Don’t Miss the Top Five Stories of the Week

An Unlikely Bond

A team from the University of Denver is exploring how humanlike robots can help children with autism spectrum disorder. The researchers are studying the interactions between high-functioning kids ages 7-17 with autism and a humanoid robot named NAO. Researchers believe the robot can effectively trigger social interaction in children with autism, more so than humans. NAO is simple in design, which helps the participants in the study focus more on one interaction at a time, such as emotional facial expression and eye-gaze control — tasks that children with autism spectrum disorder can struggle with.

The study is small in scale thus far, but the results from participants of the study and feedback from their parents has been overwhelmingly positive. Click here to read the full article and learn more about NAO.

An Algorithm for Your Limbs

Powered prostheses — artificial limbs that mimic more lifelike human movement — are becoming more popular these days, but their upkeep can be daunting. While a marvel in biomechanical engineering, the mechanisms that make up the prosthetic require calibrations specific to the wearer’s size, weight and strength, among other criteria — which can be expensive and tedious to maintain. Now, researchers out of North Carolina have created an algorithm that can be programmed directly into the prosthetic, which then calibrates the limb throughout the day as the wearer moves.

Results of the initial study on the software are promising. But engineers say they still have a ways to go. Find out where the calibration software lacks in comparison to the hands of a prosthetics expert by clicking here.

More Reason to Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

The newest study surrounding diet and brain health reaffirms what many researchers now tend to believe: A Mediterranean diet is effective in keeping your brain young. The study, conducted by researchers from Columbia University, reviewed 674 elderly patients via survey to compare their eating habits and MRI scans of their brain. The study concluded that participants whose eating habits were similar to a Mediterranean diet had larger overall brain volume, as well as more gray and white matter.

So how can you maintain a healthy brain? Click here to find out what nutrient-rich foods Mediterraneans are eating that can help keep you sharp as a tack.

Prepare for 2018: Scientist’s Predict the Future’s Technologies

Breakthrough technologies are moving at the speed of light. What do some of the greatest minds in science, technology and business think lies ahead for 2018? Autonomous cars, smart houses and antibiotics that defeat drug resistance are just a few things on the list.

Click here to find out what technology might look like in 2018.

Researchers Punch Stuff in the Name of Science

You may not think about it much, but one researcher is out to determine exactly how and why the human fist evolved. In a study published this week in The Journal of Experimental Biology, scientist David Carrier set out to prove that the human fist first evolved, in part, as a weapon. Using a contraption of cadavers, fishing line and padded dumbbells, Carrier and his team tested the force of the blows on dumbbells by the cadaver hands to determine if our ancient ancestor’s fists may have evolved out of the need to fight.

Carrier’s study and the findings are getting a lot of side eye from fellow researchers “The idea that aggressive behavior played a role in the evolution of the human hand is controversial,” Carrier said in a press release. Click here to find out why some of his peers think he’s full of hot air.

Regards,

Amanda Stiltner
for The Daily Reckoning

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