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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers November 5, 2022 to November 11, 2022 and includes articles about opening a fully autonomous burger restaurant and using a supercomputer to measure volcanic plumes.

1. Detecting Lung Diseases

Researchers at the University of the West of Scotland have created an AI system that can detect signs of pneumonia, tuberculosis, and COVID-19 in x-ray images of lungs in a matter of minutes. In tests, the system was 98 percent accurate.

2. Launching Quantum Computers

IBM has launched a quantum computer, known as Osprey, with 433 qubits. The new computer has more than three times the number of qubits as Eagle, the quantum computer with 127 qubits that the company launched last year. 

3. Automating Public Transportation

Israel’s Transportation Ministry, the Israel Innovation Authority, and Ayalon Highways, an
Israeli road construction company, have partnered to test autonomous buses for public transportation. Over the next two years, selected bus companies will first test autonomous buses in experimental areas before incorporating buses into public transportation routes.

4. Measuring Volcanic Plumes

An international team of researchers has used a supercomputer and satellite data to determine the height of the volcanic plume from the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai eruption, a massive eruption in the southern Pacific ocean in January 2022. The team found that it reached an altitude of 35 miles, making it the tallest volcanic plume ever recorded and the first plume to reach the mesosphere. 

5. Writing Code

GitHub, a U.S.-based software development platform, has added an experimental voice-based interaction system to its AI-powered coding assistant Copilot. Programmers can now create or edit code by issuing verbal instructions to Copilot. 

6. Delivering Goods with Drones

Wing, a U.S.-based drone delivery company, and DoorDash have partnered to deliver goods via autonomous drones in Logan, Australia. Customers can use DoorDash’s app to order goods from certain convenience and grocery stores and receive them via drone within 15 minutes. 

7. Treating Hair Loss

Researchers at Qingdao University of Science and Technology in China have created a microneedle patch that can treat balding in patients with androgenic alopecia, a common form of hair loss. The team used an AI system to predict which chemical compounds could stop a cause of androgenic alopecia and added one of the compounds to the patch. In tests, mice treated with the patch regrew denser hair than mice treated with testosterone or minoxidil, two common treatments for balding. 

8. Monitoring Air Quality

The Louisiana Environmental Action Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental research and advocacy, has launched a new project to collect data on air pollution along the Mississippi River industrial corridor, a region commonly referred to as “cancer alley.” Participants will use cars equipped with sensors to collect real-time data on air quality and pollution levels throughout the region at different times of the day. Researchers will then use the data to create maps showing exposure levels. 

9. Editing Product Listings

PhotoRoom, a U.S.-based photograph editing software company, has created a text-to-image system that can generate new backgrounds in product images and modify them to fit e-commerce platforms’ standards. Online merchants and retailers can use the tool to create product listings more quickly.

10. Cooking Burgers

RoboBurger, a U.S.-based autonomous burger restaurant, has opened at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, the restaurant’s first opening in an institution for higher education. The fully autonomous restaurant uses an AI system and robotic technology to grill patties, toast buns, dispense condiments, assemble burgers, and clean its griddle. 

Image credit: Flickr user Stephen Holdaway

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