Weekly News Bites: Unique baby names, an AI aquarium, and slippery baseballs

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are the growing trend of unique name pronunciations in Japan, an aquarium that can tell you about which fish you are looking at, and which professional baseballs are slipperiest.

Babies in Japan are being given increasingly unique names, says a study by Tokyo University of ScienceParents still have to choose from a pre-approved list of kanji characters but they are getting more creative with their pronunciation. These pronunciations can be due to leaving out a part of the word or by using the foreign-language equivalent (such as luna for moon).

Baseball is played in many areas of the world, but do different professional competitions have different conditions? Some players find baseballs slipperier or easier to handle depending on the competition. Tohoku University researchers tested the fabric from Major League Baseball (MLB) and Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and found that the MLB balls were actually slipperier. 

In an aquarium packed with beautiful fish, it can be difficult to know which species you're looking at. Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute has created an AI Aquarium to help users identify the fish they're watching by tracking their eye movements. One camera looks at the viewer while the other watches inside the tank to determine the fish of interest. The information about it is then overlaid on the glass.

Reducing animal habitats makes it more difficult for them to move around to find new mates and maintain genetic diversity. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science looked at Blackbuck antelopes to see how they cope and found that males roam far to mate with females from different “clusters”. The females of the species stayed within their native populations.

Hip and knee replacements can be risky as dangerous bacteria can stick onto the surface of the prosthesis and form a biofilm which can leave patients vulnerable to infections. To combat this, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine developed a hydrogel that can heal infections and stimulate tissue growth after surgery. The gel can be injected to provide a safe anti-bacterial treatment. 

People that live at high altitudes have adapted to allow them to thrive in areas with low oxygen and extreme temperatures according to Banaras Hindu University and Calcutta University. The people in these populations have high blood pressure and low hemoglobin to help efficient blood circulation. This also has implications for medical examinations, and the researchers state that “... knowledge of ethnicity is required for the correct diagnosis of a person,”.