April 11, 2018
With NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, set to launch in less than a week, Jay Bennett of Popular Mechanics speaks with TESS Principal Investigator George Ricker of the MIT Kavli Institute. “TESS is really a finder scope,” says Ricker. “The main thing that we're going to be able to do is find a large sample from which the follow-up observations can be carried out in decades, even centuries to come.”
In an essay for The Daily Beast, researchers at the MIT AgeLab explore the extent to which driving is a “secondary” activity when piloting a vehicle, and caution that automation on its own cannot protect drivers from distractions. “While these technologies can nudge us in a safer direction, the decision to practice safer phone habits ultimately lies in the hands of drivers,” they write.
TVision, a startup founded by Yan Liu SM ’15, uses cameras and deep learning to “detect how closely people are paying attention to the shows they’re watching,” writes Jordan Graham of The Boston Herald. The company, “founded while Liu was in the middle of completing his MBA at MIT, has raised close to $10 million in investor funding,” Graham reports.
MIT spinout ClearMotion’s “Proactive Ride” system accounts for bumps and potholes in the road, with quick-sensing hydraulic actuators that can adapt to imperfections to create a smooth ride. “Every car with ClearMotion also maps the surface of that road, and shares it with other equipped cars,” says Mike Wankum for WCVB. “A car approaching a rough patch already knows about it before encountering the first bump.”
CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley explores the MIT Media Lab for 60 Minutes, highlighting several of its projects. “The lab is a six-story tower of Babel where 230 grad students speak languages of art, engineering, biology, physics and computer coding,” says Pelley, “all translated into innovation.”
A paper from MIT and others shows that when diamonds are in the form of a nano-needle, they can be bent and stretched before returning to their original shape, reports Aristos Georgiou for Newsweek. The researchers “found that they could bend and stretch by as much as 9 percent without breaking, which is approaching the theoretical limit of diamond flexibility,” notes Georgiou.