How do you replace all the lead pipes in Flint when you don’t know how many there are? It’s a problem now faced by multiple municipalities realizing they have incomplete plumbing records and water contamination around the U.S. The City of Flint, Michigan, has been sending data to a company called BlueConduit to speed up an incredibly complex overhaul of lead service lines leading to houses across the city. BlueConduit programs what data they have into an AI-powered system designed to predict where lead pipes are likely to be found. This speeds up the process of locating most lead pipes in the least amount of time. For a while, the city returned to the more ordered but slow process of digging up every house’s lines one at a time, but it was proved so inefficient and ineffective at targeting the areas with the most lead pipes that the city was ordered to go back to using the AI system to speed up the process for public safety.
Patent strategy firm Aurora Consulting in Traverse City recently awarded several startups in the Midwest with a RISE Award, which stands for Relief for Startup Endurance. The prize means that Ann Arbor-based realLingua software startup that teaches online language learning through immersive native language speaker programs can pursue a patent for its new AI-based natural language learning programs. Founder Keith Phillips, whom we interviewed at launch just over a year ago, says that the award will help the startup move forward in several ways. “We’ve got an idea for the backbone of our conversational AI and wanted to do a provisional patent for that,” Phillips says of the recent award.
Enterprise software company UrsaLeo recently announced an expansion into the Southeast Michigan advanced manufacturing space with an Ann Arbor office opening. The company plans to work with manufacturers to create 3D photorealistic models of factory floors, equipment and product models to create remote training, operations, and product demo options for companies adding virtual modeling to their operations.
Universities everywhere are trying to trim budgets and plan for virtual instruction in case of a second wave in the Fall 2020 semester, but where does that slack come from? In the case of schools where staff is at essential levels already or there are unavoidable cutbacks or furloughs, can software help remaining faculty and staff do more with less?
Popular video conferencing software Zoom and other remote conferencing tech services have been in the news lately for failing to fully secure users’ data, especially at a time when business suddenly went 100% online remote overnight and sensitive data is at risk. One company in Ontario has created a solution. Instead of reverse engineering encryption within a platform or between technology products, a company called Tauria claims to have built a suite of remote office products from the ground up with end-to-end encryption in mind from the beginning. It’s available by free trial, only $10/month for small businesses (more for enterprise solutions), and it’s launching this month.
Startup LoanSense Uses Algorithm To Help Find The Right Loan Forgiveness Program, Even Years Into Repayment
What happens when you’ve repaid your loans for years only to find out the loan forgiveness won’t kick in because you didn’t fill out the right paperwork? What if you can’t repay loans right now because you lost a job due to the coronavirus recession? Ann Arbor’s LoanSense, a brand-new startup founded by Catalina Kaiyoorawongs and co-founder Ivan Herndon formerly of StockX, uses technology to find the right program for loan forgiveness or repayment.
The idea? Put publicly available datasets all in one place so it’s easier for researchers to do text mining and analysis on over 19 million academic articles. The CORD-19 dataset, a full-text and metadata dataset of COVID-19 and coronavirus-related research articles, is included. Amy Kirchhoff is the Text and Data Mining Business Manager at ITHAKA, the company that runs popular academic research site JSTOR. Kirchhoff is also an Archive Service Product Manager at Portico, ITHAKA’s content preservation archive. She leads a team building a new service to allow users to mine datasets related to COVID-19 research along with a host of other related data and published papers. “We are building a text mining service,” Kirchhoff says of the new program, which allows customized searches of aggregated datasets related to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Often overnight with the coronavirus outbreak shutdowns across the world, business owners and employees were asked to convert to work from home technology without any transition. Obviously that is not only a recipe for communication and infrastructure strain but a major security risk as well. We have heard a number of stories at Cronicle about companies offering work from home technology, but what really makes these suites of software and virtual work from home technology work together as a suite of secure team connectivity tools?
Ann Arbor’s Voxel51, which offers advanced machine learning tools to analyze video, has just released a tool that looks at the social impact of physical distancing from the COVID-19 epidemic. They’re calling it PDI, or Physical Distancing Index. The data can be used in a number of ways to look at the results of social distancing orders and correlated with virus spread trends.
In collaboration with Arbor Biosciences and a number of professionals in the IT and biomedical field in Ann Arbor and the Great Lakes region, we will be helping organize and will be publishing some form of collaborative discussion or networking resources on COVID-19 response from the Ann Arbor-Detroit and greater Great Lakes business and tech communities and ways the tech and health sciences communities can network to find medical and business solutions to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on our communities.