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The Washington Post

Postdoctoral fellow Joshua Schwartz and Texas A&M University Prof. Matthew Fuhrmann write for The Washington Post about their research to analyze whether armed drone operations reduce terrorism or make countries more vulnerable to it. “Armed drones may raise ethical concerns but appear to be an effective counterterrorism tool,” argue Schwartz and Fuhrmann. “However, the decision of when, how or even whether to employ armed drones remains a difficult one.”

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.”

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.

The Boston Globe

A forthcoming study by Prof. Erik Lin-Greenberg finds that the use of drones in the military could lower the risk of escalating an existing conflict, reports Kevin Lewis for The Boston Globe. Lin-Greenberg “presented members of the military with scenarios in which a US reconnaissance aircraft is shot down by a surface-to-air-missile from a hostile country,” writes Lewis. “The military decision-makers generally felt they had to escalate with force when the downed aircraft was manned, whereas that was generally not the case with a drone.”

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.”

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.”

Boston.com

Writing for Boston.com, Mark Gartsbeyn highlights how MIT researchers have “developed tiny drones that can fly, dodge, and weave like actual insects.”

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have developed tiny, agile drones with insect-like wings, reports John Biggs for Gizmodo. “The goal is to use these tiny, soft drones to explore close spaces where rigid drones will break on contact with hard surfaces,” writes Biggs.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights how MIT researchers have designed insect-sized drones that can withstand collisions. Heater notes that potential applications for the new drones include everything from “simple inspections currently being handled by larger models to pollination and search and rescue.”

Mashable

CSAIL researchers have developed a new system aimed at allowing non-experts to design drones of different sizes and shapes that can alternate between hovering and gliding. The drones combine “the stability and flexibility of a multi-copter, with the speed and fuel efficiency of an airplane.”

Forbes

Prof. Steven Barrett speaks with Forbes reporter Jeremy Bogaisky about the new plane he developed that is propelled by an ion drive, noting that he is working to embed a prolusion system within the skin of the aircraft. “There’s no reason to think long-term that airplane designs with electroaerodynamic propulsion need look at all like an airplane today,” explains Barrett.