Computational creativity and the future of AI

MIT

MIT doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay has designed a new chip capable of harvesting en...

The problem with depending on one source of power in the drive toward the battery-free operation of small biomedical devices, remote sensors and out-of-the-way gauges is that if the source is intermittent, not strong enough or runs out altogether, the device can stop working. A small MIT research team has developed a low-power chip design capable of simultaneously drawing power from photovoltaic, thermoelectric, and piezoelectric energy sources. The design also features novel dual-path architecture that allows it to run from either onboard energy storage or direct from its multiple power sources.  Read More

The RepRap printer, using molten sugar to create the vascular network's mold and filaments...

For a great number of people, the idea of being able to use a patient’s own cells to create lab-grown replacement organs is very appealing. Already, researchers have had success growing urethras (which are essentially hollow tubes), and miniature human livers. Before large, solid, three-dimensional organs can be grown, however, scientists must figure out a reliable way of incorporating blood vessels into them – if the lab-grown organs simply take the form of a block of cells, the cells on the inside won’t be able to receive any nutrients, and will die. Now, a team from the University of Pennsylvania and MIT has devised a way of building such vessels, using sugar.  Read More

An atomic-force microscope image of a layer of single-walled carbon nanotubes deposited on...

Researchers at MIT have developed a new type of photovoltaic cell made with carbon nanotubes that captures solar energy in the near-infrared region of the spectrum, which conventional silicon solar cells don’t. The new design means solar cell efficiency could be greatly increased, boosting the chances to make solar power a more popular source of energy.  Read More

This silicon wafer consists of glucose fuel cells of varying sizes; the largest is 64 by 6...

A new implantable fuel cell that harvests the electrical power from the brain promises to usher in a new generation of bionic implants. Designed by MIT researchers, it uses glucose within the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain to generate several hundred microwatts of power without causing any detrimental effects to the body. The technology may one day provide a whole new level of reliability and self-efficiency for all sorts of implantable brain-machine interfaces that would otherwise have to rely on external power sources. If proven harmless, the method could be used to power implants that could, among other things, help the paralyzed regain the ability to walk.  Read More

The core of the jet-injection device, which uses a Lorentz-force actuator to deliver a rna...

Those of us with an aversion to needles can soon go to the doctor with a little less trepidation. That is if a new device developed by a team of MIT researchers becomes available at your local medical facility. The device uses a Lorentz-force actuator to create an adjustable high-pressure jet that is ejected out of a nozzle as wide as a mosquito's proboscis, penetrating the skin to deliver highly controlled doses at different depths.  Read More

A research group at MIT has developed LiquiGlide, a slippery, non-toxic coating that makes...

It's one of the most common and infuriating dining problems everyone encounters: getting ketchup to pour smoothly out of bottle and onto your plate. You've probably heard a number of solutions from "tap the 57" to "spin the bottle between your hands," but even those methods can still drown your fries in sauce in the end. Luckily, science - or rather, a research group working at MIT - has finally taken notice and concocted an impressive solution. By coating the inside of any bottle with the slippery LiquiGlide coating, anything from ketchup to mayonnaise to jam flows right out like water, barely leaving a smudge behind.  Read More

With multiple jamming segments and four control cables, the robotic arm can flex and grip ...

Regular readers might remember the robotic universal gripper that can pick up a wide variety of objects thanks to an elastic membrane filled with coffee grounds. Earlier this year, the developers revealed they had given their versatile gripper the ability to “shoot” objects some distance, and now a team at MIT has “extended” the technology to create a robotic arm that can twist, flex and grip in a way not dissimilar to an elephant’s trunk.  Read More

Delphi's single cylinder Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (Photo: Delphi)

With both gasoline and diesel engines having their own particular advantages and disadvantages, automotive component manufacturer Delphi is looking for a best-of-both-worlds solution with a gasoline-powered engine that uses diesel engine-like technology for increased fuel efficiency. According to MIT’s Technology Review, such an engine has the potential to increase the fuel economy of gasoline-powered cars by 50 percent and give hybrid vehicles a run for their money in the fuel economy stakes.  Read More

A game controller made from paper and Play-Doh

As I discovered when reviewing the Minty Geek Electronics Lab a while back, experimenting with circuit building can be a great deal of fun. There was one particular project in this kit that made use of the human body to complete a circuit, with a simple lie detector test being the end result. With their Makey Makey open source hardware project, Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have taken such touch interaction to a much more entertaining and inventive degree. Everyday objects like bananas, coins, and even Play-Doh can be transformed into a computer keyboard key or mouse click to control onscreen gaming action, play software-based instruments or type out short messages.  Read More

Brainput provides a passive, implicit input channel to interactive systems, with little ef...

As machines get more and more sophisticated, the mental capacity of their human overlords stays at a static (albeit seemingly impressive) level, and therefore slowly starts to pale in comparison. The bandwidth of the human brain is not limitless, and if an overloaded brain happens to be overseeing machines carrying out potentially dangerous tasks, you can expect trouble. But why had we built the machines in the first place, if not to save us from trouble? Brainput, a brain-computer interface built by researchers from MIT and Tufts University, is going to let your computer know if you’re mentally fit for the job at hand. If it decides your brain is overloaded with tasks, it will help you out by handling some of them for you.  Read More

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