Robot Baristas are Being Used in South Korea to Help with Social Distancing

Hyonhee Shin wrote . . . . . . . . .

The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejeon, South Korea is courteous and swift as it seamlessly makes its way towards customers.

“Here is your Rooibos almond tea latte, please enjoy. It’s even better if you stir it,” it says, as a customer reaches for her drink on a tray installed within the large, gleaming white capsule-shaped computer.

After managing to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus which infected more than 11,000 people and killed 267, South Korea is slowly transitioning from intensive social distancing rules towards what the government calls “distancing in daily life.”

Robots could help people observe social distancing in public, said Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, a smart factory solution provider which developed the barista robot together with a state-run science institute.

“Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits will with the current ‘untact’ and distancing campaign,” he said.

The system, which uses a coffee-making robotic arm and a serving robot, can make 60 different types of coffee and serves the drinks to customers at their seats. It can also communicate and transmit data to other devices and contains self-driving technology to calculate the best routes around the cafe.

An order of six drinks, processed through a kiosk, took just seven minutes. The only human employee at the two-storey cafe was a patissier who also has some cleaning duties and refills ingredients.

The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year.

“Robots are fun and it was easy because you don’t have to pick up your order,” said student Lee Chae-mi, 23. “But I’m also a bit of worried about the job market as many of my friends are doing part-time jobs at cafes and these robots would replace humans.”

Source : Business Insider

New Vegan Pink Drink of Starbucks for Summer

Starbucks added a new vegan Iced Guava Passionfruit Drink to its expanding plant-based beverage options at participating locations across the United states.

The company describes the new drink as “guava, passionfruit, pineapple, and ginger, hand-shaken with coconut milk and ice for a smooth and creamy beverage.

Even 1 Sugary Drink a Day Could Boost Heart Disease, Stroke Risk in Women

Women who drink one or more sugar-laden beverages – such as soda, sweetened water and teas, and fruit drinks – every day could boost their risk of cardiovascular disease by 20% compared to women who rarely or never drink them, according to new research.

The daily drinks also were associated with a 26% higher likelihood of needing a procedure to open clogged arteries, such as angioplasty, and a 21% higher chance of having a stroke.

“Although the study is observational and does not prove cause and effect, we hypothesize that sugar may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in several ways,” senior study author Cheryl Anderson said in a news release. She is professor and interim chair of family and public health at the University of California San Diego. “It raises glucose levels and insulin concentrations in the blood, which may increase appetite and lead to obesity, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

The research, part of the ongoing California Teacher’s Study that began in 1995, included more than 106,000 women who reported how much and what they drank via a food questionnaire. Participants, whose average age was 52, had not been diagnosed with heart disease, stroke or diabetes when they enrolled in the study. The work was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Anderson, chair of the AHA’s nutrition committee, said too much sugar in the blood also is linked to “oxidative stress and inflammation, insulin resistance, unhealthy cholesterol profiles and Type 2 diabetes, conditions that are strongly linked to the development of atherosclerosis, the slow narrowing of the arteries that underlies most cardiovascular disease.”

Women who drank the most sugar-sweetened beverages were younger, more likely to be current smokers, obese and less likely to eat healthy foods.

The new study defined sugary beverages as caloric soft drinks, sweetened bottled waters or teas and sugar-added fruit drinks, not 100% fruit juices.

The kind of sugary drinks women chose made a difference. One or more sugar-added fruit drinks a day was associated with a 42% greater likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease compared to women who rarely or never drank them. With soft drinks, that likelihood was 23%.

The study was limited by having only one measurement of sugar-sweetened beverage intake, and it also was unable to evaluate consumption of artificially sweetened beverages and/or sweetened hot beverages.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the biggest source of added sugars in the American diet; a typical 12-ounce can of regular soda has 130 calories and 8 teaspoons (34 grams) of sugar.

The AHA recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 100 calories a day, which is about 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams, for most women. For men, the recommendation is no more than 150 calories a day, which is about 9 teaspoons of sugar or 38 grams.

Source: American Heart Association

Too Many Sugary Sodas Might Harm Your Kidneys

Drinking lots of sweetened soda may increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, two new studies find.

“Consumption of 500 milliliters [16.9 fluid ounces] of a commercially available soft drink sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup increased vascular resistance in the kidneys within 30 minutes,” the researchers found.

In a second study, the investigators found changes in blood flow in the kidneys was caused by the corn syrup, not the caffeine, in the soda.

The two studies included a total of 25 healthy men and women, with an average age of 22 to 24.

Christopher Chapman, of the University at Buffalo in New York, and colleagues explained that vascular resistance occurs when blood vessels constrict, reducing blood flow in the kidneys and increasing blood pressure and impairing kidney function.

“Collectively, our findings indicate that [high-fructose corn syrup]-sweetened soft drink consumption increased renal vasoconstrictor tone at rest and during sympathetic activation,” the study authors said in a news release from the American Physiological Society.

The report was published online recently in the American Journal of Physiology–Renal Physiology.

Nearly 37 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The foundation estimates kidney disease kills more people than breast cancer or prostate cancer.

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic

Heavy Drinking Could Lead to Stroke, Peripheral Artery Disease

Drinking high amounts of alcohol may be linked to increased risk of stroke or peripheral artery disease – the narrowing of arteries in the legs, according to new genetic research.

The study, published Tuesday in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine, used a technique called Mendelian randomization that identifies genetic variants. While observational studies have shown similar results, this new work provides insights through a different lens.

“Since genetic variants are determined at conception and cannot be affected by subsequent environmental factors, this technique allows us to better determine whether a risk factor – in this case, heavy alcohol consumption – is the cause of a disease, or if it is simply associated,” the study’s lead author, Susanna Larsson, said in a news release. Larsson is senior researcher and associate professor of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “To our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind on alcohol consumption and several cardiovascular diseases.”

Genetic data from more than 500,000 United Kingdom residents showed higher alcohol intake contributed to a threefold increase of peripheral artery disease, a 27% increase in stroke risk, and a potential link to coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and aortic aneurysm.

“Higher alcohol consumption is a known cause of death and disability, yet it was previously unclear if alcohol consumption is also a cause of cardiovascular disease,” Larsson said. “Considering that many people consume alcohol regularly, it is important to disentangle any risks or benefits.”

Researchers suggest the heightened risk of stroke and PAD could be caused by higher blood pressure.

The American Heart Association’s statement on dietary health suggests alcohol intake can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation – that is, no more than one drink a day for non-pregnant women and two drinks a day for men. The statement notes potential risks of alcohol on existing health conditions, medication-alcohol interaction or personal safety and work situations.

The prevalence of heavy drinking among participants was low, which researchers say is a limitation of the study.

Source: American Heart Association