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Animals

— Medical

Photoswitch therapy restores vision to blind lab animals

By - December 9, 2014 3 Pictures
A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light. Read More
— Science

Mantis shrimp's eyes inspire new cancer-detecting camera

By - October 1, 2014 1 Picture
One of nature’s most notorious psychopaths may be giving cancer patients new hope. The mantis shrimp is famous for having a punch like a .22 bullet and a perpetual bad attitude, but is also has the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, which are excellent at detecting polarized light. With this in mind, the University of Queensland is developing new cameras based on the mantis shrimp’s eyes that can detect a variety of cancer tissues. Read More

Second Livestock – virtual reality for chickens

Battery hens live pretty grim lives – but what if their lot could be improved with the use of virtual reality? Second Livestock is a project that envisions caged hens being fitted with VR goggles, microphones and movement sensors to give them the impression that they're out in the barnyard doing ... whatever it is chickens prefer to do all day. If the chickens themselves believe they're free and happy, does that mean they should get the free range stamp, even though they're cooped up? Read More
— Environment

Brazilian ecologists launch app to reduce roadkill

By - April 13, 2014 3 Pictures
In Brazil alone, officials estimate that some 475 million animals die from being struck on the nation's roads. That's around 15 animals per second, totaling more than twice the country’s human population. The Centro Brasileiro de Estudos em Ecologia de Estradas (CBEE) is working to reduce those grim statistics with the help of an app called Urubu (vulture in Portuguese), which uses the power of crowd-sourcing to identify roadkill hotspots across the country. Read More
— Pets

Implant to protect police dogs from overheating

By - March 26, 2014 1 Picture
Police dogs serve many purposes for law enforcement agencies. Often times they are used for their superior sense of smell, and they are also used to apprehend suspects. As such, these animals face many risks. One, though, is not necessarily the first that comes to mind, and that is being left to overheat in police cruisers. A company called Blueforce Development aims to fix this problem with a sensor that alerts police when a K-9's temperature reaches dangerous levels, thus saving the dog's life. Read More
— Aircraft

Aerial drones to help protect endangered species of rhino

By - January 14, 2014 1 Picture
Aerial drones, whether they be dropping bombs, books or burritos, have attracted a certain degree of controversy in recent times. While the potential of the technology is plain to see, many aren't convinced that the benefits will outweigh the risks associated with unmanned vehicles zipping about in the sky above. With its recent field testing of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to protect an ailing rhino population, Airware is determined to help the industry shed some of these negative connotations. Read More
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