Seven From Seven: Drones helping fight global warming and cabbage supplements reducing antibiotic resistance

26th August 2022

Each week, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories…

  1. Artificial intelligence can now detect Parkinson’s from the patients’ breathing patterns. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a neural network, which has algorithms that mimic the way the human brain works and is therefore capable of assessing whether someone has Parkinson’s from their nocturnal breathing. Parkinson’s disease, the fastest-growing neurological disease in the world, is exceptionally difficult to diagnose, as symptoms are primarily physical and are only exhibited several years after the disease onset. This model will revolutionize how this disease is detected and will impact millions of lives.
  2. Artemis – NASA’s latest lunar mission – is set to go ahead with its excursion around the Moon. Artemis will become the most powerful rocket to ever pull away from the Kennedy Space Centre. The intention behind the launch is to get close to permanently shadowed areas on the Moon where water-ices are likely to have collected over billions of years. These water-ices are an exciting discovery as they could potentially help make rocket fuel or even be used as drinking water.
  3. The Government has launched a new Farming Innovation Programme which intends to help the sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero goals. Artificial intelligence will play a key role in these initiatives: helping optimise welfare in pigs, as well as producing Agri-robots which will speed up vegetable harvests. These new ideas, fueled by technology, will turn research ideas into practical solutions that help the environment.
  4. An innovative new miniature robot named MIRA is set to launch into space in 2024 with the task of performing simulated surgical procedures in microgravity. This robot could potentially help produce solutions for medical emergencies that require surgical interventions while astronauts are on missions far from Earth. Over the next year NASA will write custom software for MIRA so that it can both survive a launch and then operate successfully in space.
  5. A new, potentially ground-breaking study found that a compound in green, leafy vegetables – including cabbage – accelerates wound healing and aids the potency of antibiotics in fighting infection. Cabbage supplements could therefore be used to help reduce antibiotic resistance, which is a pertinent issue in today’s world, with numerous harmful bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics which are designed to treat ill patients.
  6. Scientists have developed a machine-learning algorithm that can detect healthy coral reefs by the soundscape in the ecosystem. Using underwater microphones, they discovered that the diversity of sounds from marine life, ranging from the scrapes, whistles and rattles that fish and other large animals make, were like those heard on healthy reefs. The study has been vital in proving that soundscapes can be used to track coral reef recovery.
  7. Drones could potentially be used to combat deforestation and global warming by planting trees. Trees are vital for storing carbon, releasing oxygen and providing food and shelter to millions of creatures. British-based engineering firm CAL International, and AirSeed Technologies, a green tech start-up, found that advanced drone technology can scatter 40,000 seed pods a day. This could theoretically plant 100 million trees by 2024.

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