Ocean with evening sky

You’re at your desk in elementary school listening to your teacher describe how Baleen whales eat plankton as their food source, and you think it’s bizarre that such a large animal can survive on such tiny foodstuffs. But what your teacher doesn’t tell the class is that those tiny foodstuffs do much more than feed whales. They also act as ocean, lake, and river sensors because they’re extremely sensitive to shifts in water. If their behavior changes, it can indicate changing water quality or temperature. But we need to know more about plankton reactions to water changes to understand what these tiny creatures may be telling us. Maybe there’s been an oil spill, chemical runoff, or a looming red tide.

IBM has an idea. It’s created a small microscope for in-ocean observation of plankton behavior. Until now, scientists generally observe plankton behavior in a lab, but with IBM deploying their ocean microscopes around the world, or at least that’s the current aim, observing them in their natural habitat will help us understand plankton behavior better, hopefully leading to identifying when something goes wrong in our oceans.

Photo Found Here: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sea-nature-sky-sunset-37403/

Pile of plastic trash

It can be hard to know which types of plastics are recyclable, and it can also be hard to motivate people to recycle. That’s why one company developed a robot to do that for us. Using cameras, sensors, and a Bayesian classifier, Trashbot scans and sorts trash as it’s thrown away in the Philadelphia airport so we don’t have to.

Photo Found Here: https://www.pexels.com/photo/assorted-plastic-bottles-802221/

A written check

For many companies, legal fees from external lawyers can be difficult to track and manage—it can be time consuming and messy to do a line-by-line invoice review—and lawyers can be expensive. One company saw an opportunity to use AI to help businesses track and save on law expenses. After lawyers submit their invoices through this company’s software, artificial intelligence steps in to review them and see if lawyers may have billed for the wrong line items (per billing agreements), and then it flags those line items for human review.
Over time, another AI element of the software also tracks how much different law firms bill you for similar work tasks, helping you identify which firm to chose for certain tasks and even negotiate for better pricing.

What are the implications? This reduces mundane accounting tasks, and it helps reduce lawyer fees.

Photo Found Here: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-check-cheque-close-up-259226/

Doctor wearing a stethescope

When dealing with a long-term ailment, like asthma, it means a lot of trips to the doctor. But what if you could reduce those trips by enabling yourself to monitor your symptoms or your child’s symptoms from home? That’s what this wireless stethoscope, StethoMe, aims to do. It monitors heartbeat, body temperature, and lung sounds. If it finds something unusual as it compares those numbers against its repository of information, then it will ping your family doctor. The creators are currently looking for funding to commercialize the tool.

What are the implications? It reports respiratory issues to your doctor faster and saves you time and potentially money by reducing the number of your visits to the doctor.

Photo Found Here: https://pixabay.com/en/doctor-stethoscope-medical-2860504/

It’s easy for lung doctors to find larger nodules that are developing into cancer, but often when discovered, those cancerous nodules have advanced too far and the doctors can’t save the patients’ lives. Now there’s an AI that can help doctors identify smaller cancerous nodules earlier. The earlier the detection, the higher the likelihood of patient survival.
What are the implications? Not only does this identify the cancerous nodules earlier and increase life expectancy, but it also saves doctors up to four and a half hours a day in analyzing scans—time that can be used to research cancer treatments and to better treat and communicate with patients.

Photo Found Here: https://pixabay.com/en/diagnosis-xray-chest-lungs-ribs-1476620/

Girl with blue hair

Want to try a new hair color but don’t want to spend your money and time only to find out it doesn’t work for you? Take the guesswork out of it by trying this user-friendly app. It realistically shows you what you’d look like with a new hair color.

What are the implications? This app takes the risk out of coloring your hair by giving you a better idea of what that color would look like on you before you take the plunge.

Photo Found Here: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-attractive-beautiful-cute-371160/

A group of people at a concert

Computers are now able to take videos of crowded places and accurately identify multiple humans in them in real time without using a depth sensor. (Thank you, Facebook.) That concept may be hard to mentally visualize, so take a look at this video before we continue:

This tech advancement is interesting, and it has the potential to morph into other applications. Facebook would like to use it for virtual reality tech. But some have suggested law enforcement would be really interested in this tech to track suspicious people in a crowded surveillance video setting. With video surveillance search engines, they could isolate all people who look like they’re punching, kicking, shooting a gun, or whatever other specific action law enforcement would like to look for. Maybe 2-D video analyzation could be the next update to China’s police glasses.

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

When the Justice League came out a few months ago, people were up in arms about the poor CGI used to cover up Henry Cavill’s mustache, a mustache he couldn’t shave because he was under another movie contract that required it. It turns out that a $500 computer and an AI might be able to erase Superman’s mustache a bit better than Hollywood did. Watch the video comparison here:

Photo Found Here: https://pixabay.com/en/superhero-shirt-tearing-superman-2503808/

Drones over a cityscape

Researchers have been training autonomous drones to avoid hitting things while on the roads, and they’ve seen initial success (see video below). But the major success comes from the fact that this research team successfully trained drones to do this while using very little processing power. That’s impressive. This is a great breakthrough because it usually takes a lot of computing power for autonomous drones to navigate. Also, one thing it could do in the future is enable nano drones to autonomously function in urban settings as well.

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash