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Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E)

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Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist and co-founder of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, examines how new proposals in the EU to regulate AI could hinder innovation. “Restricting the field of potential innovators to those who can afford high upfront costs is a bad idea,” writes McAfee. “It leads to slower progress and growth and fewer hometown success stories, which are also risks.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold spotlights how Form Energy, a startup co-founded by Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang, has developed an inexpensive iron-air battery that can discharge power for days. The batteries could be “capable of solving one of the most elusive problems facing renewable energy: cheaply storing large amounts of electricity to power grids when the sun isn’t shining and wind isn’t blowing,” writes Gold.

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Hiawatha Bray spotlights Accion Systems, an MIT startup that makes “small thrusters that use an electric current to turn a liquid propellant into a stream of ionized gas. The result is gentle but effective thrust that can be used to adjust a satellite’s orbit or slow it down at the end of its life, so it can fall harmlessly back to earth.”

Boston.com

Boston.com reporter Erin Kuschner spotlights Umamicart, an online grocery store specializing in products from Asian American- and immigrant-led businesses that was founded by alumna Andrea Xu ‘20. Xu called Umamicart the “culmination of what I’ve lived through my life.” She added that: “My parents are Chinese, and they moved to Spain in their early 20s. They worked in Chinese restaurants and [opened] their own Chinese restaurants and just worked hard for their entire life. So that’s the entrepreneurial inspiration for me.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater writes about Inkbit, a CSAIL spinout, which is developing self-correcting 3D printing technology. “Its primary differentiator from the slew of existing 3D printers is a vision and AI system designed to identify and correct mistakes during the printing process,” writes Heater.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray spotlights Venti Technologies, an MIT startup developing self-driving cargo trucks for seaports. “The trucks can automatically transport containers to dockside, where cranes can load them onto ships,” writes Bray. “Or they can pick up containers as they’re unloaded, and move them to staging areas where they can be transferred to other ships.”

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, research scientist Lisa D’Ambrosio emphasizes how “caregiving faces an innovation gap. Although there is plenty of inventive energy pouring into some caregiving needs, the core tasks of caregiving — the ones requiring the most intensive, even laborious attention — appear to be last in line for a technological helping hand.”

Issues in Science and Technology

Writing for Issues in Science and Technology, President L. Rafael Reif examines Vannevar Bush’s groundbreaking 1945 Science, the Endless Frontier report and considers how our needs today have changed. “To meet this moment, we need to ensure that our federally sponsored research addresses questions that will enhance our competitiveness now and in the future,” writes Reif. “Our current system has many strengths…but we must not allow these historical advantages to blind us to gaps that could become fatal weaknesses.”

WBUR

In conversation with WBUR’s Jason Beaubien, alumnus David Moinina Sengeh SM ’12, PhD ’16, discusses his dual roles as Sierra Leone’s Minister of Education and Chief Innovation Officer, and his vision for the future of the country. "In a world where there's cryptocurrency and quantum computing we can't be thinking classically anymore,” says Sengeh. “We have to think quantum. We have to think outside the box."

Forbes

Nextiles, an MIT startup founded by alumnus George Sun, is developing smart threads, reports John Koetsier for Forbes. “We’re literally trying to sew the same kind of highway of data streams that you can normally find in a computer chip, but do that in clothing,” says Sun.

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Aaron Pressman spotlights MIT startup Superpedestrian, a scooter rental service. “Superpedestrian’s scooters, packed with sensors, GPS, and a cellular connection, don’t need to be parked in a dock,” writes Pressman. “Instead, the company scatters them around cities in convenient locations.”

Quartz

Alumnus Mike Cassidy S.B. ’85, S.M. ’86 founded a company called Apollo Fusion, which makes electrical propulsion systems for small satellites, reports Tim Fernholz for Quartz. Apollo Fusion’s thruster were set to be deployed in space for the first time on June 29 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

CNBC

CNBC reporter Catherine Clifford Oklo, a startup founded by Jacob DeWitte and Caroline Cochran (who met when they were teaching assistants at MIT), “is working to make micro-nuclear reactors that would power industrial sites, large companies, college campuses and remote locations.”

On Point

Prof. Michael Cusumano, deputy dean of Sloan, speaks with Meghna Chakrabarti of On Point on the growth of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and whether AWS should be broken off from Amazon. “We have also seen cloud computing evolving into being like an operating system – so it’s more than a utility, it’s a development environment,” says Cusumano. “It has become a platform for innovation, so we have to be careful with what we do with it.”

The Boston Globe

Ginkgo Bioworks founders Jason Kelly PhD ’08, S.B. ’03 and Reshma Shetty PhD ’08 speak with Boston Globe reporter Scott Kirsner about the inspiration for and growth of the company, which is focused on manipulating genetic material to get living cells to perform new jobs. Shetty notes that the Ginkgo Bioworks team is “dedicated to making biology easier to engineer."