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New method to help decode rare fragile manuscripts

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London: Norwegian researchers are developing new high-tech tools to unlock the secrets hidden in fragile pieces of parchment that are difficult to study because of their age, rarity and susceptibility to contamination. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Gunnerus Library are using a novel technique called hyperspectral imaging to determine the chemical composition of the pigments used in ancient manuscripts.

“The technique is quite effective for examining old manuscripts and yields much better results than other methods,” said Emilio Catelli, PhD candidate at the department of chemistry, in a statement. “Whole pages can be scanned and analysed in a matter of minutes with this technology. Fragile documents are also protected from marks and rough handling,” Catelli added.

ancient Indus civilisation manuscript
ancient Indus civilisation manuscript

Ancient documents are very sensitive and fragile and should ideally not be touched or exposed to light. “Throughout history, many methods have been used that cause irreparable damage to manuscripts,” noted Victoria Juhlin, conservator at the library.

Hyperspectral imaging uses a hyperspectral camera to scan the document. Advanced cameras can differentiate between 160 colours and have 1,600 pixel sensors. These cameras are good for studying art at a macro level, where details and colour pigments that were previously impossible to see are now made visible because of the high spectral resolution.

“Hyperspectral imaging turns out to be very useful for studying art. The method is also used in medical diagnostics, food science, archaeology and environmental observation,” study co-author Lyngsnes Randeberg said.

(IANS)

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A New Tool May Aid Patients To Detect Urine Blockage

Surgeons are developing a new smartphone-based tool that can detect urethral or urine blockage, potentially making it easier for patients to test themselves for the condition from the comfort of their own homes.

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Surgeons are developing a new smartphone-based tool that can detect urethral or urine blockage, potentially making it easier for patients to test themselves for the condition from the comfort of their own homes.

The novel technique could take high-speed photography which could capture subtle differences between a normal steady stream of liquid and a stream of liquid with an obstruction.

Urethral strictures are a slowing or blocking of the natural flow of urine due to an injury or infection. It is normally diagnosed by uroflowmetry, a test administered at a physician’s office.

“The problem is that patient follow-up after we treat this condition is very poor,” said Matthew Gretzer, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona in the US.

“But we need patients to come back to our clinic for a uroflow test to determine if the obstruction is still present,” he added.

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In order to test Gretzer’s hypothesis on high-speed photography, the team created a model of a urethral structure using tubing hooked to a saline bag that could drain through.

Saline fluid was passed through the tubing with and without blockages, created using 3D printed strictures, placed within the tubing. High-speed photography captured both the regular and blocked stream of liquid exiting the tube.

Gretzer contended that photos can be a medium to diagnose blockages and he hopes that patients could send him these images to analyse and make the diagnosis. He plans to create a mobile app which can be downloaded by the patients.

“All patients would need to do is take high-speed images of their urine flow using a strobe light,” Gretzer said.

“Strobe light apps are readily available right now for people to use on their phones”.

Also Read: Astronauts from Clemson University in US Believe Human Urine Can Help Safer Space Travel

According to the researchers, as fluid exits an opening, a natural breakpoint occurs where the liquid stream forms droplets, but with obstructions in place, it changes.

The results showed that by analysing photos, they could measure the length to this point of droplet formation. This length then directly related to the presence of an obstruction in the tube. (IANS)

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