December 21, 2010
"About 27 percent of all gene families that exist today were born between 3.3 billion and 2.8 billion years ago, two researchers from MIT report online December 19 in Nature." - This article originally ran in Science News.
The New York Times writes about the new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, calling MIT’s move “a particularly ambitious step.” President Reif says the College will “educate the bilinguals of the future,” people in fields like biology, chemistry, politics, history, and linguistics who are also skilled in the techniques of modern computing that can be applied to them.
CBS News reporter Kate Gibson writes that Atlas, the robot developed by MIT spinoff Boston Dynamics, can now tackle a parkour-style obstacle course. “The robot's control software uses its whole body -- legs, arms and torso -- to jump over a log and then leap up steps more than a foot high each, all without breaking pace,” Gibson explains.
A new video from MIT spinout Boston Dynamics shows their Atlas robot effortlessly jumping over logs and leaping onto ascending boxes, writes Andy McDonald for HuffPost. “From heavy lifting in factories or warehouses to search and rescue operations to missions on the battlefield, these robots can potentially do things that humans can’t or shouldn’t do,” writes McDonald.
MIT researchers have developed a gel-like polymer that uses carbon dioxide from the air to grow, strengthen, and repair itself, reports Mu Xuequan for the Xinhua News Agency. “Although, it is not yet strong enough to be used as a building material, it could function as a crack filling or coating material,” Xuequan notes.
Researchers at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology are part of a team that developed a potential treatment for drug-resistant malaria, which is expected to be publicly available within the next decade. The research “could lead to other drugs against cancer and infectious diseases such as dengue and tuberculosis,” writes Casandra Wong for Yahoo! News.
Natasha Frost of Quartz speaks with graduate student Mostafa Mohsenvand about his work developing a new wearable device that could one day be used to help people with memory loss. Frost writes the device may help those suffering with Alzheimer’s by “making memories instantly accessible externally for those who may otherwise be unable to recall them.”