Irreconcilable Differences: Can Darwinism Be Pasteurized?

first_img A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour TagsCharles DarwinDarwin Day in AmericaeugenicsGeorge DraperInternational Medical CongressJohn WestJonathan WellsJoshua LederbergKarl PearsonLouis PasteurmedicineMichael BeheMichael EgnormicrobesNazismPasteurizationPierre-Olivier Méthotpublic healthRené DubosSamuel AlizonThe Edge of EvolutionThe Myth of Darwinian Medicine (series)Zombie Science,Trending Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Recommended Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Medicine Irreconcilable Differences: Can Darwinism Be Pasteurized?Evolution News @DiscoveryCSCApril 12, 2020, 5:56 AM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Editor’s note: As biologist Jonathan Wells observes, “[T]he measures being taken against the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic owe nothing to evolutionary theory.” Yet a persistent claim from evolutionists is that medical research would be crippled without a Darwinian framework. Evolution News presents a series of our previously published work addressing the myth of “Darwinian medicine.”Michael Egnor has criticized so-called “Darwinian medicine” as a useless concept, since medical science has had spectacular success without it. Darwinism is about the death of the unfit, focused on populations instead of individuals. Medicine is about healing individuals and anyone who needs help, including the unfit, the weak, and the vulnerable. How can the father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin, and the father of biogenesis, pasteurization and vaccines, Louis Pasteur, be reconciled?A Noble AimIn PLOS Biology, Samuel Alizon and Pierre-Olivier Méthot try to do just that. Their paper is titled, “Reconciling Pasteur and Darwin to control infectious diseases.” It’s a noble aim to control diseases, but can their conciliatory approach work?The continual emergence of new pathogens and the increased spread of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations remind us that microbes are living entities that evolve at rates that impact public health interventions. Following the historical thread of the works of Pasteur and Darwin shows how reconciling clinical microbiology, ecology, and evolution can be instrumental to understanding pathology, developing new therapies, and prolonging the efficiency of existing ones. [Emphasis added.]The authors point out that Darwin and Pasteur probably never communicated. “Pasteur and Darwin both attended the International Medical Congress in London in 1881 but did not exchange words,” they say. It’s doubtful that Pasteur’s words to Darwin would have been friendly. According to his grandson, Pasteur’s worldview had more in common with intelligent design than with Darwinian naturalism:Something deep in our soul tells us that the universe is more than an arrangement of certain compounds in a mechanical equilibrium, arisen from the chaos of elements by a gradual action of Nature’s forces. (Pasteur Vallery-Radot, Louis Pasteur, p. 157-158).Pasteur was also a deeply religious man, and adamantly anti-materialistic. He said:Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers. The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. I pray while I am engaged at my work in the laboratory. (The Literary Digest, 18 October 1902, via Wikiquote).It’s not hard to guess which “modern materialistic philosophers” Pasteur had in mind. Alizon and Méthot know that the two men came from strongly different philosophical perspectives.The life and contributions of these two scientists may seem radically different at first (Fig 1): while Charles Darwin worked mostly alone (despite a large network of correspondents), gathered field data to support his theories, wrote books, and did relatively few experiments, Louis Pasteur led an ‘army’ of research assistants who performed a wide array of experiments, wrote research articles, and typically addressed applied problems of industrial or public health interest. In addition to having different research methods, they had contrasting religious outlooks; Pasteur was known for his devout personality, while Darwin described himself as ‘agnostic’ late in his life. However, both researchers shared the singular ability of being able to make sense of seemingly independent observations. Both also had a profound impact on medicine during their life, without being themselves medical doctors.The Medicine of Death, and of Life“Both also had a profound impact on medicine,” eh? Yes, we see that with Pasteur, whose vaccines and discoveries in microbiology have saved countless millions of lives. For Darwin, the story is quite different, as John West has recounted in Darwin Day in America, particularly in Chapters 13-15. And if Darwin’s motivations for Nazi ideology, eugenics and totalitarian dictatorships are included, we could call Darwin’s approach the medicine of death, and Pasteur’s the medicine of life.It looks like a hard sell to unite these men from polar opposite ends of worldview spectrum. Let’s see if Alizon and Méthot can pull it off. They readily acknowledge their challenge:Evolutionary biology currently has a marginal place within medicine. There is even a significant tendency to avoid the ‘e-word’ in the biomedical literature when referring to antimicrobial resistance. Yet in the 19th century, medical sciences were as enthusiastic for Darwin’s ideas as they were initially hostile to Pasteur’s. This support, often implicit, progressively came to a halt in the 20th century for at least two reasons. First, the intellectual proximity between evolution, eugenics, and medicine, most clearly articulated in Karl Pearson’s 1912 address (‘Darwinism, medical progress, and eugenics’) and in George Draper’s constitutional medicine, made scientists wary of implementing evolutionary approaches in medicine, particularly after World War II. Experimentation on human subjects in Nazi Germany revulsed public opinion worldwide and ended eugenic policies, at least in the public discourse.Scary last phrase there: “at least in the public discourse.” What’s happening behind closed doors at scientific institutions? Some evolutionists are very open about their eugenic views, as Michael Egnor has shown.The second reason for lack of interest in Darwinian medicine, the authors say, is that “evolutionary biology was still largely viewed as an observational science and no longer had a place within the new configuration of medical knowledge and training organized around specialities [sic] and characterized by experimentation.” That tells us something important about Darwinism; it’s less in the scientific business of experimentation as it is in the art of weaving narratives in order to fit observations into Darwin’s picture of the world.Evolution and Medical TrainingHaving acknowledged the challenge before them, Alizon and Méthot make a plea for integrating evolution into medical training. The way they define evolution, though, makes their particular advice uncontroversial:There is now increasing support for the teaching of evolutionary biology in medical faculties. When teaching medical students, however, one should call attention to the set of assumptions often made regarding ancestral lifestyles or the adaptative [sic] value of certain traits or behaviours. Furthermore, it should be emphasized that medicine and evolution have different ‘conceptual bases’ and are typically concerned with different problems: whereas the former focuses on restoring health at the individual level, the latter studies biological variations at the population level and how they change over time.If that is all they are talking about, nobody will make a fuss. Even the most ardent creationists acknowledge “biological variations at the population level and how they change over time.” The question then becomes, what has Darwin got to do with this plea? Variation has been observed for millennia. What made Darwinism so controversial was his claim that the entire biosphere emerged from one primitive cell by blind, unguided processes. To argue that, he had to make natural selection a creative force, able to create wings and eyes where none existed before.In the bulk of their essay, Alizon and Méthot talk about antibacterial resistance (see Jonathan Wells, Zombie Science, Chapter 8, for discussion of what that has to do with Darwinism). They suggest medical practices that are best suited to effectively control outbreaks of resistant strains. Darwinism seems only marginally involved here, supported by occasional references to “evolutionary arms race” situations and “co-evolution.” The authors illustrate it with examples, such as when a doctor’s ‘hit hard and hit fast’ strategy with antibiotics actually creates conditions for virulent mutants to multiply. Nothing about this need involve Darwin, however. It’s population dynamics, not creation of novelty.They mention “the emergence of new infections,” saying “Emergence often involves adaptation to new hosts,” but that doesn’t involve the origin of species or the creation of novel complex designs. As Michael Behe cogently pointed out in The Edge of Evolution, mutants become resistant by breaking things. A bacterium might break its interface with a drug, for instance, achieving resistance but not creating anything new. In a recent ID the Future episode, Ann Gauger described this kind of “evolution” as “throwing the deck chairs off to make the boat go faster.”Parasite and HostThe interplay between parasite and host has more to do with ecology than evolution. Alizon and Méthot repeatedly conflate the two, making it sound as if dynamic interplays of variants in parasites and hosts are always Darwinian in nature. Not necessarily; if no new information is added, and if no truly innovative complex structure is created, then neither organism makes the kind of upward progress Darwin envisioned. It’s a demolition derby. The ship that throws off the most cargo and remains the afloat would win. That kind of ‘evolution’ is not what Darwin had in mind. One of the illustrations in Alizon and Méthot’s paper shows resistant strains already present in the host, given the opportunity to proliferate when antibiotics kill off most of the non-resistant cells.Typically, resistant strains lose ability to compete in the wild, only succeeding in artificial environments like hospitals. The authors even point this out:Based on datasets from the United States and Ireland, it has also been argued that larger hospital sizes favour the spread of antibiotic resistance, one interpretation being that a network of small hospitals maximises the risk of stochastic extinctions of newly emerged resistant variants.Those “stochastic extinctions” occur because the newly emerged resistant variants cannot compete in more realistic environments, where wild-type strains have not had to throw their cargo and deck chairs overboard. Understanding such ecological factors leads some hospitals to release patients earlier to their homes, so that the reservoirs of resistant strains have to compete with stronger (and less virulent) strains in the natural environment. Some hospitals are providing environments like gardens where patients can be exposed to less hygienic, natural conditions. These settings encourage recovery not only by driving resistant strains extinct faster, but by providing patients with opportunities for mental well-being that natural beauty engenders.Additionally, evidence is growing that bacteria can obtain resistance genes through horizontal gene transfer, such as from soil bacteria. If so, there’s nothing Darwinian about this, either. The sharing of pre-existing information indicates design, not evolution.In conclusion, there is an urgent need to switch from an eradication to a control perspective as already advocated in 1955 by René Dubos or in 2000 by Joshua Lederberg. We should add to the search for ‘magic bullets’ the development of strategies to manage and mitigate pathogen evolution. In that sense, interventions that have a strong ecological and evolutionary dimension, such as microbiota transplantation, new ways of administrating drugs (varying doses, alternating or combining molecules), or even advances in phage therapy, could be the future of public health.All the proposed benefits of “ecological perspectives” in medicine can be achieved without Darwinism. It’s hard to understand why some Darwinists are so intent on importing Darwinism into a field that doesn’t need it and has suffered from it.What Has Darwin Got to Do with It?On what basis can Alizon and Méthot plead that their advice would be good for suffering humans? What’s Darwin got to do with help for the weak? Humans, in Darwin’s view, arrived by accident, have no exceptional value, and will go extinct in time. The Darwinian view of humanity is amoral and heartless. If the bacteria win over the human, it just shows who won the evolutionary arms race and demonstrated survival of the fittest. If you see a Darwinian doctor at your bedside, pull the alarm, because you won’t be able to tell if he is rooting for you or for the germs.The best way to Pasteurize medicine is to raise the heat till the harmful Darwinian ideas, like eugenics and survival of the fittest, die off. The result will be a vibrant medical enterprise promoting human health and well-being with pure motives.Image: Louis Pasteur, by Albert Edelfelt (1885)/ Public domain.This article was originally published on February 20, 2018. Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. 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Flu Scan for Aug 15, 2016

first_imgAdditional H3N2v in pigs at Michigan county fairsTwo more Michigan county fairs, one in Cass County and one in Ingham County, are reporting variant H3N2 (H3N2v) influenza in pigs, according to a media release from the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department. No ill human contacts have been reported, according to state health officials.  Twenty pigs tested positive for H3N2v at the Cass County fair, which took place from Jul 31 to Aug 6. More than 300 pigs were exhibited.  The first pig tested positive on Aug 9.On Aug 6 one pig that was exhibited at the Ingham County tested positive for swine flu. Last month a pig at the Muskegon county fair also tested positive for H3N2v.Humans are at risk for swine flu if they come in close contact with infected pigs, but H3N2v usually causes only mild illness when transmitted to people.Aug 12 Van Buren/Cass District Health Department releaseStudy sheds more light on deadly MRSA complications in flu patientsIn an ongoing investigation into why secondary methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are often so fatal to patients with flu, researchers who did lab studies on mice found that flu infection alters the antibacterial response of white blood cells, prompting them to damage patients’ lungs instead of the bacteria.The team from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Albany Medical College described their findings today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM).In an earlier study, one of the researchers had found mice with flu were susceptible to MRSA because the infection seemed to suppress the ability of macrophages and neutrophils to kill bacteria by releasing hydrogen peroxide and suppress other reactive oxygen species.In the new study, researchers found that in coinfected mice, reactive oxygen species released by macrophages and neutrophils induced the death of inflammatory cells in the lungs, damaging surround tissue, according a press release today from Rockefeller University Press, the publisher of JEM. Also, they found that inhibiting NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2), the enzyme that produces reactive oxygen species in macrophages and neutrophils, reduced lung damage and when added to antibiotics, improved survival of the mice.Keer Sun, PhD, study coauthor and assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said in a press release, “Our results demonstrate that influenza infection disrupts the delicate balance between Nox2-dependent antibacterial immunity and inflammation. This not only leads to increased susceptibility to MRSA infection but also extensive lung damage.” He said treatment that targets both MRSA and reactive oxygen species may yield important benefits for flu patients who have MRSA pneumonia.Aug 15 J Exper Med abstract Aug 15 Rockefeller University press releaselast_img read more

UN accused of failing Haiti cholera victims five years after outbreak

first_imgThe international human rights group, Amnesty International, says United Nations has failed “miserably” in treating victims of the Cholera epidemic that was triggered by its personnel five years ago.Amnesty said that thousands of people in the French-speaking country have been left waiting for access to effective medical treatment and compensation.“The UN must not just wash its hands of the human suffering and pain that it has caused. Setting up general health programmes and sanitation campaigns is important but not enough.“What is needed now is a proper investigation into the full extent of the damages caused, and a detailed plan to help those who have fallen victim to this disease and the relatives of those who have died,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.“Failing to take action will only undermine the UN’s credibility and responsibility as a promoter of human rights across the world,” she added.More than 9,000 people died of cholera between October 2010 and August 2015 and hundreds of thousands more have been affected. Most victims come from poor and marginalized sectors of society. All attempts by victims to obtain truth, justice and remedy have been denied so far.Amnesty International said several scientific reports have identified infected UN personnel from Nepal as the vehicle of the disease in Haiti, which broke out in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the country in 2010.It said UN negligence in maintaining its sanitation facilities and waste disposal have also been shown to have majorly contributed to the outbreak.Amnesty International said it has recently written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to independently assess the claims of those affected and take further steps to tackle the outbreak and provide reparations.last_img read more

Steelers’ Heyward tweets NFL fined him for honoring father

first_imgCam Heyward (AP Photo/File)PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward says he was fined by the NFL for paying tribute to his late father.Heyward tweeted on Wednesday that the league penalized him for writing “Iron Head” on his eye black during a game. Heyward’s father, Craig, spent a decade as a running back in the NFL and went by the nickname “Ironhead” for his physical style of play. Craig Heyward died in 2006 at the age of 39 following a lengthy battle with cancer.Heyward tweeted “Got fined for honoring my Dad who bravely fought cancer on my eye black. (hash)NeverGiveUp (hash)CancerSucks”Heyward said he would like to appeal the fine, though “I don’t know where I would get with that.”“It’s just sad that I got fined for honoring a man I respect and love,” Heyward said. “I’m not trying to go outside the NFL rules. I’m just trying to draw attention to the disease that took my father’s life.”___Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

Rings aside, who had better Hall of Fame career– Shaq or Iverson?

first_imgAFRO Sports Desk Faceoff Basketball Hall of Fame inductees Shaquille O’Neal (left) and Allen Iverson (right) speak during induction ceremonies at Symphony Hall, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Four championships from Shaquille O’Neal certainly stamped a tremendous Hall of Fame career, as he was introduced into the Hall over the weekend, along with guard Allen Iverson and center Yao Ming. The trio were cornerstones of the NBA’s transition in the late 1990s as the league moved from Michael Jordan to a bevy of new stars to help pace the Association. Iverson and O’Neal, however, were unique. The stars came in and dominated during the Jordan era while maintaining success afterwards. Iverson’s lone chance at an NBA title was demolished by O’Neal’s Lakers in 2001 but that doesn’t diminish a stellar career by one of the league’s physically smaller stars. Titles aside, Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate who had a more impactful career between Iverson and O’Neal. Riley: Shaq entered the league in 1992 and completely reshaped basketball. He was the biggest and strongest player, and his personality gave him commercial appeal. From breaking rims to commanding double teams, there wasn’t a more dominant player in the NBA while O’Neal was in it, including Jordan. We’re not talking about titles but during his prime, he made three separate franchises title contenders as a focal point on each team. That’s impressive. Bottom line: If Shaq was on your team you had a legitimate shot at a championship and that’s something you can’t say about Iverson.Green: No player has had a greater influence on the Association than Allen Iverson. Iverson’s game and style was unrivaled, and his smaller stature made him the ultimate underdog to root for. O’Neal’s size and power was a turnoff for a lot of fans because things were almost too easy for him. Iverson worked hard for every basket while constantly challenging bigger defenders at the rim. The cornrows, baggy clothes and iconic sneakers were simply pluses on top of the exciting and flashy basketball skills. Every kid couldn’t work on a dunk like Shaq, but anybody could work on a crossover like Iverson. He was a legend.Riley: Iverson was definitely iconic, but O’Neal was a true force. An athletic marvel from college to retirement, Shaq was one of those unicorn players that you’ll never see again. It simply falls down to what a fan prefers: true dominance or an underdog to root for? Iverson was a player that the average man could relate to since he was an average-sized specimen. O’Neal stood out for his rare size but he lived up to the pressure of being that big. He was a big man that played like one and he was one of the last true power players of the NBA. The Orlando Magic won 21 games prior to O’Neal’s arrival and finished at .500 the ensuing season. He was a franchise-changing talent during a time when Iverson was infamously known to clash with authority figures whether inside or outside the NBA. Both were great but O’Neal reorganized the league.Green: Iverson played for a few teams with better talent but his best days were in talent-starved Philadelphia. Despite exhausting a lot of his prime as a one-man army for the 76ers, Iverson still stood out yearly in NBA All-Star games where almost every player was routinely bigger and stronger than Iverson. He crossed over Jordan and he never backed down from O’Neal. He was the best pound-for-pound player during his era and his greatness might not be appreciated because he rarely played with teams that had the talent for deep playoff runs. Nobody competed like he did and no player had his flare. O’Neal might have elevated franchises but Iverson elevated the entire game of basketball.last_img read more

Eagles ready to soar

first_imgBy Nick Creely Beaconsfield coach Leigh McQuillen is quietly bullish about what sort of impact his young side can have…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Dressed to the nines

first_imgWHETHER it be for a special occasion or a casual night out, you will find the right outfit at Pakman…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Jozo Simunovic missing from Celtic team to face Astana

first_imgCeltic have made changes to their team to face Astana with Jozo Simunovic a notable absentee from the starting line-up.Brendan Rodgers has left the centre-back out of his squad for the Champions League play-off tie, which will be played on an artificial pitch.Celtic won the first leg of the tie 5-0 in Glasgow last week and only a major upset would stop them from taking their place in Thursday’s group stage draw.Rodgers has insisted his side will not take it easy in Kazakhstan and they intend to continue a good recent run of away results. Simunovic has been replaced by Kristoffer Ajer, while Tom Rogic is on the bench with Callum McGregor starting in midfield.Craig Gordon starts in goal with Mikael Lustig, Nir Bitton, Kristoffer Ajer and Kieran Tierney ahead of him in defence.Captain Scott Brown plays alongside Olivier Ntcham in the centre of the park with James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Scott Sinclair supporting striker Leigh Griffiths in attack.last_img read more

Ask It Results: A Stitch-y Question, What’s Best for Stitch in Tomorrowland?

first_imgShare This!All joking aside about how dated the Carousel of Progress is or how deep under your skin the song in it’s a small world can get, people genuinely like those attractions. If either of them were closed to make a meet and greet, there would be justifiable outrage from every corner of the Disney fanverse. But sometimes there are attractions that have earned a reputation for being irritating with a surprising amount of universality.Mission to Mars is one of the attractions that I have distinct memories of on early trips to Walt Disney World. (Although technically it was Mission to Almost Mars, seeing as you never actually got there.) It was a solid enough attraction, but it was incredibly dated. I personally loved ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, except being nailed in the face one time with “blood”, but I do remember watching adults and children alike come out ashen-faced and clearly traumatized. Disney must have had at least decent hopes for it, putting the “part B” of the ride in DisneyQuest, and yet it really missed the mark in Magic Kingdom because of the high kid:adult ratio. Why they didn’t just move it over to the Studios is anyone’s guess–it would have been amazing there. But I remember the outright hate about the attraction going around while the ride was open, with the idea that something…ANYTHING….would be better than this. I can imagine that a boardroom discussion went something like this:“Well, we’ve got this attraction where a scary alien comes out and eats people. Can we make that a little more kid friendly?”“Stitch is an alien, but not scary.”“Okay, but what about the eating bit?”“We’ll have him eat a chili dog. People will love that. Just a scent, no blood and guts being splattered on people.”And thus Stitch’s Great Escape was born. And….people generally didn’t like it. But how much did people not like it? Recently, Stitch’s Great Escape has moved to seasonal and now appears to have been replaced with a Stitch meet and greet. Was this an improvement or not? We asked you:Which do you think is a better use of the Stitch attraction space in Tomorrowland?Here’s your results.Meet and Greet (1,157 votes, 68%)Overall, while many more people think that a meet and greet is better than the attraction, for some people, it was a case of “anything is better than the attraction”. Some other write-in suggestions we received included stroller parking, a new attraction (with ideas like WALL*E or Tomorrowland being mentioned by name, although my vote would be for Big Hero 6), or bringing back the previous attraction(s). Some people were actually keen with the idea of a Stitch meet and greet, if Stitch was in his alien form or Stitch was meeting and greeting with fellow experiment Angel. There also was quite a bit of love for having a meet and greet inside, out of the rain and the heat. But in general, the consensus by most votes was anything is better than the attraction, and since there were only two choices, this was the default.Stitch’s Great Escape (535 votes, 32%)At the end of the day, some people actually do like this attraction. It has some neat effects, and it does fit the bill for being more child friendly than the previous version. For kids who are fans of Lilo and Stitch, this attraction has a bit of child-like charm, and has some appeal because the height requirements means it is something to look forward to. In many ways, the popularity of hating the attraction is far greater than actually hating the attraction. And there’s many people who would prefer to have any attraction–even an unpopular one–over yet another meet and greet.So there’s the results. Feel free to share what you think would be the best use of the space in the comments. Meanwhile, next week’s Ask It is live on Twitter and on the blog here. We’ll be back with your results next week!last_img read more

Narita’s self-driving wheelchairs aim to help disabled

first_imgWheelchair wagon train.. Photo; ANA Funky self-driving wheelchairs that can navigate busy airports and avoid obstacles are under test at Tokyo’s Narita airport to help passengers with mobility issues get between flights.The project between All Nippon Airways and Panasonic Corp. is using the semi-robotic electric wheelchairs to increase mobility and accessibility options that give passengers more independence when navigating the bustling airport.READ: Delta now allows elite status to reclaim ‘life-changing’ eventsThe self-driving wheelchair developed by Panasonic and WHILL is capable of independently detecting and avoiding people and obstacles and follows a pre-determined leader to a common destination.“Narita airport is a gateway to Japan for millions of travelers every year and we seek to partner with other leading Japanese innovators to make sure that arrival, departure and making connections are all as convenient as possible,” said ANA senior vice president Juichi Hirasawa.“ANA’s partnership with Panasonic will make Narita Airport more welcoming and accessible, both of which are crucial to maintaining the airport’s status as a hub for international travel in the years to come.wheelchairs“The robotic wheelchairs are just the latest element in ANA’s multi-faceted approach to improving hospitality in the air and on the ground.”ANA has previously experimented with interactive robots and connected smart technology in a project also designed to help people with disabilities.Other technology trials being conducted by the Japanese carrier include a wearable robotic exoskeleton, remote-controlled aircraft pushbacks, automatic baggage loaders and automated towing tractors.Those trials aim to convert Kyusha Saga International Airport. on the island into “a hotbed of innovation and a premier logistics hub in the region”.ANA said it hoped the trials would lead to important breakthroughs that would streamline and improve service on the ground.last_img read more