Will you be enjoying your robot dessert wriggling or stationary?

by ARKANSAS DIGITAL NEWS

[ad_1]

New Scientist Default Image

Who eats whom?

Will robots eat us? Or will we eat robots? Both technophiles and -phobes have hungered to learn which will happen first. The answer has now arrived, in a report from a team at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo and at Osaka University, Japan.

Reader Bruce Gitelman alerted us to this summary passage: “We developed a pneumatically driven edible robot using gelatin and sugar. We examined its perceived appearance and the participants’ impressions when it was eaten.”

The researchers probed for the psychological reactions of their human subjects. “We evaluated two conditions: one in which the robot was moved and one in which it was stationary. Our results showed that participants perceived the moving robot differently from the stationary robot, leading to varied perceptions, when consuming it. Additionally, we observed a difference in perceived texture when the robot was bitten and chewed under the two conditions.”

This is yet another example (Feedback previously mentioned a case involving ducks and monkeys) of the prescience of Stephen Sondheim when he wrote the musical Sweeney Todd: The demon barber of Fleet Street. Sondheim has Sweeney say: “The history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat!”

Ketchup inside

Sliceable sauces of many kinds have yet to become popular. For the mo, technological hopes and resources are pouring onto ketchup. Ketchup eaters, as well as food technologists, can satisfy some of their hunger for knowledge by reading the study “Textural and rheological properties of sliceable ketchup“, published in the journal Gels.

“There is a lack of knowledge on sliceable ketchup,” explain the authors, who are based at three institutions in Iran: Islamic Azad University, Allameh Tabataba’i University and the Research Institute of Food Science and Technology.

For readers unversed in the field of sliceable sauces, they explain: “Ketchup for use in combination with sausages, as a final product, must have a high viscosity, and in terms of texture properties, it should be elastic and solid-state, and if cold, it can be cut and is sliceable like a sausage.” If successful, this research could let ketchup be more than just an exterior sticky coating. The interior beckons.

The research goal is “to investigate the effect of gelling hydrocolloids on the physical, textural, and rheological properties of ketchup and to develop a new formulation for sliceable ketchup and its combined application as a filler in meat products such as sausages”.

So, we have a rarity: cutting-edge ketchupry.

Ketchup on glass

Catching up on ketchup news that broke just as the covid-19 pandemic was seizing everyone’s attention, Feedback finds that in 2020, at the Seventh European Seminar on Precision Optics Manufacturing in Teisnach, Germany, manufacturers were told about the benefits of putting ketchup on glass.

Max Schneckenburger and his colleagues at the Centre for Optical Technologies in Aalen, Germany, introduced their peers to what, for some, was a new concept: “High precision glass polishing with ketchup“.

Their presentation explained the advantages of polishing with a “non-conventional”, non-Newtonian fluid that “flows slowly under its own weight and acts like a solid body during short periods of stress as its viscosity increases”.

Thus, ketchup, which in some circumstances behaves in non-Newtonian ways. They praise its behaviour: “Tomato ketchup shows a time-dependent change in viscosity: the longer the ketchup undergoes shear stress, the lower is its viscosity. Therefore, in this article, a new processing is put forward to polishing glass surfaces with ketchup containing micro-sized Ce2O. Besides conventional ketchup, curry ketchup and an organic product were tested as well.”

Schneckenburger’s team used an industrial robot to guide the polishing head. This was, to the best of Feedback’s knowledge, the first reported intentional instance of robots on ketchup on glass.

Financial smirks

You are correct if you suspect there are smirks inside the financial industry, deep behind the sombre, serious facades of buildings, business suits and coiffures. Many top finance analysts, in their daily work, investigate these smirks.

What is a financial smirk? The Options Industry Council, which advises investors, explains, somewhat, that “When mapping implied volatility levels, the curve these points create is typically identified as either a ‘smile’ or a ‘smirk’ depending on the shape created by the level for out-of-the-money puts and calls“.

In Feedback’s volatile understanding of that concept, this kind of smirk is a graphic, lopsided grin – something you see in plots if you have access to certain kinds of financial data.

But almost no one outside the industry sees these smirks.

That hiddenness resonates with an observation made half a century ago by economist John Kenneth Galbraith about the chosen demeanour of finance executives. “Nobody,” said Galbraith, “nobody wants a funny banker.”

Marc Abrahams created the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony and co-founded the magazine Annals of Improbable Research. Earlier, he worked on unusual ways to use computers. His website is improbable.com

Got a story for Feedback?

You can send stories to Feedback by email at feedback@newscientist.com. Please include your home address. This week’s and past Feedbacks can be seen on our website.

[ad_2]

Source link

Related Posts