This smart camera startup helps companies meet COVID-19 cleaning standards by detecting dirtiness

Quivr CEO Brian Monnin. (GeekWire File Photo)

Cleanliness took on a whole new meaning in 2020.

The pandemic is forcing airlines, hotels, universities, and other organizations to adjust standards for keeping high-touch areas free from germs.

A new Seattle startup called Quivr aims to ride this trend with an AI-powered smart camera tool that can detect proper application of sprayed disinfectant and generate deep-cleaning reports.

The company is the second spinout from a new Seattle innovation studio run by Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) and Fortive. It’s led by Brian Monnin, who previously worked at Intel and Microsoft before founding Play Impossible, a 5-year-old Seattle startup that built a smart gameball.

Quivr’s system includes the high-tech camera that scans the 3D surfaces of a room or venue and can detect liquid disinfectant, as well as the workers themselves. The resulting data can be analyzed in real-time to ensure completion and improve

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Russian spacewalk helps prepare space station for new module

Two cosmonauts, both from the Russian space agency Roscosmos, conducted a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on Wednesday.

Sergey Ryzhikov et al. in uniform: (From left) Expedition 64 Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos will conduct their first spacewalk.

© Andrey Shelepin/GCTC/NASA/FILE
(From left) Expedition 64 Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos will conduct their first spacewalk.

Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov prepared the outside of the space station’s Russian segment to receive a new module.

That’s right; both bear the first name Sergey, spelled exactly the same way. This is Ryzhikov’s second time on the space station and Kud-Sverchkov’s first. And it’s the first spacewalk for both cosmonauts.

Ryzhikov, the current Expedition 64 Commander, wore a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes while Kud-Sverchkov wore a spacesuit with blue stripes as extravehicular crew member 2.

Ryzhikov was designated EV1 and Kud-Sverchkov was designated EV2 — although they were also still referred to as “Sergey 1” and “Sergey 2.” This trend started during a press conference

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Star collision helps solve 16-year-old mystery of the Blue Ring Nebula

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

Take a moment from this hellish year to imagine that a small star has been orbiting our sun. After eons, the two stars collide. The chaotic smash leaves behind a star and a mesmerizing blue cloud of dust and gas, a nebula, spills out into the cosmos. The cloud extends to a distance of about 13 light-years, enough to engulf 10 solar systems stacked end to end. 

While such a fate doesn’t await our sun (though it is 2020, so…), that exact scenario may have occurred a few thousand years ago at TYC 2597-735-1, a star that lies more than 6,000 light-years away from the Earth. Since the discovery of the star and its intriguing blue ring by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer space telescope in 2004, astronomers have been puzzled by how it came to be.

“Every time we thought we had this thing figured out

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Community helps scientists evaluate smoke forecasts — ScienceDaily

During the smoky summer of 2018, two wildfires in Utah County burned a combined 121,000 acres, sending smoke pouring into the valleys of the Wasatch Front. Atmospheric scientists are always working to better forecast how smoke moves from fires, just as they work to forecast hurricanes and snowstorms.

But the fires in 2018 provided a unique opportunity for scientists. Across the Wasatch Front, both researchers and community members maintain enough air quality sensors to provide a high-resolution picture of how the smoke moved through the valley — perfect for testing and refining smoke forecast models.

“This forecast would be similar to how we would forecast rainy weather or clear conditions,” says Derek Mallia, research assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, “except we can now do it for smoke.”

Mallia and his colleagues, including researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering and School of Computing, published their results in

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Deep learning helps robots grasp and move objects with ease


IMAGE: UC Berkeley researchers have developed new robotics software that combines deep learning neural networks with motion planning optimization to rapidly compute how to quickly and smoothly grasp and move objects.
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Credit: UC Berkeley photo by Adam Lau

Berkeley — In the past year, lockdowns and other COVID-19 safety measures have made online shopping more popular than ever, but the skyrocketing demand is leaving many retailers struggling to fulfill orders while ensuring the safety of their warehouse employees.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have created new artificial intelligence software that gives robots the speed and skill to grasp and smoothly move objects, making it feasible for them to soon assist humans in warehouse environments. The technology is described in a paper published online today (Wednesday, Nov. 18) in the journal Science Robotics.

Automating warehouse tasks can be challenging because many actions that come naturally to

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Existing antidepressant helps to inhibit growth of cancer cells in lab animals — ScienceDaily

New research has shown that the antidepressant sertraline helps to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The substance acts on a metabolic addiction that allows different types of cancer to grow. This is shown by a study on cell cultures and lab animals performed by various research labs of KU Leuven. Their findings were published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Cancer cells use different biological mechanisms to stimulate their growth. In certain types of breast cancer, leukemia, skin cancer, brain tumours and lung cancer, among others, the malignant cells produce large amounts of serine and glycine, two amino acids. This production stimulates the growth of cancer cells to such an extent that they become addicted to serine and glycine.

“This mechanism is an interesting target because cancer cells are so dependent on it,” says Professor Kim De Keersmaecker, head of the

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Accenture Helps UPC Polska Tap Google Cloud to Deliver Next Generation Customer Experience

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Google Cloud have collaborated to help UPC Polska, Poland’s leading connectivity and entertainment provider, move from an on-premises infrastructure to cloud, in response to changing customer demands. Deployed in just six weeks, the new model balances UPC Polska’s traditional IT systems with the speed and flexibility of cloud services to reduce time to market and enable content personalization delivery for 1.5 million customers.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

UPC Polska delivers next generation customer experience with Accenture and Google Cloud (Graphic: Business Wire)

Households worldwide increasingly expect one provider to meet all their telephony, digital entertainment and broadband needs. As the choice of providers increases and switching costs decrease, telecommunications providers must provide compelling bundles and integrated experiences to create and maintain loyalty.

UPC Polska recognized that a hybrid approach to IT would provide them with the best of both

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British Startup Helps Radio France Get Its Presenters Broadcasting From Home

From time to time, I like to post news from the world of broadcasting. The industry has had to undergo some dramatic changes since Covid-19 reared its troublesome head. Having on-air talent in radio and TV studios became problematic and so many broadcasters have had to look at ways of getting their talent on-air remotely.

One small British startup has been swept off its feet by the need for simple and reliable remote broadcasting solutions. In:Quality was set up in 2013 by Kevin Leach, a former sound engineer and producer at the BBC. Leach developed ipDTL, a real-time communication platform thst’s now used by broadcasters around the world to replace the old ISDN service that’s now being phased out by telcos.

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Making work more like a video game: Gamification technology helps managers and staff

Gamification tech is a growing trend that can help businesses use employee strengths in a unique way. Learn how it works and what benefits it can provide.

Video gamer

Image: iStock/RyanKing999

Gamification technology is an immersive experience that seeks to use the fun elements of video gaming in business settings for better productivity, employee achievement, and motivation. It can serve across many fields in an array of diverse mechanisms.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

For instance, as a loyal devotee of the game Red Dead Redemption 2, I was thrilled to learn that some organizations actually hold online meetings in that world to congregate and discuss business operations. The context entails meeting at a player’s camp, for instance, and conversing via headsets, with each employee controlling their own customized character. I think that’s an amazing and engaging way to utilize non-traditional mechanisms to conduct traditional work.

I spoke about the concept

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Study suggests ACE2, which helps coronavirus invade cells, may be a double-edged sword — ScienceDaily

An enzyme that helps COVID-19 (coronavirus) infect the body also plays a role in inflammation and patient outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a new study led by Cedars-Sinai. The findings raise the possibility that anti-inflammatory drug therapies for IBD may aid recovery from coronavirus.

The multisite study, led by Cedars-Sinai and published today in the journal Gastroenterology, focused on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which normally plays a crucial health role by activating a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure. But in COVID-19 infections, the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to ACE2 and uses it to invade and infect cells, “hijacking” them to spread the virus.

To learn more about how ACE2 affects the body, investigators examined its role in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — two types of IBD that can cause inflammation and scarring (fibrosis) in the digestive tract along with diarrhea, cramping and loss of appetite.

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