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MIT Schwarzman College of Computing

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TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new robot, dubbed RF Grasp, that can sense hidden objects using radio waves, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “The tech allows RF Grasp to pick up things that are covered up or otherwise out of its line of vision,” writes Heater.

The Conversation

Writing for The Conversation, Prof. Jessika Trancik explores how government policies can spark innovation in clean energy markets, helping to reduce carbon emissions. “Left to its own devices, technological change will not necessarily solve climate change, especially not in the limited time we have left to act,” writes Trancik. “But my research on technology evolution suggests that government policy can help propel this powerful process toward rapid progress and beneficial outcomes.”

Mashable

CSAIL researchers have developed a new material with embedded sensors that can track a person’s movement, reports Mashable. The clothing could “track things like posture or give feedback on how you’re walking.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elizabeth Segran spotlights how CSAIL researchers have crafted a new smart fabric embedded with sensors that can sense pressure from the person wearing it. “Sensors in this new material can be used to gather data about people’s posture and body movements,” writes Segran. “This could be useful in a variety of settings, including athletic training, monitoring the health of elderly patients, and identifying whether someone has fallen over.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Matthew Vander Heiden has been selected to serve as the new director of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, reports Anissa Gardizy for The Boston Globe. “We have broken down all these barriers, these traditional silos of fields, and I think that uniquely positions us to answer the big questions about cancer going forward," says Vander Heiden of the Koch Institute's work.

The Economist

A new study by Prof. Jessika Trancik and postdoctoral associate Micah Ziegler examining the plunge in lithium-ion battery costs finds that “every time output doubles, as it did five times between 2006 and 2016, battery prices fall by about a quarter,” reports The Economist. “A doubling in technological know-how, measured by patent filings, is associated with a 40% drop in price.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a neural network to help optimize sensor placement on soft robots to help give them a better picture of their environment.

BBC News

Prof. Jessika Trancik speaks with the BBC Newshour about her new study analyzing the dramatic decline in the costs of lithium-ion batteries. Trancik explains that the reduced price, “opens up markets for electric vehicles for more people. The battery makes up a substantial portion of the total cost of an electric vehicle and the fact that costs have fallen by 97% over the last few decades means that these cars are no longer just for the wealthy.”

GBH

"You remember when we go to election polls, the voting booth, during elections, we get a little sticker that says 'I Voted'" says Prof. Sinan Aral of a new study that finds hearing about people who have received the Covid-19 vaccine can increase vaccine acceptance rates. "You should think of this as a very similar type of strategy. The reason we get that sticker that says 'I Voted' is that social proof motivates people to join in. And so if we got a sticker or put out a video or put out a message that said, 'I got vaccinated,' it would have the same effect for the same reasons."

Slate

Graduate student Crystal Lee speaks with Slate reporter Rebecca Onion about a new study that illustrates how social media users have used data visualizations to argue against public health measures during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The biggest point of diversion is the focus on different metrics—on deaths, rather than cases,” says Lee. “They focus on a very small slice of the data. And even then, they contest metrics in ways I think are fundamentally misleading.”

IEEE Spectrum

MIT scientists have demonstrated a plastic polymer cable that can transmit data 10 times as fast as USB, reports Payal Dhar for IEEE Spectrum. “For newer standards aiming at much higher data rates, we see the cables getting much thicker, more expensive, and commonly short [because of] technical challenges,” says Prof. Ruonan Han. “We hope this research could [enable] much higher speed for our needs.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater are developing a new prototype for a robot that can transform from soft to hard. “Combining the two fields could go a ways toward building safer collaborative robots for interacting with human workers,” writes Heater.

The Economist

The Economist spotlights how MIT researchers created a virtual technique to decipher the contents of a letter that was sealed 300 years ago. The letter was originally sealed by its sender using the historical practice of securing correspondence called letterlocking. The new virtual technique “seems to hold plenty of promise for future research into a fascinating historical practice.”

Wired

A new imaging technique created by researchers from MIT and other institutions has been used to shed light on the contents of an unopened letter from 1697, writes Matt Simon for Wired. “With fancy letterlocking techniques, you will forcibly rip some part of the paper, and then that will become detectable,” says Prof. Erik Demaine, of the method used to seal the letter.

The Guardian

Guardian reporter Alison Flood explores the new technique created by MIT researchers to virtually unseal an unopened letter written in 1697. The researchers, “worked with X-ray microtomography scans of the letter, which use X-rays to see inside the document, slice by slice, and create a 3D image,” writes Flood.