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MIT

Researchers at MIT have developed sun-free photovoltaics (Photo: Justin Knight)

MIT researchers have reported a breakthrough in "wavelength tuning" that promises to boost the efficiency of thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems and in turn could lead to lighter, longer-lasting portable power sources.  Read More

MIT researchers have further improved the energy density of lithium-air batteries (Image: ...

Last year MIT researchers reported improving the efficiency of lithium-air batteries through the use of electrodes with gold or platinum catalysts. MIT News is now reporting that in a continuation of that work, researchers have been able to further increase the energy storage capacity of lithium-air batteries for a given weight by creating carbon-fiber-based electrodes.  Read More

Researchers are developing small, round swimming robots that could check pipes in nuclear ...

According to the Associated Press, a recent study has revealed that three quarters of America's nuclear reactors have leaked radioactive tritium from buried pipes that transport water for the cooling of reactor vessels. This tritium could in turn find its way into the groundwater. While industry officials do reportedly check these pipes for leaks, they can only do so in either indirect or costly, labor-intensive manners. Now, however, researchers from MIT are developing tiny, spherical swimming robots that could check on the pipes directly, relaying their findings in real time.  Read More

MIT's backtalk project aims at tracing the journeys of discarded electronics by applying l...

Have you ever wondered what happens to obsolete electronics once they are discarded? How far do they travel and what are the "second lives" of donated computers? MIT's backtalk project aims to answer those questions simply by tracing discarded devices with location trackers applied to a number of e-waste items. The tracking data will be available to the public in the form of real-time visualizations, exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York from July 24.  Read More

A synthetic gel could be used to restore function to scarred vocal cords(Image: MIT)

Whether caused by intubation during surgery, laryngeal cancer, lesion removal, or simply overuse, vocal cord scarring can limit or even eliminate some peoples' ability to speak. This is because the scar tissue is stiff, and doesn't allow the vocal cords to vibrate adequately. Some doctors have tried to soften the tissue using materials from the fields of plastic surgery and dermatology, but the treatment doesn't work in all cases, and the effects are said not to last very long. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School, however, are developing a new approach - an injectable gel that mimics vocal cord tissue.  Read More

DNA rendering by ynse via Flickr

While scientists have long had the ability to edit individual genes, it is a slow, expensive and hard to use process. Now researchers at Harvard and MIT have developed technologies, which they liken to the genetic equivalent of the find-and-replace function of a word processing program, that allow them to make large-scale edits to a cell’s genome. The researchers say such technology could be used to design cells that build proteins not found in nature, or engineer bacteria that are resistant to any type of viral infection.  Read More

An azobenzene-functionalized carbon nanotube molecule, which can store solar energy indefi...

While solar panels are very useful at converting the sun’s rays into electricity for immediate use, the storage of that energy for later use is ... well, it’s still being figured out. The energy can be used to charge batteries, for instance, but that charge will wear off over time. Instead, scientists have been looking at thermo-chemical storage of solar energy. Last year, researchers from MIT discovered that the chemical fulvalene diruthenium was quite an effective storage medium. Unfortunately, the ruthenium element that it contains is rare and expensive. Now, however, one of those same scientists has created a new storage material that is cheaper, and is able to store much more energy.  Read More

Graduate student Miles Barr holds a flexible and foldable array of solar cells that have b...

We've been following MIT's progress on creating solar cell-coated paper since 2010, and we're excited to report the current findings of the project. What looks and feels like an ordinary sheet of paper with a fine layer of colored rectangles, is no ordinary piece of paper at all – once connected to a couple of wires, it instantly generates solar electricity. Additionally, the technology is almost as cheap and easy as printing a family snapshot from an inkjet printer. You can even fold it up, slip it in your pocket, then unfold it again for later use.  Read More

Screen shot of Sid Meier's strategy computer game, Civilization II

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab have been able to create computers that learn language by doing something that many people consider a last resort when tackling an unfamiliar task - reading the manual (or RTBM). Beginning with virtually no prior knowledge, one machine-learning system was able to infer the meanings of words by reviewing instructions posted on Microsoft's website detailing how to install a piece of software on a Windows PC, while another was able to learn how to play Sid Meier's empire-building Civilization II strategy computer game by reading the gameplay manual.  Read More

MIT is developing an algorithm, designed to keep aircraft from being involved in mid-air c...

Proponents of flying cars like to state how much less likely collisions would be up in the air, where everyone wouldn’t be traveling on the same level, yet mid-air collisions between aircraft do already occur. Although certainly not as common as automobile collisions, approximately 10 to 12 aircraft do fly into each other every year, with many more reporting near-misses. This has led to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandating that by 2020, all commercial aircraft (and small aircraft flying near airports) must be equipped with a GPS tracking system, which would give more accurate information on their location than is provided by ground-based radar. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been tasked with creating an algorithm, that would use that GPS data to keep the planes out of each other’s way.  Read More

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