The Huggable robot, designed by researchers at the MIT Media Lab, was designed to enrich long-distance communication between users. Image credit: MIT Media Lab. Put off by US, Chinese students eye other universities Explore further As the lab explains, the Huggable is designed to be more than a fun robotic companion. Its main purpose is to enhance human relationships by functioning as a visual tool for long-distance communication. Grandparents who want to talk to young grandchildren, teachers instructing students, or healthcare providers communicating with patients could all enrich their interactions using the robot.The Huggable features more than 1500 sensors on its skin, along with quiet actuators, video cameras in its eyes, microphones in its ears, a speaker in its mouth, and an embedded PC with 802.11g wireless networking. “The movements, gestures and expressions of the bear convey a personality-rich character, not a robotic artifact,” the MIT Media Lab’s Web site explains. “A soft silicone-based skin covers the entire bear to give it a more lifelike feel and heft, so you do not feel the technology underneath. Holding the Huggable feels more like holding a puppy, rather than a pillow-like plush doll.”The Huggable connects to a Web interface that enables the remote person to not only view the person on the other end through the bear’s eyes, but also view the robot’s behaviors through streaming audio and video. The remote person can also control the robot using several features. A grandparent, for instance, can enter text for the robot to speak via speech synthesis or command the robot to make various sounds, such as giggling. The grandparent can then watch the child’s facial reaction on the screen and listen to their response, as well as watch a 3D virtual model of the robot and an animated cartoon that indicates gestures, such as when the robot is being bounced or rocked. Overall, the robot enables the grandparent to see and hear the child through the eyes and ears of the Huggable. The robot can operate in either fully or semi autonomous mode. The Huggable can be programmed to remember the faces of specific people, and can then track the moving faces without external control. In semi-autonomous mode, a user can use a joystick to move the robot’s head vertically and horizontally. The Huggable was originally based on the concept of therapeutic companion animals, and has important touch-based features. The robot’s neural network can recognize nine different classes of touch, such as tickling, poking, and scratching, etc., and each class is further divided into six response types, such as teasing pleasant, punishment light, etc. Based on the response type, the robot interprets the intent of the touch and how to respond. Currently, the MIT Media Lab is working to create a series of Huggables for real-world trials. The Huggable was created using Microsoft Robotic Studio, and the project is supported in part by a Microsoft iCampus grant.More information: MIT Media Lab© 2008 PhysOrg.com Citation: MIT’s Huggable Robot Teddy Enhances Human Relationships (2008, December 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-12-mit-huggable-robot-teddy-human.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (PhysOrg.com) — It’s probably the most sophisticated teddy bear ever designed, but that doesn’t stop MIT’s companion robot called “the Huggable” from being pretty adorable, as well. The Huggable is the latest project to come from the MIT Media Lab, and could one day be used for healthcare, education, and social communication applications.
Citation: Oldest pregnant lizard fossil discovered (2011, July 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-07-oldest-pregnant-lizard-fossil.html The fossil was discovered by Susan Evans, a professor from the University College London Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, in the Jehol region of Northeast China. This area has revealed hundreds of dinosaur, amphibian, reptile, fish, bird, mammal, invertebrate and plant fossils. The lizard in this case has been identified as Yabeinosaurus which scientists believe to be similar to the gecko. Evans did not pay much attention to the fossil when it was first discovered but Yuan Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences examined the fossil and discovered 15 tiny fossilized embryos.The embryos were almost fully developed and the researchers believe that the foot-long mother died only a few days before she would have given birth.This discovery reveals that some lizards were giving birth to live young in the Early Cretaceous period. Previous fossils have shown that some marine lizards gave birth to live young but this is the first primarily land lizard to be discovered. “We previously thought that lizards adapted to live birth after mammals, but now it looks like it happened at roughly the same kind of time. This specimen is the oldest we have seen, which implies physiological adaptations, like adequate blood supply to the embryos and very thin shells – or no shells at all – to allow oxygen supply, evolved very early on,” said Professor Susan Evans.For lizards the added weight throughout the gestational period can limit their movement and ability to flee from predators. This lizard was believed to have lived on a river bank or somewhere close to water where it was able to flee to water in order to move easier.”We do know that this lizard lived near to water and we think it likely that they could swim even though they primarily lived on land. This would make sense as a pregnant lizard would be less constrained by carrying offspring – she’d be able to escape into water if a hungry dinosaur came along!” she added. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Yabeinosaurus tenuis fossil on display at the Beijing Museum of Natural History. Image: Wikipedia. The pregnant gravid female Yabeinosaurus fossil. Credit: Susan Evans/UCL Researchers link an African lizard fossil in Africa with the Komodo dragon in Indonesia (PhysOrg.com) — A new paper published in Naturwissenschaft reveals a fossil from 120 million years ago that proves that some lizards were not laying eggs but rather giving birth to live young. Explore further More information: A gravid lizard from the Cretaceous of China and the early history of squamate viviparity, by Yuan Wang and Susan E. Evans, Naturwissenschaft, DOI:10.1007/s00114-011-0820-1AbstractAlthough viviparity is most often associated with mammals, roughly one fifth of extant squamate reptiles give birth to live young. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the trait evolved more than 100 times within Squamata, a frequency greater than that of all other vertebrate clades combined. However, there is debate as to the antiquity of the trait and, until now, the only direct fossil evidence of squamate viviparity was in Late Cretaceous mosasauroids, specialised marine lizards without modern equivalents. Here, we document viviparity in a specimen of a more generalised lizard, Yabeinosaurus, from the Early Cretaceous of China. The gravid female contains more than 15 young at a level of skeletal development corresponding to that of late embryos of living viviparous lizards. This specimen documents the first occurrence of viviparity in a fossil reptile that was largely terrestrial in life, and extends the temporal distribution of the trait in squamates by at least 30 Ma. As Yabeinosaurus occupies a relatively basal position within crown-group squamates, it suggests that the anatomical and physiological preconditions for viviparity arose early within Squamata. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Tonkean black macaque. Credit: Public Domain © 2017 Phys.org Baby born to brain-dead mother in Portugal This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Arianna De Marco et al. Prolonged transport and cannibalism of mummified infant remains by a Tonkean macaque mother, Primates (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s10329-017-0633-8 (Phys.org)—A trio of researchers working at Italy’s Parco Abatino animal sanctuary report witnessing an adult female Tonkean macaque eat the mummified remains of her dead infant. In their paper published in the journal Primates describing the incident, Arianna De Marco, Roberto Cozzolino and Bernard Thierry also outline the events leading up to the odd behavior and offer possible reasons for it. Journal information: Primates The unusual behavior was carried out by a new young mother named Evalyne, the team reports. She had given birth to a baby that lived for just four days—enough time to bond, the researchers note. When the baby died, the mother did not seem to react unusually until she came upon a reflection of herself in her enclosure—that seemed to set her off, the team reports. She became very agitated and screamed for a period of time. After that, the mother continued to carry the dead infant around with her, even as it began to deteriorate. This, the team also reports, is also not unusual behavior for primates in general. Prior research on such behavior has not been able to clarify if it is a form of grief, or an inability to grasp the concept of death.Whatever the reason, Evalyne continued to carry the dead infant, at times trying to care for it. Eventually, as the baby decayed, its head fell off, and then its fur and skin, leaving behind a skeleton with remnants of flesh still attached. After three weeks, the researchers witnessed the mother nibbling on the remains of the child, tearing off bits of mummified flesh and swallowing it. The mother continued with the behavior, even chewing and swallowing bones, leaving just one as perhaps a reminder of what she had lost. Making the act even more bizarre, perhaps, is the fact that Tonkean macaques are vegetarian.The researchers report also that they are at a loss to explain might have caused this extremely unusual behavior, but suggest it might have been a combination of things, such as the mother’s young age and inexperience combined with an inability to process what had happened. They suggest it could simply be the mother’s way of trying to maintain the bond that had formed between her and her baby. Citation: Female macaque at Italian sanctuary ate her mummified dead baby (2017, September 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-09-female-macaque-italian-sanctuary-ate.html Explore further
Explore further Citation: Two studies cast doubt on existence of exomoon (2019, May 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-exomoon.html Credit: CC0 Public Domain This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
© 2019 Science X Network This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further More information: Julius Fredens et al. Total synthesis of Escherichia coli with a recoded genome, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1192-5 Citation: Researchers replace the genes of E. coli bacteria with synthesized genome (2019, May 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-genes-coli-bacteria-genome.html The genetic code is the program of life—its arrangement leads to protein creation that controls the functions inside cells. The genome of any given organism is quite complex, yet it is based on just three sets of DNA bases. Each of the three can hold just one of four bases, which means there are just 64 possible combinations. But there are only 20 amino acids, which means there must be some codes in a given genome that are not needed. Prior research has shown that at least some of those codes are used as backups (redundancies) while some are used for other purposes, and many are not yet understood. In this new effort, the researchers had two goals: The first was to synthesize the genome of an E. coli bacterium in their lab—all four million letters of it. The second was to find out what would happen to such a specimen if some of its DNA redundancies were removed.The researchers report that they achieved both objectives by recoding the E. coli DNA on a computer with multiple redundancies removed. Once the desired genome was redesigned, it was split up and sent to a DNA synthesizer. The output from the DNA still needed tweaking, however, which meant the team had to stitch together smaller pieces into longer ones before it could be put into a living E. coli bacterium—they named it Syn61 because only 61 of the 64 possible codes were used.The researchers report that it took longer for the special bacterial specimen to grow, but other than that, it behaved just like unedited specimens. They suggest that in future efforts, it might be possible to replace the redundancies they removed with other sequences to create bacteria with special abilities, such as making new types of biopolymers not found in nature.
Downplaying the open slug-fest between the allies in the run up to the Kalyan Dombivili bypolls, Fadnavis, who completed his first year in office, said, “there are no problems between the two parties and the alliance will remain for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in 2017 as well.” The government will last its full term, 45-year-old Fadnavis, who emerged as a dark horse for the top slot with the backing of the RSS, told a press meet here.Asked whether the anniversary is that of BJP or Shiv Sena, he said, “the first anniversary is of the government which includes everyone associated with it.” Also Read – Punjab on alert after release of excess water from Bhakra damThe BJP formed its first government in the state on October 31 last year and the Shiv Sena joined the ministry over a month later to be content with the portoflios the dominant partner was ready to part with.Fielding questions on Uddhav’s threat of pulling down the government at the civic poll rally on Friday, he said, “I haven’t heard nor am I aware of it.” Speaking on the never-ending slanging match between the partners, he said, “I do not indulge in mud-slinging nor has anyone done that on me.”
Using body mass index (BMI) to gauge health is a wrong practice as it is a deeply flawed measure, reveals a study while adding that BMI should not be the primary goal for maintaining good health.BMI incorrectly labelled more than 30 per cent of those with in the “normal” range about 20.7 million people —as healthy whereas they were actually unhealthy based on their other health data, the study said.Also, more than two million people who are considered “very obese” by virtue of having a BMI of 35 or higher are actually healthy. That’s about 15 per cent who are classified as very obese. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“The data shows there are tens of millions of people who are overweight and obese and are perfectly healthy,” said A. Janet Tomiyama, assistant professor at University Of California, Los Angeles. There are people who are healthy and are penalised based on a faulty health measure, while the unhealthy ones of normal weight are flying under the radar of BMI, she added.The study recommends that people should focus on eating a healthy diet and exercise regularly, rather than obsess about their weight, and strongly opposes stigmatising people who are overweight.The scientists analysed the link between BMI — which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of the person’s height in meters — and several health markers, including blood pressure and glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, using data from the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s poem in Santhali language will be the Durga Puja theme at Swadhin Sangha in Bhowanipore. The puja organisers will showcase the development of the tribal population under the leadership of the Chief Minister in the last seven years.The theme will also delve deep into the life and culture of the tribal population,which is unique in a number of ways.”The Chief Minister’s Santhali poem Joy Jitkaur Deban Mena (say we shall overcome) acknowledges the contribution of the Santhals in the freedom struggle of the country. However, their sacrifices have not received the honour they deserved. It was under the leadership of our Chief Minister that this tribal population, spanning mainly across the districts of Bankura, Birbhum, West Midnapore, Jhargram and Purulia has witnessed a major development in the sphere of education and healthcare. They have also been employed through various schemes of the government. We are portraying their life, culture and activities through our theme this year,” said Ashim Kumar Bose, the general secretary of Swadhin Sangha. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe poem will be rewritten in Bengali language through engraving on the wooden structure of the pandal. Apart from the life and culture of the tribal population, the story of the Santhal Rebellion, their various festivals and their hunting activities will come alive through different models.It may be mentioned that the Santhals had also worshipped Goddess Durga during the rebellion.Subrata Dey and Raja Chakraborty will be designing the pandal, maintaining parity with the theme with hogla leaves, barks of trees, leaves of maize, earthen pots and oil lamps. Santhal adivasis will be present in the pandal with their typical musical instruments like dhamsa and madol, for entertaining pandal-hoppers. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA fibre statue of Sidhu Kanhu, prominent leaders of the tribe, will be carved out just outside the main pandal. Krishna Chandra Pal from Krishnanagar in Nadia district is making the idols of the puja matching with the theme. The theme music for the puja will also be composed in Santhali language.This is the third time the puja committee is using poems of Banerjee as their theme. Last year their theme was the Chief Minister’s poem Sobuj (The Green).The message of preserving greenery without chopping down trees indiscriminately, which was propagated by the puja committee, was a big crowd puller.