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MIT


— Space

MIT finds exoplanet with an 8.5-hour year

Sometimes it seems as if the year just flies by. On planet Kepler 78b, it does exactly that. According to a team of scientists at MIT, the extrasolar world is so close to its sun that its year is only 8.5 hours long. That means that not only could a person go through almost three birthdays in one day, but that the surface temperature would be like taking up residence in a blast furnace. Read More
— Space

RINGS propels satellites without propellants

Astronauts on the International Space Station are testing a new propulsion system ... inside the station. While this might seem like the height of recklessness, this particular system doesn't use rockets or propellants. Developed in the University of Maryland's Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory, this new electromagnetic propulsion technology called the Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System (RINGS) uses magnetic fields to move spacecraft as a way to increase service life and make satellite formation flying more practical. Read More
— 3D Printing

MIT's new software increases the speed and flexibility of multi-material 3D printing

Although 3D printing technology has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years, most printers are still only capable of printing a solid object out of a single material. That's fine if you want to produce a plastic object with the same density throughout, but what if you want to use multiple materials in the one object or alter its internal architecture to vary its density and therefore its flexibility? A team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has developed a new software pipeline that makes both these things possible. Read More
— Space

NASA and ESA to communicate with lunar orbiter using lasers

Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It’s a mature, reliable technology, but it’s reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter. Read More
— Electronics

Miniaturized butane fuel cell system enables new USB battery charger

There's no doubt that mobile electronic devices have revolutionized our daily lives. A smartphone and laptop, both equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, provide mobile computing capabilities only dreamed of a decade or two ago. If only the batteries would keep up. While portable fuel cells have been proposed for a decade as a solution to the requirement for more portable power, actually making such a beast has proven commercially impractical. Now Lilliputian Systems, Inc., an MIT spinoff company, is manufacturing the Nectar, a USB recharger based on a butane fuel cell. Read More
— Quantum Computing

All-optical transistor could be a big leap for quantum computing

Researchers at MIT, Harvard and the Vienna University of Technology have developed a proof-of-concept optical switch that can be controlled by a single photon and is the equivalent of a transistor in an electronic circuit. The advance could improve power consumption in standard computers and have important repercussions for the development of an effective quantum computer. Read More
— Science

Wi-Vi system uses Wi-Fi to see through walls

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed what could become low-cost, X-ray vision. The system, known as "Wi-Vi," is based on a concept similar to radar and sonar imaging, but rather than using high-power signals, this tech uses reflected Wi-Fi signals to track the movement of people behind walls and closed doors. Read More
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