Sweat powered wearables 💦, swimming dinosaurs 🦖 and snack sales increase 🍪!

Technology


Sweat Powered Electronic Skin Human Machine Interface

Caltech has developed an electronic skin made from soft flexible rubber and is embedded with sensors to monitor information such as heart rate, body temperature, blood sugar levels, as well as metabolic by-products that are indicators of health and the nerve signals that control muscles. The e-skin has built in fuel cells that absorb lactate and combine it with oxygen to generate water and pyruvate; the cells generate enough electricity to power sensors as well as a Bluetooth device which allows the e-skin to transmit readings from its sensors wirelessly.

Meet Moxie, a Social Robot That Helps Kids With Social-Emotional Learning

Moxie is “designed to help promote social, emotional, and cognitive development through everyday play-based learning and captivating content.” Every week is a different theme such as kindness, friendship, empathy or respect, and children are tasked to help Moxie with missions that explore human experiences, ideas, and life skills. These missions include creative unstructured play like drawing, mindfulness practice through breathing exercises and meditation, reading and exploring ways to be kind to others. The robot enforces limits by getting tired and going to sleep if the child tries to do too much with it at once.

Science


Bizarre Spinosaurus makes history as first known swimming dinosaur

Longer than an adult Tyrannosaurus rex, the 50-foot-long, seven-ton predator had a large sail on its back and an elongated snout. The findings suggest the giant Spinosaurus spent plenty of time underwater, perhaps hunting prey like a massive crocodile. The tail is the most extreme aquatic adaptation ever seen in a large dinosaur. Its discovery in Morocco stretches our understanding of how one of Earth’s most dominant groups of land animals lived and thrived. The adaptation probably helped it move through the vast river ecosystem it called home – or even dart after the huge fish it likely preyed upon.

Arctic wildlife uses extreme method to save energy

Researchers examined the immune system strength of the Svalbard rock ptarmigan in the Arctic. This bird lives the farthest up in the Arctic of any land bird. The researchers found that when the birds become ill in mid-winter, their energy consumption drops compared to when they are healthy. However, when the birds become ill in late spring, their energy consumption increases instead. “A weaker immune system is probably a part of all the adaptations that Arctic animals use to save energy in winter. The risk of being infected by various diseases so far north is less in winter than when it becomes warmer towards summer”

Business


Surge in snack sales is not just ‘pantry loading,’ Mondelez CEO says after earnings beat

Mondelez, the snack company, which counts Oreo and Ritz among its marquee brands, reported organic growth of 6.4% for the first quarter. CEO has said that the company is seeing continued growth in snack sales after consumers stocked up at the beginning of the pandemic. “Originally, you would have said this was pantry loading, but this has now been going on for more than six weeks. And unless consumers are building a warehouse for Oreos at home, I think they are eating it.”

Spotify surges 17% after reporting 31% jump in paid subscribers amid coronavirus lockdowns

Podcasts saw a decline in listens as fewer people travel to work, but music saw a double-digit increase in listens across activities like cooking, doing chores, family time, and relaxing at home. Spotify also detailed that it saw a decrease in daily active users and consumption in areas hit hard by the coronavirus like Italy and Spain. The company was surprised it didn’t see a fall in premium subscribers. The company experienced a more than 20% drop in advertising sales in the last three weeks of the quarter because of the coronavirus.

Miscellaneous


Outcry as Spanish beach sprayed with bleach

Authorities in a Spanish coastal resort have apologised after spraying a beach with bleach in an attempt to protect children from coronavirus. Zahara de los Atunes, near Cadiz, used tractors to spray more than 2km (1.2 miles) of beach with a bleach solution a day before Spain allowed children out of lockdown for the first time. Environmentalists say the move caused “brutal damage” to the local ecosystem. The bleach “killed everything on the ground, nothing is seen, not even insects”.

Work begins on world’s largest solar-powered hydrogen plant

China’s Baofeng Energy Group said it started construction on the largest solar-powered hydrogen pilot plant in the world. The project will use a 200-MW solar power plant located in the Northwestern region of Ningxia to make hydrogen via electrolysis. Several reports indicate that the project is expected to cost about 1.4 billion yuan ($198 million) and produce 160 million standard cubic meters of hydrogen per year. The project also involves the creation of hydrogen refuelling stations and a collaboration with urban hydrogen-powered buses.

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