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Category Archives: Science

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Scientists Create A New Way To Deliver Medicine Through Your Stomach

Tyler Lee August 16, 2017

The acids in our stomachs are great for helping to break down food to digest them, but when it comes to medication, there are some instances where consuming medicine orally might not be the most effective way around it, such as insulin which is typically administered through injections.

However a team of researchers at UC San Diego might have come up with an interesting method of delivering medicine through your stomach and ensuring that it does not get destroyed by your stomach acids, and that is through the use of “micromotors” that will change your stomach’s pH levels so that the medicine can be delivered safely.

The concept isn’t entirely new because in the past, medication used to treat ulcers and bacterial infections are typically administered with a secondary compound that temporarily halts the production of stomach acids. In this case, the “micromotors” are made of a titanium dioxide shell that surrounds a magnesium core, with a layer of antibiotic medication around it, and also another layer of a positively-charged polymer that helps it stick to your gut’s wall.

It sounds like a really cool idea, especially when you consider the fact that these micromotors will use your stomach acids as a fuel source, and once the stomach’s pH levels hit the correct level, the motors will release the medication and finish dissolving. Unfortunately it seems that the research is still in its early days so probably don’t expect to see them so readily available just yet.

Scientists Create A New Way To Deliver Medicine Through Your Stomach , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Researchers Develop Flexible Batteries That Can Run On Saltwater

Tyler Lee August 11, 2017

Image credit – iFixit

The problem with a lot of consumer-grade batteries is that they are rigid and fixed in terms of their shape, meaning that there are limitations when it comes to designing products based around them, although we have seen companies try to work around those limitations by creating different shapes or stacking them.

However in the future that may no longer be a limitation because in a paper published by Chem (via The Verge), it seems that researchers have managed to create a battery that is not only flexible, but it can also be powered by saltwater, which in turn could lead to the creation of new types of devices and wearables that don’t necessarily have to conform to traditional battery designs.

In the batteries created by researchers, they found that they were able to fold it in half a hundred times without damaging it. It was also found to be safer because instead of being powered by toxic chemicals, it is powered by relatively harmless liquids such as saltwater and IV rehydration solutions.

So far the researchers have managed to create two versions of the battery: a belt-shaped model and a nanotube. They have also experimented with various solutions, such as sodium sulfate (which is sometimes used as a laxative) and saline, with the former offering the best results based on their tests.

Researchers Develop Flexible Batteries That Can Run On Saltwater , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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US Army Creates Powder That Can Be Used To Recharge Devices

Tyler Lee August 11, 2017

Image credit – US Army/David McNally

While our gadgets no doubt solve a lot of problems in our lives, it in turn creates another problem, which is our reliance on these gadgets, meaning that we are usually left in an inconvenient state when our phones or laptops run out of battery, but this is a problem that the US might have solved.

While external battery packs and solar power are pretty common ways of charging our devices on the go, they can be bulky and heavy, which is why the US Army’s recent discovery is rather interesting because it actually relies on powder. This is an aluminum-based powder that when mixed with water produces a high amount of energy that in their testing, was enough to power a remote controlled model tank.

This appears to be an unexpected discovery when researchers mixed a nanogalvanic aluminum-based powder with water and noticed that the water began bubbling away, and upon closer inspection they realized that this was the result of hydrolysis, which for aluminum usually requires a catalyst such as heat, acid, electricity, or other chemicals.

According to one of the physicists on the team, Anit Giri, “In our case, it does not need a catalyst. Also, it is very fast. For example, we have calculated that one kilogram (2.2 lb) of aluminum powder can produce 220 kilowatts of power in just three minutes. That’s a lot of power to run any electrical equipment. These rates are the fastest known without using catalysts such as an acid, base or elevated temperatures.”

That being said it does not seem like it will be put to practical use so fast as the researchers are currently working on what other applications this discovery could be used for.

US Army Creates Powder That Can Be Used To Recharge Devices , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Scientists Might Have Found A ‘Functional Cure’ For Type-1 Diabetes

Tyler Lee August 8, 2017

As advanced as science and technology have gotten, there are still some diseases that scientists have yet to discover a full cure for, such as type-1 diabetes which is something that is more “managed” than cured. However it looks like researchers at ViaCyte could be getting close and have since created what they’re calling a “functional cure”.

Basically this involves a therapy based on stem cells where insulin can be released into the patient’s body when needed. For those unfamiliar with type-1 diabetes, it is a condition in which the person’s pancreas produces too little or no insulin, which means that those who suffer from it will have to constantly monitor their glucose levels and take supplemental insulin, which can sometimes be difficult especially when traveling.

However before we get too excited, it seems that this research is still in its early stages. The first round of clinical trials was conducted to see if the stem cells could fully grow into the cells necessary to produce insulin. The good news is that the trials were successful, but the bad news is that the number of cells within the implants weren’t enough to treat actual patients.

ViaCyte is quick to point out that this is by no means a full cure as it does not address or treat specific causes of the condition. It will also require patients to take immunosuppressive drugs to protect the created cells from their own body’s immune system, but we guess at least it is a step in the right direction.

Scientists Might Have Found A ‘Functional Cure’ For Type-1 Diabetes , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Researchers Use Machine Learning To Detect Depression On Instagram

Tyler Lee August 8, 2017

The things you post on social media can sometimes say a lot about you as a person, and even your mental state, and this is something that researchers are looking to explore more of. In a recently published study in the EPJ Data Science (via Mashable), researchers used machine learning to try and detect signs of depression from Instagram accounts.

The system used a variety of factors to make its decision, such as choice of color, the filters used, face detection, user comments, and how much one is engaged in their posts. The research suggested that users who post bluer, darker, and grayer images tended to be more depressed, and were also less likely to use Instagram’s filter, or if they did, would choose the black-and-white Inkwell filter.

In contrast, those who did not show signs of depression tend to use filters such as Valencia, which seems to be in line with a research from last year that also explored how photos posted onto social media could be used to detect depression in a person. However it has been pointed out that there is a caveat with this study, and that is it has a very small sample size and lack of demographic information.

This means that while there appears to be some correlation, there isn’t quite enough to go on just yet, but it could be the start of something. According to Chris Danforth, co-author of the study and Flint Professor of Mathematical, Natural, and Technical Sciences at the University of Vermont, “Doctors don’t have visibility into our lives the way our mobile phone does. It knows a lot more about us than we know about ourselves.”

Researchers Use Machine Learning To Detect Depression On Instagram , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Researchers Develop Algorithm To Help Improve Our Selfies

Tyler Lee August 2, 2017

What makes a good photo? Or rather, what makes for a good selfie? Is taking a good selfie an art form, or is there science behind it? Perhaps a bit of both, and if the researchers at the University of Waterloo have it their way, perhaps soon our smartphones and cameras could even give us directions and instructions on how to snap the best selfie.

The researchers have recently put together an algorithm in which it is apparently capable of determining the best selfie. How the algorithm was put together involved thousands of Mechanical Turk workers to rate artificial selfies to find the best choice across three different factors, such as lighting direction, face size, and position, and from there they created an app that would help act as a director of sorts to the user when it came to taking selfies.

They then asked real people to then try taking selfies with and without the app, and apparently based on the feedback they got from the raters on Mechanical Turk, they found a 26% improvement in the ratings in the selfies taken with the app, compared to those taken without the app.

One of the study’s co-authors Dan Vogel writes, “This is just the beginning of what is possible. We can expand the variables to include variables aspects such as hairstyle, types of smile or even the outfit you wear. When it comes to teaching people to take better selfies, the sky’s the limit.”

Researchers Develop Algorithm To Help Improve Our Selfies , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Singapore Testing Out Glow-In-The-Dark Roads For Better Visibility

Tyler Lee July 26, 2017

Image credit – Ng Yi Shu/Mashable

Street lights are usually the preferred method when it comes to illuminating roads and pathways at night, but what if there was a more “green” solution that would not require any electricity? This is an idea that the Singapore government is testing out by implementing a pathway that glows in the dark.

This pathway is part of the government’s project to overhaul part of an old railway track, and the glow-in-the-dark pathway is one of the ideas that is being tested. The pathway glows thanks to the strontium aluminate compound embedded in it, in which it absorbs ultraviolet in the day from the sun in order to glow at night when it is dark.

Apart from being greener, the test was also to find a surface material that would be safer and more resilient to the daily wear and tear of people walking on it. The stretch of glow-in-the-dark path is pretty short at the moment at 100 m, but if successful it is possible that more of it will be implemented in the future.

Unfortunately as clever as the idea may be, the reality is that it isn’t quite as effective as you might think. Singaporeans have shared their thoughts on social media in which most are saying that the glow isn’t as bright as they had hoped. The photo above from Mashable was actually achieved through long exposure, but the reality is that it is still pretty dim.

Singapore Testing Out Glow-In-The-Dark Roads For Better Visibility , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Researchers Believe They Know Why ‘Gangnam Style’ Became Viral

Tyler Lee July 26, 2017

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is a worldwide phenomenon where upon its release, it spread like wildfire to the point where even YouTube’s view counter could not keep up. It was also the first YouTube video to hit the 1 billion mark, but given that Psy has been in the music business for a while prior to the release of “Gangnam Style”, why or how did the song become as viral as it did?

This is something that researchers were curious about and that’s what Zsofia Kallus and team at the Eotvos University in Budapest set out to find out, and apparently they have since managed to figure it out. They started by searching on Twitter for geolocated tweets that mentions “Gangnam Style”, where it was revealed that the video had initially spread from South Korea to the Philippines before moving on to the rest of the world

This is because of the relative proximity of the Philippines to South Korea, and the fact that they have stronger links to the rest of the world through its diaspora, and that apparently they have stronger English language links. They confirmed this by searching on Google Trends for “Gangnam Style” and discovered that the results matched those on Twitter.

This is very interesting since breaking down and understanding how viral videos and memes become viral could be instrumental for companies looking to advertise their products or services, or for musicians and record labels to better figure out a way to distribute their content more effectively.

Researchers Believe They Know Why ‘Gangnam Style’ Became Viral , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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Modular Robotic ‘Eel’ Will Be Used To Look For Water Pollution

Tyler Lee July 25, 2017

The ability for us to measure pollution levels in the water isn’t exactly new and we as humans have come up with various ways and tools to do so. However it seems that in the future, things could get a lot more efficient, thanks to the work done by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute where they’ve created a robotic “eel” that can swim in water and detect pollution.

What makes this particular robot so unique is the fact that it is completely modular. What this means is that the body of the robot is comprised of various sensors that can measure all sorts of things. This also means that depending on the location and the data that scientists want to collect, they can pick and choose which sensors they want to use, making the robotic eel a highly adaptable device.

For example some of the sensors can be used to measure things like water conductivity and temperature, while other sensors might be chemical based, and some are biological based like fish cells grown on electrodes that refuse to touch each other should it come into contact with toxins (thus detecting possible toxic pollution).

The data collected by this little robot will then be sent back to a computer in real-time, and it can be programmed to follow a specific path, or it can be used to track down pollution on its own. So far testing of the physical and chemical sensors have been successful, with plans to start testing the biological sensors outside of the lab this summer.

Modular Robotic ‘Eel’ Will Be Used To Look For Water Pollution , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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IBM’s AI Predicts Schizophrenia By Looking At Brain Blood Flow

Tyler Lee July 21, 2017

The thing with a lot of diseases and health problems is that it is usually better when it is detected early. In some cases early detection means a higher chance of being cured, or in some cases where it is incurable, early detection can mean that victims can take measures to slow its progress and to prevent it from becoming too severe, such as in the case of schizophrenia.

So how does one detect schizophrenia? There are methods that are being employed, but it seems that IBM believes it could be a lot more efficient, and in research efforts conducted together with the University of Alberta, it looks like AI could be used in helping to diagnose the onset of the disease.

The neural network was trained by looking at anonymized fMRI images of brains, which was a mixture of both patients who are healthy and those who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The images show the blood flow through various parts of the brain as patients completed an audio-based exercise, and the neural network then put together a predictive model of whether or not a patient had schizophrenia based on the blood flow.

According to Dr. Serdar Dursun, a Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience with the University of Alberta, “We’ve discovered a number of significant abnormal connections in the brain that can be explored in future studies, and AI-created models bring us one step closer to finding objective neuroimaging-based patterns that are diagnostic and prognostic markers of schizophrenia.”

IBM’s AI Predicts Schizophrenia By Looking At Brain Blood Flow , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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