Weekly News Bites: Invisibility cloaks, an ancient whale skeleton, and a missing Y chromosome

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a coat that can make you invisible to AI cameras, a fossilized whale skeleton found in a river valley, and hope for humans after our Y chromosome disappears.

Have you ever wanted to try on an invisibility cloak? While it is not yet possible to become completely invisible to humans, Wuhan University students designed the next best thing: a camouflage pattern that can make you “invisible” to AI security cameras. The team also included thermal devices in the outfits to confuse night vision cameras. Next, the team hopes to apply this pattern to objects such as cars.

A team of paleontologists at National Cheng Kung University discovered large rib bones sticking out of the ground in a deep river valley. Upon further inspection, the team unearthed a fossilized skeleton of an 85 000-year-old whale. The scientists can now compare this whale to modern ones and look at how they have evolved and adapted over time.

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China have developed a contactless ECG to monitor cardiac health from a distance, interfering less with the patient than current sensors that must be in contact with skin. A wave radar picks up the heart’s mechanical movement and a neural network transforms this into electrical signals that can be read.

The human race is losing its Y chromosome, raising questions about our future as a species… will all men disappear? Hokkaido University found one animal that gives us hope: the spiny rat that has already lost its Y chromosome. This species still has a male and a female but the male spiny rat has its “male genes” located on different chromosomes. 

Hearing loss has been considered as a risk factor for cognitive decline. What is not known, however, is if measures such as hearing aids can help slow down this decline. National University of Singapore researchers observed that hearing aids could be a useful tool in helping to prevent cognitive decline. Participants that wore hearing devices showed better cognitive scores and a slower progression of cognitive decline.