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Infections and Infectious Diseases


Bringing Stability to Wireless Connections

Communications of the ACM

Communication is more important than ever, with everything from college to CrossFit going virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nobody understands this better than 2020 Marconi Prize recipient Andrea Goldsmith, who has spent her career making the wireless connections on which we rely more capable and stable. A pioneer of both theoretical and practical advances in adaptive wireless communications, Goldsmith spoke about her work on multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) channel performance limits, her new role as the incoming dean at Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, and what's next for networking. As an undergrad, you studied engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. What drew you to wireless communications?


Technological Responses to COVID-19

Communications of the ACM

Pratt Miller demonstrated its LAAD disinfecting robot at Gerald R Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, MI, in July 2020. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be felt for years to come, regardless of the presence and availability of a vaccine. Physical measures adopted by humans, such as social distancing or wearing masks, are likely to be utilized for years to come, along with technological developments deployed in both public and private spaces that are focused on enforcing social distancing, enabling more efficient cleaning and disinfecting of spaces, and driving more automation and intelligence to reduce humans' direct physical interaction with each other. Some companies and individuals feel the best way to avoid COVID-19 or other viruses is to simply avoid all unnecessary human contact. As such, many companies have introduced or fast-tracked the use of automation to lessen their reliance on human workers, as well as to enhance their responsiveness to customer queries.


Salvaging the school year depends on quickly vaccinating teachers, lower infection rates

Los Angeles Times

Saving the Los Angeles school year has become a race against the clock -- as campuses are unlikely to reopen until teachers are vaccinated against COVID-19 and infection rates decline at least three-fold, officials said Monday. The urgency to salvage the semester in L.A. and throughout the state was underscored by new research showing the depth of student learning loss and by frustrated parents who organized statewide to pressure officials to bring back in-person instruction. A rapid series of developments Monday -- involving the governor, L.A. Unified School District, the teachers union and the county health department -- foreshadowed the uncertainties that will play out in the high-stakes weeks ahead for millions of California students. "We're never going to get back if teachers can't get vaccinated," said Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach), who chairs the state's Assembly Education Committee and has two high schoolers learning from home. He expressed frustration that educators are not being prioritized by the L.A. County Health Department even as teachers in Long Beach are scheduled for vaccines this week. Although Long Beach is part of L.A. County, it operates its own independent health agency.


Comparing Different AI Approaches to Email Security

#artificialintelligence

Innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) have fundamentally changed the email security landscape in recent years, but it can often be hard to determine what makes one system different than the next. In reality, under that umbrella term significant differences exist in approaches that may determine whether the technology provides genuine protection or simply a perceived notion of defense. The Rise of Fearware When the global pandemic hit, and governments began enforcing travel bans and imposing stringent restrictions, there was undoubtedly a collective sense of fear and uncertainty. As explained in this blog, cybercriminals were quick to capitalize, taking advantage of people's desire for information to send out topical emails related to COVID-19 containing malware or credential-grabbing links. These emails often spoofed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, later on, as the economic impact of the pandemic began to take hold, the Small Business Administration (SBA).


Software Bots Multiply to Cope With 'Stretched' Resources

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

There are also RPA platforms designed to enable businesses to make their own custom-made bots. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. plans to accelerate its use of RPA over the next several months, said Mike Maresca, the drugstore chain's global chief technology officer. The aim, he said, is to make operations more resilient to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while adapting to changing customer needs, among other goals. Mr. Maresca said the company has already deployed bots in several business areas, including finance, human resources, supply chain and information technology, using an RPA platform developed by Automation Anywhere Inc. The bots have helped streamline time-intensive processes, enabling the company to handle a growing volume of online orders and customer queries about Covid-19, he said.


Hyundai rolls out adorable customer service robot for its showrooms

Engadget

In an effort to offer assistance without any unnecessary human interaction, Hyundai has unveiled the DAL-e, a new customer service robot that is both adorable yet functional. It debuted today in a Hyundai Motor showroom in southern Seoul in a pilot operation. The company says part of the purpose behind DAL-e is to accommodate customers who'd like to reduce human contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DAL-e is an acronym for "Drive you, Assist you, Link with you-experience," and the robot is equipped with "state-of-the-art artificial intelligence" designed to deliver a friendly customer service experience. It has facial recognition plus a language-comprehension platform that should allow it to communicate with potential customers.


First commercial autonomous bus services hit Singapore roads

ZDNet

Commercial autonomous bus services have been rolled out for the first time in Singapore, running two routes at Singapore Science Park 2 and Jurong Island. They will operate during a three-month trial during which data will be collected to assess the viability of the on-demand service as well as passenger safety and service reliability and efficiency. Development of the project involved multiple organisations and government agencies, with the aim to drive and accelerate sustainable deployment of robotics in the country. Led collectively under the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Robotics, the initiative also was facilitated by the Economic Development Board and Land Transport Authority. The AfA itself was brought together by the Emerging Stronger Taskforce, established by the government to review how Singapore could stay economically resilient and tap new areas of growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID-inspired touchless tech and innovations to help keep your home germ-free

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

COVID-19 has forced us all to think about new ways to avoid germs at work, while in public places like grocery stores and even in the privacy of our own homes. Fortunately, interior designers and manufacturers are responding to the demand and offering solutions for our homes that are aimed at reducing the spread of germs, viruses and other particles that may be harmful to our health. Industry professionals and home-goods retailers shared some of the more helpful ideas, new technologies and innovations currently available with NorthJersey.com, Smart home technology -- voice and motion-activated appliances and other features -- has grown tremendously in the recent past, and touchless options have expanded since COVID-19 to meet the demand. "Since May 1, the term'touchless' has been the GROHE website's number one searched term," says Stephany Osmas, a spokesperson for the manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom fixtures.


Fukushima College robot wins top prize for nuclear decommissioning

The Japan Times

Fukushima – A robot created by a team from a technology college in northeastern Japan recently won the top prize in a robotics competition that had the theme of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The Mehikari robot of Fukushima College earned praise for its speed as well as ability to employ different methods to retrieve mock debris similar in size to that at the plant, the site of a nuclear disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The robot completed the set task in about 2 minutes, the fastest time, in the annual competition aimed at fostering future engineers that was attended by students from 13 colleges belonging to the National Institute of Technology. Sunday's competition was the fifth of its kind. Students in 14 teams from the colleges across the country such as in Osaka and Kumamoto prefectures were tasked this year with developing robots to remove fuel debris from the plant, organizers said.


Hyundai debuts DAL-e: your future customer service robot

ZDNet

Hyundai has introduced DAL-e, an automated robot the company hopes will serve humans in an "intimate and personal way." DAL-e, short for "Drive you, Assist you, Link with you-experience," is a compact robot measuring 1,160x600x600 mm and weighing 80kg that can zip around shop floors and can be programmed to offer "bespoke" customer services. On Monday, the automaker said DAL-e is backed by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), including language processing -- a useful addition to recognize queries and manage our accents -- facial recognition technologies, and mobility. Hyundai is currently demonstrating DAL-e in one of the firm's showrooms in Seoul, South Korea, with a view to use the pilot to improve the customer services robot's AI capabilities. DAL-e "independently communicates with people using precise recognition capabilities and mobility functions," Hyundai says, touting the robot as a means to lighten the load on existing, human staff.