Weekly News Bites

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are forest-flying autonomous drones, AI that predicts mental health, and hyperventilating cells.

Most of the time drones need to be piloted by an experienced user. However, Zhejiang University scientists have sent a swarm of autonomous drones into a thick bamboo forest to navigate their way through. This technology could be useful for disaster relief and conservation work.

The Indian Institute of Science has created a 3-D printed glove that can be remote controlled. The glove is sensitive enough to provide feedback on things like pressure (e.g. a patient holding something) and can open up therapy, allowing physiotherapists and doctors to provide treatment online.

Lumbago is a painful back condition that can be difficult to treat but Osaka University scientists may offer a new hope to those with disk degeneration. The team treated lumbago in rats by transplanting induced pluripotent stem cells into their spines which kept them free from degeneration.

National University of Singapore researchers have developed a way to painlessly shrink breast cancer tumors using magnetic pulses. The pulses stimulate respiration in the cancer cells and lead to them “hyperventilating”. The treatment seems to only target cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone.

How do you breathe on the moon? Lunar dirt can be used to make oxygen and hydrogen using a reaction that mimics photosynthesis according to scientists at Nanjing University. The quantities produced would not be enough to sustain human life but could improve with changes to the composition of the soil.

Children have a milder experience with COVID-19 than adults, says a publication by Fudan University. The young patients studied at Fudan University hospital had less or showed no symptoms of infection. Asymptomatic children may have contributed to the recent spread of the disease. The study was published ahead of peer-review.

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University and Auckland University of Technology are using AI to predict mental health conditions. The researchers have developed an AI algorithm that will combine genetic, clinical, and behavioral data, creating a model to study the relations between them.