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Internet of things

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Writing for Wired, Prof. Carlo Ratti predicts that in 2019 researchers will develop new methods for allowing people to use the internet in less intrusive ways. “The internet of things will continue to grow, and we will work out more ways to develop ‘things’ that allow us to enjoy the internet without being overwhelmed by it,” writes Ratti.

The Wall Street Journal

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, writes that smart technologies and on-demand services could allow seniors to stay in their own homes. Coughlin notes that the freedom the connected home provides for choosing services, “is an enormous benefit not only for older adults’ wallets, but for their own sense of independence and personal control.”


MIT researchers have developed a way to prevent the theft of sensitive data hidden on a computer’s memory, writes TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker. Storing sensitive data in different memory locations creates “clear boundaries for where sharing should and should not happen, so that programs with sensitive information can keep that data reasonably secure,” explains graduate student Vladimir Kiriansky.

BBC News

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with BBC Click about his work developing fabrics embedded with light-emitting diodes that could help keep pedestrians safe. Fink explains that the fabric can detect the lights from an oncoming vehicle and establish an “affirmative link between the car and pedestrian.”


In an article for Forbes, AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin explores how the advent of smart devices and the sharing economy could transform the senior housing industry. “Senior housing properties could become centers of services enabling aging in place in the home,” argues Coughlin, “forming a virtual pipeline to senior housing residences from assisted living to skilled nursing.”

NBC News

Kate Baggaley writes for NBC News that movement tracking technology developed by MIT researchers can be helpful for monitoring the elderly or sick. The system could be used to monitor an elderly relative and, “receive an instant alert if he or she falls,” or a doctor could use it to monitor the progression of a patient’s disease, explains Baggaley.

Fox News

A new system developed by MIT researchers analyzes radio signals that bounce off of human bodies to track their movement and posture from behind walls, write Saqib Shah for Fox News. Shah suggests that the system could allow military personal “to ‘see’ hidden enemies by wearing augmented reality headsets.”


CSAIL researchers have developed a new system that uses low-power radio waves to detect and track people behind walls, reports Matt Simon for Wired. The system, which can be used to detect signs of distress in elderly patients, also “distinguishes one person from another in the same way your fingerprint distinguishes you,” explains Prof. Dina Katabi.


CSAIL researchers have created a system that can sense a person’s movements through walls, writes John Biggs for TechCrunch. The system is primarily intended as a healthcare device and could help with “passive monitoring of a subject inside a room without cameras or other intrusions,” and could provide insight into disease progression, Biggs explains.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Melissa Locker writes that CSAIL researchers have developed a system that allows wireless devices to sense a person’s movement through walls. Locker explains that the technology was created as a way to help those who are elderly, as it could be used to “monitor diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis and provide a better understanding of disease progression.”


Aaron Schrank reports for Marketplace that the textile industry is experiencing a revival as it creates more technologically advanced fabrics. Schrank highlights the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Institute, led by Prof. Yoel Fink, where researchers have developed programmable backpacks that should be able to “send you an email when they get lost."


This CNN video highlights the new programmable backpack unveiled during the grand opening of the AFFOA headquarters in Cambridge. MIT alumnus Tairan Wang, COO of AFFOA, explains that the backpack is made with a programmable fabric that allows users to share information. The technology addresses how people initially connect, Wang explains. 

Boston Herald

The launch of the AFFOA headquarters featured demos of two new smart fabrics, including a programmable backpack and fabric that uses LED lights to stream information to the wearer, writes Donna Goodison for the Boston Herald. Prof. Yoel Fink, AFFOA’s CEO, explains that, “the way to changing what fabrics are involves changing what fibers are.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray writes that at the launch of the AFFOA headquarters, researchers unveiled smart fabrics that can send messages, tune in audio signals and more. Bray writes that Prof. Yoel Fink, CEO of AFFOA, explained that “because the new fibers can process data like a computer…engineers will be able to develop an endless array of ways to use it.”


Zeninjor Enwemeka reports for WBUR on the opening of the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) headquarters, during which the center’s first fabric products were unveiled. Enwemeka explains the, “big idea here is to develop fabrics that provide services. The folks at AFFOA think fabrics are the next software.”