Archive for December, 2018

Piano Playing Hand Bot

Musical sense has always been the domain of human beings and not robots. Sure they can do a lot of things that are useful to us, but they are not supposed to be artists. Or are they? The researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a 3D-printed robotic hand that can actually be classified as an artist.

The science project developed this robotic hand that can play simple musical phrases on the piano by just moving its wrist. Considering how many complex motions the human hand must make to play the piano, it is easy to understand just how difficult the robot was to conceptualize and create. Needless to say it’s a work in progress and will still be worked upon by the research team.

It was made by 3D-printing soft and rigid materials together to replicate of all the bones and ligaments in a human hand. No it does not have the muscles or tendons of a regular human hand and is very limited in the scope of what it can do. The mechanical design tried to give the robotic hand the widest range of motion possible and when you hear it playing the piano, you may be tempted to believe that it is actually a virtuoso.

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High-Salt Warning Maybe False

For years the minute someone was diagnosed with a heart condition, they were asked to cut down on salt in their diets. The premise was that a high salt diet would lead to excessive sodium levels in the body. This would lead to more of a strain on the heart. One would assume that such a rigorous medical practice followed world wide would have been based on some sort of research and supporting data.

Apparently not! Most major medical organizations that follow this practice do not have any base of strong evidence to support it. The nine studies that have been conducted are based on just 479 people. None of the studies individually has a base of even a hundred patients. Also there was no data on the reduction of salt resulting in a difference in mortality levels.

The old studies have be collated by Clyde Yancy who is a professor of Cardiology at the Northwesten School of Medicine. His findings are that only 0.3% of the studies conducted have looked at the restriction of sodium and it’s effect on the health of the heart. His science project even mentions that maybe increasing the amount of potassium in the body may be preferred to reducing the salt intake of a person.

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Eat Healthy – Pay Attention to Food Labels

The number of lifestyle diseases that are plaguing the world’s population today are a direct consequence of the diet that people eat. In the past few decades we have moved away from the healthy practice of eating food that is locally grown and rich in vitamins and minerals. Instead we stuff our bodies with high sodium content and high fat based instant foods that are extremely detrimental to the health simply because they are convenient.

Thankfully even in this situation, there is hope for the human race. There is a movement that’s growing to eat healthier. People are becoming more aware of what they eat and are constantly looking for healthier options. This is where paying attention to the food labels on the products that you are consuming can become a huge deal.

Here is an idea of a great science project. Make a list of ten grocery staples that are bought regularly in your home. Now remember all the different brands that you may buy for each product. Take a trip to the supermarket and check out the labels of each brand to see which is the healthiest option. Consider the calories, total fat, sodium and  potassium contents of the foods. Tabulate your findings and know which are the healthiest brands to buy next time you go shopping for groceries.

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Cyber Attacks More Likely on Compulsive Smartphone Users

Having a little self control can actually save you from a world of cyber grief is what the scientists at the Michigan State University seem to have found. People with low self control tend to be more impulsive while shopping online. A fact that can easily put them at risk for malware attacks.

The issue of cyber crime has become more pronounced as the majority of the world’s population moves on to the technological advantages offered by a smart phone. Not everyone is savvy about keeping their phones updated with antivirus software even as they protect their laptops and computers vigilantly.

It is this loophole that cyber criminals tend to exploit. By sending good deals via email from websites that a person may not touch during regular computer browsing, they are able to gather enough information from the smart phone to launch a cyber attack. This short sighted negligence can cost the individual dearly.

The scientific research helped solidify the finding that  there is a correlation between low self control and victimisation. The study was based on the behavior of over six thousand survey participants. A worrying fact is that hackers already are aware of this and are taking full advantage of the fact.

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