What I Learnt For The Week 5: Robotic Cockroach, Dead Butt Syndrome, Human-Sheep Hybrid, Lungfish, Trypophobia

in steemstem •  25 days ago

Hello Buddies! Welcome to another episode in the series of "what I learnt for the week". In the spirit of fairness, I would love to appreciate @mobbs for the privileges to trail this path.

During the course of the week (12-16 February) I made some amazing discoveries, which I would just pick 5 (In my defence, they are picked at random, in no particular order).

Ok guys, let's go straight to the discoveries I made.

Monday: Robotic cockroach in disaster management

Just like my unusual custom is, I would begin this episode with one of my favourite areas; Robotics.

Cockroaches are the least thing anyone would welcome in his house, but would you believe me if I tell you that this creature has inspired the designing of a Compressible Robot With Articular Mechanism (CRAM)?

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Biological cockroaches have very unusual abilities; one is the ability of squeezing and squishing their body through cracks and still maintain a top speed of 0.5m/s. Also they have the ability to withstand 900x the weight of their body without being crushed (this is just like a 70kg human withstanding 63 Tons of weight). Also they can go anywhere and survive harsh conditions.

These abilities were what inspired the creation of CRAM; to replicate the same agility with strength of the biological cockroaches.

This research was done by a team of researchers from the John Hopkins University and Harvard Robotics Research Centre, and they came up with a prototype design that is about 20x the size of the normal cockroach (palm size), which was modelled after the biological cockroach.

Mechanism of CRAM

Because of its ability to squeeze through cracks, it would be suitable for disaster management. In the event of an earthquake, for example, it can squeeze through the crevices of the quaked site to locate trapped bodies.

Also this CRAM is fitted with camera to provide feedback to the host system, and also with motion sensor to circumvent obstacles. Did I mention it can climb through obstacles? Yes! Just like the biological cockroach, the CRAM can find its way through terrains that would be practically impossible for humans to access.

The video below shows the mechanics of CRAM (gotten from the YouTube account of UC Berkeley)

This could be the future of disaster management.

Did someone ask about the cost of procuring this robot? According to Dr Kaushik Jayaram, one of the Harvard robotics researchers:

The prototype design costs $100, but with future upgrades and mass-production, the price could come down to $10. - Jayaram. Source. [Paraphrased by me]

Apart from the uses of CRAM in disaster management, it could also find application in the military for spying purposes.

Well, I wouldn't mind this kind of robots for keeps though :D

I'm sure I've piqued your interest, you can get more info here.

Tuesday: Dead Butt Syndrome

This sounds funny, but believe me, this is a real medical condition. Maybe after reading through, you'll understand what I mean, and you would start paying attention to your butt :p

The dead butt syndrome (Also called gluteus medius amnesia) is a condition that affects people who sit for long hours, which causes the inactivity of the hindquarters, and leads to the three muscles of the buttocks (gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, gluteus maximus) losing their functionality. But this majorly affects the gluteus medius.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

How does the dead butt syndrome develop?

A physical therapist from Michigan Medicine; Kristen Schutyen explains this:

Gluteus Medius Amnesia happens when an individual spends so much time in a seated position. - Kristen Schuyten. Source. [Paraphrased by me]

So you see, sitting down actually has it own perks (now I'm getting worried because I sit behind my system for long).

Effects of dead butt syndrome

You may be aware that the gluteus medius helps in maintaining the stability of the pelvis, and a trauma to that muscle would lead to acute back and knee ache, arising from the body compensating for the loss of function of the glutes and creating more pressure on the lower back, and the effect of this would not be as funny as the name of the syndrome suggests.

Prevention of dead butt syndrome

Just as you've known the cause of this medical condition, the prevention would no longer be a big deal.

  • First of all, try to limit the number of hours you spend in a seated position.

  • Exercise often; which includes, squats, running, and other aerobics.

Remember: If you do not take care of your butt, who will? For more details, click here.

Wednesday: Human-sheep hybrid

In the quest to ease up the long list of people on the line for organ transplant, a breakthrough was heralded in the field of medical science. This is the creation of a human-sheep hybrid for organ donation.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

According to research, in the USA, 22 people die daily who are on the waiting list for organ transplantation. But another idea has arisen, which is to grow human organs in animal chimeras, which would be used for transplantation.

Here's how it works:

Scientists usually isolate stem cells from humans and inject them into the embryo of animals (sheep in this case). And we know that stem cells can be programmed to grow into any type of cell in the body. Once this is done, further editing would be made to the stem cells in the embryo directing them to grow into a specific organ. In this way, you can grow a human heart inside a sheep.

Though this has raised some controversies because of the perceived "unethical" nature of creating human-animal chimeras, but I believe this would be the breakthrough needed to even out the long list for transplant.

One of the researcher's; Pablo Ross reacted to this:

This approach may be controversial, but it offers new hope to all the people who lose their lives daily... this is a better alternative to provide organ to them. - Pablo Ross [paraphrased by me]

Well, in my opinion, an alternative to dying would be welcomed irrespective of ethics.

For more info, click here.

Thursday: Lungfishes

This may not be new to others, but it is new to me.

Lungfishes are quite strange fishes which posses lungs and gills. Which means, they can breathe in atmospheric air, and also water.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

The fact is, some of these lungfishes can drown if kept right under the bottom of the sea. Ever heard of fish drowning? Sure they can. This ability of lungfish to breath in atmospheric air can help them to survive in fowl water where some other fishes would die because of lack of oxygen. They would normally come up to the surface to draw in air.

Most of these amazing fishes have gone extinct, but there are three major recognized kinds still alive today. I would just run them down and their characteristics.

1. African lungfish

This specie has a very unique ability of aestivation (which is just like passing through the hot period in a sleep-like or inactive form). Outside the water, it forms a thick cocoon and wraps itself in a mucus cavity which keeps it moist. It makes a little hole over the cocoon to be able to breathe in air. It can stay in this cocoon for over 7months.

2. South American lungfish

This type looks like the African lungfish in some ways. Firstly, in length; they are about 3-4 feet for the mature fishes, and they have fins that look like whip right at the back of their head. But the only difference is; this type does not form any cocoon during aestivation.

3. Australian lungfish

This specie is quite different from the rest. The shape of the fin behind its head is paddled. And this kind cannot survive for long outside water.

To know more about lungfish, click here.

Friday: Trypophobia (fear of holes)

This is a repulsive and irrational fear of clustered holes. It is unclear as to how the name was coin, but it has been believed to come from an online forum, but since then, this condition has drawn attention in the medical world.

[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Do you want to know if you're trypophobic? Don't worry I will put up a video at the end of this review. If you can watch the video to the end without feeling repulsive, then you may not have it.

Though this condition is yet to be classified by the American Psychiatric Association as a medical disorder, and has not been referenced much in medical journals, I feel it's still worth to be mentioned here. Judging from the very few studies that have been done in this field, scientists have drawn hypothesis that this condition could be triggered by a certain biological revulsion that associates holes with dangers or even diseases. This could be evolutionary, as it can be inherited.

Some people report of having a creepy feeling which causes them to sweat at the sight of holes, which can also degenerate into a panic attack. The major triggers to this reaction in trypophobic patients include; lotus seed, honeycomb, air bubble.

Though this could be linked to emotions, as people are not even aware of their trypophobic status until they start hearing about it from people.

On the extreme cases, people with trypophobia have been reported to attach the fear of insects (entomophobia) to this, indicating that creepy insects could live inside holes. But until now, the condition does not have a specific medical diagnosis.

I remember I made a promise to bring you a video; I found one from “Everything Explained” WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK.

To know more, click here.

Okay buddies!! These were the discoveries I made for the week. And until I come your way again for another episode, don't stop learning; @samminator says so

Thanks for reading

All images are CCO licensed

References for further reading: Ref1, Ref2, Ref3, Ref4, Ref5, Ref6, Ref7, Ref8, Ref9, Ref10

gif by @foundation

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My sammy -bot, i learnt enough for tonight leme just go and sleep.

The robotic cockroach sounds interesting tho, since at least it useful for disaster management.

And dead butt syndrome?
Well i dont sit for long hours tho, i be waka about.

And growing human organ in sheeps sounds kinda weird, but it cool anyway, once it saves life.

Well this lung fish, interest me most.
I was taught to believe, fish needs only water to survive. And now here is a fish that can drown and needs oxgyen.

I arent watching that video, it not that i have the fear oo
But leme be going

Great content👏👏👏👏


Lol. Are you sure you didn't peep into the video? :p


Honestly, it's just like I learn new things today..
This is awesome
Thanks boss


Thanks man