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MIT

Electronics

Smartphone and laser attachment form cheap rangefinder

A team of researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) led by Li-Shiuan Peh has come up with a new infrared depth-sensing system. The new system, which works outdoors as well as in, was built by attaching a US$10 laser to a smartphone, with MIT saying the inexpensive approach could be used to convert conventional personal vehicles, such as wheelchairs and golf carts, into autonomous ones.Read More

Robotics

Furry educational robot tweaks its approach in response to emotions

Keeping large groups of young minds engaged in the classroom can be a tall order for educational staff, because what motivates one student might not necessarily motivate the next. Working towards a future where each and every student benefits from personalized attention, MIT researchers have built an educational robot that interacts with kids and learns how to motivate them individually over time.Read More

Materials

Carbon nanotubes shown to protect metals against radiation damage

An international team of scientists led by MIT has discovered that adding small amounts of carbon nanotubes to metals makes them much more resistant to radiation damage. Though currently only proven in low-temperature metals like aluminum, the team says that the ability of the nanotubes to slow the breakdown process could improve the operating lifetimes of research and commercial reactors.Read More

Marine

MIT develops early warning system for rogue waves

The open ocean is daunting enough when it's relatively calm, but add in the existence of huge, seemingly randomly-occurring walls of water, and it becomes downright terrifying. Now, researchers at MIT have come up with a new way of predicting when a rogue wave is about to hit, giving ships and offshore platforms a few precious minutes to prepare for the dangerous event.Read More

Science

Autism-like behavior reversed in laboratory mice

MIT scientists have successfully reversed autistic-like behavioral patterns in mice. The study focused on a gene called Shank3, which is missing in 1 percent of individuals suffering from autism, and is believed to be vital for the development of a healthy adult brain.Read More

Robotics

​Simplified system could allow for better robot-human communications

A new system, developed by researchers at MIT, could provide a more streamlined way for robots to communicate with humans in difficult situations, including during emergency response operations. The new model cuts down the necessary communications made by a robot team member by 60 percent, significantly reducing the barrage of data that its human counterpart has to deal with.
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Science

Lensless imaging achieved using "optical brush"

In the quest for imaging systems that are very small and flexible, yet don't require elaborate protective cases, a team of researchers at MIT Media Lab have scaled things down with a lensless imaging device called a "optical brush." The device uses a loose bundle of optical fibers to produce images that could lead to more compact and robust ways to study oil fields and build smaller endoscopes.Read More

Electronics

"Unhackable" RFID chip to keep your credit cards safe

Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips have made cashless payments commonplace and opened the way to automatic inventory control. However, they've also made it possible for credit card details and other private information to be stolen wirelessly. To make things a bit more secure, MIT and Texas Instruments are developing an "unhackable" RFID chip that's designed to fend off information-stealing attacks.Read More

Urban Transport

MIT engineers win Hyperloop pod competition, will test prototype in mid-2016

The Hyperloop's journey from audacious concept to a functional, superfast transport system went up a gear over the weekend with more than 115 engineering teams descending on Texas A&M University to present passenger capsule designs in SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition. An MIT team took out first place in the contest, and along with 22 other top designs it will now build human-scale prototypes to test out at SpaceX HQ later in the year.Read More

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