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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers January 20, 2024 to January 26, 2024 and includes articles on building robot dinosaurs and expanding autonomous vehicle services.

1. Taking Temperatures
Google has updated its Thermometer app in the Pixel 8 Pro smartphone to include a feature that can take users’ body temperatures as accurately as temporal artery thermometers. The feature uses data from an infrared sensor, a laser detection autofocus sensor in the smartphone, and an AI system to measure temperatures. The feature enables users to measure temperatures more efficiently and conveniently than with other thermometers.

2. Launching Quantum Computers
Academia Sinica, a Taiwanese research organization, has launched a quantum computer with five qubits. The computer is the country’s first domestically built quantum computer.

3. Enhancing Transactions
PayPal, a U.S.-based financial technology company, has new AI-powered features to enhance transactions for merchants and customers, including one that uses customers’ past transactions to predict what customers might purchase from a merchant next and another that enables merchants to reach out to potential customers with personalized offers.

4. Riding in Robotaxis
Waymo, a U.S.-based autonomous vehicle company, has announced plans to expand its paid services to Los Angeles and suburbs near San Francisco. If approved, users can request rides in autonomous vehicles to locations such as San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

5. Predicting Adverse Cardiac Events
Researchers at the University of Michigan have created a machine learning model that can predict adverse events, such as the need for a blood transfusion, during angioplasties with stent placements. The team trained the system with data from over 100,000 patients at 48 hospitals.

6. Tracking Respiratory Illnesses
The Texas Department of State Health Services has launched a dashboard to track respiratory virus transmission in the state. Residents can use the dashboard to view data on emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

7. Generating Videos
Researchers at Google, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and Tel Aviv University have created an AI system that can generate high-quality, realistic videos. The team trained the system with 30 million videos and their text-based captions.

8. Recreating Dinosaurs
A team of researchers at Seoul National University, Sungkyunkwan University, and the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have created a robot that resembles a Caudipteryx, a prehistoric dinosaur, to test how birds’ wings and tails developed. The team found that dinosaurs may have developed feathered appendages to better hunt for prey.

9. Taking Orders
Jersey Mike’s Sub, a U.S.-based sandwich restaurant chain, has started testing an AI system that can take customers’ orders, answer questions about nutritional information, specials, and parking at stores, and more. Stores can use the system to automate responding to phone calls and enable employees to spend time with in-store customers.

10. Transporting Baggage
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport has partnered with Aurrigo, a U.K.-based transportation technology company, and International Airlines Group, a U.K.-based airlines holding company, to launch an autonomous baggage tractor. Airport staff can use the tractor, known as Auto-DollyTug, to transport baggage across airport grounds more efficiently.

Image credit: Flickr user David Kryzaniak

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