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Why do we have blood types?

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Blood is bodily fluid that circulates through body and deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to every cell of our body.

For thousands of years nobody really understood blood. A greek doctor from 200 BC believed that blood was created from food and liver, this thought lived nearly 1500 years. It was early 17th century when a British ‘Dr. William Harvey’ discovered that blood circulated circulated through body. This experiment spawned the age of blood transfusion. In 1665 an english physician successfully kept one dog alive by transfusing blood of another dog into his body. Later after two years doctors experimented transfusing animals blood into human body in which the human patient died due to blood clotting.

It wasn’t until 1900s when ‘Dr. Karl Landsteiner’ understood that animals even humans have different blood. He later researched on blood and developed a system to categorize blood type known as A-B-O blood group system. Dr. Landsteiner traced transfusion complication like death and blood clot is caused by two things Antigens and Antibodies. Antigen is anything that triggers our immune system to respond. Usually viruses and Bacteria fall in this category, usually our immune system recognize these invaders and deploy antibodies to destroy them. Antibodies are proteins produced by our immune system that can recognize, investigate and if needed can destroy Antigens.But our own body also produce some Antigens called Self-Antigens which our immune system leave them alone. The whole A-B-O group system  is based upon these sugar based Self-Antigens and corresponding protein based antibodies. 

Depending upon the presence and absence of these Antigens and Antibodies our blood is divided into four types. Type A blood has A-antigen on blood and B-antibody in plasma. Type B blood has B-antigen on blood and A-antibody in plasma. Type AB has both A-antigen and B-antigen with no Antibodies in plasma. Type O has both A-antibody and B-antibody with no Antigens on blood. 

The positives and the negatives after our blood type is given by detecting the presence or absence of Rh protein based Antigen. Presence of Rh protein gives positive sign after blood type while absence gives negative sign after blood type. 

Blood is foremost the most important fluid in our body. By understanding our blood we can ensure tranfusing right blood type to the needy ones.

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Humans and Climate change: The Introduction

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Humans have been a part of Earth’s history for around 0.004%, which is roughly about 200,000 years. As a rapidly evolving species, we moved from hunting and gathering to farming, the pace of this development was set about 12000 years ago, the climate pattern made reliable changes in seasons to feed people. It was our very first step towards science and knowledge. Slowly and steadily we started gaining more and more knowledge and the world of science began. In the 1800s the Industrial Revolution was seeded and we started making machines that were now fastening the growth of humans exponentially. To make these machines work we needed fuel. It was during this period where we discovered the most abundant fossil fuel buried under the Earth for about 300 million years that is “Coal.”

With an abundance of coal deposits, humans excavated tonnes and tonnes of carbon that was deposited before our species appeared. During this time, factories were built, to produce goods such as textiles, iron, and chemicals on a large scale. The steam-engine was invented, which could do more work than men or animals, and canals and railways were built, to transport goods and materials for manufacturing. The Industrial Revolution created a huge demand for coal, to power new machines such as the steam-engine. In 1750, Britain was producing 5.2 million tons of coal per year. By 1850, it was producing 62.5 million tons per year – more than ten times greater than in 1750.

Coal was not only used as a fuel but the source to generate energy like electricity and heat. This was the beginning to disrupt the climate of the earth. We began burning coal at unimaginable rates leading to an increased amount of CO2 in air eventually warming the planet. It is estimated that humans would manage to warm the planet by 3°C by 2100. Past 10,000 years data shows over 1°C rise in temperature and our today’s estimation shows three times increase in temperature within 100 year. The process that took thousands of years is deduced to 50-100 years.

Climate change isn’t a new thing for the earth. it has experienced numerous climate changes before, some of them have led to mass extinction too. But climate change today is new because our civilization is new to earth. We have changed the form of climate due to our activities. Our dependency on the artificial world is creating distance from the natural world. But is it just about the planet? The answer is “No.”  This is the common mistake we make. It’s more about us than the planet itself because the earth has experienced and managed to survive and raise new life after climate changes which we have studied in history. If we carry our activities without changing the course, we may face a climate never seen before and even irreversible in the coming future.

We are hurtling towards the day Where climate change could be irreversible, 5% of global species will become extinct, sea levels are rising at a rate never seen before. By hearing all these gloom and doom messages are we taking action on climate change? the answer is “No.” All these dooming messages are making us vulnerable to take action. And why is that happening? Let us know.

According to psychologists the fear of a devastating future and the guilt after ruining our environment is withdrawing people from taking action against it. Our mind tries to think of something else that makes us feel better instead of setting us into fear. This psychology is of everyone, right? we all step back when we are in fear and that makes us think of “somebody else can deal with it.” Hence, We need to change the way we think about climate change.

At first glance climate change is very complicated, there is no single source that contributes to it. In the upcoming articles, we would know about the source and solutions to tackle the problem.

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Human Evolution: Bionic Eye

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As constantly evolving species humans are redefining their own evolution by interconnecting the natural and synthetic world. Bionic technology is the major pay role that is inter-winding Human-Machine interface. Today let us know about one of the applications of this bionic technology; Visual Prosthesis or Bionic eye.

A visual prosthesis or bionic eye is a medical device that is intended to restore functional vision to those who are suffering from partial and complete blindness. 

eSight is one the visual prosthesis that uses a video camera to capture activities that are happening in front of the user in real time, it also allows the user to control the video processing and then through a series of advanced optics and very high resolution display it presents the video in such a way that the user can see the activities happening in front of him/her. eSight is developed for the people who are legally blind ( the person who’s vision is 20/200 is considered to be legally blind). 

This is Yvonne Felix an eSight 3 user. Her eyes have a blind spot that covers 98% of her visual field. She was 8 years old when doctor realised that Yvonne has a macular degeneration, over the years she lost her vision. But thanks to eSight that helped her to restore her vision

But the product like this is useful for the people that are partially blind or legally blind. 

There are over 39 million people in the world completely blind. Second sight a U.S based medical product company is working in their next generation product called the Orion® Visual Cortical Prosthesis System, an investigational device intended to bring artificial vision to individuals who are blind due to a wide range of causes, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve injury or disease, or forms of cancer and trauma. Their previous product Argus® II, approved by the FDA for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, has been implanted in 350+ individuals worldwide, restoring functional, artificial vision by renewing light perception and transforming the daily experience in the majority of individuals.

Orion® Visual Cortical Prosthesis System is goggle shaped with a camera setup. One end of the goggle is connected to a Video Processing Unit (VPU) where the user can adjust parameters like zoom, contrast etc. The processed video signal is sent to the other end of the goggle where a transmitting antenna is attached that transmits the signal as well as power to the implanted or receiving antenna in the brain. 

The signal then reaches an electronic circuit that decodes the signal received from the antenna and sends simulation pulses to the electrode ray which is implanted in the visual cortex between the halves of the brain. Once the implant is in position it requires a thorough and complex calibration which involves making changes in electrodes individually and mapping where the user could perceive vision. After the device is properly setup one will experience flashing lights, but later would experience vision.

The company is working with 6 blind patients to test the prototype. During the calibration of 12 month one of a patient got a seizure, from the result released in June 2019. The product is going through lots of development which may take little longer before entering the market.

The product would be a life-changing for the sightless once entered the market. Evolution of humans hasn’t stop just because we are here, we are changing the evolution by interconnecting natural and synthetic life.

– Abhishek Sharma

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Human Evolution: Bionic Limb

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Modern advances in the field of prosthetics are changing the lives of the disabled all across the globe. Bionic technology is rapidly growing since the 2000s, with changing the view of how humans can look like? From Rigid prosthetics to modular prosthetics, this technology has come a way long to combine human to machine. Bionic technology is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature that inspire engineering to make a replica of these methods artificially. And today let’s understand more about, most common prosthetic ‘Bionic Limbs’.

Bionic limbs are artificially designed limbs (like hands and legs) that help a physically disabled human to perform a motor function like walking, grabbing a ball, etc. These limbs use motor sensors or myo-electronics that capture and convert muscle signals to electrical signal helping to move the prosthetic attached. Being a very useful technology bionic limbs are still unavailable for common people due to high price.

But thanks to the revolution in 3-D printing, Callum miller made the first 3-D printed prosthetic for his son Jamie which took over 18 months at his home. After building the 3-D printed prosthetic Callum is looking for a new approach to add myo-electronics in the prosthetic to have better motion. The problem with these prosthetics is the patient wearing it lacks a sense of touch. The patient couldn’t feel his prosthetic arm as part of his body.

John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory situated in Baltimore, Maryland has become an incubator for the new emerging bionic technology that is pushing the limits of human-machine interfaces. It all started in 2005 when DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Programme Agency) initiated a program to take prosthetics to a whole new level. Engineers at this laboratory have developed a Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) a bionic arm that responds to human thoughts. The MPL interprets and converts signals from the body’s nervous system to motion when MPL interacts with object signals from over 100 Sensors send information back to the brain creating a sense of touch. The technology of MPL has revolutionized bionic technology by adding the sense of touch. This is the first step of human to become a cyborg. We have successfully created a machine which is a part of our own body.

Melissa Loomis is one of the first amputee from Ohio in the world to be able to feel through a robotic prosthetic. Before getting an MPL Melissa went through a surgery called sensory re-innervation which helps the sensor attached to her arm to perfectly sync with the MPL.

As humans, we develop new tools for better living and that changes the way we live in the future. The effect that robotic bodies will have in our future is already raising serious social questions. Today the imagination of human evolution into cyborg is near. Our future with a human-machine interface is near. Are you worried or excited for the future of cyborgs?

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