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MIT

Science

Active and passive in-cell movements distinguished for the first time

If you looked inside any cell in your body right now, you'd notice that the individual structures and components within it are constantly moving around. While some of that twitching and jostling is passive, other movement is more deliberate, with the cell actively exerting energy to move components. A new data analysis technique is improving our ability to distinguish between those two types of movement, and the results could significantly improve our understanding of cell biology.Read More

Materials

Coal-based electronics: A potential usurper to silicon's throne?

Graphene may be the poster child of thin film electronics, and silicon the current king of materials for semiconductors, but if scientists from MIT get their way, graphene's humble cousin, coal, could soon be giving them both a run for their money. For the first time, electronic devices have been created from thin films of coal and the research points to a range of uses that this cheap and abundant material could have in electronic devices, solar panels, and batteries.Read More

Medical

Dual-sided pill stays put to release medication

A novel pill, developed by researchers at MIT, shows promise in allowing for effective long-term delivery of drugs, with the ability to stick to the gastrointestinal tract for lengthy periods time. The pill makes use of a two-face build, with one side designed to hold it in place, while the other repels liquid and food that could otherwise dislodge it.Read More

Robotics

Robots simultaneously 3D-printed from both solids and liquids

Robots have a tremendous potential, but if a way can't be found to manufacture them quickly, cheaply, and in large numbers, that potential may remain exactly that. To that end, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has come up with a new way to make soft, hydraulically-powered robots in one step using commercial 3D printers that can print solid and liquid parts simultaneously.Read More

Environment

Is Asia's water supply in trouble?

Based on a series of simulations ran through sophisticated computer models, researchers from MIT are highlighting the possibility that a significant percentage of the population of Asia could suffer severe water shortages by the year 2050. As a basis for the study, the team made use of a pre-existing MIT-generated computer model designed to simulate Asia's complex economic, climate, and growth characteristics. A detailed water-use model known as a Water Resource System was then introduced, and the team ran a number of simulations aiming to cover the widest range of potential scenarios.Read More

Materials

Sweet technique inspired by bonbons yields better polymer shells

Inspired by a centuries-old technique used by chocolatiers to create chocolate shells for bonbons and other sweets, engineers have developed a new technique for making polymer films that are both uniform and predictable. According to the researchers, the new theory and method can not only allow confectioners to precisely control the thickness of bonbon casings, but can be more generally applied to create polymer shells for everything from drug capsules to rocket bodies.Read More

Telecommunications

Wi-Fi that finds you

There's a lot of buzz around "smart home" products and the convenience of advanced automation and mobile connectivity. However, new research may soon be able to add extra emphasis on "smart" by enhancing wireless technology with greater awareness. A team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a system that enables a single wireless access point to accurately locate users down to a tenth of a meter, without any added sensors.
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Medical

Portable system provides on-demand drug production

Manufacturing drugs is a complex process, often involving multiple facilities and taking weeks or months to arrive at the finished article. The lack of flexibility in the system led MIT researchers to develop a compact, all-in-one solution to allow for streamlined, speedy drug production. It can be adjusted to produce different medications, and isn't designed to replace existing manufacturing plants, but rather to complement them by providing, for example, an emergency backup solution should a facility have to be shut down.Read More

Environment

Hybrid system could clean up coal power

Even though 2015 saw the biggest decline in coal usage around the world on record according to Greenpeace, the use of the material is still thriving globally. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, global coal consumption was at about eight billion short tons in 2012 (around 7.2 billion tonnes), the most recent year for which the agency provides statistics. So if coal isn't going away any time soon, what is there to do about the fuel source that is often blamed for pollution and global warming due to carbon emissions? Make it more efficient. And that's exactly what a new hybrid energy system out of MIT could do.Read More

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