February 13, 2018
Co-founded by three alumni and a former professor, startup Ginkgo Bioworks uses genetic engineering to create an array of consumer and corporate products – all relying on socially conscious GMOs. The company, which is now partnering with Bayer, is “trying to reset the conversation around biotechnology: by foregrounding the benefits to consumers and advocating for transparency,” writes Sarah Zhang for The Atlantic.
Cindy Atoji Keene of The Boston Globe speaks with MIT alumnus Niman Kenkre, who has been a high-stakes professional poker player for 12 years. Crediting his mathematic skills and sense of human psychology for his success, Kenkre says, “a player who relies only on mathematics will miss many important psychological cues relating to player frequencies and tendencies.”
Spun out from MIT, Feature Labs helps companies identify, implement, and deploy impactful machine learning products, writes Ron Miller of TechCrunch. By automating the manual process of feature engineering, data scientists “can spend more time figuring out what they need to predict,” says co-founder Max Kanter ’15.
MIT startup Ministry of Supply has launched an intelligent heated jacket that can operate manually or respond to smart assistants. As Richard Priday of Wired explains, the “optimum temperature of the garment” is calculated using sensors that detect the outside temperature as well as the user’s body movement and temperature.
StandX, a robotic chair developed by MIT research scientist Simon Hong, helps users avoid back pain by nudging its occupant to shift positions, writes Scott Kirsner for The Boston Globe. Hong, who invented the chair to deal with his own back pain, says his is proactive because with others “you can change position, but you do it only when you feel pain."
Mel King, who founded the Community Fellows Program in 1996, spoke to Crystal Haynes at Boston 25 News for a feature about his lifelong efforts to promote inclusion and equal access to technology. Haynes notes that King, a senior lecturer emeritus at MIT, “is credited with forming Boston into the city it is today; bringing groups separated by race, gender and sexuality together in a time when it was not only unexpected, but dangerous.”