Weekly News Bites

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are an android child, "unhackable" internet, a cancer-fighting nanoparticle from corn, and less-than-green practices by some oil companies.

The National Research Foundation in Singapore is using quantum cryptography to test quantum security systems for unhackable internet. Current security systems will not be strong enough to keep up with future attacks and quantum computing could provide a way to stay in the game.

RIKEN has created an “android child” called Nikola that can display 6 emotions, allowing study participants to identify these emotions more accurately than from a video or photograph. This android can be used in social psychology, social neuroscience studies or even as caregiving robots in the future.

If reading all this news is making you thirsty, then some new research can quench it! IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) Bhopal scientists have created an organic polymer that can filter organic pollutants (such as run-offs from agriculture and industry) out of water.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University researchers have also created a cheap, solar-powered device that can evaporate salt water and leave fresh, potable water which could be used by vulnerable people during or after a natural disaster.

While there is good news on developments in water filtration, we can see that pollution is still a big problem as research from Tohoku University and Kyoto University has shown that big oil companies often do not uphold their promises to be “greener”. Their analysis showed that these companies had low levels of investment into less-polluting renewable energy and low energy generation from these sources.  

A study the University of Kashmir has also found that glaciers around the Pangong region have retreated 6.7% since 1990, most likely due to global warming. This could have serious consequences for the biodiversity in the region and the people who depend on the glaciers for drinking water and irrigation of crops.

Vegetables are good for you in a number of ways, even delivering medicine! Scientists from Tokyo University of Science have found a nanoparticle in corn that could help fight cancer. The “bionanoparticle” was taken up by both cancer cells and immune cells in mice which led to suppressed tumor growth.