STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend – November 10

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Written by Alana Hughes, Digital Marketing Intern. 

Between school, homework, practice and spending time with loved ones, it’s easy to miss out on the latest in science, technology, engineering, art and math. But don’t worry, Thinkery’s got you covered. Here are some of our favorite STEAM discoveries from the previous week. It’s fuel for your weekend.

STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend - Swift Parrot
Photo Credit: Susan Flashman/Shuttershock

A team of researchers on the island of Tasmania are working to save the endangered swift parrot by building protective nests for these rare birds. The number of swift parrots in the region has dropped to a mere 2,000 due largely to the invasive population of sugar gliders on the island. These squirrel-like mammals are one of the bird’s major predators and are key players in the swift parrot’s road toward extinction. Researchers working to save these small parrots have developed boxes, which the birds use as nests, that are designed to protect them from sugar gliders. Swift parrots are active during the day while sugar gliders are nocturnal animals that hunt at night. To keep the birds safe, the box uses a light sensor that closes its entrance at night and opens it in the morning. This is just one small but effective way that researchers are working to save this bird—and there is still a long way to go.

STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend - Kremer Museum
Photo Credit: The Kremer Collection

Imagine visiting an entire art museum without even leaving your home! The new Kremer Museum is creating an entirely digital museum experience with the help of virtual reality. The museum’s collection includes more than 70 17th century masterpieces by artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals. When the owners ran into constraints associated with designing a physical museum, they realized they could design their dream museum, free of regulation, virtually. To digitize the collection and make each painting look as real and as three-dimensional as possible, every piece was photographed between 2,500 and 3,500 times. Using a technique known as photogrammetry, these photos were then pieced together to create an incredibly immersive experience for the viewer. The Kremer Museum will release their mobile app and will be accessible with a smartphone and VR mask in early 2018. Click here to learn more about this awesome project!

STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend - Sheep Facial Recognition
Photo Credit: Cambridge University

A new study has found that sheep might be a lot smarter than you think. Researchers at Cambridge University just demonstrated that sheep can recognize human faces. Eight Welsh Mountain sheep were trained to recognize and identify the faces of different celebrities, including former president Barack Obama, from different photographs. They were successfully able to distinguish both the celebrities—and even their handler’s face—from photos of unfamiliar people. This discovery shows that sheep have face recognition abilities similar to monkeys, apes and even humans!

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