Tag: Science

New Artificial Skin Can Bruise When Hit, Just Like The Real Thing

Image via Shutterstock

A team of engineers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have developed a new type of artificial skin that bruises when hit.

This new invention could be used for skin on robots or prosthetic limbs, bringing these devices closer to that of the real-life organ.

According to research published in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces by the American Chemical Society, upon bumping, pressing, or hitting the artificial skin, it’ll activate a colorful hydrogel to form a purple bruise spot just like on real skin.

The researchers say the invention could be helpful for soft robots or people with prosthetic limbs, who often don’t have sensory feedback to know when they might’ve bumped or knocked into something. The bruises could alert them to potential injuries or damages on their prosthetics, as per Futurism.

As of now, the invention is only in the proof-of-concept phase, with no entire prosthetic limbs made out of the new material just yet. It’s also unclear if the skin tones will be customized to suit people of different ethnicities, though that could only come into the picture further on in the manufacturing stage.

Nonetheless, this new development could prove an additional boon for prosthetic limbs or soft robots, allowing those who lack sensory feedback to identify where they might be hurt.

Image via American Chemical Society

[via Futurism, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414367/New-Artificial-Skin-Can-Bruise-When-Hit-Just-Like-The-Real-Thing/

Humans Can Develop A Sixth Sense In Just 10 Weeks, According To Scientists

Image via Shutterstock

Want to add a superpower to your résumé? Two new, unrelated studies point at humans’ potential in developing a sixth sense: animal-like echolocation.

Some mammals, most notably bats and whales, navigate in the dark by sending out sound signals to their surroundings and perceiving how they bounce back. The way those sounds travel will offer cues about where solid objects are located, so the animals know where to avoid or target. Gizmodo notes that some people dealing with blindness have, for centuries, taught themselves a version of echolocation involving mouth clicks.

Scientists believe that humans can be trained to develop similar abilities that help them “see” in the dark—a particularly essential skill for those with vision disabilities.

Over in the UK, a team of researchers led by experimental psychologist Lore Thaler tasked 14 sighted individuals and 12 people who became blind early in their lives to take part in a 10-week training program for echolocation abilities. These participants, aged 21 to 79, had had little experience with echolocation. Meanwhile, seven others who had been using echolocation for at least a decade were also brought in as the control group.

The experiments were designed to see if participants could estimate the size and location of nearby objects or find their way around natural environments without sight.

When the 10 weeks were over, the researchers reported significant improvements in participants’ echolocation skills—and it didn’t matter how old or well-sighted the people were.

In fact, a few of the individuals who were new to the concept fared just as well as expert echolocators in certain tests, proving that anyone can easily pick up this ability and incorporate it into everyday life.

Perhaps most uplifting was that blind participants reported positive changes in their lives three months after the training program. All of them agreed that their mobilities have improved, while 83% said they now feel more independent.

“What made us explore it in the first place was that it is just such a fascinating skill, and that it has such great potential to help people who are blind and to investigate neuroplasticity on a more general level,” Thaler told Gizmodo.

The team worked with a small sample size, so the results might not be so conclusive. However, Thaler said it is the first time learning echolocation has been directly proven with data to enhance blind people’s daily lives “i.e. improved mobility, independence, wellbeing.”

The study also corroborates with a paper published by Japanese scientists last month, which detailed that humans can recognize moving objects in the dark with the help of sound waves.

So, if you’d like to get to your fridge for a quick snack at night, there’s probably no need to switch on the lights—just give it a holla and work your way around the kitchen.

[via Popular Mechanics, ScienceAlert and Gizmodo, cover image via Shutterstock] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414243/Humans-Can-Develop-A-Sixth-Sense-In-Just-10-Weeks-According-To-Scientists/

Positive Coronavirus News – Preparation – #PositiveCoronavirusNews

We are better prepared now for future Pandemics…

This pandemic caught the world by surprise, with even the top leaders not expecting this unprecedented pandemic.

However, we will learn from our mistakes, making the next one easier to navigate.

Dr Shmerling: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed shortcomings in healthcare systems throughout the world that provide an opportunity to improve them.

“For example, a faster global response, better and quicker distribution of testing kits, and more coordinated and coherent public messaging should be expected the next time around. (No guarantees, of course.)”

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