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News 40

The MIT Spokes bike team, a group of six students, has embarked on a 3,800-mile, cross-country bike trip that features frequent stops to offer STEM workshops to middle school students, reports Lexi Schweinert for News 40.  “I think it’s exciting to be doing science,” says fourth year student Simone Lassar. “We’ve tried to make our workshops super hands on so you’re either doing something with your hands or you’re bringing something home with you. So we’ve just tried to make the workshops as interactive as possible.”

Stat

A study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that algorithms based on clinical medical notes can predict the self-identified race of a patient, reports Katie Palmer for STAT. “We’re not ready for AI — no sector really is ready for AI — until they’ve figured out that the computers are learning things that they’re not supposed to learn,” says Principal Research Scientist Leo Anthony Celi.

Automotive News

Research scientist Bryan Reimer and his colleagues have been collecting data from vehicles with driver-assist technology for the last seven years, writes Pete Bigelow for Automotive News. “We desperately need to understand the denominators, the frequency of events and the behaviors underlying them to understand the benefits and limitations of automated and assisted driving,” says Reimer. “We need to understand which aspects are working well and which ones need refining.”

Forbes

Astronomers have identified two Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a red dwarf star 33 light years away, reports Jamie Carter for Forbes. “Both planets in this system are each considered among the best targets for atmospheric study because of the brightness of their star,” explains postdoc Michelle Kunimoto.

WBUR

Susy Jones, a sustainability project manager for MIT’s Office of Sustainability advises WBUR reporter Andrea Shea through her decision to eat 100% local foods for one week. “Making decision when you’re stressed is really difficult and that’s why I think it’s hard for anyone to eat healthy or local,” says Jones. “That’s why people at the end of the day end up getting fast food. So, we have to reduce the barriers for purchasing healthy local food.” 

New York Times

Ken Knowlton PhD ’62 - a pioneer in the science and art of computer graphics and the creator of some of the first computer-generated pictures, portraits and movies - died June 16 at the age of 91, reports Cade Metz for The New York Times. “Knowlton was the only person to ever use the BEFLIX language – he and his colleagues quickly replaced it with other tools and techniques – the ideas behind this technology would eventually overhaul the movie business,” writes Metz.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Diverse Issues in Higher Education reporter Lois Elfman spotlights Shirley Ann Jackson '68 PhD '73 for her distinguished professional career in academia, industry, and government. “Sometimes, a window in time opens for you, and if you are prepared to step through then it can create opportunities for you to make a real difference in the world,” says Jackson. “I’ve had that kind of extraordinary set of opportunities. I have always felt it’s important to make a difference and leave and imprint.”

WHDH 7

MIT engineers have created insect-sized robots that can emit light when they fly and could eventually be used to aid search-and-rescue missions, reports WHDH. “Our idea is, if we can send in hundreds or thousands of those tiny flying robots then once they find that survivor, they will shine out light and pass information back and signal people on the outside saying ‘we found someone who’s trapped,'” explains Prof. Kevin Chen.

The Conversation

Graduate student Anna Ivanova and University of Texas at Austin Professor Kyle Mahowald, along with Professors Evelina Fedorenko, Joshua Tenenbaum and Nancy Kanwisher, write for The Conversation that even though AI systems may be able to use language fluently, it does not mean they are sentient, conscious or intelligent. “Words can be misleading, and it is all too easy to mistake fluent speech for fluent thought,” they write.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights multiple MIT research projects, including MIT Space Exploration Initiative’s TESSERAE, CSAIL’s Robocraft and the recent development of miniature flying robotic drones.

Forbes

Prof. Pattie Maes, and graduate students Valdemar Danry, Joanne Leong and Pat Pataranutaporn speak with Forbes reporter Stephen Ibaraki about their work in the MIT Media Lab Fluid Interfaces research group. “Their highly interdisciplinary work covering decades of MIT Lab pioneering inventions integrates human computer interaction (HCI), sensor technologies, AI / machine learning, nano-tech, brain computer interfaces, design and HCI, psychology, neuroscience and much more,” writes Ibaraki.

Fast Company

Rob Morris PhD ’14 has dedicated his career to easing access to mental health services online, reports Shalene Gupta for Fast Company. “When you search for a flight on Google, you get directed to these options that make you instantly buy a flight,” he says. “The interface is beautiful. But when you look up mental health, it’s not great. I want to do for mental health what Google did for flights.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Karilyn Crockett speaks with Boston Globe reporter Miles Howard about how transportation planning in the Greater Boston area needs to be centered around improving connectivity. “As Boston’s population grows, our public transportation infrastructure continues to crumble, and our transit planning can’t just be about new cars on one line and new tracks on another,” says Crockett. “It has to be a discussion about the system and the economic impacts of that system on Black and brown communities that are struggling to get to doctors’ appointments, to schools, to jobs that don’t allow working from home.”

Popular Science

MIT engineers have developed tiny flying robots that can light up, reports Colleen Hagerty for Popular Science. “If you think of large-scale robots, they can communicate using a lot of different tools—Bluetooth, wireless, all those sorts of things,” says Prof. Kevin Chen. “But for a tiny, power-constrained robot, we are forced to think about new modes of communication.”

Featured Videos

A new robotic system, named FuseBot, uses radio frequency signals, computer vision, and complex reasoning to efficiently find items hidden under a pile.

Howie Bluestein '70, SM '72, PhD '76 has been chasing storms for over 40 years. It wasn't until he attended MIT that he realized he could have a career in meteorology. Since then, Bluestein and his fellow storm chasers have used mobile radar to probe tornadoes and their parent thunderstorms.

MIT researchers have created an integrated design pipeline that enables a user with no specialized knowledge to quickly craft a customized 3D-printable robotic hand.

For MIT AeroAstro sophomores, Unified Flight is a rite of passage, a set of highly intensive foundation-building classes that set students on a course toward becoming Astronautical Engineers.

Inspired by fireflies, a team of researchers has created insect-scale robots that can emit light when they fly, which enables motion tracking and communication.

Since its dedication in 1938, the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel has become a campus landmark used for education, research, industry, and outreach. Today, a state-of-the-art facility replaces the original landmark to become the most advanced wind tunnel in U.S. academia.

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