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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.”

The Conversation

Writing for The Conversation, John Reilly, co-director emeritus of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, outlines a roadmap for how the U.S. can meet the Biden administration’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions 50% by 2030 below 2005 levels. “By exploiting declining costs of zero- and low-carbon energy sources in a more aggressive and focused way, the U.S. can meet its target within eight years,” writes Reilly, “all while substantially reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, including high-priced gasoline, and cutting back the air pollution, climate and health impacts resulting from their combustion.”

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.”

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a new computational model that could be used to help explain differences in how neurotypical adults and adults with autism recognize emotions via facial expressions, reports Tony Ho Tran for The Daily Beast. “For visual behaviors, the study suggests that [the IT cortex] pays a strong role,” says research scientist Kohitij Kar. “But it might not be the only region. Other regions like amygdala have been implicated strongly as well. But these studies illustrate how having good [AI models] of the brain will be key to identifying those regions as well.”

Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have found that the brain can send a burst of noradrenaline when it requires you to pay attention to something crucial, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “The MIT team discovered that one important function of noradrenaline, commonly known as norepinephrine, is to assist the brain in learning from unexpected results,” explains Juandre.

Wired

A study by MIT AgeLab research scientist Bryan Reimer found that drivers using autopilot were “more likely to look away from the road once the system was on,” reports Aarian Marshall for Wired. “With automation comes an inherent new level of complexities. There are lots of risks and lots of rewards,” says Reimer.

The New York Times

Prof. Sherry Turkle writes for The New York Times spotlighting “The Fight to Save the Town,” a new book by Michelle Wilde Anderson. “Anderson’s book is an artful mixture of ethnography, narrative history, in-depth interviews and legal scholarship,” writes Turkle.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Tim Logan spotlights MIT’s efforts to increase connections with the neighborhoods surrounding Kendall Square. MIT is “running shuttles from nearby neighborhoods to help people get to community events at its newly built plaza off Main Street, and it’s working on ways to get Cambridge kids better engaged with the MIT Museum when it reopens in its new location,” notes Logan. “It is imperative that what we’re doing here and Kendall represents the desires and aspirations of the neighbors,” says Sarah Gallop, co-director of MIT’s Office of Government and Community Relations. 

Featured Videos

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.

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.

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.

In course 3.013, Mechanics of Materials, Professor Cem Tasan explores the basic concepts of solid mechanics and the mechanical behavior of materials: elasticity, stress-strain relationships, stress transformation, viscoelasticity, plasticity, and fracture.

“It’s exciting to really change the aesthetics of technology,” says Yoel Fink, who teaches, Computing Fabrics, a course located at the intersection of textile design and computation. The class explores the history and future of fabrics, including next-gen textiles that will be beautiful and functional in entirely new ways.

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