In 2001, a doctor in New York completed what may seem like a routine surgery to remove a patient's gallbladder. But in fact that procedure wasn't routine at all, because the patient was in France. That was the first successful long-distance robotic surgery, or telesurgery, ever performed, and since then the field has taken off. Though robotic surgery is not yet the industry standard, sales of medical robots are increasing by 20 percent each year, and by 2025 the Department of Defense wants to have deployable Trauma Pods that could allow surgeons to operate on soldiers from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
People have brewed beer for thousands of years, but there are some things that brewers still don't have down to a science. Despite the best efforts of brewers everywhere, sometimes a tiny, nefarious bacterium will manage to squirm its way into a batch of beer, ruining it for everyone.
In 2013, almost 600,000 people died of malaria, a disease caused by a parasite passed to humans through mosquito bites. But these deaths--mostly among children in Africa--are preventable. For years researchers have been working on different tactics to reduce malaria's prevalence, such as creating innovative drugs or highly effective repellants as well as engineering the mosquitoes themselves to prevent the disease from spreading. After four years of tests on thousands of infants and children, an anti-malarial vaccine has emerged as one of the most promising candidates to prevent the spread of the disease. The results of the clinical trial are published this week in The Lancet.
People find all sorts of inventive ways to continue the legacy of their recently deceased relatives. Some start charity funds; others hang on to photographs or old keepsakes. But as Katia Apalategui, a 52-year-old French insurance saleswoman, mourned the death of her father seven years ago, she was inspired to try to capture his scent in a perfume. She teamed up with researchers from the Université du Havre, who have also been working on distilling the human scent.
Falcons are perfected aerial machines, evolved over millennia to be very, very good at being falcons. Unfortunately, upstart Homo sapiens have put a few obstacles in the path of these raptors, like intruding quadcopters or deadly wind turbines. What's the best way to still capture all the renewable energy from the wind while leaving the creatures of the air alive and unharmed? Recruit a falcon as a guide and strap a GPS on his back, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Crispy cricket tacos, bee larvae sandwiches, banana worm bread--you may already know that bug-based recipes are all the rage lately. But even in the face of evidence that eating bugs is good for the planet, you might still think that insects are icky. According to a team of psychologists and culinary experts, arguments that appeal to your logic aren't going to convince you to ingest insects. Instead, it will require appealing to your taste buds and eyes, making food with bugs simply more enjoyable to eat. The researchers recently published a paper in the journal Food Quality and Preference looking into why we aren't eating more bugs and what proponents can do about it. (One of the study authors, Charles Spence, spoke with us not long ago about how to make pie even more delicious.)