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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers December 30, 2023 to January 5, 2024 and includes articles on training an AI system to authenticate Renaissance paintings and opening an autonomous restaurant.

1. Mapping Human Maritime Activity
A team of researchers led by Global Fishing Watch, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to tracking commercial fishing activity, has used satellite imagery and an AI system to create the most precise map of human maritime activity yet. Using the map, the team found that 75 percent of the world’s industrial fishing ships and 30 percent of transport and energy ships are not publicly tracked.

2. Verifying Identities
The UK will start testing new e-gates at airports later this year. The e-gates use facial verification technology to confirm passengers’ identities and enable border officials to process travelers faster and more efficiently than manual passport checks.

3. Completing Chores
LG, an electronics and home appliances company based in South Korea, has built an AI-powered robot that can act as a home assistant. The robot contains sensors and a camera that collect data on its surrounding environment and an AI system that uses the data to complete domestic tasks, such as monitoring pets and offering medication reminders.

4. Flipping Burgers
Miso Robotics, a U.S.-based robotics company, has partnered with U.S.-based retail technology company Cali Group and U.S.-based biometric technology company PopID to open an autonomous burger restaurant in Pasadena, California. The restaurant features autonomous robots that can cook burgers and fries and offers payment options via kiosks or facial recognition.

5. Navigating Mazes
Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a robot that can play Labyrinth, a wooden maze game, faster than the human world record. The robot has a camera that collects data on game play and an AI system that uses the data to direct motors to manipulate the game’s board and maneuver a ball to the end of the maze.

6. Tracking Public Work Requests
The New Orleans Department of Public Works and Mayor’s Office of Innovation have launched a dashboard to track 311 public work requests. Residents can use the dashboard to determine whether someone has reported an infrastructure issue and view projects’ statuses.

7. Launching Autonomous Shuttles
Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation has launched Pennsylvania’s first autonomous shuttle at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The shuttle will operate on the same route as the area’s existing shuttle services and can help reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles without requiring more shuttle drivers in the future.

8. Regaining Mobility
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have created a glove that can help patients regain hand dexterity after having a stroke. The glove has sensors and an AI system that can determine if patients play the correct note while practicing the piano. If patients play the wrong note, the glove responds with tactile feedback in real time.

9. Teaching Fire Safety
Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Queen Victoria Hospital, and Cineon Training, a U.K.-based immersive training company, have created an app to train National Health Service (NHS) workers on fire safety. The app uses virtual reality to teach workers how to fight fires, evacuate patients, select extinguishers, and more.

10. Authenticating Art
An international team of researchers have trained an AI system to authenticate works of art from Renaissance artist Raphael. The team used the system to analyze his painting Madonna della Rosa and found that a different artist likely painted the face of one of the painting’s subjects.

Image credit: Flickr user Floris van Halm

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