A Steem photo-essay describing a day at the Fukushima Aquarium; A DIY laser-pointer robot that's controlled by a raspberry pi for a cat play toy; Boston Dynamics' Spot quadruped robot on the job keeping New Zealand's sheep safe; The role of gut microbes in fighting food allergies; and A discussion of the "Right to repair in the context of COVID-19
Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for May 23, 2020
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Straight from my RSS feed
Whatever gets my attention
Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.
First posted on my Steem blog: SteemIt.
pixabay license: source.
- Steem @cryptokannon: Fukushima Aquamarine Trip Part 1 : Waku Waku Satoyama Johmon Village - This is the first post in a coming series about a visit to Japan's Fukushima Aquarium. Describing the aquarium, the article says,
The aquarium was built in various settings of the natural environment from the freshwater aquatic ecosystem to the seawater ecosystem. Their goal is for the visitor to experience different views of nature and the environment in one place.The post also contains a series of photos from the visit. Click through for more of the description, and to view the photos. Also, follow @cryptokannon to keep up with the rest of the series. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @cryptokannon.)
- DIY Robot Uses a Raspberry Pi and Laser to Entertain Cats - Cats, of course, love to chase lasers, but it's difficult for humans to maintain their attention span for this sort of task. Solution? Here's a laser that's operated by a raspberry pi so the cat can play for as long as they want to. The robots case was 3D printed, and the code was written in python.
Here is a video:
Unfortunately, after all that, the cat didn't really engage with the robot-operated laser. The best laid schemes of mice and men...
- Video Friday: This Robot Wants to Talk to You - This week, IEEE's weekly selection of awesome robot videos includes the Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction Project, which is focusing on making humanoid robots more lifelike; Rocos is a robotics company that's using Spot to keep sheep safe in New Zealand; A telepresence robot that's helping people to explore Japan's Chiba Zoo while it's closed for the pandemic lockdown; a robotic teddy bear from Arizona State University that is learning to hug; An online simulation tool from Dash Robotics so that students without access to actual robots can still learn to program them; and more...
Here is a video of Spot on the farm:
Click through and check them out, then discuss your favorites here in the comments!
- Could gut microbes be key to solving food allergies? - Subtitle: New therapeutics are testing whether protective bacteria can dampen harmful immune responses to food - Although Catherine Nagler has food allergies of her own, that's not what inspired her research. Instead, it was during grad school in the 1980s when she observed that although a shot of collagen under the skin would trigger an immune response in mice, the mice would get better if fed the same substance through a tube into their stomachs. The concept is now known as "oral immunotherapy", and it has been a life altering form of treatment for some patients and families. As a result of that insight, her lab has been working since the last century to determine which gut bacteria are helpful and which ones are harmful for a variety of conditions, including allergies and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Her lab has focused, especially on Clostridia and Bacteroides, which are two major groups of bacteria in the human gut. Anaerostipes caccae, a Clostridia species has emerged as a leading possibility. The current state of the research is summarized in two excerpts:
These and other studies clearly show that the microbiome is important for preventing food allergies and inducing tolerance, says Carina Venter, a research dietitian at the University of Colorado in Denver who is studying links between maternal diet during pregnancy, microbiomes of infants and risk for eczema and allergies. But, she says, “how that microbiome should look in terms of diversity and in terms of specific strains, we just don’t know.”and
Over the next few years, researchers will learn more about harnessing the microbiome to fight food allergies. It won’t be easy. Genetics, diet, environmental exposures: All influence allergy risk. “It’s a big puzzle,” says Bunyavanich. The microbiome is only one piece of it — but she, Nagler and others are betting it will turn out to be a big one.-h/t Scientific American -
- Right-to-repair groups fire shots at medical device manufacturers - Subtitle: Resource for DIY smartphone repairs focusing on critical medical equipment. - iFixit is a well-known web site that provides electronics repair kits and takes a very vocal stance that repair manuals should be available to anyone. Now, in the time of COVID-19, the site is focusing on medical devices and announcing plans to release, "most comprehensive medical equipment service database in the world". According to CEO, Kyle Wien, it is a massive undertaking, and has taken "more than two months to coordinate and required help from 200 volunteers." This comes at the same time that California's Calpirg issued a letter to the state's lawmakers, saying: "While some manufacturers provide service information, other manufacturers make it hard to access manuals, read error logs, or run diagnostics tests." These groups argue that the ability to maintain and repair medical devices is critical for patient safety. In contrast, industry lobbyists and insiders view activists like iFixit with suspicion, and argue that because of the complexity of medical devices, patient safety demands that the devices should only be maintained and repaired by trained and qualified technicians.
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