical trials and observational studies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 

8. Searching for Points of Interest

Google has updated its Maps tool to display search results with augmented reality. Users can search for nearby restaurants, ATMs, or other points of interest on the Maps app, select a video feed option, and view the location of the results in their surrounding environment.

9. Managing Orthodontic Treatment Remotely

Align Technology, a U.S.-based orthodontic device company that manufactures clear aligners, has launched an AI-powered tool to help users manage their orthodontic treatment from home. The tool’s AI system can assess treatment progress from user-submitted photos and determine if the patient should advance to the next set of aligners. 

10. Creating Artwork

OpenAI, a U.S.-based AI research company, has opened access to its DALL-E 2 system to the public. The system can turn users’ written text into realistic images. 

Image credit: Flickr user Kevin Doncaster

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