Weekly News Bites

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are smart contact lenses, cat communication, elephant mourning, and a hitchhiking drone.

Cats can recognize the names and faces of their feline friends, showing confusion when their friend gets called the wrong name says research from Kyoto University, Azabu University, Sophia University and other institutions. Contrary to their often-indifferent attitude, cats pay attention to the humans and other felines around them.

Elephants seem to react emotionally to certain situations, such as mourning their dead, but these displays are difficult to spot in the wild. Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for Ecological Sciences turned to YouTube videos to analyze the elusive animal and saw multiple instances of grieflike behavior.

A hitchhiking drone inspired by the remora fish (that uses a sucker to hang on to bigger sea creatures) has been created by Beihang University, Imperial College London, and Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. The amphibious drone can function in air and water and can stick to many surfaces, both wet and dry.

Dried pineapple leaves could be used to absorb recently eaten fats from our digestive systems. Researchers from the National University of Singapore created a cracker made of dried pineapple leaves. The team reported that 1g of the resulting pineapple powder was capable of absorbing around 45g of cooked fat.

To treat glaucoma, the internal pressure of the eye needs to be regulated before surgery. Sun Yat-sen University scientists have developed a smart contact lens could help sense eye pressure and deliver drugs directly to the eye when needed. The team found promising results after animal tests on rabbits and pigs.

Wearing a mask or social distancing can be difficult in certain settings such as the doctor’s office or in hospitals. A miniature “air curtain” could offer a solution by blocking aerosol particles, limiting the spread of COVID-19. This device was developed by Nagoya University and tested in by Nagoya University Hospital.

When you do have to wear a mask, communication can often be difficult, even more so for those who are hard of hearing or need speech therapy. Masks with a transparent anti-fog window have been developed by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Sengkang General Hospital, and Forever Family allowing people to read the lips of the mask-wearer.