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LEGO
LEGO

You Can Teach Your LEGO Robot How to Do Anything, Including Fart

LEGO
LEGO

LEGO’s new programming kit, LEGO Boost, is aimed at parents who really want their kids to learn how to code. The regular LEGO pieces come ready to assemble into a robot, which you then use an app to control. Co.Design tried the toy out, and spoiler: You can program it to fart.

Toys that teach coding basics are all the rage. There’s the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar, Kano, the Root robot, and plenty of others. LEGO’s app essentially turns code into the virtual equivalent of the company’s trademark bricks, letting kids stack commands one on top of the other to make their robot come to life, with flatulence and all.

The kit comes with instructions to make five different kinds of machines: Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder. The cat, in this case, is the one with a gas issue, but Vernie can probably be programmed with bloating issues, too.

The LEGO Boost is expected to hit shelves in the second half of 2017. Watch it fart in Co.Design’s video. The sound is really quite realistic.

[h/t Co.Design]

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Kohler
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technology
This $6000 Toilet Warms Your Seat, Plays Music, and Flushes on Command
Kohler
Kohler

If you buy Kohler’s latest high-tech Numi toilet, you’ll probably never leave the bathroom again. Unless it’s to yell at your Amazon Echo, that is. As Mashable reports, Kohler’s high-end Numi toilet can now be controlled with voice commands, so you’ll never have to flush the toilet with your own hand again.

The Numi intelligent toilet has been around for a while, offering beyond-luxurious features like Bluetooth music streaming and a lid that opens and closes with a remote. As Kohler announced at this year’s CES technology trade show, though, this year’s update will make it as intelligent as the rest of your smart appliances. After all, if you can turn on your lights with your voice, why can’t you flush your toilet with it?

Numi hooks up to the new Kohler Konnect smart system, allowing you to automate functions and yell at Alexa, instead of your partner, to remember to put down the seat. You can program the toilet’s settings in the smartphone app and then ask Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to turn the built-in bidet to your favorite setting, warm up your seat for you, or change the color of the toilet's ambient nightlight.

Kohler Konnect can be used with other products to auto-fill your bathtub with water at a specific temperature, turn on custom shower settings, or shut off your sink after it pours exactly the right amount of water. If you get the Kohler smart mirror with its built-in Alexa function, you can ask your Numi toilet to play you your favorite pooping tunes, too. (Don't worry—if you don't want to yell at your toilet, you can just use the touchscreen remote.)

It will be available this fall, and Kohler estimates that it will cost somewhere between $5600 and $7800.

[h/t Mashable]

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Department Of Classics, University Of Cincinnati
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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Ancient Poop Contains First Evidence of Parasites Described by Hippocrates
Department Of Classics, University Of Cincinnati
Department Of Classics, University Of Cincinnati

The long-held mystery of Hippocrates and the parasitic worms has finally been solved, and it’s all thanks to a few samples of ancient poop.

Researchers don’t know much about the parasites that plagued the Greeks thousands of years ago, and what they do know is largely from the Hippocratic Corpus, the medical texts that the father of medicine and his students put together between the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. Modern historians have spent years trying to figure out which diseases and parasites Hippocrates and his followers were referring to in their writing, relying solely on their descriptions to guess at what ailments the ancient Greeks might have suffered from. Now, they finally have concrete evidence of the existence of some of the intestinal worms Hippocrates mentioned, Helmins strongyle and Ascaris.

As part of a study in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, an international group of researchers analyzed the ancient remains of feces in 25 prehistoric burials on the Greek island of Kea to determine what parasites the people were carrying when they died. Using microscopes, they looked at the soil (formed by the decomposed poop) found on the pelvic bones of skeletons dating back to the Neolithic, Bronze, and Roman periods.

A roundworm egg under the microscope
A roundworm egg
Elsevier

Around 16 percent of the burials they studied contained evidence of parasites. In these ancient fecal samples, they found the eggs of two different parasitic species. In the soil taken from the skeletons dating back to the Neolithic period, they found whipworm eggs, and in the soil taken from the Bronze Age skeletons, roundworm.

With this information, researchers deduced that what Hippocrates called the Helmins strongyle worm was probably what modern doctors would call roundworm. The Ascaris worm probably referred to two different parasites, they conclude, known today as pinworm (which was not found in this analysis) and whipworm (pictured below).

Whipworm under a microscope
A whipworm egg
Elsevier

Though historians already hypothesized that Hippocrates's patients on Kea had roundworm, the Ascaris finding comes as a particular surprise. Previous research based solely on Hippocrates’s writing rather than physical evidence suggested that what he called Ascaris was probably a pinworm, and another worm he mentioned, Helmins plateia, was probably a tapeworm. But the current research didn’t turn up any evidence of either of those two worms. Instead of pinworm eggs, the researchers found whipworm, another worm that’s similarly small and round. (Pinworms may very well have existed in ancient Greece, the researchers caution, since evidence of their fragile eggs could easily have been lost to time.) The soil analysis has already changed what we know about the intestinal woes of the ancient Greeks of Kea.

More importantly, this study provides the earliest evidence of ancient Greece’s parasitic worm population, proving yet again that ancient poop is one of the world’s most important scientific resources.

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