Heads up people, we’ve got a creepy robot baby alert. And this is not just your standard creepy baby. Oh no. It’s born out of your deepest, darkest nightmares.
Scientists from Purdue University in Indiana created this abomination, no doubt to strike fear into their worst enemies. But this spawn of Satan apparently has a scientific purpose, too.
Yes, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the researchers showed how this crawling baby highlights the amount of “bio-gunk” that babies are subjected to when they crawl along the floor.
As they crawl, they kick up high levels of dirt, skin cells, bacteria, pollen, and fungal spores – 20 times greater than similar material higher in the rooms. They end up inhaling four times as much of this stuff as adults do, and their bodies aren’t great at coping with it.
“For an adult, a significant portion of the biological particles are removed in the upper respiratory system, in the nostrils and throat,” lead researcher Brandon Boor said in a statement.
“But for very young children, they more often breathe through their mouths, and a significant fraction is deposited in the lower airways – the tracheobronchial and pulmonary regions. The particles make it to the deepest regions of their lungs.”
Human babies are actually the only mammals that aren’t able to walk soon after being born, often taking months to be able to take a few steps. As a result, they end up crawling and sliding along the floor – although some research suggests the evolution of crawling coincided with the invention of wooden floors.
As a result, they’re subjected to a lot of debris on the floor, as their mouths and nostrils are close, and the concentrations are greater than higher up. This crawling robot baby showed that when babies crawled, they did indeed kick up a lot of this stuff.
While it might sound like bad news, it’s possible that this trait actually helps babies build a resilience to disease. Being exposed to a high diversity of microbes can actually lower things like asthma, helping to develop the immune system.
“Many studies have shown that inhalation exposure to microbes and allergen-carrying particles in that portion of life plays a significant role in both the development of, and protection from, asthma and allergic diseases," said Boor.
"There are studies that have shown that being exposed to a high diversity and concentration of biological materials may reduce the prevalence of asthma and allergies later in life."
That’s great and all, but next time could we try and use a less creepy robot baby, please. Thanks.