child mortality rates

Watch: How physics helped save millions of premature babies

When a different branch of science came to the help of the medical one.

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Only a few decades ago, premature babies born more than six weeks earlier than expected were dying at an alarmingly high rate – within a few days, sometimes within hours.

Nobody was sure why, until a mysterious ailment was discovered. It became known as the Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Tens of thousands of babies succumbed to this every year in America alone.

It turned out to simply be a basic physics problem (video above).

The root of the problem can be traced back to tiny air sacs in the lungs called alveoli, which exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. Healthy babies have no problems here, and their alveoli are like tiny mini-inflated balloons.

But things get tricky for premature babies, and their lungs have to deal with collapsed alveoli, causing them to suffocate.

Enter physics. When we blow up a balloon, toughest part is getting the process started. LaPlace’s Law dictates that the curvier a stretched surface is, the harder it’ll squeeze the fluids inside. If you take two balloons and blow them up differently, connecting them with a straw, the smaller balloon will squeeze much harder and even blow some of its air into the other balloon.

Human lungs have the same set-up, except that healthy people don’t face trouble and their alveoli stay properly inflated, balancing the pressure between air sacs. Premature infants, however, have lungs that aren’t as developed and are unable to cope.

Doctors eventually found a way out by pumping air continuously into the babies’ lungs, preventing collapse with the help of a device called the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). Things have greatly improved now, and since the invention of the device, it has been estimated that more than two million babies with RDS have been saved all over the globe.

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Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

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So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.