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Fortune

Prof. Kripa Varanasi and Vishnu Jayaprakash PhD ’21, MS ’19 have launched AgZen, a company that is trying to reduce pesticide use through the development of additives that allow more pesticide droplets to stick to plants, reports Ian Mount for Fortune. “Globally, farms are spending about $60 billion a year on these pesticides, and our goal is to try to get them to cut that down while still not compromising on pest control,” says Jayaprakash.

The Washington Post

Research Scientist Josué Velázquez Martínez speaks with Allyson Chiu from The Washington Post about how online and in-store shopping can impact the climate. “In general, anybody that is in logistics and supply chains agree that having one or two or three days more to deliver is always better,” Velázquez Martínez says. More time for deliveries makes planning, inventory replenishment and distribution “way more efficient, which in turn also reduces the amount of fuel and energy that you require to serve your customers.”

Boston Business Journal

Landmark Bio, a cell and gene therapy manufacturing company co-founded by MIT and a number of other institutions, is focused on accelerating access to innovative therapies for patients, reports Rowan Walrath for Boston Business Journal. "Landmark's new facility includes laboratory space for research and early-stage drug development, as well as analytics tools,” writes Walrath. 

The Boston Globe

MIT and a number of other local institutions have launched Landmark Bio, a cell and gene therapy manufacturing firm aimed at helping small startups develop experimental therapies that are reliable, consistent, and large enough to be used in clinical trials, reports Ryan Cross for The Boston Globe.

Scientific American

Researchers at MIT have developed a silk-based biodegradable substitute for microplastics, reports Ysabelle Kempe for Scientific American. “This type of research is urgent for companies that face tightening regulations on deliberate use of microplastics,” writes Kempe.

Mashable

MIT’s mini cheetah robot was taught how to goal keep using simulation, reports Emmett Smith for Mashable. “The robot was able to block 87.5 percent of the shots taken, which is just slightly above the best professional goalies in the English Premiere League,” writes Smith.

TechCrunch

In a new paper, MIT researchers detail the use of reinforcement learning to teach MIT’s mini cheetah robot to play goalie in a soccer match, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “In this work, we focused solely on the goalkeeping task, but the proposed framework can be extended to other scenarios, such as multi-skill soccer ball kicking,” the researchers explain.

Reuters

VulcanForms, an MIT startup co-founded by Prof. John Hart, is a 3D printing company that aims to provide cutting edge, clean and futuristic manufacturing, reports Timothy Aeppel for Reuters. “VulcanForms builds metal parts by layering on and fusing together materials bit by bit – rather than cutting them out of blocks of metal or stamping them out in metal foundries,” writes Aeppel.

Salon

Researchers at MIT have developed a silk-based substitute that could be used to replace microplastics, reports Matthew Rozsa for Salon. Prof. Benedetto Marelli and postodoctoral associate Muchun Liu explain that they have demonstrated that “silk protein can be used as a technological material in agricultural products and cosmetics – it can protect and control the release of active ingredients, and it can be biodegraded.”

Popular Mechanics

The MIT mini cheetah broke a speed record after learning to adapt to difficult terrain and upping its speed, reports Rienk De Beer for Popular Mechanics.

Forbes

MIT researchers have developed a new system that enabled the mini robotic cheetah to learn to run, reports John Koetsier for Forbes. ““Traditionally, the process that people have been using [to train robots] requires you to study the actual system and manually design models,” explains Prof. Pulkit Agrawal. “This process is good, it’s well established, but it’s not very scalable. “But we are removing the human from designing the specific behaviors.”

NPR

Prof. Jesús del Alamo speaks with Ann Fisher of WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher about the importance of supporting domestic chip manufacturing in the U.S., and the need to help encourage students to pursue careers in the semiconductor industry. “Universities and colleges train over 50% of the semiconductor workforce,” says del Alamo, “and so investing in education, investing in the infrastructure, both human but also physical infrastructure that supports education and research, is really critical in the long run.” 

Power Magazine

Infinite Cooling, an MIT startup, is developing a new system that can capture water from cooling tower plumes and could significantly reduce water consumption in evaporative cooling tower systems, reports Sonal Patel for Power Magazine. “The technology that is developed could lead to significant water savings and improve water quality with minimal energy cost,” explained members of Prof. Kripa Varanasi’s lab.

Forbes

Jake Guglin MBA ’19, Jasper Lienhard PhD ’22, Prof. Chris Schuh and University of California Irvine Prof. Tim Rupert have founded Foundation Alloy, a vertically integrated metal part production platform specializing in manufacturing high performing metal parts, reports Ariyana Griffin for Forbes. “By creating stronger metals, we can make lighter parts for planes, cars [which] will make those existing products greener and more efficient,” says Guglin.

The Atlantic

Boston Metal, an MIT spinout, has created a new manufacturing method that could help engineers reshape the way in which alloy is made, reports Marcello Rossi for The Atlantic. The process is “called ‘molten oxide electrolysis,’ in which a current moves through a cell containing iron ore,” explains Rossi.