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Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers have developed firefly-inspired robots that can emit light while flying, reports Popular Mechanics. “The robots may be able to converse with one another because of this electroluminescence and, for instance, a robot that finds survivors while on a search-and-rescue mission, within a fallen building, could use lights to alert others and request assistance.”

Nature

Nature reporter Neil Savage spotlights Prof. Michael Strano’s work developing a new technique to use nanoparticles to alter the biology of living plants. Savage writes that the new technique can allow for "the design of nanoparticles that carry gene-editing machinery to targeted areas to rewrite the plant’s genome and imbue it with properties such as pest and disease resistance,” writes Savage.

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.

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.

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.”

Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have created a 3D-printable Oreometer that uses twisting force to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “While studying the twisting motion, the engineers also discovered the torque required to successfully open an Oreo is about the same as what’s needed to turn a doorknob—a tenth of the torque required to open a bottle cap,” writes Juandre.

USA Today

A group of MIT scientists led by PhD candidate Crystal Owens has developed an Oreometer, a device used to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie every time, reports Maria Jimenez Moya for USA Today. “One day, just doing experiments, and, all of a sudden we realized that this machine would be perfect for opening Oreos because it already has … the fluid in the center, and then these two discs are like the same geometry as an Oreo,” says Owens.

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have developed an “Oreometer” to test the optimal way to split an Oreo cookie, an exercise in rheology, or the study of how matter flows, reports Isaac Shultz for Gizmodo. "Our favorite twist was rotating while pulling Oreos apart from one side, as a kind of peel-and-twist, which was the most reliable for getting a very clean break,” explains graduate student Crystal Owens.

CNN

CNN reporter Madeline Holcombe spotlights a new study by MIT researchers exploring why the cream on Oreo cookies always sticks to one side when twisted open. Graduate student Crystal Owens explains that she hopes the research will inspire people "to investigate other puzzles in the kitchen in scientific ways. The best scientific research, even at MIT, is driven by curiosity to understand the world around us, when someone sees something weird or unknown and takes the time to think 'I wonder why that happens like that?'"

Popular Science

Graduate student Crystal Owens speaks with Popular Science reporter Philip Kiefer about her work exploring why the cream filling of an Oreo cookie always sticks to one side. “It turns out there’s not really a trick to it,” Owens says. “Everything you try to do will get mostly a clean break.”

VICE

Graduate student Crystal Owens and her colleagues tested the possibility of separating the two wafers of an Oreo in a way that evenly splits the cream filling using a rheometer, an instrument that measures torque and viscosity of various substances, reports Becky Ferreira for Vice. “After twisting Oreos apart with the instruments, the team visually inspected the ratio of creme on each wafer and logged the findings. A number of variations on the experiment were also introduced, such as dipping the cookies in milk, changing the rotation rate of the rheometer, and testing different Oreo flavors and filling quantities,” writes Ferreira.

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. 

Mashable

Mashable reporter Jordan Aaron spotlights how MIT researchers have developed insect-sized drones that can flap their wings over 500 times per second, allowing them to withstand collisions. The drones are “powered by a small actuator, which gives them the ability to flap so fast.”

National Public Radio (NPR)

Prof. Kevin Chen speaks with NPR about his work developing a new microdrone inspired by how an insect flaps its wings. “Because our soft power robot is very robust, of course, we can do interesting maneuvers, such as doing a somersault, we can survive collisions, et cetera,” he explains.

WHDH 7

Speaking with WHDH, Prof. Kevin Cheng explains how he was inspired by the agility of insects to create tiny new drones that are acrobatic and resilient. “Think about a scenario, for example, a building collapse with people trapped inside, and what we’re thinking of is sending a swarm of drones into this collapsed building to search for survivors,” says Chen. “That’s something very difficult for traditional drones.”