Best of Last Week: Activity found on a Centaur, raptor inspired drone and strong antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 virus
It was a good week for space research as a team at Northern Arizona University discovered activity on a distant planetary object: they found differences in images taken of Centaur 2014 OG392 at different times. Also, an international team of researchers discovered an Earth-sized rogue planet in the Milky Way—the smallest free-floating planet found to date. And a team with researchers affiliated with a host of institutions in the U.S. and one in Poland found new evidence showing that our neighborhood in space is dense with hydrogen. Measurements from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft showed the interstellar medium contains 40 percent more hydrogen atoms than was thought.
In technology news, a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that an attacker can steal sensitive user data over the phone using smart speakers by gaining access to data from voice assistants. And a team at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems of EPFL built a raptor-inspired drone with morphing wing and tail. Based on the northern goshawk, the drone can move its tail and wings in tandem to allow for very rapid turning. Also, a team at Los Alamos National Laboratory developed breakthrough quantum-dot transistors that provide a flexible alternative to conventional electronics. And a team from Binghamton University's Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science working with Intel Corp. found that the best way to detect deepfake videos is by checking for a pulse. Their tool analyzed skin color changes due to the human heartbeat to detect fakes and was found to be 90% accurate.
In other news, a team of researchers from the Houston Methodist Research Institute, the Consortium for Advanced Science and Engineering, the University of Chicago, the University of Texas at Austin and CCDC Army Research Laboratory-South at the University of Texas found that a SARS-CoV-2 virus mutation may have made it more contagious. And a team at Saint Louis University found that high-fat ketogenic diets could prevent and/or reverse heart failure.
And finally, if you are one of the millions that have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and have recovered, you may want to check out the results of research done by a team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. They found that most people mount a strong antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 that does not decline rapidly.
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