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MIT

Environment

Is Asia's water supply in trouble?

Based on a series of simulations ran through sophisticated computer models, researchers from MIT are highlighting the possibility that a significant percentage of the population of Asia could suffer severe water shortages by the year 2050. As a basis for the study, the team made use of a pre-existing MIT-generated computer model designed to simulate Asia's complex economic, climate, and growth characteristics. A detailed water-use model known as a Water Resource System was then introduced, and the team ran a number of simulations aiming to cover the widest range of potential scenarios.Read More

Materials

Sweet technique inspired by bonbons yields better polymer shells

Inspired by a centuries-old technique used by chocolatiers to create chocolate shells for bonbons and other sweets, engineers have developed a new technique for making polymer films that are both uniform and predictable. According to the researchers, the new theory and method can not only allow confectioners to precisely control the thickness of bonbon casings, but can be more generally applied to create polymer shells for everything from drug capsules to rocket bodies.Read More

Telecommunications

Wi-Fi that finds you

There's a lot of buzz around "smart home" products and the convenience of advanced automation and mobile connectivity. However, new research may soon be able to add extra emphasis on "smart" by enhancing wireless technology with greater awareness. A team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a system that enables a single wireless access point to accurately locate users down to a tenth of a meter, without any added sensors.
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Medical

Portable system provides on-demand drug production

Manufacturing drugs is a complex process, often involving multiple facilities and taking weeks or months to arrive at the finished article. The lack of flexibility in the system led MIT researchers to develop a compact, all-in-one solution to allow for streamlined, speedy drug production. It can be adjusted to produce different medications, and isn't designed to replace existing manufacturing plants, but rather to complement them by providing, for example, an emergency backup solution should a facility have to be shut down.Read More

Environment

Hybrid system could clean up coal power

Even though 2015 saw the biggest decline in coal usage around the world on record according to Greenpeace, the use of the material is still thriving globally. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, global coal consumption was at about eight billion short tons in 2012 (around 7.2 billion tonnes), the most recent year for which the agency provides statistics. So if coal isn't going away any time soon, what is there to do about the fuel source that is often blamed for pollution and global warming due to carbon emissions? Make it more efficient. And that's exactly what a new hybrid energy system out of MIT could do.Read More

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

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