Tag: ‘Okayama-University’

‘Space Barley’ six-packs for sale

04 Dec 2009

Sapporo Breweries has begun selling six-packs of the world's first "space beer" brewed with barley descended from seeds that spent time in space.

Sapporo Space Barley space beer --

For now, only 250 six-packs of the beer, which Sapporo calls “Space Barley," are available for purchase. Customers will be selected at random from those who apply through the Space Barley website before December 24.

The barley used in the beer is the fourth-generation offspring of seeds that spent five months aboard the International Space Station in 2006 as part of research that Sapporo conducted with the Russian Academy of Sciences and Okayama University. The aim of the research was to study the adaptability and life cycle of barley in zero-gravity and to explore the challenges of achieving self-sufficient food production in space.

Space Barley beer has a mellow flavor and slightly dark color reminiscent of deep space, according to Sapporo. The six-packs are priced at an astronomical 10,000 yen ($110), but Sapporo will donate the profits to Okayama University, who will use the funds to promote science education for children and foster the development of space science research in Japan and Russia.

[Links: Space Barley website, Sapporo press release]

Nasal airflow regulator amplifies whispers

21 Jun 2006

Nasal airflow regulatorOn June 20, an Okayama University team of researchers led by Professor Shogo Minagi unveiled a nasal airflow regulator designed to alleviate voice loss such as that which sometimes occurs after a stroke.

In normal speech, the soft palate (located at the back of the roof of the mouth) works to regulate the amount of air expelled through the mouth and nose. When these nerves are damaged by a stroke, for example, the soft palate may sag, preventing air from escaping through the nose. The result is the inability to pronounce speech sounds.

When inserted into the nostrils, the device forces air through the nasal passage when speaking, enabling sounds to be produced. According to the developers, the device allows people with nasal airflow problems -- even those whose speech is all but inaudible -- to be clearly heard.

[Source: Akita Sakigake Shimpo, Jiji]