December 6, 2017
The discovery of the oldest and most distant black hole ever observed could provide scientists with insights into the early stages of our universe, reports Will Dunham for Reuters. “This object provides us with a measurement of the time at which the universe first became illuminated with starlight,” explains Prof. Robert Simcoe.
Researchers from the Self-Assembly Lab are collaborating with BMW to develop inflatable objects that could potentially be used in car design, writes Katharine Schwab for Co.Design. Prof. Skylar Tibbits explains that the technology could be used to create adjustable car interiors that, “could be different every time you got in, or for every person who got in.”
MIT spinout Ginkgo Bioworks is highlighted on the 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, reports CNBC’s Andrew Zaleski. Zaleski notes that Ginkgo Bioworks, “has developed an automated process for combining genetic parts that has made it the largest designer of printed DNA in the world. That breakthrough has positioned the start-up to change the face of a variety of industries.”
Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, writes for Forbes that some new technologies will make caring for aging parents easier for millennials. Coughlin explains that these tools, “can decrease the friction of aging and providing care, increase connectivity within the home, and make the atomic tasks of care easier, convenient and lessen the coming caregiver crunch.”
In an article for Inside Higher Ed, Ray Schroeder writes about a new tool developed by Media Lab researchers that allows humans to communicate with computers. After summarizing the technology and exploring its potential implications for educators, Schroeder asks: “Are you prepared to leverage this technology in teaching and learning?”
Quartz reporter Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu writes that Sierra Leone has appointed alumnus David Sengeh to serve as the country’s first Chief Innovation Officer. In this new position, reports Asiedu, Sengeh will be focused on jumpstarting Sierra Leone’s “economy by elevating the role of innovation in its day to day dealings.”
Professors Edward Boyden and Feng Zhang have been named to the 2018 class of Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, reports Jonathan Saltzman for The Boston Globe. “We selected these scientists because they know how to ask hard and interesting questions with skill and intellectual courage,” says David Clapham, vice president and chief scientific officer of the institute.