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Scientists create a synthetic soft surface with human tongue-like textures using 3D printing 

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scientists create a synthetic soft surface with human tongue like textures using 3d printing

Scientists claim to have created the first ever synthetic tongue using 3D printing. 

The ‘biometric tongue’, developed in the UK, mimics the elasticity, wettability and unique rough texture of a real human tongue with its synthetic silicone structure. 

Experts took digital scans of real human tongues to 3D-print their artificial material, which could be used to test the oral processing properties of some foods. 

It could also fight against adulteration in food and orally administered pharmaceuticals and lead to new nutritional technologies.

Pictured, the biometric tongue. The printed synthetic silicone structure mimics the topology, elasticity and wettability of a real tongue¿s surface

Pictured, the biometric tongue. The printed synthetic silicone structure mimics the topology, elasticity and wettability of a real tongue¿s surface

Pictured, the biometric tongue. The printed synthetic silicone structure mimics the topology, elasticity and wettability of a real tongue’s surface

‘Recreating the surface of an average human tongue comes with unique architectural challenges,’ said study author Dr Efren Andablo-Reyes at the University of Leeds.

‘We aimed to replicate these mechanically relevant characteristics of the human tongue in a surface that is easy to use in the lab to replicate oral processing conditions.’

Hundreds of small bud-like structures called papilla give the tongue its characteristic rough texture.

This roughness, which makes our tongue feel like sandpaper when our mouth is dry, contrasts with the soft nature of the tongue’s tissue.

Together, this contrasts creates ‘a complicated landscape’ for materials scientists when trying to replicate a human tongue in the lab.

‘We focused our attention on the anterior dorsal section of the tongue where some of these papillae contain taste receptors, while many of them lack such receptors,’ said Dr Andablo-Reyes. 

3D optical image close to the tip of human tongue surface with its unique and rough topology

3D optical image close to the tip of human tongue surface with its unique and rough topology

3D optical image close to the tip of human tongue surface with its unique and rough topology

Researchers attempted to mimic two types of papillae – the more common, white filiform and the mushroom-shaped red fungiform.

‘Both kinds of papillae play a critical role in providing the right mechanical friction to aid food processing in the mouth with the adequate amount saliva, providing pleasurable mouthfeel perception and proper lubrication for swallowing.’ 

To make the tongue, the team took silicone impressions of tongue surfaces from 15 adults. 

The impressions were 3D optically scanned to map papillae dimensions, density and the average roughness of the tongues.  

The team used computer simulations and mathematical modelling to create a 3D-printed artificial surface to function as a mould.

The mould contained wells with the shape and dimensions of the different papillae randomly distributed across the surface.

This was replica-moulded against elastic polymers, each with optimised softness and wettability. 

The artificial surface was then 3D printed using digital light processing technology based in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Leeds.

The team ran a series of experiments using different complex fluids to ensure that the printed surface’s wettability – how a liquid keeps contact and spreads across a surface – and the lubrication performance was the same as the human tongue.  

The 3D printed negative mould showing holes for the filiform and fungiform papillae - the small, nipple-like structures on the upper surface of the tongue

The 3D printed negative mould showing holes for the filiform and fungiform papillae - the small, nipple-like structures on the upper surface of the tongue

The 3D printed negative mould showing holes for the filiform and fungiform papillae – the small, nipple-like structures on the upper surface of the tongue

These factors are instrumental to how food or saliva interacts with the tongue, which in turn can affect mouthfeel, swallowing, speech and nutritional intake.  

‘Accurately mapping and replicating the tongues surface and combining that with a material that approximates the elasticity of human tongue was no small task,’ said study author Anwesha Sarkar at the University of Leeds.

‘Harnessing expertise from multiple STEM disciplines, we’ve demonstrated the unprecedented capability of a 3D printed silicone surface to mimic the mechanical performance of the human tongue.

‘We believe that fabricating a synthetic surface with relevant properties that mimics the intricate architectural features, and more importantly the lubricating performance of the human tongue is paramount to gaining quantitative understanding of how fluids interact within the oral cavity.

‘This biomimetic tongue surface could also serve as a unique mechanical tool to help detect counterfeit in food and high-valued beverages based on textural attributes, which is a global concern and can help to ensure food safety.

“Ultimately, our hope is that the surface we have designed can be important in understanding how the biomechanics of the tongue underpin the fundamentals of human feeding and speech.’

It’s hoped the tongue material could eventually be used in screening newly designed products and accelerate development processes without needing to use costly and time-consuming human trials at early stages.

This is especially the case during the coronavirus pandemic when social distancing poses hurdles to sensory trials and consumer tests.

The study has been published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY MAKES OBJECTS BY DEPOSITING MATERIALS ONE LAYER AT A TIME

First invented in the 1980s by Chuck Hull, an engineer and physicist, 3D printing technology – also called additive manufacturing – is the process of making an object by depositing material, one layer at a time.

Similarly to how an inkjet printer adds individual dots of ink to form an image, a 3D printer adds material where it is needed, based on a digital file.

Many conventional manufacturing processes involved cutting away excess materials to make a part, and this can lead to wastage of up to 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) for every one pound of useful material, according to the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

By contrast, with some 3D printing processes about 98 per cent of the raw material is used in the finished part, and the method can be used to make small components using plastics and metal powders, with some experimenting with chocolate and other food, as well as biomaterials similar to human cells.

3D printers have been used to manufacture everything from prosthetic limbs to robots, and the process follows these basic steps:

· Creating a 3D blueprint using computer-aided design (CAD) software

· Preparing the printer, including refilling the raw materials such as plastics, metal powders and binding solutions.

· Initiating the printing process via the machine, which builds the object.

· 3D printing processes can vary, but material extrusion is the most common, and it works like a glue gun: the printing material is heated until it liquefies and is extruded through the print nozzle

· Using information from the digital file, the design is split into two-dimensional cross-sections so the printers knows where to put the material

· The nozzle deposits the polymer in thin layers, often 0.1 millimetre (0.004 inches) thick.

· The polymer rapidly solidifies, bonding to the layer below before the build platform lowers and the print head adds another layer (depending on the object, the entire process can take anywhere from minutes to days.)

· After the printing is finished, every object requires some post-processing, ranging from unsticking the object from the build platform to removing support, to removing excess powders. 

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Pollution regulations to reduce dirty air have saved 1.5 BILLION birds in the US over 40 years

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pollution regulations to reduce dirty air have saved 1 5 billion birds in the us over 40 years

US pollution controls aren’t just good for the atmosphere, they’re saving our winged friends, too.

Ozone gasses, a leading contributor to smog, is linked tied to health problems in both humans and avians. 

A new study found that regulations intended to reduce the pollution have also slowed the decline of bird populations in the US.  

Scientists at Cornell and the University of Oregon tracked changes in bird abundance, ozone emissions and regulation status across the nation over a 15 year period.

Extrapolating their findings, they found caps on ozone emissions may have saved as many as 1.5 billion birds in the past 40 years, – equal to 20 percent of all birds in the United States today.

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A new Cornell study on EPA policies shows

A new Cornell study on EPA policies shows

A new Cornell study on EPA regulations shows efforts to curb ozone production have saved more than a billion birds in the last 40 years. The gas is not only harmful to the animals’ respiratory system, it can kill off the plants and insects they eat

Ozone occurs naturally, but automobiles and power plants have contributed to a significant increase in its production. 

While it’s necessary in the upper atmosphere to protect us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, at ground level ozone causes smog and contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular disease, especially in the young and the elderly.

Numerous studies have connected ozone at levels currently found in many urban areas to low birth weights, asthma, and even early death.  

It’s also detrimental to bird life, especially the small migratory birds — like sparrows and finches — that make up more than three-quarters of all North American species. 

Ozone is a leading ingredient in smog and has been linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight, among other health risks

Ozone is a leading ingredient in smog and has been linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight, among other health risks

Ozone is a leading ingredient in smog and has been linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight, among other health risks 

As with humans, it impacts their respiratory system — but it can also kill off the plants and insects that serve as their chief food sources.

‘Not surprisingly, birds that cannot access high-quality habitat or food resources are less likely to survive or reproduce successfully,’ said Amanda Rodewald, director of Cornell’s Center for Avian Population Studies and co-author of a new report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

‘The good news here is that environmental policies intended to protect human health return important benefits for birds, too.’

To get an idea of how regulations have impacted this country’s winged population, Rodewald and environmental economist Ivan Rudik combined pollution data with environmental policies and bird observations from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, tracking.

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970

They tracked monthly changes in bird abundance, air quality, and regulation status over 15 years in more than 3,200 counties.

The team focused on the EPA’s NOx (nitrogen oxide) Budget Trading Program, a cap-and-trade initiative launched in 2003 to reduce ozone emissions from power plants and other large industrial sources during the summer months.

A separate 2019 study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that North American bird populations have declined by nearly 3 billion birds since 1970.

Without existing environmental regulations, Rodewald and Rudik say, an estimated 1.5 billion more birds would have died.

‘Our research shows that the benefits of environmental regulation have likely been underestimated,’ said Rudik. 

‘Reducing pollution has positive impacts in unexpected places and provides an additional policy lever for conservation efforts.’  

The Trump administration has been criticized for rolling back dozens of environmental regulations,

In June 2017, then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced he was delaying enforcement of an Obama-era regulation governing ozone emissions, The New York Times reports.

In August of that year, one day after 16 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit claiming the agency was violating the Clean Air Act, Pruitt reversed his decision and said he would enforce the policy.

Heather McTeer Toney, a former regional EPA administrator under the Obama administration, is among a short-list of candidates being considered to lead the agency under President-elect Biden, Reuters reports. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Trove of arrows dating back 6,000 years are discovered in Norway after drastic amounts of ice melts 

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trove of arrows dating back 6000 years are discovered in norway after drastic amounts of ice melts

A veritable treasure trove of ancient artifacts has been discovered in an Norwegian ice patch that climate change has caused to melt.

Researchers found nearly 70 arrow shafts, plus shoes, textiles and reindeer bones on a mountainside in Jotunheimen, about 240 miles from Oslo.

Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD.

While the discovery confirms the region was a popular spot for reindeer hunting millennia ago, it upends conventional wisdom about how ice patches can be used to interpret the historical record.

Archaeologists had assumed the ice preserved items as they were deposited, sealing them in place and providing a timeline — with older relics on the bottom and newer ones on top.

But the different amounts of weathering on the objects, as well as their seemingly random order, counters the theory that ice patches are like photographs, presenting a preserved image of the past.

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A 1,300-year-old arrow discovered at Langfonne. A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all in the Norwegian ice patch, some with their arrowheads still attached

A 1,300-year-old arrow discovered at Langfonne. A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all in the Norwegian ice patch, some with their arrowheads still attached

A 1,300-year-old arrow discovered at Langfonne. A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all in the Norwegian ice patch, some with their arrowheads still attached

A record-setting 68 arrows were found in all, some with their arrowheads still attached.

The heads were made from a variety of materials — iron, quartzite, slate, mussel shell and even bone.

 Several still had the twine and tar used to affix them to a wooden shaft.

The biggest number of arrows dated to 700 through 750 AD, but the oldest were some 6,000 years old.

A 4,000-year-old arrowhead made from quartzite. Other arrow tips were made from slate, bone and sharpened mussel shell.

A 4,000-year-old arrowhead made from quartzite. Other arrow tips were made from slate, bone and sharpened mussel shell.

A 4,000-year-old arrowhead made from quartzite. Other arrow tips were made from slate, bone and sharpened mussel shell.

A 4,000-year-old arrow shaft found on the ice. Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD

A 4,000-year-old arrow shaft found on the ice. Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD

A 4,000-year-old arrow shaft found on the ice. Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD

An aerial photo of Langfonne's three separate main ice patches.  Because of global warming, it is now less than 30 percent of the size it was just two decades ago, according to Pilø

An aerial photo of Langfonne's three separate main ice patches.  Because of global warming, it is now less than 30 percent of the size it was just two decades ago, according to Pilø

An aerial photo of Langfonne’s three separate main ice patches.  Because of global warming, it is now less than 30 percent of the size it was just two decades ago, according to Pilø

‘This is earlier than finds from any other ice site in Northern Europe,’ according to archaeologist Lars Holger Pilø, ‘and about 800 years earlier than Ötzi,’ the 5,100-year-old ice mummy found in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991.

Other artifacts from Langfonne include a well-preserved shoe from more than 3,000 years ago and fabric Pilø says may have been used to package meat.   

The Langfonne ice patch was first uncovered in 2006, when hiker Reidar Marstein discovered a leather shoe from the early Bronze Age there and reported it to Pilø.

At the time, researchers had assumed new layers of snow added to a patch, like strata in the earth, with older layers near the core and newer layers near the surface.

Map of ice sites in Innlandet County. The Langfonne ice patch was first discovered in 2006

Map of ice sites in Innlandet County. The Langfonne ice patch was first discovered in 2006

Map of ice sites in Innlandet County. The Langfonne ice patch was first discovered in 2006

Examples of arrows found at Langfonne. Left shows the nock end of an arrow and right shows a partially preserved arrow shaft in four fragments at the bottom left of the picture

Examples of arrows found at Langfonne. Left shows the nock end of an arrow and right shows a partially preserved arrow shaft in four fragments at the bottom left of the picture

Examples of arrows found at Langfonne. Left shows the nock end of an arrow and right shows a partially preserved arrow shaft in four fragments at the bottom left of the picture

‘The idea was, ice is like a time machine. Anything that lands on it stays there and is protected,’ Pilø, a researcher with the Innlandet County Council Cultural Heritage Department, told National Geographic.

But a closer examination showed the ice melted and re-froze numerous times over the millennia, shifting the arrows around from their original locations.

In addition, if the patch was acting like a time machine, older artifacts should have been just as well preserved as newer ones.

Archaeologists taking samples and artifacts from Langfonne. Analysis of the arrows found on the site disprove the theory that ice patches present a perfectly preserved image of history 'like a time machine'

Archaeologists taking samples and artifacts from Langfonne. Analysis of the arrows found on the site disprove the theory that ice patches present a perfectly preserved image of history 'like a time machine'

Archaeologists taking samples and artifacts from Langfonne. Analysis of the arrows found on the site disprove the theory that ice patches present a perfectly preserved image of history ‘like a time machine’

Instead, the Neolithic arrows were broken and heavily weathered, suggesting they had been exposed to the elements at various times.

The 14th century arrows, though, ‘looked as though they were shot just yesterday,’ National Geographic reported. 

‘This led to a suspicion that something had happened to them while inside the ice,’ Pilø wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

A view of Langfonne ice patch, from the top of the mountain

A view of Langfonne ice patch, from the top of the mountain

A view of Langfonne ice patch, from the top of the mountain

In a new report in the journal Holocene, Pilø says that makes it hard to glean certain information about the people who used these artifacts.

‘The ice is an artifact-preserver but it is also at the same time a destroyer of history,’ he told Nat Geo.

New discoveries may still present themselves as Langfonne, now split into three smaller patches, continues to thaw.

Its melting is part of a worldwide pattern of retreating mountain glaciers linked to global warming, Pilø wrote.

‘Langfonne has retreated dramatically in the last two decades. It is now less than 30 percent of the size it was 20 years ago. This retreat is clearly visible in the landscape.’

And the patch is only 10 percent of what it was at its height, he said, during the ‘Little Ice Age’ that took place between the 15th and 20th century.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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When will Earth be eco-friendly? Most Americans believe the world will be greener by 2042

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when will earth be eco friendly most americans believe the world will be greener by 2042

This year may have been rough, but as 2020 comes to a close many Americans are looking forward to a better future – and a greener one.

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly’ Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together.

The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy, along with swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet.

Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity.

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly' Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together. The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly' Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together. The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy

A new survey reveals 59 percent foresee a ‘completely environmentally friendly’ Earth by year 2042, but the majority understands that it is only possible if we all work together. The idea of going green is producing zero waste and running on renewable energy

The study was conducted by Cool Effect, which survey 2,000 adults living in the US to understand how Americans feel about climate change and the steps they are willing to take to combat its effects, according to StudyFinds.

The top answers for what a completely environmentally friendly world was a tie of 57 percent for zero waste and using nothing but renewable energy.

Approximately 52 percent said banning single-use plastics, which is a law in eight states currently.

Nearly half of the respondents suggested people bike or walk to their destination instead of driving, while some Americans think an eco-friendly life is a more plant-based diet.

Respondents also suggested swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet. Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity

Respondents also suggested swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet. Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity

Respondents also suggested swapping cars for a bicycle or walking and adopting a plant-based diet. Among ways to create a better world, 70 percent of the respondents also believe climate change is the single biggest threat facing humanity

A finding that came out of the new survey shows that a third of those polled have actually switched careers for a more eco-friendly company and 68 percent have or are willing to pack up their lives and move to a more sustainable city

However, although these Americans are willing to fight for a greener world, the research found that many of them are not aware of their own personal carbon footprint – only 36 percent could produce an answer.

The survey also suggests that Americans tend to ignore their personal responsibility  and feel their own carbon footprint is not making an impact on the warming world.

A previous study from 2019 found that some Americans overestimate their contribution – both findings suggests they need to meet in the middle  

However, data from the United States Department of Energy shows the average American emits roughly 17 tons of carbon per year – survey respondents said it was only 11.4 tons.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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