Weekly News Bites

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are a massive comet that will swing by our sun, a chip that can store sunshine, and the influence climate had on human evolution.

New images of a large comet that will pass by the sun were published by Macau University of Science and Technology. The images, taken by the Hubble Space telescope, show that the comet stretches for miles across and has a mass of more than 100,000 times greater than the mass of a typical comet. This massive comet will not get close enough to Earth to be dangerous but will swing by our sun in 2031.

The applications of wearable technology are advancing and researchers from Donghua University are contributing to this trend. The team have created a wristband that can generate power from heat which could be used to power small electronics. The materials could also cool the body, acting as a wearable air conditioner.

Giving birth is one of the hardest things we can experience, but babies actually help us out! Research from Kyoto University showed that babies slow the growth of their collarbones right before birth to ensure a smooth delivery. Slowing the growth of their collarbones means narrower shoulders which makes labor easier and less dangerous.

Changing climates shaped human evolution and influenced where our ancestors lived says a recently published study led by Pusan National University. Humans adapted to the shifting climate over centuries. If the climate had shifted in different patterns, then archeological and anthropological records would show fossils in different regions and from different ages than what has been found.

In COVID news, patterns of gut bacteria can be used to predict if a recovered patient will suffer from long COVID. According to researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studying stool samples from recovered patients can predict their risk for developing long COVID with 90% accuracy.

By mixing in a chemical substance with ordinary plastic, University of Tokyo researchers have developed a self-repairing plastic that can mend cracks when the edges are pressed together. The material is now more durable and sustainable and can help reduce plastic waste.

Scientists from Chalmers University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have developed an ultra-thin chip that can capture, store and release solar energy. The researchers loaded the chip with solar energy in Sweden and then “sent this sunshine” to China where the other half of the team converted it into electricity.