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TechCrunch

A new study by MIT researchers finds people are more likely to interact with a smart device if it demonstrates more humanlike attributes, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. The researchers found “users are more likely to engage with both the device — and each other — more when it exhibits some form of social cues,” writes Heater. “That can mean something as simple as the face/screen of the device rotating to meet the speaker’s gaze.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Clint Rainey writes that a new study co-authored by MIT economists finds that the bulk of the loan money handed out through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) helped business owners and shareholders. The researchers estimate that “somewhere between 23% and 34% of PPP dollars went to workers who would’ve otherwise lost their jobs,” writes Rainey. “The rest of the loan money—a full two-thirds to three-fourths—landed in the pockets of either the company’s owners or shareholders.”

Forbes

Forbes has named Raya Ani ’94, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala MCP PhD ’81, ’78, and former postdoc Shulamit Levenberg to their 50 Over 50 list, which highlights women from Europe, the Middle East and Asia who are leading the way, reports Maggie McGrath for Forbes. “Women around the world are proving that 50 and beyond is the new golden age,” writes McGrath.

National Geographic

National Geographic reporter Sadie Dingfelder writes that MIT scientists are using piezoelectric materials to develop a battery-free, underwater navigation system. “There are a lot of potential applications,” says Prof. Fadel Adib. “For instance, a scuba diver could use these sensors to figure out the exact place they took a particular picture.”

Smithsonian Magazine

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have directly observed a quantum tornado, reports Elizabeth Gamillo for Smithsonian. “Scientists observed the tornado-like behavior after trapping and spinning a cloud of one million sodium atoms using lasers and electromagnets at 100 rotations per second,” writes Gamillo.

CNBC

CNBC reporter Jennifer Liu spotlights a new study by researchers from the Sloan School of Management who found that the biggest factor that leads people to quit their jobs is a toxic work culture. Senior lecturer Donald Sull says, “what’s significant is that toxic workplace factors lead to a ‘stronger reaction’ – quitting – more so than other bad work issues,” writes Liu.

Financial Times

In a letter to the Financial Times, Prof. Donald Sadoway underscores the need for new smelting capacity to meet the growing need for copper for the transition to clean energy. “Imagine a process that produces superior metal at lower cost with zero greenhouse gas emissions,” writes Sadoway. “Such technology would recapture domestic market share from foreign producers. We must invent the future; we cannot simply legislate for it.”

Salon

Salon reporter Elizabeth Landau spotlights the work of researchers from MIT and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in uncovering how Covid-19 can affect the ear. Viruses such as Covid-19, “all have these tentacles that seem to touch the ear, but nobody’s been able to study them because the ear is so inaccessible,” says Prof. Lee Gehrke. “So that’s the part that I think I get most excited about. Now we have a way to look at these things in a way that we were not able to do before.”

CNBC

Ubiquitous Energy, an MIT startup, is developing technology to transform windows into surfaces that capture solar energy, reports Catherine Clifford for CNBC. “Ubiquitous makes a coating for windows that uses semiconducting materials to convert sunlight into electricity,” writes Clifford. “The coating is just nanometers thick and tiny wires connect the solar window to electrical systems where the energy is used.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Steven Simon of the MIT Center for International Studies and Jonathan Stevenson of the International Institute for Strategic Studies underscore the need for extensive analysis of the growing dangers to American democracy. “The overarching idea is, publicly and thoroughly, to probe just how bad things could get precisely to ensure that they never do,” they write, “and that America’s abject political decay is averted.”

Fast Company

Writing for Fast Company, Prof. Erin Kelly emphasizes the need for employers to implement management practices that support the health and wellness of employees. “Forward-thinking business leaders can adopt sound strategies to reduce the negative impact common management practices have on employee health and well-being,” writes Kelly.

Mashable

MIT researchers have developed a new technique for producing low-voltage, power-dense actuators that can propel flying microrobots, reports Danica D'Souza for Mashable. “The new technique lets them make soft actuators that can carry 80 percent more payload,” D’Souza reports. 

The Boston Globe

Postdoctoral associate Matt McDonald will run in the 2022 Boston Marathon this upcoming April, reports Michael Silverman for The Boston Globe. “It’s thrilling that I’ll get to race the best marathon in the world on the street that I run every day,” says McDonald.

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal about next generation technologies that can create and quantify personal health data, Laura Cooper spotlights Prof. Dina Katabi’s work developing a noninvasive device that sits in a person’s home and can help track breathing, heart rate, movement, gait, time in bed and the length and quality of sleep. The device “could be used in the homes of seniors and others to help detect early signs of serious medical conditions, and as an alternative to wearables,” writes Cooper.

Fast Company

MIT researchers have developed a new approach to removing methane emissions from the air using zeolite, an inexpensive material used in cat litter, reports Adele Peters for Fast Company. Prof. Desiree Plata explains that compared to carbon dioxide, “methane is actually much worse, from a global warming perspective. What this allows us to do is bring immediate climate benefit into the Earth system and actually change global warming rates in our lifetime.”

Featured Videos

MIT Engineering students are designing a new reusable recyclable cup for Delta under the guidance of Chemical Engineering Professor Brad Olsen and Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Desiree Plata, who joined forces to create this new capstone design class.

While earning her master's degree in urban planning development at MIT, Cassandria Campbell MCP '11 was introduced to the growing movement of healthy, fast-casual food options. Since then she developed Fast Food Generation, a company that serves healthy, fast-casual, Caribbean-inspired meals made from locally sourced ingredients.

In the basement of MIT.nano there is a there is a specialized microscope able to image materials at the atomic level. In this video we go through each step of how to image the tiny building blocks for all materials: atoms.

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Assistant Professor Lindsay Case investigates how do molecules within cells self-organize and this organization begets cellular function.

“There’s a really compelling link between neuroscience and art,” Pawan Sinha says. Students in 9.72 (Vision in Art and Neuroscience) delve into one facet of visual perception as part of developing an artwork for exhibition.

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