Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

We have contact: A new Covid-19 contact-tracing app will be launched across England and Wales on September 24, the government has announced. The app will let people scan barcode-like QR codes to register visits to hospitality venues and will implement Apple and Google’s method of detecting other smartphones. Businesses are being asked to display QR code posters to support the app.

Ticket to ride: The Irish e-mobility startup Zipp Mobility has announced that the UK Department for Transport has approved its e-scooter model for trials across the UK. This approval comes as part of a strategy to explore greener and more ‘socially distanced’ methods of urban transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scooters also have nano-septic handlebar wraps, which the startup states reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by 99.98%.

Out-of-this-world innovations: For more than six decades, space programs have been developing technologies and making new discoveries. Sometimes, this research is in service of solving hard problems we face on Earth, for instance, developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Other times, astronauts spend their time with less mission critical endeavors: sneaker performance for commercial partners like Adidas. In either case, the discoveries made in orbit have applications that improve our Earth-bound lives. Read on to learn how space labs are hurtling toward the next big breakthrough.

(3D) picture perfect: A team of researchers at Google have come up with a technique that can combine thousands of tourist photos into detailed 3D renderings that take you inside a scene… even if the original photos used vary wildly in terms of lighting, or include other problematic elements like people or cars. It’s an advanced, neural network-driven interpolation that manages to include geometric info about the scene and could revolutionize how 3D renderings are created across all industries by allowing for much more variation in the source imagery.

Optimization in the healthcare arena: Quantic Alum and Vice President of Operations at Focused Software, Anne Michael, is working to streamline data entry, protect confidential health information and create overall efficiency, so that patient care can be the main focus.