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An edited collection of advanced computing news from Communications of the ACM, ACM TechNews, other ACM resources, and news sites around the Web.


Reducing Digital Overload
From ACM News

Reducing Digital Overload

Considering ways to curb screen time and build healthier habits.

High-Speed Projectors Power Virtual Air Hockey With Shape-Changing Paddles
From ACM TechNews

High-Speed Projectors Power Virtual Air Hockey With Shape-Changing Paddles

Scientists at Japan's Tohoku University have invented a virtual version of air hockey that uses shapeshifting virtual projections of paddles and pucks.

Lost in L.A.? Fire Department Can Find You with What3words Location Technology
From ACM TechNews

Lost in L.A.? Fire Department Can Find You with What3words Location Technology

The Los Angeles Fire Department has partnered with digital location startup What3words, which has assigned a unique three-word name to each of 57 billion 10-foot...

Companies Beef Up AI Models with Synthetic Data
From ACM TechNews

Companies Beef Up AI Models with Synthetic Data

Companies are building synthetic datasets when real-world data is unavailable to train artificial intelligence models to identify anomalies.

Open-Source Software to Help Cities Plant in Pursuit of Clean Air
From ACM TechNews

Open-Source Software to Help Cities Plant in Pursuit of Clean Air

Researchers in the U.K. have developed free open source software that towns and cities can use to estimate reductions in air pollutant concentrations from different...

 The Space Wide Web is Ready to Launch
From ACM News

The Space Wide Web is Ready to Launch

There is even more to space innovation than the fledgling space tourism sector. Somewhat out of the public eye, there is a fast-growing space tech industry.

The Robot Will See You Now: Health-Care Chatbots Boom but Still Can’t Replace Doctors
From ACM News

The Robot Will See You Now: Health-Care Chatbots Boom but Still Can’t Replace Doctors

Health-care chatbots have been used for years, but they exploded in popularity over the past year as the system became overwhelmed with covid-related questions...

Trucks Move Past Cars on the Road to Autonomy
From ACM News

Trucks Move Past Cars on the Road to Autonomy

Money is pouring into autonomous trucking startups, just as many are souring on the short-term prospects for self-driving cars.

Researchers Hid Malware Inside an AI's 'Neurons' And It Worked Scarily Well
From ACM News

Researchers Hid Malware Inside an AI's 'Neurons' And It Worked Scarily Well

  In a proof-of-concept, researchers reported they could embed malware in up to half of an AI model's nodes and still obtain very high accuracy.

From Satellite to Smartphone, App Warns Public of Unsafe Water
From ACM TechNews

From Satellite to Smartphone, App Warns Public of Unsafe Water

A new smartphone application can provide early warnings of cholera contamination in water.

Space-Enabled Drones Deliver Rapid Coronavirus Response
From ACM TechNews

Space-Enabled Drones Deliver Rapid Coronavirus Response

U.K.-based air mobility company Skyports used satellite-enabled drones to transport coronavirus tests and samples, medicines, and equipment between medical practices...

Screen Recognition Makes Apps More Accessible
From ACM News

Screen Recognition Makes Apps More Accessible

Apple's Screen Recognition algorithm identifies the metadata necessary to communicate the functions of any app or Web page to the visually impaired.

Astronomers Use Artificial Intelligence to Reveal the Actual Shape of the Universe
From ACM News

Astronomers Use Artificial Intelligence to Reveal the Actual Shape of the Universe

Using artificial intelligence-driven data analysis to peel back the noise and find the actual shape of the universe.

Air-Powered Computer Memory Helps Soft Robot Control Movements
From ACM TechNews

Air-Powered Computer Memory Helps Soft Robot Control Movements

A new air-powered computer memory can be utilized to control soft robots, thanks to engineers at the University of California, Riverside.

Joke-Cracking Chatbots Boost Learning Levels
From ACM News

Joke-Cracking Chatbots Boost Learning Levels

The role of humor in training, and conversing with, chatbots.

Bourdain Documentary's Use of A.I. to Mimic Voice Draws Questions
From ACM News

Bourdain Documentary's Use of A.I. to Mimic Voice Draws Questions

The documentary "Roadrunner" by Morgan Neville uses 45 seconds of a voice that sounds like Bourdain, generated with artificial intelligence. Is it ethical?

Encrypting Photos on the Cloud to Keep Them Private
From ACM TechNews

Encrypting Photos on the Cloud to Keep Them Private

Computer scientists at Columbia University have developed a system that allows mobile users to encrypt personal images on cloud photo services in order to maintain...

Chatbot Can Explain Apps, Show How They Access Hardware or Data
From ACM TechNews

Chatbot Can Explain Apps, Show How They Access Hardware or Data

Researchers have developed a chatbot that can help designers and developers create new apps, and explain apps to end-users.

Autonomous Drone Swarm Can Localize Gas Leaks
From ACM TechNews

Autonomous Drone Swarm Can Localize Gas Leaks

Scientists have engineered a swarm of tiny drones capable of autonomously detecting and localizing gas sources in cramped indoor settings.

Stanford Researcher's Cryptography Can Preserve Genetic Privacy in Criminal DNA Profiling
From ACM TechNews

Stanford Researcher's Cryptography Can Preserve Genetic Privacy in Criminal DNA Profiling

Researchers have devised cryptography that permits searching for DNA matches in criminal cases while protecting the suspect's genetic privacy.
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