May 14, 2018
Laney Ruckstuhl of The Boston Globe writes about “Calculated Imagination,” the Course 2.007 Willy Wonka-themed robot competition based on “creativity and innovation.” Students are graded on their work leading up to the competition. “You can earn an ‘A’ with a robot that scores zero points but that demonstrates good engineering and design skills,” Prof. Amos Winter explains.
MIT spinout Superpedestrian plans to begin building electric bikes for companies that rent shareable bikes, writes Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. Bray notes that Assaf Biderman, Superpedestrian chief executive, feels that, “adding electric motors to shared bikes should sharply increase their popularity.”
During this episode of NOVA Wonders, Professors Kristala Jones Prather and Kevin Esvelt discuss the future of genetic engineering. Speaking about the evolution of the biotech industry, Prather explains that, "the key observation that really fueled the entire biotech industry was recognizing that D.N.A. is really just a chemical, and the structure is what matters.”
MIT researchers have developed an algorithm that can accurately determine how many taxis a city needs, providing a way to reduce the number of cars on the road, according to Xinhua. “Using the new algorithm, they found the fleet size of cab-hailing service in New York could be cut down by about 30 percent in an optimal scenario.”
Researchers from the Self-Assembly Lab are collaborating with BMW to develop inflatable objects that could potentially be used in car design, writes Katharine Schwab for Co.Design. Prof. Skylar Tibbits explains that the technology could be used to create adjustable car interiors that, “could be different every time you got in, or for every person who got in.”
MIT spinout Ginkgo Bioworks is highlighted on the 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, reports CNBC’s Andrew Zaleski. Zaleski notes that Ginkgo Bioworks, “has developed an automated process for combining genetic parts that has made it the largest designer of printed DNA in the world. That breakthrough has positioned the start-up to change the face of a variety of industries.”
Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, writes for Forbes that some new technologies will make caring for aging parents easier for millennials. Coughlin explains that these tools, “can decrease the friction of aging and providing care, increase connectivity within the home, and make the atomic tasks of care easier, convenient and lessen the coming caregiver crunch.”