This is your Good News round-up. Here are this week’s positive headlines:
The world’s first trial of lab-grown blood could revolutionise transfusions; new sunglasses that let deaf people ‘see’ and recall conversations has been launched worldwide; some of the brightest young academic minds across the world have presented 100 ideas with the potential to change the way we live; egg whites have been shown to filter microplastics and salt out of water, and a study finds that daily meditation may work as well as a popular drug to calm anxiety.
Click the video above to get the full digest and find out more on the following:
1. The world’s first trial of lab-grown blood could revolutionise transfusion
A scientific breakthrough that could help millions of people has just taken place in the UK
Researchers have injected lab-created blood into people for the first time.
The clinical trial is a key first step towards making lab-grown red blood cells available for patients who frequently need transfusions, or who have rare blood types that are hard to source from donors.
So far, two people have received the lab-grown red cells. No unexpected side effects were reported, the team said in a statement.
The hope is that because the lab-grown cells are so freshly made, they’ll actually perform better than standard blood donations.
Find out more about the trial and its prospects here, written by Natalie Huet for NEXT, the future-focused section of Euronews.
2. New sunglasses that let deaf people ‘see’ and recall conversations have been launched worldwide
XRAI, a company that develops software that allows deaf and hard-of-hearing people to ‘see’ conversations via augmented reality (AR) and smart glasses, has officially launched to global markets.
The XRAI glasses can add subtitles to everything the user listens to, as well as give real-time translation of nine languages: English, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian; deliver short summaries of any conversation or instruction the user has had when using the software, and answer the user’s questions.
The company says the glasses are not solely for the hard of hearing, but for anyone interested in having subtitles for almost any aspect of their daily life.
After months of piloting, the XRAI glasses and app are already available on Amazon. Once users receive them, they can start subtitling their lives straight away.
Watch the video above to see a demo of how the tech works.
3. Some of the brightest young academic minds across the world have presented 100 ideas with the potential to change the way we live
Last week, some of the world’s brightest young academic minds presented their 100 potentially world-changing ideas at the Prototypes for Humanity awards.
They came from 450 universities across more than 100 countries, including a record number of universities from 25 African nations.
Four winners were selected for their concrete and rapidly usable solutions to urgent challenges. These are their inventions:
The FormaCyte device, from the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, is an implant which sustainably delivers insulin for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. FormaCyte allows users to manage their levels of blood glucose without the need for immunosuppressive drugs, which carry various risks.
AkoFresh, from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana, is a solar-powered cold storage unit. It could boost seasonal income for farmers by more than US$10 million by tackling pre-market food waste, which is thought to be around 30 to 50 per cent. The team behind it estimates that it will also cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent compared to current systems.
Aerostat, from the Middle East Technical University, is a mechanical and reusable smoke-sensitive helium balloon which inflates when smoke is detected in the forest. It rises above the tree canopy, so watchtowers can see the warning before the fire spreads.
A carbon-capture battery from the University of Cambridge in the UK allows companies to generate and store electricity at the same time, making the usually expensive business of carbon capture affordable.
4. Egg whites have been shown to filter microplastics and salt out of water
The humble egg could be an unlikely ally in the battle against plastic pollution, according to scientists at Princeton University.
Their groundbreaking research showed that egg whites can remove salt and microplastics from seawater with 98 per cent and 99 per cent efficiency, respectively.
Once freeze-dried and superheated, the egg whites form an ‘aerogel’ structure that acts like a very tight mesh sieve.
Are egg whites a scalable solution to microplastic pollution?
No, as you probably guessed, eggs alone are not going to solve this problem – we humans have produced more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic since the 1950s.
But if the research group finds a way to refine the process, it could help with water purification on a larger scale.
Find out more about the experiment, written by Charlotte Elton for Green, the environment section of Euronews.
5. A study finds that daily meditation may work as well as a popular drug to calm anxiety.
New clinical trials have shown that meditation can be as effective as medication in managing anxiety.
Researchers recruited 276 adults who had been diagnosed with untreated anxiety disorders and split them into two groups.
One group took the standard initial dose of Lexapro, a widely prescribed and well-studied anxiety drug,
The other half was assigned 45 minutes of daily meditation for eight weeks, as well as a day-long retreat around week five or six, plus mindfulness classes at a local clinic.
After eight weeks, both groups saw a reduction of around 20 per cent in the severity of their symptoms.
The paper was published on the Jama Network on November 9. Find out more here.
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