SCIENTISTS IN America have successfully developed a malaria-resistant mosquito, the BBC reports. The genetically-engineered insect is immune to the strain of malaria contracted by humans.
Researchers at the University of Arizona engineered the mosquitoes, and the head of the project, Prof Michael Riehle, told the Arizona Republic that his plan is to eventually replace all wild mosquitoes with these ones.
The development could be a significant breakthrough in the prevention of the disease, which affects an estimated 250 million people every year. One million people, mostly children, are killed by the illness. Although preventative medicines are highly effective in combating the spread of malaria, some resistant strains of the illness have developed.
Although she had followed a course of Malaria preventatives, Cheryl Cole contracted the illness while on holiday in Tanzania. The X Factor star has been released from hospital and is now recovering at home, but has cancelled some of her workload to recuperate from the illness:
A “VIRTUAL HUMAN” has been shown off at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Global conference in Oxford.
Microsoft has developed the technology, which features the “virtual human” – a boy called Milo – who interacts with other people through a screen. Milo reacts to the other person’s emotions, movements, and tone of voice.
In a demo featured on the BBC’s website, Milo interacts with a woman called Claire. As they speak, it becomes clear that Milo recognises Claire and can interpret her voice to identify what emotion she is feeling.
Peter Molyneux, Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios in Europe, is responsible for developing the technology.
He explained that he wanted to create an interactive experience where the character someone was talking to seemed alive, “that would look (you) in the eyes and feel real”.
Milo was first unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles 2009 but has not been seen since. Molyneux said that the technology was designed to interact in such a sensitive way that people believe Milo is real.
The game is designed for use with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 motion controller, Kinect.
The TED conference is running from 13 – 16 July and features speakers and performers with “ideas worth spreading.”
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