What's the Buzz

What's the Buzz

Run errands on a bike for a longer life
Want an easy, low-cost way to stay slim, avoid serious illness yet also spare the air from pollution? Keep the car parked and hop on your bike for quick errands, a study published Wednesday says.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin in the US recently gathered data on obesity, health effects from pollution, and air pollution due to automobiles in 11 cities in the Midwestern US. They found that if the residents ran half of their short-distance errands (about a 25-minute bike ride) on a bike rather than by car, 1,100 deaths would be avoided each year and $7 billion would be saved in reduced health-care costs.

Light could be promising tool in cancer fight
Researchers in the US have revealed that light could be a “promising” tool in the fight against cancer. They described how a drug could be created which sticks to tumours, but is then only activated when hit by specific waves of light.

In this study, researchers at the National Cancer Institute, Maryland, used an antibody, which targets proteins on the surface of cancerous cells.

They then attached a chemical, IR700, to the antibody. IR700 is activated when it is hit by near infrared light. This wavelength of light can penetrate several centimetres into the skin.

To test the antibody-chemical combination, researchers implanted tumours, squamous cell carcinoma, into the backs of mice. They were given the drug and exposed to near infrared light.

“Tumour volume was significantly reduced compared to untreated control mice and survival was significantly prolonged. This selective killing minimises damage to normal cells,” the BBC quoted the researchers as saying.

The authors said the combination was “a promising therapeutic and diagnostic agent for the treatment of cancer”.

Spider-inspired mobile robot goes where humans can’t
Drawing inspiration from spider’s legs, researchers have designed a mobile robot that can explore terrain that is beyond human reach.

 Spiders are very agile, and some can even jump. They owe this capability to their hydraulically operated limbs.

The researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA adopted the principle that moves spider legs to design the lightweight mobile robot using a 3-D printing process.

“We took this mobility principle and applied it to our bionic, computer-controlled lightweight robot. Its eight legs and body are also fitted with elastic drive bellows that operate pneumatically to bend and extend its artificial limbs,“ explained Dipl.-Ing. Ralf Becker, a scientist at IPA.

Enviably agile and purposeful, the mobile robot makes its way through grounds rendered off-limits to humans as the result of a chemical accident.

Depressions, ruts and other obstacles are no match for this eight-legged high-tech journeyman.

 As a real spider would, it keeps four legs on the ground at all times while the other four turn and ready themselves for the next step.