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Boston.com

A new study by MIT researchers finds that more people started walking during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, but how much they walked was correlated to their income levels, reports Arianna MacNeill for Boston.com. The researchers found “people in higher-income areas walked more during the pandemic, while people in lower-income areas – including neighborhoods with more BIPOC and those suffering from long-term illnesses like diabetes and obesity – walked less,” writes MacNeill.

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Visiting Prof. Susan J. Blumenthal and research scientist David Kong underscore the need to reimagine America’s public health infrastructure. “A new multidisciplinary academic field of public health technology should be established to integrate diverse expertise in public health, technology, engineering, data analytics, and design to help build the products, programs, and systems necessary to modernize the nation’s public health infrastructure and ready it for 21st-century challenges and opportunities,” they write.

Fast Company

“The Guardians: Unite the Realms,” a video game developed by Media Lab developer Craig Ferguson, has been awarded Fast Company’s 20201 Innovation by Design award in the Wellness category. The game employs behavioral activation techniques to address mental health, allowing players to advance when they’ve completed tasks such as going on a walk or drawing a picture.

Fast Company

Graduate student Ken Nakagaki’s tiny transformable robots, called Hermits, have changeable mechanical shells that allow the robots to acquire new capabilities, reports Mark Wilson for Fast Company. The Hermits project has been selected as the winner of Fast Company’s 2021 Innovation by Design Awards in the Student category. 

Good Morning America

Graduate student Joy Buolamwini speaks with Good Morning America about her work uncovering bias in AI systems and how beauty data can marginalize people of color. “We can’t have social justice without algorithmic justice,” says Buolamwini.

Here & Now (WBUR)

Here & Now’s Scott Tong speaks with Gideon Gil of STAT about a new technique for amputation surgery developed by researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital that recreates muscle connections and restore the brain’s ability to sense where and how one’s limbs are moving.

Bloomberg Radio

Bloomberg’s Janet Wu speaks with alumna Nan-Wei Gong PhD '13, co-founder of Figur8, an MIT startup applying AI to help diagnose musculoskeletal problems. “Figur8 is a tool that really brings lab experience into the field so everyone can quantify their musculoskeletal injuries,” says Gong. “We invented a wearable system that allows you to capture biomarkers of your musculoskeletal health and pinpoint injury through our AI algorithm.”

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.”

PBS NewsHour

Reporting for the PBS NewsHour, Miles O’Brien visits alumnus Dexter Ang ‘05 to learn more about how his startup, Pison, is developing a wrist-worn sensor that detects the faint electrical signals controlling simple hand gestures, allowing users to control digital interfaces using brain signals. “The device is connected to a smartphone, allowing control of it or other devices, conveyor belts in factories, drones, even pinball machines, to name a few,” notes O’Brien. He adds that Ang was inspired by his late mother, who contracted ALS, as “he wanted to make her life easier.”

Fast Company

Prof. Dava Newman, director of the MIT Media Lab, speaks with Mark Wilson of Fast Company about her vision for the future of the Media Lab. “We’re going to be a diverse and equitable place, we have to have everyone at the table,” says Newman. “We do have these special talents. We can see solutions in envisioning things that are further out. We are built on literal media and data, so we don’t shy away from any technical challenges.”

Boston Globe

Matthew Shifrin writes for The Boston Globe about his personal experience using the TRANSFORM device created by the Tangible Media Group, an interactive display that fuses technology and design to render 3-D models in real-time. Shifrin, who is blind, notes that TRANSFORM allowed him “to track facial expressions like a sighted person would, and its larger size lets me feel the nuances that I can’t feel on a real face.”

CNBC

CNBC reporter Dain Evans writes about how researchers from MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative and the Federal Reserve of Boston are exploring what a digital currency might look like in America. “I think that if there is a digital dollar, privacy is going to be a very, very important part of that,” says Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

WHDH 7

Ariel Ekblaw, founder and director of MIT’s Space Exploration Initiative, speaks with 7 News about the Blue Origins spaceflight. “We are at that cusp now of interplanetary civilization,” she said. “As the economy grows around space exploration, it will become more accessible and prices will drop, and that will become a huge success for everyone involved.”

Forbes

Institute Prof. Barbara Liskov, Prof. Dina Katabi, Prof. Dava Newman, Prof. Daniela Rus and a number of MIT alumnae and MIT Corporation members have been named to the Academic Influence list of the most influential women engineers in the world, reports Michael T. Nietzel for Forbes.

The Wall Street Journal

MIT researchers have developed a new robot that can help locate hidden items using AI and wireless technologies, reports Benoit Morenne for The Wall Street Journal. “The latest version of the robot has a 96% success rate at finding and picking up objects in a lab setting, including clothes and household items,” writes Morenne. “In the future, this home helper could also retrieve a specific wrench or screwdriver from a toolbox and assist a human in assembling a piece of furniture.”