Leap years are funny sorts of things. Not only can Irish women propose to their men or sixty-four-year-olds can finally celebrate their Sweet Sixteen, but it also gives us an extra day to enjoy life. Better still, it gives us an extra day for awesome February science discoveries! Alright, Leap Years!
Device Hacks Brain to Seeing with Sound
Using an apparatus known as a Sensory Substitution Device (SSD), researchers out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have tapped into the visual centers of the congenitally blind, allowing them to “see.” Images collected from the camera are translated, via a specialized computer algorithm, into sound, allowing the user to listen to and then interpret the information. After only a brief training period, blind users can identify complex objects, locate people and their postures, and even read words! What is really interesting about this is that the sounds that are created actually activate otherwise dormant visual centers in the blind subjects in a manner identical to people with normal vision. This finding contributes crucial information postulating that the entire brain is task-specific rather than sensory-specific.
Current Style: Charge Your Electronics with Your Outfit
Did you know that, just by sitting there, you are producing enough power to run a clock radio? That’s about 4-6 watts of power that is being wasted as body heat. But, thanks to the wonderful researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, we may soon be able to harness that energy to charge our gadgets! This team has developed a new thermoelectric material, known as “Power Felt,” composed of multiple layers of carbon nanotubes stacked between flexible plastic fibers and made to feel just like fabric felt. While it looks and feels like fabric, it creates electrical charges from differences in temperatures. What’s great is that this technology is expected to be completely affordable, possibly only costing $1 to add it to a cell phone cover. Although it’s still going to need a bit of work before it can hit the market, can’t you imagine that one day you’ll be able to charge your iPhone with your hot butt?
Breakfast Cake is Not a Lie
Dessert-lovers rejoice. Thanks to the brilliant researchers from Tel Aviv University, dessert can now be included on the breakfast menu. They found that combining a low calorie diet that included dessert at breakfast will help you lose weight. As if there weren’t any more reasons to love breakfast. According to the study, 144 clinically obese individuals were split into two groups, a control and treatment group, and put on a low carb, low fat diet. The treatment group’s diet also included a high-carbohydrate, protein-enriched breakfast with a choice of cookies, chocolate, cake or ice cream for dessert. During the first 16-week period, both groups averaged a weight loss of about 32 pounds. Now here’s the kicker. At the 16-week follow-up, it was found that the treatment group (i.e. the lucky ones) shed an additional average of 13 pounds while the control group (i.e. the unlucky ones) gained back most of what they lost. So there, Mother! Scientists have proven it! Now let me eat my ice cream breakfast in peace!