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Welcome to the March 1, 2023, edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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The flexible 3D bioprinter developed at UNSW Sydney was able to 3D-print a variety of materials with different shapes on the surface of a pig’s kidney. 3D Bioprinting Inside the Body Could Be Possible Thanks to Soft Robot
UNSW Sydney Newsroom (Australia)
Neil Martin
February 28, 2023

Engineers at Australia's University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW Sydney) have unveiled a prototype device that can three-dimensionally (3D) print living cells directly onto internal organs. The flexible 3D bioprinter's maneuverable three-axis swivel head prints the bioink at the end of an externally controlled robotic arm. The printing nozzle can be programmed to print pre-determined shapes, or operated manually when more complex or undetermined bioprinting is required. In addition, the team employed a machine learning-based controller to assist the printing process. UNSW Sydney's Thanh Nho Do said, "This system offers the potential for the precise reconstruction of three-dimensional wounds inside the body, such as gastric wall injuries or damage and disease inside the colon."

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'Take It Down': A Tool for Teens to Remove Explicit Images
Associated Press
Barbara Ortutay
February 27, 2023

Take It Down, a new tool operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), allows an individual to anonymously request a participating platform remove an explicit image, whether real or generated by artificial intelligence. The process involves creating a digital fingerprint of the image (hash), which goes into a database and is then removed by the tech companies from their services. As of Feb. 27, the participating platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Yubo, OnlyFans, and Pornhub. NCMEC's Gavin Portnoy said, "Take It Down is made specifically for people who have an image that they have reason to believe is already out on the Web somewhere, or that it could be."

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Are Our Pets Leaking Information About Us?
Newcastle University (U.K.)
February 28, 2023

Computer scientists at the U.K.'s Newcastle University and Royal Holloway, University of London found security and privacy vulnerabilities among 40 Android applications for pets and farm animals such as wearable global positioning system trackers, automatic feeders, and pet cameras. Analysis revealed several apps leak owners' login or location details, including three that exposed login credentials in plain text within non-secure HTTP traffic. Thirty-six apps use tracking software, but the researchers said the apps do not notify users of their privacy policy very well. Advised Newcastle's Scott Harper, "We would urge anyone using these apps to take the time to ensure they are using a unique password, check the settings, and ensure that they consider how much data they are sharing or willing to share."

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Anas Al-Ghananim, an agricultural engineer who works with Palmear, uses the app to scan a tree. Using AI to Listen to Jordan's Date Palms
Al Jazeera
Zoe H. Robbin
February 26, 2023

Startup Palmear has developed a device that uses acoustic artificial intelligence (AI) to identify early signs of red palm weevil infestations, helping farmers protect their date palms with less reliance on chemicals. The startup partnered with Jordan's Ministry of Agriculture, which has launched a dashboard that shows trees that have undergone AI screening; ultimately, it will cover the entire country. A handheld device equipped with a small microphone is inserted into a palm tree, where it listens for the sounds of red palm weevil larvae chewing the tree’s trunk. The sounds are captured and filtered through an algorithm in the Palmear app, which lets users know whether there is an infestation.

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Research Makes Radar Navigation Safe for Autonomous Cars
Orebro University (Sweden)
February 27, 2023

Researchers at Sweden's Örebro University have improved the precision of radar sensors for navigation, which eventually could allow autonomous vehicles to drive safely in any type of weather. Using their technique, an autonomous vehicle can determine where it has traveled with a precision of 1 meter. With radar positioning nearing the precision that can be achieved by the laser sensors most often used in autonomous vehicles, radar sensors ultimately could replace laser sensors for use in conditions with low visibility. Said Örebro University's Daniel Adolfsson, "The advantage with radar is that it works in all weather conditions and can 'see' through smoke and dust."

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Scientists Target 'Biocomputing' Breakthrough with Human Brain Cells
Financial Times
Clive Cookson
February 28, 2023

An international team of scientists has charted a path to creating a biological computer powered by human brain cells that could allegedly overtake silicon-based machines while using less energy. This "organoid intelligence" will feature brain organoid arrays cultured from stem cells and linked to sensors and output devices. Johns Hopkins University's Thomas Hartung said, "I expect an intelligent dynamic system based on synthetic biology, but not constrained by the many functions the brain has to serve in an organism." Hartung said a critical step will enable organoids to grow from about 50,000 cells now to about 10 million by better permeating them with nutrients. Hartung acknowledged commercial biocomputing development could take decades, while an "embedded ethics" framework will ensure all ethical ramifications are vetted by teams of scientists, ethicists, and the public.

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The Intel logo at a temporary office in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum 2022. Intel Releases Software Platform for Quantum Computing Developers
Jane Lanhee Lee
February 28, 2023

Intel Corp. has rolled out the Intel Quantum SDK, a software platform developers can use to build quantum algorithms. Those algorithms ultimately will be run on a simulated quantum computing system under development at Intel that is based on its silicon chip-making technology. The platform is accessible to developers without quantum computing expertise because it allows quantum algorithms to be built using the C++ programming language. Said Intel Labs' Anne Matsuura, "The Intel Quantum SDK helps programmers get ready for future large-scale commercial quantum computers. It will also advance the industry by creating a community of developers that will accelerate the development of applications."

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Theodore Kim and collaborators from Pixar designed an elastic simulation system for more efficient, realistic animations. Yale Professor Wins Academy Award for Technical Achievement
Yale Daily News
Maria Korolik
March 1, 2023

Yale University computer science professor Theodore Kim and collaborators at Pixar Animation Studios received a Technical Achievement Academy Award for developing the Fizt2 system that models elastic materials in animation. The developers revisited the fundamental physics of the Fizt cloth simulator's collision detection and response algorithms in order to compute core calculations quickly and precisely. Kim said the team aimed to make the algorithms more efficient and stable by finding "some elegant new equations that had been hiding deep inside the math this entire time." One goal was to furnish a system that could help artists incorporate physics into animations, while Pixar's David Eberle said another goal involved adding volume simulation.

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Mobile Giants Announce United Interface to Lure Cloud Developers
Thomas Seal
February 27, 2023

A coalition of the world's largest mobile phone operators unveiled at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a united interface that grants developers universal access to their networks. The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) said major cloud providers, including Amazon's Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Azure, support the Open Gateway portal. GSMA's Mats Granryd said, "We have the phenomenal reach down to the base station and out into your pocket. And that's what we're trying to make available for the developer community to ultimately benefit you as a consumer or you as a business."

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This augmented reality headset can combine computer vision and wireless perception to automatically locate a specific item that is hidden from view, and then guide the user to retrieve it. Augmented Reality Headset Enables Users to See Hidden Objects
MIT News
Adam Zewe
February 27, 2023

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have combined computer vision and wireless perception into X-AR, an augmented reality (AR) headset that can visualize hidden objects. X-AR employs radio frequency (RF) signals to find concealed items with RF identification tags; those items are represented by a transparent sphere to guide headset wearers to their locations. The system confirms that users have retrieved the correct object once it is in their hand. Tests in a warehouse-like setting showed X-AR could localize hidden items to within 9.8 centimeters (3.8 inches) on average, while verifying that users retrieved the correct item 96% of the time.

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Let There Be (Controlled) Light
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Germany)
February 23, 2023

Physicists at Germany's Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), TU Dresden, and Leibniz-Institut für Kristallzüchtung have demonstrated the controlled creation of single-photon emitters in silicon at the nanoscale. The work is a breakthrough in the development of photonic integrated circuits (PICs), which are necessary to control photonic quantum states and allow for the creation of novel quantum technology applications. Controlled monolithic integration of single-photon sources would provide a resource-efficient method for integrating millions of photonic qubits in PICs. Said HZDR's Nico Klinger, "We show how focused ion beams from liquid metal alloy ion sources are used to place single-photon emitters at desired positions on the [silicon] wafer while obtaining a high creation yield and high spectral quality."

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In natural perspective (left), the ball appears slightly larger at the same distance than it does in linear perspective (right). Videogames Have Been Getting Perspective Wrong, but There's a Fix
New Scientist
Edd Gent
February 24, 2023

An international team of researchers has developed software that corrects perspective errors in videogames by tailoring images using a mathematical model that emulates how the brain bends light and alters a scene's geometry. The researchers showed 195 people images from the game "Hammer 2" rendered either in their default linear perspective or in software-fixed natural perspective. Participants had to fathom a target ball's distance in 72 images in the distinct formats and with a field of view of varying widths. Although subjects frequently overestimated distances, they could better guess them in natural perspective. Robert Pepperell at the U.K.'s Cardiff Metropolitan University said such perspective adjustments could make videogames and computer-generated movies more immersive.

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Event Mining for Explanatory Modeling
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