Our Changing World for Thursday 6 September 2007
Inspired by Isaac Asimov's science fiction classic, Fantastic Voyage, researchers at Monash University are developing technology for a free-swimming microrobot, smaller than a millimetre in diameter, designed to be injected into the human body. The robot will eventually be able to record images or perform surgery in blood vessels that are far too small to reach with a catheter. You can watch a video of the micromotor prototype we discuss in the programme here.
What makes us perceive other people as attractive? One answer is that the more average you are, the better looking it makes you. We explore the link between beauty and averageness in a segment produced by David Fisher and presented by Robyn Williams for the ABC's Science Show.
New Zealanders experience high UV radiation in summer, and we make significant efforts to protect ourselves from it. But it turns out that in winter, we run the risk of insufficient UV exposure, leaving us unable to produce enough of an essential nutrient - Vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D could be linked with diabetes and bone conditions. Veronika Meduna speaks with Richard McKenzie, a physicist at NIWA (Lauder), and Robert Scragg, an epidemiologist at University of Auckland.
The therapeutic effects of pharmaceutical drugs on a rare disease affecting children (called congenital disorder of glycosylation, or CDG) are under investigation by Victoria University of Wellington researchers, using a new, specialised microscope. Louise Wallace talks to the co-leader of the study, Paul Atkinson, of the School of Biological Sciences.