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Newspaper front page on pink background, with 'The Good News #32' written on it.
November, 2020

The Good News #32

What’s that? A light at the end of the tunnel? The news of a potential vaccine certainly feels like it. While we might still be a long way away from normality there’s still some great news in the world of tech and innovation. Scroll and enjoy!

‘Sobering up’ machine

No, you aren’t dreaming. Scientists at the University Health Network in Toronto have developed a low-tech, computer free machine that can apparently sober drunk people up in a matter of moments.

ClearMate makes use of the lungs to breathe out alcohol much faster than usual. When someone hyperventilates, they breathe in and out much faster. If you’re intoxicated this means the alcohol in your system is breathed out of the lungs. The harder you breathe, the more alcohol you expel. However, by hyperventilating your body is expelling carbon dioxide from the blood as well as the alcohol, which can lead people to pass out or faint.

The device helps to prevent users fainting by supplying carbon dioxide through the face mask from a briefcase-sized tank.

ClearMate was adapted from a machine that was originally designed to help people with carbon monoxide poisoning and intended to help those with alcohol poisoning as well. But the engineers behind it realised you could also use it to recover from a big night.

So far, it’s been tested out on five men who had each been given half of a large glass of vodka. The volunteers responded to it by clearing the alcohol from their system three times faster than if they’d recovered naturally. But of course, it doesn’t come cheap – the price is set at £15,200.

The machine is thought to be a game changer for treating severe alcohol intoxication. We’re wondering if it would be possible to book one for the next Christmas party – which in all likelihood will be sometime in 2021…

Woman breathing in oxygen using mask, attached to the ClearMate machine

Robot tour guides

A new unique Bristol Robotics Laboratory collaboration is allowing disabled people who are experiencing extreme isolation during the coronavirus pandemic to remotely access one of Britain’s most well-known art galleries.

The Sussex-based gallery Hastings Contemporary has been using a robot over the past few months to provide virtual tours for those are shielding and isolated. The virtual tour enables visitors to move around the gallery via their smartphone or computer and zoom into the detail of the paintings and sculptures on display.

A similar robot will now be deployed at Philip Colbert’s exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, allowing audiences to explore Lobsteropolis through the eyes of Colbert’s robot lobster.

Praminda Caleb-Solly, Professor of Assistive Robotics and Intelligent Health Technologies at the Bristol Robotics Lab, said “There are numerous applications for telepresence robots within health and social care, and it is disappointing that we are not making more use of these to support people, particularly in these exceptional times. I hope the use of the telepresence robot at the Saatchi Gallery will help to normalise these technologies and make people more open and willing to explore their potential.”

The experience will continue to run throughout lockdown 2.0 and bookings for 30 minute slots can be made via Eventbrite.

Artist Philip Colbert sat at his latest exhibition, surrounded by the robots who will act as virtual tour guides.

Don’t panic! You might have finished this blog but we’ve still got plenty of content for you to enjoy right here.