Weekly News Bites

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are space bricks for Mars, a robot rat that can help in disasters, and electric chopsticks.

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How do you build a house on Mars? With space bricks of course! The Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Space Research Organisation have created these "space bricks" to be used on the red planet. The bricks will be built using Martian soil by bacteria that produce calcium carbonate.

Greenhouse gas emissions and land use for food production are urgent issues that need solutions. The Singapore-ETH Centre is developing and scaling up microalgae that uses by-products of tofu manufacturing to produce protein. Microalgae food products also contain vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids.

Time-restricted eating is a type of diet that has increased in popularity in recent years but shows no advantage over counting calories when it comes to losing weight says year-long study by Southern Medical University, China. Participants ate the same amount of calories, but some were restricted in when they could eat. After a year there was no significant different in weight loss indicators between the two methods.

In other food news, many of us also want to reduce our salt intake to stay healthy, but don’t want to give up our favourite dishes. To help satisfy this need, Meiji University and Kirin have collaborated to create chopsticks that use a weak electric current to move sodium ions and artificially create the taste of salt.

A professor from Dong-A University considers some trash as treasure. The professor has resorted to using trash washed up from North Korean shores to take a peek into life in the region which is more difficult to access than ever due to COVID-19 border closures.

A robot rat developed by Beijing Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University can navigate though narrow spaces and on difficult terrain. The team hope that this robot can help in post-disaster situations by helping with tasks such as delivering emergency supplies.