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Rural North Carolinia residents will soon get their meds delivered by drone

Engadget

Drones have already shown that they can reliably deliver vital shipments of blood across Rwanda, drop off prescriptions to senior citizens in Florida, and help quarantining families stay safe with contactless deliveries. Now they're going to be buzzing through the skies of rural North Carolina thanks to a novel delivery service devised by drug-maker Merck and drone-maker Volansi. The plan is simple: use Volansi's 7-foot long "Gemini" quadcopter to ferry packages of cold chain medicines -- such as vaccines, glaucoma treatments, insulin, and asthma inhalers -- from Merck's Wilson, NC drug lab to the nine regional hospitals that make up Vidant Healthplex-Wilson. This medical network serves more than 1.4 million people across 29 counties in eastern North Carolina. "We've seen the world's supply chain strained like never before from the impact of Coronavirus," said Hannan Parvizian, CEO of Volansi, said in a press statement.


Machine learning predicts how long museum visitors will engage with exhibits

#artificialintelligence

In a proof-of-concept study, education and artificial intelligence researchers have demonstrated the use of a machine-learning model to predict how long individual museum visitors will engage with a given exhibit. The finding opens the door to a host of new work on improving user engagement with informal learning tools. "Education is an important part of the mission statement for most museums," says Jonathan Rowe, co-author of the study and a research scientist in North Carolina State University's Center for Educational Informatics (CEI). "The amount of time people spend engaging with an exhibit is used as a proxy for engagement and helps us assess the quality of learning experiences in a museum setting. It's not like school--you can't make visitors take a test."


Skydio gains FAA approval to conduct bridge inspections with drones in North Carolina

#artificialintelligence

Drone startup Skydio today announced the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) statewide approval to fly Skydio drones beyond visual line of sight to inspect bridges. Skydio, which describes the waiver as the first of its kind, says the NCDOT will be able to conduct maintenance activities without the use of visual observers like trained pilots or staff. A recent study by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials found that taxpayer cost per bridge inspection can be reduced 75% by switching from traditional methods to drones. The Minnesota Department of Transportation found that using drones for bridge inspection offsets some or all of the costs, depending on the bridge configuration and location, with a trial of drone-assisted inspections saving an average of 40% over traditional methods and providing ostensibly superior data and reporting. Going forward, the NCDOT's inspectors can send Skydio 2 drones to inspect critical structures below bridges in North Carolina instead of conducting rappels or using "snooper trucks."


New Research Shows How Deep Learning Can Help Advance Neural Degeneration Studies – IAM Network

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning models can help advance research on neural degeneration, showing its capabilities in identifying and categorizing its forms on a model organism. Using the organism Caenorhabditis elegans or the roundworm – a 1-millimeter near-transparent nematode – researchers used deep learning to conduct a quantitative image-based analysis of neural degeneration patterns observed in the PVD neuron of the organism. Researchers from North Carolina State University have detailed their work in the journal BMC Biology, September 23. The worms were found alive last week in a biological container that was among the debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia recovered in East Texas. The worms are descendants of those that were part of an experiment that flew on Columbia's last mission before the spacecraft broke up on reentry February 1, killing all seven astronauts.


New Research Shows How Deep Learning Can Help Advance Neural Degeneration Studies

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning models can help advance research on neural degeneration, showing its capabilities in identifying and categorizing its forms on a model organism. Using the organism Caenorhabditis elegans or the roundworm - a 1-millimeter near-transparent nematode - researchers used deep learning to conduct a quantitative image-based analysis of neural degeneration patterns observed in the PVD neuron of the organism. Researchers from North Carolina State University have detailed their work in the journal BMC Biology, September 23. "Researchers want to study the mechanisms that drive neural degeneration, with the long-term goal of finding ways to slow or prevent the degeneration associated with age or disease," explained Adriana San Miguel in a NCSU news release. San Miguel serves as the corresponding author on the study, as well as a chemical and biomolecular assistant professor.


Protecting Our Future Food Supply with AI and Geospatial Analytics

#artificialintelligence

Corn, coffee, chocolate, even wine are a few of the foods that stand to be massively disrupted by the effects of climate change, population growth and water scarcity -- if they haven't already. A recent study found the yields of the world's top ten crops have begun to decrease, a drop that is disproportionately affecting food-insecure countries. The situation stands to worsen. Researchers project that the global population will increase by 3 billion in 2050. To feed these additional global residents, agricultural production must increase by 50 percent, says Dr. Ranga Raju Vatsavai, an associate professor in computer science at North Carolina State University and the associate director of the Center for Geospatial Analytics.


Trump agrees to deal in which TikTok will partner with Oracle and Walmart

#artificialintelligence

President Donald Trump said Saturday he has approved a deal in principle in which Oracle and Walmart will partner with the viral video-sharing app TikTok in the U.S., allowing the popular app to avoid a shutdown. "I have given the deal my blessing -- if they get it done that's great, if they don't that's okay too," Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before departing for North Carolina. "I approved the deal in concept." The U.S. Department of Commerce announced it would delay the prohibition of U.S. transactions with TikTok until next Sunday. Shortly after Trump's comments, Oracle announced it was chosen as TikTok's secure cloud provider and will become a minority investor with a 12.5% stake.


New Data Processing Module Makes Deep Neural Networks Smarter

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence researchers at North Carolina State University have improved the performance of deep neural networks by combining feature normalization and feature attention modules into a single module that they call attentive normalization (AN). The hybrid module improves the accuracy of the system significantly, while using negligible extra computational power. "Feature normalization is a crucial element of training deep neural networks, and feature attention is equally important for helping networks highlight which features learned from raw data are most important for accomplishing a given task," says Tianfu Wu, corresponding author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State. "But they have mostly been treated separately. We found that combining them made them more efficient and effective."


AI in Education: An Initiative to Assist Student in Learning

#artificialintelligence

Everyday, with the world harnessing new information, the students are feeling the challenge to retain it. With the vast amount of information and subjects that demands understanding often feel getting pushed by education. While some of the students can overcome this challenge, many others need assistance to counter it. But it becomes difficult for a teacher, to selectively aid student in learning, especially when they also feel the burden of collective performance. To address this issue, an artificial intelligence is designed by the researchers from North Carolina State University, from predicting the position of educational games in inducing learning amongst students.


Walmart launches a drone delivery program in North Carolina

Engadget

Shortly after receiving final FAA approval for drone deliveries, Amazon already has a rival. Walmart announced that it will start a pilot program with drone company Flytrex to deliver groceries and other household essentials from its stores in Fayetteville, NC. Flytrex had previously received FAA approval for food deliveries in North Carolina. The pilot program will mostly be used to gather information for a future service, so the Fayetteville skies won't be filled with drones just yet. "The drones, which are controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard, will help us gain valuable insight into the customer and associate experience -- from picking and packing to takeoff and delivery," said Walmart senior VP Tom Ward.