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Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

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Quartz

MIT researchers are applying machine learning algorithms typically used for natural language processing to identify coronavirus variants, reports Brian Browdie for Quartz. “Besides being able to quantify the potential for mutations to escape, the research may pave the way for vaccines that broaden the body’s defenses against variants or that protect recipients against more than one virus, such as flu and the novel coronavirus, in a single shot,” writes Browdie. 

The Washington Post

Senior Research Scientist Stephanie Seneff co-authored an opinion piece for The Washington Post, which examines how the high level of herbicide chemicals found in Florida waterways is contributing to a record number of manatee deaths. “If we want to stop manatees from starving, we have to stop using this harmful chemical on our crops, on our lawns and in our waterways,” they conclude. 

Mashable

CSAIL researchers have developed a new material with embedded sensors that can track a person’s movement, reports Mashable. The clothing could “track things like posture or give feedback on how you’re walking.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elizabeth Segran spotlights how CSAIL researchers have crafted a new smart fabric embedded with sensors that can sense pressure from the person wearing it. “Sensors in this new material can be used to gather data about people’s posture and body movements,” writes Segran. “This could be useful in a variety of settings, including athletic training, monitoring the health of elderly patients, and identifying whether someone has fallen over.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a neural network to help optimize sensor placement on soft robots to help give them a better picture of their environment.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Victoria Song spotlights how CSAIL researchers have developed a new type of smart material that can measure movement. “The researchers have created a special type of fiber that can tell how a person is moving by sensing pressure and turning that pressure into electrical signals,” Song explains.

Forbes

Forbes contributor Roslyn Layton spotlights a new paper by CSAIL researchers that explores the market for domain names. “The authors observe that the intellectual property associated with domain names and the value of DNS itself as embedded, reliable infrastructure,” writes Layton. “However, changing behavior is reducing the value and function of DNS by separating names from addresses.”

Slate

Graduate student Crystal Lee speaks with Slate reporter Rebecca Onion about a new study that illustrates how social media users have used data visualizations to argue against public health measures during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The biggest point of diversion is the focus on different metrics—on deaths, rather than cases,” says Lee. “They focus on a very small slice of the data. And even then, they contest metrics in ways I think are fundamentally misleading.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater are developing a new prototype for a robot that can transform from soft to hard. “Combining the two fields could go a ways toward building safer collaborative robots for interacting with human workers,” writes Heater.

The Economist

The Economist spotlights how MIT researchers created a virtual technique to decipher the contents of a letter that was sealed 300 years ago. The letter was originally sealed by its sender using the historical practice of securing correspondence called letterlocking. The new virtual technique “seems to hold plenty of promise for future research into a fascinating historical practice.”

Wired

A new imaging technique created by researchers from MIT and other institutions has been used to shed light on the contents of an unopened letter from 1697, writes Matt Simon for Wired. “With fancy letterlocking techniques, you will forcibly rip some part of the paper, and then that will become detectable,” says Prof. Erik Demaine, of the method used to seal the letter.

The Guardian

Guardian reporter Alison Flood explores the new technique created by MIT researchers to virtually unseal an unopened letter written in 1697. The researchers, “worked with X-ray microtomography scans of the letter, which use X-rays to see inside the document, slice by slice, and create a 3D image,” writes Flood.

NPR

Jana Dambrogio, the Thomas F. Peterson Conservator at MIT Libraries, describes the new technique developed by researchers at MIT and other institutions that has allowed for the virtual exploration of a letter that has been sealed since 1697. “It's quite beautiful and it's thrilling that we can read it without tampering with the letter packet, leaving it to study as an unopened object,” says Dambrogio.

New York Times

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have developed a new virtual-reality technique that has allowed them to unearth the contents of letters written hundreds of years ago, without opening them, writes New York Times reporter William J. Broad. “The new technique could open a window into the long history of communications security,” writes Broad. “And by unlocking private intimacies, it could aid researchers studying stories concealed in fragile pages found in archives all over the world.”

New Scientist

Using X-ray imaging and algorithms, MIT researchers have been able to virtually open and read letters that been sealed for more than 300 years, writes Priti Parikh for New Scientist. “Studying folding and tucking patterns in historic letters allows us to understand technologies used to communicate,” says Jana Dambrogio, a conservator at the MIT Libraries.