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MIT

Planetary Resources is offering to upgrade an Arkyd 100 satellite for exoplanet hunting if...

In May, asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources announced its crowdfunding campaign for one of its Arkyd 100 telescope satellites that backers would be allowed to use for a bit of private space exploration. Having reached over US$860,000 of its $1 million goal on Wednesday, Planetary Resources is upping the ante by offering to upgrade the satellite for exoplanet hunting if pledges reach $2 million before the campaign ends on May 30.  Read More

The map displays solar radiation data with outstanding resolution (Photo: MIT)

MIT researchers have developed a new technique that can be used to accurately predict the annual yield of a photovoltaic solar array located anywhere on the planet, taking into account local climate, panel orientation, and obstructions from nearby buildings. As a proof of concept, the scientists have mapped out the 17,000 rooftops of Cambridge, Massachusetts and created a user-friendly web interface that residents can use to look up their homes and get an accurate projection of the cost and return on investment of placing a PV panel over their heads.  Read More

MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion (Photo: Mediated Matter Group/Steven Keating)

Silk Pavilion by MIT Media Lab poses some interesting questions about how what it calls "biological fabrication" might fit into the future of making things alongside 3D printing and similar computer-aided cleverness. To make the silk and metal dome, the work begun by robotic weavers was completed by silkworms – 6,500 of them.  Read More

“4D printing” sees 3D-printed materials self-assemble into different shapes (Image: Skylar...

Molecular self-assembly, whereby molecules position themselves into defined arrangements, is commonplace in biological systems and nanotechnology. But researchers at MIT are working on so called "4D printing" technology that aims to bring the process up to the macro scale, enabling 3D-printed materials to be programmed to self-assemble into predefined shapes and structures. Just imagine buying some flat-pack furniture, bringing it home and enjoying a coffee whilst you watch it assemble itself.  Read More

Abell 222/223 galaxies, showing a filament of dark matter stretching between the two galax...

Recently the media has been saturated with overly-hyped reports that NASA's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) may have detected dark matter. These claims may have some justification if the word "may" is shouted, but they rest on a number of really major assumptions and guesses, some of which are on weak and shifting soil. So just what was seen in the experiment, and what are the possible explanations?  Read More

 Makr Shakr madeits debut at Google I/O

Robot bartenders aren’t new, but they tend to be more drink vending machine than cool mixologist. To inject a little panache, researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab in collaboration with Coca-Cola and Bacardi Rum have developed Makr Shakr – a robot drink-mixing system that made its debut at the Google I/O annual developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday as the world’s first crowd-controlled robotic bar.  Read More

Researchers have developed a quadcopter that can attach to walls and ceilings with a dry a...

Micro UAVs that have the ability to slip into tight spaces, including inside buildings, have wide ranging military and search and rescue applications. To reach their full potential, however, these UAVs are going to need to learn how to land in rougher areas that don't always have a horizontal surface to touch down on. One team of scientists has begun taking a huge step towards accomplishing just that by developing a quadcopter with a mechanism that allows it to land on walls or ceilings, stay for a while, and then take off again.  Read More

The nano-network that releases insulin in response to changes in blood sugar

Aside from the inconvenience of injecting insulin multiple times a day, type 1 diabetics also face health risks if the dosage level isn’t accurate. A new approach developed by US researchers has the potential to overcome both of these problems. The method relies on a network of nanoscale particles that once injected into the body, can maintain normal blood sugar levels for more than a week by releasing insulin when blood-sugar levels rise.  Read More

A new system being developed at MIT would store excess energy in concrete spheres on the s...

The intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation is one of the biggest challenges facing these renewable energy sources. But this isn’t likely to remain a problem for much longer with everything from flywheels to liquid air systems being developed to provide a cheaper form of energy storage than batteries for times when the wind is blowing or the sun isn’t shining. A new concept out of MIT can now be added to the the list of potential solutions. Aimed specifically at offshore wind turbines, the concept would see energy stored in huge concrete spheres that would sit on the seafloor and also function as anchors for the turbines.  Read More

NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn conducts the SPHERES-VERTIGO investigation aboard the Interna...

Take the little floating ball that gave Luke Skywalker so much trouble during lightsaber practice, slap a pair of huge welder’s goggles on it and you start to get a picture of NASA’s latest foray into flying robots. Currently being tested aboard the International Space Station (ISS), MIT Space Systems Laboratory’s SPHERES-VERTIGO system is a free-flying robot with stereoscopic vision that is part of a program to develop ways for small satellites to autonomously create 3D maps of objects such as asteroids or disabled satellites.  Read More

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