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MIT


— Robotics

Hull-clinging robots could perform secret searches of smugglers' boats

By - September 26, 2014
Maritime smugglers will often hide contraband in false hulls or propeller shafts within their boats. While there are ways in which port authorities can search for such stashes, the smugglers often have time to ditch their illicit goods before those searches can be performed. However, what if there were stealthy, inexpensive, underwater hull-hugging robots that could check the boats out, without the crews even knowing they were there? That's just what a team at MIT is developing. Read More
— Science

MIT's improved all-liquid battery could make renewable energy more competitive

By - September 24, 2014 2 Pictures
Our ability to store energy has proven a big hurdle in the adoption of renewable energies. But now a team of researchers from MIT has developed a new all-liquid battery system that extends the life of such devices while also costing less to make, a development they say could make wind and solar energy more competitive with traditional sources of power. Read More
— Robotics

GelSight sensor lets robots "see" through their hands

By - September 23, 2014 3 Pictures
Three years ago, we first heard about GelSight – an experimental new system for imaging microscopic objects. At the time, its suggested applications were in fields such as aerospace, forensics, dermatology and biometrics. Now, however, researchers at MIT and Northeastern University have found another use for it. They've incorporated it into an ultra-sensitive tactile sensor for robots. Read More
— Science

Shellfish proteins inspire waterproof wonderglue

By - September 23, 2014
Clingy barnacles might be something of a nuisance for seafarers, but these stubborn shellfish and their relatives could hold the key to a new breed of sticky materials. Engineers from MIT have created waterproof adhesives based on the proteins that give these creatures such qualities, a development that could one day be used in ship repairs or medical applications. Read More
— Space

Future skintight spacesuits could snug up at the touch of a button

By - September 19, 2014 7 Pictures
Our stereotype of a spacesuit involves an astronaut clad in a bulky white outfit like some outer space Michelin Man wearing a rucksack – and about as graceful. But if an MIT team has any say, the spacesuit of the future will be a snug, form-fitting outfit that’s not only lighter and more flexible but also easier to get on, automatically tightening up to a proper fit at the touch of a button. Read More
— Robotics

MIT demonstrates slithering rubber robot

By - September 17, 2014
Once upon a time, robots were imagined as human-like machines with a distinct body complete with head, arms, hands, feet, and legs. More recently, designers have explored the benefits of emulating other creatures and their capabilities, with robots that can fly like birds, run like cheetahs, swim like a squids or, in this case, slither like snakes. Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have come up with a single 3D printed, soft-shelled tentacle that is designed to navigate through all manner of pipes, channels, and burrows. Read More
— Environment

Hitachi developing reactor that burns nuclear waste

By - September 3, 2014 2 Pictures
The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it’s safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements. Read More
— Drones

MIT algorithm lets delivery drones monitor their health in real-time

By - August 25, 2014 2 Pictures
The prospect of delivery drones brings with it a few notable issues. Beyond visions of colliding rotor blades and unsolicited package drops lies another problem: the huge amount of computational power needed to take into account real world uncertainties, such as strong winds, limited battery life and navigational errors, in order to provide a reliable delivery service. This has been the focus of new study from MIT, with a team of researchers devising a new algorithm said to massively reduce the level of computation required, enabling the drone to monitor its "health" in real time. Read More
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