Weekly News Bites: Vocal dinosaurs, AR contact lenses, and a flying robot spider

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are the discovery of a dinosaur larynx, 3D-printed contact lenses that use AR, and a leggy robot spider that can fly.

Researchers from Hokkaido University, Fukushima Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History discovered a dinosaur fossil that has a larynx which is used for making complex noises. This discovery could help figure out what dinosaurs really sounded like as the larynx resembles those of modern birds.

Arachnophobes watch out as the University of Tokyo is developing a spider-like robot that can crawl along the ground and also fly in the air. The thrusters move the spider around on the ground or in flight and the many joints increase mobility but also give the robot a creepy crawly appearance.

A 3D-printed smart contact lens that uses augmented reality (AR) to show users various information has been developed by the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute and the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology. Micro-patterns are printed on the lenses that can be used for a smart display. The team hopes that this will be used to help identify health problems.

Researchers from Singapore and Germany, including Duke NUS Medical School, The National Heart Center in Singapore, and the Max Delbrück Centre have regenerated damaged kidneys in mice. The team achieved this by blocking a protein (interleukin-11) that causes inflammation and scarring. When this protein is blocked the kidney cells can regenerate and become healthy again. This provides hope for sufferers of kidney damage from trauma or disease like diabetes.

RNA modifications can be difficult to observe using the current approaches. A*STAR and the National University of Singapore have developed a software that can train neural networks with data on RNA and a certain modification, called m6A, so the AI can predict its presence. M6A has been associated with diseases such as cancer so predicting its presence could help with disease detection.