Archive for August, 2019

More Helicopter Services Bloom in NYC

Being stuck in traffic is no fun, especially when it’s bumper to bumper in New York City. Congestion has never been worse on the roads of NYC in this century. The unreliable public transport combined with gridlocked roads make traveling in the city a huge ordeal. Those who can afford it, are seeking out helicopter transportation services more frequently than ever before.

Consider the economics of a helicopter flight that costs $195, which is $100 more than what Uber would cost. It is also $135 more expensive than a taxi trip and $187.25 more than a subway ride. However, consider the speed at which you can traverse the distance at 3000 feet above the ground. There are no delays and the trip is a lot more fun.

Even Uber is now considering getting into the airways from it’s purely ground services so far. It has started helicopter services to Kennedy International Airport in July and only hopes to expand fro there. With a two hour drive turning into a five minute ride, it’s no wonder that those who can afford it are preferring to travel by helicopter. It would make an interesting science project to predict just how soon the airways will get congested at NYC!

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App to Help Reduce Exam Stress

A fear that every student faces is that of not doing well in an important exam. Exam stress is a very real issue and is being addressed by experts from different fields. They advice watching what you eat, staying hydrated, getting exercise and sleeping well, to give your best performance. Now the researchers at Cornell University have taken it up a notch by creating an app.

The app called BoostMeUp is used with a smartwatch. The wearable tech gadget produces a slow, light tapping on the inner wrist of the wearer. Created by Jean Costa and his team, the app was tested on 72 college students who had to give two high pressure math exams. The team monitored the base heart lines of the students during the exams.

About half the participants received tapping at 30% higher than the base heart lines and the other half received tapping at 30% lower than the base heart lines rate. It was found that the faster tapping group reported more anxiety levels, while the slower tapping group felt less stress.

Also the test results of the 36 questions on the math exam showed this difference. Those with the higher tapping rate answered 0.58 more questions incorrectly. While the slow tapping group answered 1.75 more questions correctly. Interesting science project involving cognition and stress.

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Fabric to Make Gym Clothes Smell Good

For those who enjoy a good workout, sweating is an inevitable part of the process. Perspiration leads to very unpleasant odors. Dealing with sweaty gym clothes, becomes a rather smelly reality. Now research being carried out by a team of engineers in the University of Minho in Portugal has brought out a possible solution to this universal issue.

They have come up with a way to embed smells of citronella and lemongrass into cotton fabric. The idea is that as the sweat is absorbed into the fabric, it releases the sweeter smells of these alternatives that have been placed within the fabric. The research paper said that functional textiles incorporating fragrances could be an effective clothing deodorizing product.

In addition citronella is also a natural insect repellent, which makes the fabric keep the mosquitoes away even when exercising outdoors. Such self de-odorising clothes would have a huge demand for exercise wear. While the science project has not yet reached anywhere near commercial production, this is a sell out in the making.

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“Load Rage” in Phone Users

You’ve heard of road rage when people get stuck in traffic, now let’s talk about load rage. Many millennials suffer from annoyance as they wait for content to be downloaded to their smart phones. In a recent survey conducted by the Chinese phone manufacturing giant One-Plus, it was found that people in the age bracket of 16 to 34 years were five times more likely to lose their temper due to slow download speeds than older users.

More than 2000 smart phone users participated in the survey which also found that half the users in the age bracket of 16 to 24 years would like to reduce their screen time. The users also reported symptoms of burnout, like anxiety and insomnia attributed to the large amount of time that they tend to spend on their smart phones.

The most commonly cited frustration for young people in the survey was the unavailability of WiFi services in their given location. Overall 32% of the survey respondents were worried about the level of dependency on technology today. This is one science project that’s given smart phone users much to think about.

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Plastic Ruins Paradise

A remote island in the Pacific is being buried in floating plastic garbage. Henderson Island is an uninhabited tropical paradise which is located halfway between New Zealand and Peru. The location would be extremely isolated given that there are no major land masses anywhere near the island.

Unfortunately a freak of geography has made it so that it has one of the highest concentrations of plastic pollution on the planet. Along the beach which is about three kilometers long, nearly 18 tonnes of plastic has accumulated. The sand may not be visible but the several thousand pieces of plastic that get added to the coast surely is an eyesore.

In 1988 the UN World Heritage List had called Henderson Island an untouched paradise. Unfortunately today it’s the final resting place for bottles and containers from Germany, Canada, US, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador. Despite a clean up effort made in 2015, the island continues to be buried under more and more floating plastic that drifts up to its shores. Unless an alternate is found with some science experimentation, the throw away culture of using plastics is going to just make every day worse at the island.

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Now a Noodle Bot

Your chef may soon be a robot. In Singapore a robotics company has come up with a bot nicknamed Sophie, which is capable of making the popular Singaporean dish of laska. A piping hot bowl of this noodle soup is presented to the customer in just 45 seconds, with minimal spills. Now that’s a challenge to any top chef in the field.

The electric sous-chef handles the blanching of the noodles, adding pre-cooked prawns and ladling the spicy coconut soup at the rate of about 80 bowls per hour. A task that a human would find repetitive and fatiguing has now found the perfect solution in a robotic chef. The bot can tirelessly perform the repetitive tasks for as long as needed in the restaurant.

The robot was specifically developed for a restaurant called Orange Clove by a local engineering firm. It’s presence will reduce the number of souz-chefs for laska from two to one. Plus the human chef will now primarily be tasked with replacing ingredients and keeping the station clean rather than actual cooking.

What about the quality? This science project actually produces the same taste as that of a human chef. A customer in the restaurant on the launch of the bot said that it was impossible to tell the difference.

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