Robot Baby Aids Carpet Debris Research

Robot Baby Aids Carpet Debris Research

Robot Aids Carpet

A creepily cute robot baby created by Purdue University researchers is helping to determine how much dirt, pollen, skin cells, fungal spores, and bacteria are stirred up and breathed in by crawling infants.

Indoor environments, mainly carpeted areas, can trap a diverse collection of debris, and this new study is the first to analyze indoor debris dispersal and inhalation from a baby’s perspective.

To visualize how much debris infants may be stirring up with their vigorous movements, scientists built a robot baby by taking a crawling baby doll and transforming it into a legless, foil-wrapped contraption that drags itself forward by paddling its arms. The robot’s trunk terminates in an array of wires and cables. The researchers collected and analyzed the particle cloud that rose up around the robot baby as it scooted over sections of debris-rich carpets obtained from actual homes. By using state-of-the-art aerosol instrumentation to track the biological particles floating around the robot baby at it scooted along, lasers would illuminate the organic materials in the dust cloud to determine biological versus non-biological debris. A DNA analysis was performed on the contents of the filters to identify what types of biological material were in the dust. Carpet baby helped researchers discover that not only that floating biological particles were 20 times denser closer to the floor than they are higher up, but also that infants breathed in about four times more material than adults walking across the same floor.

There are, of course, adverse health effects from breathing in carpet debris, but this might not be a terrible thing for babies, as it could boost their developing immune systems, according to the study.

There are, of course, adverse health effects from breathing in carpet debris, but this might not be a terrible thing for babies, as it could boost their developing immune systems, according to the study.

The goal of the researchers with their robot baby is to continue to work with microbiologists and immunologists to better understand the role of indoor air microbes and allergens on early-childhood health. In the meantime – get yourself a good vacuum and vacuum regularly, or not.

Read more on livescience.com

 

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