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Mashable

Researchers at MIT have developed a drone that can be controlled using hand gestures, reports Mashable. “I think it’s important to think carefully about how machine learning and robotics can help people to have a higher quality of life and be more productive,” says postdoc Joseph DelPreto. “So we want to combine what robots do well and what people do well so that they can be more effective teams.”

National Geographic

National Geographic reporter Maya Wei-Haas explores how the ancient art of origami is being applied to fields such a robotics, medicine and space exploration. Wei-Haas notes that Prof. Daniela Rus and her team developed a robot that can fold to fit inside a pill capsule, while Prof. Erik Demaine has designed complex, curving fold patterns. “You get these really impressive 3D forms with very simple creasing,” says Demaine.

Fortune

MIT researchers have found that “automation is the primary reason the income gap between more and less educated workers has continued to widen,” reports Ellen McGirt for Fortune. “This single one variable…explains 50 to 70% of the changes or variation between group inequality from 1980 to about 2016,” says Prof. Daron Acemoglu

Politico

Prof. Daron Acemoglu speaks with Politico reporter Derek Robertson about his new study examining the impacts of automation on the workforce and economy. “This discussion gets framed around ‘Will robots and AI destroy jobs, and lead to a jobless future,’ and I think that's the wrong framing,” says Acemoglu. “Industrial robots may have reduced U.S. employment by half a percent, which is not trivial, but nothing on that scale [of a “jobless future”] has happened — but if you look at the inequality implications, it's been massive.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights a new study by Prof. Daron Acemoglu that examines the impact of automation on the workforce. “We’re starting with a very clear premise here: in 21st-century America, the wealth gap is big and only getting bigger,” writes Heater. “The paper, ‘Tasks, Automation, and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality,’ attempts to explore the correlation between the growing income gap and automation.”

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Andrew Paul writes that a study co-authored by Institute Prof. Daron Acemoglu examines the impact of automation on the workforce over the past four decades and finds that “‘so-so automation’ exacerbates wage gaps between white and blue collar workers more than almost any other factor.”

Politico

Prof. Cynthia Breazeal discusses her work exploring how artificial intelligence can help students impacted by Covid, including refugees or children with disabilities, reports Ryan Heath for Politico. “We want to be super clear on what the role is of the robot versus the community, of which this robot is a part of. That's part of the ethical design thinking,” says Breazeal. “We don't want to have the robot overstep its responsibilities. All of our data that we collect is protected and encrypted.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights new MIT robotics research, including a team of CSAIL researchers “working on a system that utilizes a robotic arm to help people get dressed.” Heater notes that the “issue is one of robotic vision — specifically finding a method to give the system a better view of the human arm it’s working to dress.”

TechCrunch

A new study by MIT researchers finds people are more likely to interact with a smart device if it demonstrates more humanlike attributes, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. The researchers found “users are more likely to engage with both the device — and each other — more when it exhibits some form of social cues,” writes Heater. “That can mean something as simple as the face/screen of the device rotating to meet the speaker’s gaze.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Stephanie MacConnell spotlights the work of research affiliate Shriya Srinivasan PhD '20 in a roundup of women under the age of 30 who are transforming U.S. healthcare. Srinivasan is “working on technology that will enable patients to control and even ‘feel’ sensation through their prosthetic limb,” notes MacConnell.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Charlotte Hu writes that MIT researchers have simulated an environment in which socially-aware robots are able to choose whether they want to help or hinder one another, as part of an effort to help improve human-robot interactions. “If you look at the vast majority of what someone says during their day, it has to do with what other [people] want, what they think, getting what that person wants out of another [person],” explains research scientist Andrei Barbu. “And if you want to get to the point where you have a robot inside someone’s home, understanding social interactions is incredibly important.”

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new machine learning system that can help robots learn to perform certain social interactions, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “Researchers conducted tests in a simulated environment, to develop what they deemed ‘realistic and predictable’ interactions between robots,” writes Heater. “In the simulation, one robot watches another perform a task, attempts to determine the goal and then either attempts to help or hamper it in that task.”

Mashable

MIT researchers are using magnets to help improve control of prosthetic limbs, reports Emmett Smith for Mashable. “The researchers inserted magnetic beads into muscle tissue to track the specific movements of each muscle,” reports Smith. “That information is then transferred to the bionic limb, giving the users direct control over it.”

Mashable

In this video, Mashable spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new system that can 3-D print objects without human intervention. “The system works thanks to a software toolkit that lets you design custom blueprints,” Mashable explains.

TechCrunch

CSAIL researchers have developed a new system, dubbed LaserFactory, that can print custom devices and robots without human intervention, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “The system is comprised of a software kit and hardware platform designed to create structures and assemble circuitry and sensors for the machine,” Heater writes.