A foil-wrapped robotic half-baby that looks like it escaped from an unnerving avant-garde art installation Its helping researchers to understand how much dirt, pollen, skin cells and bacteria are stirred up — and inhaled — by crawling infants.
To visualize how much of that debris infants might be stirring up with their vigorous movements, scientists built a robotic baby. They took a crawling baby doll and transformed it into a silvery, legless contraption that drags itself forward by paddling its arms, and whose trunk terminated in an array of wires and cables.
When newly mobile babies crawl around their homes or other locations, their mouths and noses are close to the floor. Indoor environments, particularly carpeted areas, can trap a diverse collection of debris, including pollen, skin cells, dirt, fungal spores and bacteria. The new study is the first to analyze indoor debris dispersal and inhalation from a crawling baby’s perspective.
They used state-of-the-art aerosol instrumentation to track the biological particles floating in the air around the infant in real-time, second by second
concentrations of these floating biological particles are about 20 times denser than they are higher up, the researchers discovered. The amount of material inhaled by infants was therefore significantly higher than the amount an adult would breathe in, by about four times per kilogram of body mass, the scientists reported.
According to the study, However, this might not be a bad thing for babies, as it could help boost their developing immune systems.The scientists and their nightmarish creation established a novel method for analyzing microbial exposure for mobile babies, but “much remains to be discovered” about the impacts of infants inhaling indoor dust and other particles, Boor said in the statement.