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  • Lorraine Kim

Current Events in STEM- 3/30

Updated: Jun 5

Agricultural Biology

Cyanobacteria have gained the attention of scientists for their ability to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use for growth. This natural process known as nitrogen fixation could potentially contribute to sustainable agriculture by improving soil fertility and reducing environmental pollution from nitrogen-based fertilizers. Despite the benefits, optimizing the use of cyanobacteria as biofertilizers for widespread agricultural use still faces challenges such as scalability, cost-effectiveness, and potential ecological impacts. Nonetheless, researchers are exploring ways to overcome these hurdles and unlock the full potential of cyanobacteria-based biofertilizers.


Source: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3298/11/3/45

Medical Technology

A team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Engineering has made a breakthrough in regenerative medicine by successfully developing bioengineered ear grafts. The team combined 3D printing technology with living cells to create scaffolds that closely resemble the intricate structure of the human ear. These grafts mimic the elastic properties of natural cartilage, which is vital for ear function. The team believes that these bioengineered ear grafts show promise in restoring hearing for individuals with ear deformities or injuries, and they could also have potential applications in cosmetic surgery. This achievement is a significant step forward in tissue engineering, demonstrating the potential of this technology to address complex medical challenges and improve patient outcomes in ear reconstruction procedures.


Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1742706124001417?via%3Dihub

AI Technology

A group of artificial intelligence experts at Google's DeepMind have developed an innovative app that utilizes machine learning algorithms to improve safety in various settings, including construction sites and factories. The app, named SafeBot, analyses real-time video feeds from surveillance cameras to detect potential risks and safety breaches. SafeBot is designed to prevent accidents and improve safety standards in the workplace by identifying unsafe behaviors or situations, such as workers not using protective gear or malfunctioning equipment. DeepMind's project showcases how AI technology has the potential to contribute to safety management in different industries, providing proactive measures to mitigate risks and ensure safer working environments.


Earth Sciences

Scientists have proposed a new electrochemical technology that may help counteract the adverse effects of ocean acidification caused by the increased concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in seawater. The process, termed electrochemical acidification reversal (EAR), involves using an apparatus that splits seawater into its constituents using electricity. This process allows for the extraction and storage of acidic components while releasing alkaline compounds back into the ocean. By neutralizing acidity in the ocean, this technology aims to restore pH levels, thereby safeguarding the health of marine ecosystems and preserving coral reefs and other marine organisms. The researchers behind this technology believe that its widespread implementation could help mitigate the ongoing impacts of climate change on the oceanic environment.

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