Welcome to the October 18, 2023, edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

ACM TechNews mobile apps are available for Android phones and tablets (click here) and for iPhones (click here) and iPads (click here).

To view "Headlines At A Glance," hit the link labeled "Click here to view this online" found at the top of the page in the html version. The online version now has a button at the top labeled "Show Headlines."

A woman whas successfully been outfitted with a first-of-its-kind bionic appendag Bionic Hand Integrates with Woman's Nerves, Bones, Muscles
Alan Mozes
October 13, 2023

An international research team reported that a robotic hand attached to a Swedish woman in 2017 has fully integrated with her nerves, bones, and muscles since the procedure. The patient, who lost her right hand in a farming accident more than two decades ago, reported significant gains in function, a substantial reduction in phantom pain, and the absence of stump pain. Lead researcher Max Ortiz-Catalan of Sweden's Center for Bionics and Pain Research said the robotic hand is connected directly to her skeleton using osseo (bone)-integrated implants, which allow the prosthesis and the electrodes implanted in nerves and muscles to communicate. The electrodes collect information about localized nerve control, which is transmitted externally to a computer that uses artificial intelligence software to guide hand use.

Full Article
IIIT-H Spots Data Leak in Apps' Use of Autofill
Deccan Chronicle (India)
October 17, 2023

Researchers at India's International Institute of Information Technology-Hyderabad (IIIT-H) won the best paper award at the ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy 2023 for discovering accidental leakage of login credentials by the "autofill" function in Android-based applications to certain webpage-hosting apps. The researchers observed whenever apps load a login page in WebView and an autofill request is produced, the password managers (PMs) and the mobile operating system get confused about the target page for filling in credentials. IIIT-H's Ankit Gangwal said, "Even without phishing, any malicious app that asks you to login via another site, like Google or Facebook, can automatically get access to sensitive information." Gangwal said the researchers alerted Google and the PMs.

Full Article

New technique helps robots pack objects into a tight space Technique Helps Robots Pack Objects into Tight Spaces
MIT News
Adam Zewe
October 17, 2023

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers used diffusion models to help robots more efficiently pack objects into tight spaces. The Diffusion-Continuous Constraint Satisfaction Problems (Diffusion-CCSP) method entails using a collection of models, each trained to embody a specific type of limitation, then combining them into global solutions that account for all constraints simultaneously. The researchers programmed fast algorithms to generate segmented boxes and fit a series of three-dimensional objects within each segment, guaranteeing tight packing, stable poses, and collision-free remedies. Diffusion-CCSP produced effective solutions faster than other methods, as well as a greater number of successful solutions in the same amount of time.

Full Article
3D-Printed Tumor Model Enables Faster, Less Expensive, Less Painful Cancer Treatment
University of Waterloo News (Canada)
October 16, 2023

Researchers at Canada's University of Waterloo merged bioprinting techniques and microfluidic chips to develop improved three-dimensional (3D) modeling of heterogeneous tumors, in which multiple types of cancer cells may be dispersed in unpredictable patterns. The researchers created polymer microfluidic chips that simulate the flow of blood and other fluids surrounding the tumor. They then suspended cultures of multiple types of cancer cells in a bioink comprised of gelatine, alginate, and other nutrients and layered these cells onto the microfluidic chips using an extrusion bioprinter. The living 3D model displays a tumor's complexity and simulates its surrounding environment.

Full Article

Microsoft Repositions 7TB 'Project Silica' Glass Media as a Cloud Storage Solution Microsoft Repositions 7TB 'Project Silica' Glass Media as Cloud Storage Solution
Tom's Hardware
Mark Tyson
October 16, 2023

Microsoft has issued an update on its Project Silica glass media storage research that reportedly positions it as a sustainable cloud storage solution. The software giant said the technology can retain roughly 1.75 million songs or about 3,500 movies on a palm-sized glass sheet, and claims each sheet's 7-terabyte (TB) storage capacity can preserve data for 10,000 years. Project Silica's storage process involves lasers generating data voxels inside the glass, a computer-controlled microscope reading the data, re-rendering data back into standard computer readable formats via the Azure AI artificial intelligence (AI) services platform, and robot-facilitated data retrieval. Microsoft said glass data storage needs further work, and so is not yet ready for commercial usage.

Full Article

A free-space optical communication experiment FSO Breakthrough Unlocks High-Speed Wireless Communication Anywhere
October 17, 2023

Researchers at China's Nanjing University, Beijing Academy of Quantum Information Sciences, and Xin Lian Technology have engineered a miniaturized free-space optical communication (FSO) system that could transform high-speed wireless communication. The researchers found the system realized 9.16 gigabytes per second bandwidth over a 1-kilometer (0.62-mile) link using commercial fiber-optic communication transceiver modules. The system incorporates two compact FSO devices (“Alice” and “Bob”) that each consume approximately 10 watts and include the transceiver module; an acquisition, pointing, and tracking device, and control electronics. Integrated sensors and algorithms facilitate automatic, fast, and accurate acquisition and tracking in just 10 minutes, maintaining tracking error within 3 microradians to yield only a 13.7-decibel average link loss.

Full Article

Sweetgreen’s proprietary robotics system Sweetgreen Hires Kale-Shooting Robots
The Wall Street Journal
Heather Haddon
October 16, 2023

The fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen plans to center future restaurants around its proprietary salad-making robot, which drops ingredients down tubes into bowls moving along a conveyor belt. The goal is for human employees to work alongside the robot, preparing ingredients for the robot's tubes and adding finishing touches to meals produced by the robot. Sweetgreen executives said the robotic system can halve the number of workers and the time it takes to assemble a bowl. However, Robert Goldin of the food consulting firm Pentallect said Sweetgreen's plan "will be very expensive and hard to scale." Other restaurants also are turning to robots to improve efficiency, with White Castle testing a "Flippy" robot for frying certain foods, Chipotle Mexican Grill testing an automated system to dispense ingredients for bowls and salads, and Kura Sushi using robots to measure out rice for sushi rolls.

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration

Ground monitoring stations and UAVs measure emissions Chinese Scientists Send in the Drones to Sharpen Carbon Count from Human Activities
South China Morning Post
Victoria Bela
October 16, 2023

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to detect and monitor human-led carbon emissions. The Low-cost UAV Coordinated Carbon Observation Network (LUCCN) combines ground monitoring stations and an "intelligent multi-aircraft flight system" to monitor anthropogenic emissions. The solar-powered ground-based stations are equipped with sensors in weatherproofed enclosures to track changes in the outside environment. The researchers tested a LUCCN prototype, which included five ground stations and four sensor-equipped quadcopter drones, on a power plant in Shenzhen. The researchers found combining UAVs and ground stations improved emissions data collection, with LUCCN taking "detailed measurements of local carbon emissions and even ecosystem carbon cycle processes."

Full Article
Human Body Movements May Enable Automated Emotion Recognition
Penn State News
Mary Fetzer
October 13, 2023

A new dataset compiled by a multi-institutional team led by Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) scientists could potentially enhance the ability of artificial intelligence to recognize emotions from human body language. Explained Penn State's James Wang, "By describing specific movements common to humans using their foundational patterns, known as motor elements, we can establish the relationship between these motor elements and bodily expressed emotion." The dataset contains motor elements from 1,600 human video clips annotated via Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). Penn State’s Chenyan Wu then used a dual-branch, dual-task movement analysis network to leverage the dataset to predict bodily expressed emotion and LMA labels for new images or videos.

Full Article

The OpeN-AM experimental platform Neutrons See Stress in 3D-Printed Parts
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
October 16, 2023

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) developed a three-dimensional (3D) printing platform that can measure material strain and monitor atomic stress reactions during additive manufacturing. The OpeN-AM platform quantifies manufacturing-related residual stress using the VULCAN beamline at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source. The researchers employed the platform to conduct operando neutron diffraction of a low-temperature transformation steel alloy in order to gauge atomic motion in response to stress, then confirmed their results by blending diffraction data with infrared imaging. ORNL's Alex Plotkowski said, "Manufacturers will be able to tailor residual stress in their components, increasing their strength, making them lighter and in more complex shapes."

Full Article

Drone drops global warming-monitoring sensor onto Icelandic glacier Scientists Use Drones to Land Sensors on Threatened Glaciers
University of Southampton (U.K.)
October 13, 2023

Scientists at the U.K.'s University of Southampton built a climate change-monitoring sensor that can be airlifted by drone onto glaciers to measure the effects of global warning. The researchers already have deployed two sensors on Icelandic glaciers to evaluate melting ice and its impact on rising sea levels. Southampton's Kirk Martinez said the devices are sending daily data measuring the glaciers' changes in behavior and fluctuations in velocity. "Glaciers are like the canaries [in the coal mine] as they provide us with a warning sign for climate change," explained Southampton's Jane K. Hart. "The sensors we are landing on the glaciers provide a new way of observing their behavior."

Full Article
Soft-Packaged, Portable Rehabilitation Glove
Chinese Academy of Sciences
October 17, 2023

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Australia's University of Wollongong have designed a soft-packaged and portable rehabilitation glove to help patients with hand dysfunction. The researchers crafted a bionic finger sleeve framework of non-uniform stiffness that combines 15 bending sensors and 10 shape-memory-alloy actuators. The sleeve mimics the folded skin of the back of the finger to reduce interference from finger sleeve movement on the sensors and realize accurate finger state perception. The 490-gram (1.08-pound) glove can function independently because of the shape memory alloy's high work-to-weight ratio and integrated design. Clinical testing has preliminarily verified the glove's benefits for fine sports rehabilitation and life assistance.

Full Article

Researchers are working to forecast earthquakes with AI. AI-Driven Earthquake Forecasting Shows Promise
University of Texas at Austin News
October 5, 2023

An artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm developed by University of Texas at Austin (UT) researchers one day could be used to help predict earthquakes. The researchers provided the AI with a set of statistical features of earthquake physics, then had it train itself using a database of seismic recordings spanning five years. The process taught the AI to detect statistical increases in real-time seismic data. During a seven-month trial in China, the AI achieved 70% accuracy in predicting earthquakes a week before they occurred. Overall, it accurately predicted 14 earthquakes within around 200 miles of where it estimated they would occur, and at nearly the exact calculated strength. UT's Sergey Fomel said, "What we achieved tells us that what we thought was an impossible problem is solvable in principle."

Full Article
Intelligent Computing for Interactive System Design
Ambassadors for ACM Program

Association for Computing Machinery

1601 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019-7434

ACM Media Sales

If you are interested in advertising in ACM TechNews or other ACM publications, please contact ACM Media Sales or (212) 626-0686, or visit ACM Media for more information.

To submit feedback about ACM TechNews, contact: [email protected]