Designing an all-terrain robot for search-and-rescue missions is an arduous task for scientists. The machine must be flexible enough to move over uneven surfaces, yet not so big that it's restricted from tight spaces. It might also be required to climb slopes of varying inclines. Existing robots can do many of these things, but the majority require large amounts of energy and are prone to overheating. Georgia Tech researchers have designed a new machine by studying the locomotion of a certain type of flexible, efficient animal. "By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy, " said Hamid Marvi, a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech. While studying and videotaping the movements of 20 different species at Zoo Atlanta, Marvi developed Scalybot 2, a robot that replicates rectilinear locomotion of snakes.
As numbers of international large-scale events, such as music concerts, sports events, religious pilgrimage and state funerals increase in frequency and scale, they pose substantial risks to the general public. The Lancet Infectious Diseases is launching a series of six papers on Mass Gatherings (MGs) health that address risks in terms of global health security, including the rapid spread of infectious diseases, and complex public health challenges, such as violence, stampedes or terrorist attacks, which require specialist expertise outside the borders of traditional medicine and event planning. The first paper addresses the lessons learnt from decades of safety management and maintaining the wellbeing of millions of pilgrims at the annual Hajj to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The knowledge obtained over the years could help in the prevention of global disease outbreaks and overcome other complex public health challenges at MGs.
When organizational crises occur, such as plane crashes or automobile recalls, public relations practitioners develop strategies for substantive action and effective communication. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that the way in which news coverage of a crisis is framed affects the public's emotional response toward the company involved. Glen Cameron, the Maxine Wilson Gregory Chair in Journalism Research and professor of strategic communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, along with Hyo Kim of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, studied the reactions of news readers when exposed to a story about a crisis. One group read an "anger-frame" story that blamed the organization for the crisis. Another group read a "sadness-frame" story that focused on the victims and how they were hurt by the crisis.
Special section in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on disease in post-quake Haiti includes likely identity of first cholera case and Paul Farmer and Louise Ivers' expert perspective on why amid huge aid effort cholera 'exploded' Internet-based news and Twitter feeds were faster than traditional sources at detecting the onset and progression of the cholera epidemic in post-earthquake Haiti that has already killed more than 6500 people and sickened almost half a million, according to a new study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The study is the first to demonstrate the use of data from "informal" media sources in monitoring an outbreak of a neglected tropical disease in a resource-limited setting, and shows that these sources can yield reliable decision-making data during deadly disease outbreaks almost in real-time, often far earlier than traditional surveillance methods that include surveys of hospitals and health clinics.
Software developed by computer scientists could help to quickly and accurately locate missing people, rapidly identify those suffering from malnutrition and effectively point people towards safe zones simply by checking their phones. It is hoped the smartphone technology could potentially not only help save lives but could also ease the financial and emotional burden on aid organisations. The largest system developed by Dr Gavin Brown and his team Peter Sutton and Lloyd Henning in the Machine Learning and Optimisation group at The University of Manchester is the REUNITE mobile and web platform. In the aftermath of a major disaster, aid workers typically interview people who have become separated from their families. These records are normally stored in paper form, which can be lost, damaged or illegible.