Protecting Health Through Fidgeting

SittingIn this day and age, we do a lot of sitting. If you are one of the millions of Americans with an office job, you are sitting for several hours throughout the day. However, office jobs are not the only culprit. Those who travel for extended periods of time are forced to remain seated on airplanes. Those who enjoy watching television may find themselves starting a Netflix show then, hours later, being riveted in the same position. A couple years back, evidence was uncovered concerning the harmful effects of sitting. Remaining seated was found to increase risk of heart disease and diabetes. This new information brought on a standing desk craze, however, it has been found that overusing standing desks is also not good for health. So, what is good for your health? A recently published study found that fidgeting while seated may be your best bet.

One of the immediate dangers of sitting for extended periods of time concern the arteries in the leg. Sitting restricts the amount of blood flowing to the legs, which heightens risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers at the University of Missouri wanted to know if there was a way to offset those negative effects when standing is not an option. Their reasoning was that fidgeting would encourage increased blood flow in the leg. They did not expect it to completely solve the arterial problem, but they hoped it would at least help.

The researchers tested the leg vascular function of 11 men and women. The subjects were made to sit for three hours. Each participant kept one leg still throughout the entire study, and tapped the other one at specified intervals. The subjects averaged about 250 foot movements per minute. At the conclusion of three hours, researchers measured the amount of blood flow in each leg of each subject.

Sure enough, this fidgeting increased blood flow in the legs significantly, to a point where it could help stave off cardiovascular disease. Toe tapping was indeed enough to increase vascular health. This is groundbreaking information in a society in which, a lot of the time, people do not have the option to take breaks to stand up continuously during a long period of sitting.

The researchers want to make it clear, however, that fidgeting should not be used as a substitute for standing and walking around when breaks can be taken. Walking or standing has more overall cardiovascular benefits, and is therefore better for you in the long run. However, fidgeting is a good alternative in situations in which standing is not permitted. As they say, any sort of movement is better than none at all.  

Hologram Victory

Holograms have been a popular culture phenomenon since they started appearing in Science Fiction films. However, not even Star Wars could have predicted this – Japanese scientists have found a way to make holograms touchable.

Before you get too excited, let me clarify. Japanese scientists have found a way to make holograms able to be sensed by a human hand. We will not find ourselves playing a successful game of touch football with hologram players anytime soon, but this is still a major find. These scientists have been the only ones able to successfully use lasers to simulate a feeling – other failed experiments ended up burning skin.

One scientist working on this new technology, Dr. Yoichi Ochiai from Tsukuba University,

calls the new discovery a ‘Fairy Lights’ system, which creates fast-traveling laser pulses that react to human touch. Three-dimensional images are projected, and the lasers are used in such a way that those touching it have the sensation that something is there. So, humans are able to have a three-dimensional holographic image in front of them, reach out, and feel it. The hologram’s pixels will move in response to where they are touched.

So, touchable holograms have been discovered. This is truly a scientific revelation, but does it have any practical uses?

As a matter of fact, touchable holograms, depending on how they progress, can have large implications for the medical sphere, as well as for the construction and technology industries.

People have many ideas of how such technology, when developed, can be used. I can only imagine how holograms will be used in the future in the medical field, such as by revolutionizing certain physical therapy programs, or by comforting patients. The possibilities are truly endless. I have listed some of the more popular usages of our future touchable hologram technology below.

Computer Keyboards

Haven’t we all always wanted a virtual computer keyboard that we can project onto any surface? Well, with this technology, we would have that resource. It would give us a computer keyboard to type on, no matter where we are.

Video Chatting

Have you ever been video chatting with someone and wanted to reach out and touch them? With this technology, that may just be in your future. The person you are chatting with could be made into a hologram that responds to your touch. If anything, this technology will entirely change long-distance relationships.

Construction Sites

Projecting images to simulate where things should be when building. That could bring ‘blueprints’ to a new level.

Virtual Gaming

Virtual reality games can now be filled with holograms that you can move. That in and of itself is pretty cool.

For more information on ‘Fairy Lights,’ check out this article from Tech Times.


Strange Science

The act of creation is what drives a scientist. A simple thought, an idea snatched from the mental ether and forced into reality is how the light bulb, telephone, and automobile were introduced into our world. The ingenuity of these intrepid adventurers shape the face of our society, but what happens to their duds? We are very aware of the great successes that have propelled our society forward, but how many strange inventions were meant to be forgotten by the ever-thundering march of time?

Phone of The Dead: A brainchild of Thomas Edison and certainly one of his strangest offerings to date. A mind from which brilliant ideas were brought into this world, Edison’s “Spirit Phone” is rarely numbered among them. This early invention predates the Graham Bell’s telephone, though it’s intended audience surely would have been late.

The Rat Pack: Oddly enough, a study was held regarding rats and their preference of music. In 2011, a study conducted at Albany Medical College to see which types of tunes the tiny rodents would prefer to listen too. Oddly enough, when given the option, rats prefer no music to anything. If forced to listen to music, rats prefer Beethoven. The study takes a strange turn, though, when the rats are given cocaine. Apparently their musical tastes shift to Jazz and Miles Davis when given the drug, but only while under the influence.

Hanging Around: Nicolae Minovici is one of the chosen few scientists willing to put themselves at risk for science. The first to volunteer for his own experiment, Nicolae, the preeminent forensic scientist of the time, wanted to learn more about a particular process of capital punishment. Fascinated by hanging, Nicolae built a system of pulleys to test various knots, rope elasticity, and neck strength. Curiously enough, Nicolae died several years later due to neck-related trauma.

Beautiful and strange, if science has taught us anything, it’s that you can only expect the unexpected. Who knows what mad geniuses are cooking up right now in labs around the world. Powerful computers strongDerrick Alger enough to be worn like sunglasses and hoverboards make up our reality, where just thirty years prior it was fiction.