According to The Asahi Shimbun, stocktaking of books at a municipal library here is now fully automated under a trial experiment that potentially could see humans removed from the process altogether.
A robot assigned to locate books by reading data stored in integrated circuit (IC) tags on each tome can finish the task in a matter of "several tens of minutes" whereas it takes a full day for library staff to take stock of books by relying on bar codes, authorities of this northeastern city said during a recent open demonstration test.
The robot read the data with 99.5 percent accuracy, officials said, adding that the technology will be further tweaked with the goal of practical application in the future.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese researchers said they have found a way to create “self-repairing plastics” that can be used in smartphones, cars and other products and reduce the amount of waste now fouling the planet.
Takuzo Aida, a chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo, and his colleagues said a tiny amount of a specialized agent mixed into ordinary plastic can automatically heal cracks and fissures.
“The technique could lead to the development of a sustainable made-to-last plastic that does not need to be discarded or recycled,” Aida said.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, transplanting corneal cells made from human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into patients with a vision-impairing disease didn’t cause any serious side effects, researchers announced.
Some of the patients’ eyesight even improved as a result of the clinical trial, the team at Osaka University said.
“This could be a revolutionary treatment that could overcome the challenges that existing treatment has faced, such as a shortage of cornea donors or transplant rejection,” said Koji Nishida, a member of the team and professor of ophthalmology at the university, at a news conference.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, vacuum-insulated bottles that keep carbonated drinks from losing their fizz are now being pitched to beer lovers who want something stronger when they are enjoying the great outdoors or simply chilling at home.
The trend was triggered by a growing number of people who now telework from home because of the novel coronavirus pandemic or seek to escape for a while from the hubbub of city life.
To win over new customers, manufacturers are marketing products with well-arranged cap and bottle designs so carbonic acid gas generated inside does not pose a safety risk.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, amid whiteout conditions, a ground-based search party was able to locate the missing climber in a short period of time by using the Cocoheli radio-based search support service.
Cocoheli subscribers carry a small radio transmitter that can be attached to clothing or a backpack. In the event they go missing in the mountains, search-and-rescue workers, often aboard a helicopter, pick up radio waves to locate them with high accuracy.
With more than 40,000 subscribers across the country, police and fire departments in Tokyo and 34 prefectures have introduced the Cocoheli radio receiver.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese pharmaceutical giant Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp. (MTPC) announced that a COVID-19 vaccine derived from a type of tobacco plant and developed by Medicago Inc., the Osaka-based company’s subsidiary in Canada, had been approved for human use by Ottawa.
The company said it marked the first time in the world for a plant-based vaccine to win such approval. The vaccine is of a type that uses “virus-like particles,” which mimic the structure of a virus. It is made by introducing genes of the virus into leaf cells of Nicotiana genus plants.
MTPC said it is hoping to apply for approval of the vaccine in Japan this summer.
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