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Chemical engineering

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Science

Science reporter Jocelyn Kaiser spotlights Prof. Kristala Prather’s work as a scout for a new funding program that will provide her the opportunity to identify “colleagues with an intriguing research idea so embryonic it has no chance of surviving traditional peer review—and, on her own, decide to provide some funding.” Says Prather: “I’m looking forward to giving it a try. I’m a people person, and I like learning new things.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a machine learning technique for proposing new molecules for drug discovery that ensures suggested molecules can be synthesized in a lab. Coldewey also features how MIT scientists created a new method aimed at teaching robots how to interact with everyday objects.

Fortune

MIT researchers have developed a new technique that uses deep learning to improve the process of drug discovery, reports Jonathan Vanian for Fortune. “The technique addresses a common problem that researchers face when using A.I. to develop novel molecular structures: life sciences experts can often face challenges synthesizing A.I.-created molecular structures,” writes Vanian. 

The Conversation

The Conversation spotlights Institute Prof. Robert Langer ‘74 who spoke at the 2022 Imagine Solutions Conference about his academic career and work applying his chemical engineering background to his research in health sciences. “I learned that if you’re not your own champion, nobody else will be,” says Langer. “So, I got involved in patenting things, and my students were very interested in seeing their work make a difference… My story is sort of one person’s example of how you can try to use science to help relieve suffering and prolong life.”

Inverse

Researchers from MIT have developed a new fabric that can hear and interpret what’s happening on and inside our bodies, reports Elana Spivack for Inverse. Beyond applications for physical health the researchers envision that the fabric could eventually be integrated with “spacecraft skin to listen to [accumulating] space dust, or embedded into buildings to detect cracks or strains,” explains Wei Yan, who helped develop the fabric as an MIT postdoc. “It can even be woven into a smart net to monitor fish in the ocean. It can also facilitate the communications between people who are hard of [hearing].”

WHDH 7

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with WHDH about his team’s work developing an acoustic fabric that can listen to and record sound, a development inspired by the human ear. "The fabric can be inserted into clothes to monitor heart rate and respiration. It can even help with monitoring unborn babies during pregnancy."

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new material that works like a microphone, converting sounds into vibrations and then electrical signals. “The development means the possibility of clothes that act as hearing aids, clothes that answer phone calls, and garments that track heart and breathing rates,” writes Bloomberg News.

Popular Science

Researchers from MIT and the Rhode Island School of Design have developed a wearable fabric microphone that can detect and transmit soundwaves and convert them into electrical signals, reports Shi En Kim for Popular Science. “Computers are going to really become fabrics," says Prof. Yoel Fink. "We’re getting very close.”

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have created a flexible fiber that can generate electrical impulses that are conveyed to the brain as sound, reports Miriam Fauzia for The Daily Beast. “The researchers see endless possibilities for their smart fabric,” writes Fauzia. “The obvious application is in improving hearing aids, which Fink said have trouble discerning the direction of sound, particularly in noisy environments. But the fabric could also help engineers design wearable fabrics that can measure vital signs, monitor space dust in new kinds of spacecraft, and listen for signs of deterioration in buildings like emerging cracks and strains.”

The Guardian

Institute Prof. Robert Langer, whose “innovations have helped create more than 100 products from artificial skin to messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines,” speaks with Guardian reporter Zoë Corbyn. “I think it’s important to stress how much engineers can and have changed the world for the better,” says Langer. “It’s a thrill for me to see engineering and biology improving people’s lives; that’s been my dream from the beginning.”

Forbes

David Lucchino ’06 and Prof. Robert Langer have co-founded Frequency Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing a new approach to restoring hearing from the most common form of hearing loss, reports Jack Kelly for Forbes. “FX-322 is designed to treat the underlying cause of SNHL (sensorineural hearing loss) by regenerating sensory hair cells through activation of progenitor cells already present in the cochlea,” writes Kelly.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Shi En Kim spotlights how MIT scientists created a new plastic material with the strength of steel. “This substance could be used as protective coatings for metal surfaces, such as the finish on cars, or as filters for purifying water,” writes Kim.

Boston.com

Boston.com reporter Marta Hill spotlights how MIT scientists used a new polymerization technique to create a material that serves as both a durable coating and strong structural element. “We now have a completely new way of making materials as two-dimensional polymers, [which] means we’re going to get new properties,” says Prof. Michael Strano. “This material that we’ve made happens to be pretty exceptional. It’s very strong and very light. It’s unusual for a polymer.”

WHDH 7

WHDH spotlights MIT scientists who have created a new material as strong as steel and as light as plastic. “There is excitement because that may open up whole new classes of materials that are strong in new kinds of ways,” says Prof. Michael Strano.

CBS Boston

MIT scientists have created a new strong yet light material that could be mass produced and used as coatings for cars, phones or even as building material for bridges, reports CBS Boston. “We don’t usually think of plastics as being something that you could use to support a building, but with this material, you can enable new things,” says Prof. Michael Strano.