15 JAN 2018
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the carpets in your home are massive depositories of dirt, allergens, and microbes.
As we walk around, a lot of those particles get kicked up into the air, which has led some scientists to wonder – how much of this stuff would a typical crawling baby inhale?
Human offspring spend several months on their chubby hands and feet, exploring the environment before they can manage to stand upright. But they’re tiny compared to adults, so it’s possible they actually kick up less dirt.
To get some answers, a team of US and Finnish researchers first needed a baby that could repeatedly crawl across pieces of carpet in a controlled air chamber environment.
So, they went ahead and built one.
And while we appreciate the worthwhile endeavour that led to its production, the thing is so uncanny it’s absolutely giving us the creeps.
Regardless of its appearance however, the team’s “simplified mechanical crawling infant”, fitted with a range of air sensors, successfully got through a total of 25 crawling experiments on five carpet pieces donated by actual residential homes in Helsinki.
For data comparison, the researchers also enlisted an adult volunteer equipped in a full body suit and filter mask to perform additional 25 walking experiments of the same duration and in the same conditions.