A research team from Purdue University created an eerie robotic crawling baby wrapped in tin foil to measure how much biological material babies breathe when they crawl on the floor. This baby robot was made to crawl on carpets removed from homes to simulate the actual levels of dirt, skin cells, bacteria, pollen, and fungal spores that babies can inhale.
The first thing to notice about this baby robot was how frightening it is. An actual video of it showed him crawling only with his two arms, dragging its body all over the carpet. The baby robot was also wearing a mask similar to what Bane wore. Bane was the villain opposite Batman.
While the sight of the crawling baby may draw out unfavorable impression, its scientific purpose had actually proven otherwise. Through the baby robot, it was found that babies are not as good at blocking dust because they often breathe through their mouths. A large percentage of the dust they inhaled remains in their tracheobronchial and pulmonary regions, making the way to the deepest regions of their lungs. In comparison, dust is removed in the upper respiratory system, in the nostrils and throat, among adults. However, as Brandon Boor of Purdue University explained, this is not a bad thing.
Parents would be relieved to hear that babies’ exposure to biological materials can actually help them ward off allergies and asthma as they grow older. A notable study as far back as the 80’s had actually confirmed this health benefit.
“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,” Boor, who is also an assistant professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering at the Purdue University, explained. “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,” he elaborated.
Boor referred to a 1980 study by British epidemiologist David Strachan which concluded that a very clean environment may curtail the development of the immune system among children. While the exposure to some bacteria and fungi contribute in the development of asthma, many studies proved that infants exposed to microbes, at a high concentration, are at a lower risk of developing asthma later on. These exposures challenge the immune system to perform its functions, Boor explained of Strachan’s study.