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WCAI Radio

Prof. Muriel Médard speaks with WCAI’s Living Lab Radio about the potential impact of 5G technologies on a number of industries. “If one can count on reliable services that allow remote operation of certain aspects of our work lives,” Médard explains, “that's where you change the way people work quite a bit.”

Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers have identified a new method to engineer neural networks in a way that allows them to be a tenth of the size of current networks without losing any computational ability, reports Avery Thompson for Popular Mechanics. “The breakthrough could allow other researchers to build AI that are smaller, faster, and just as smart as those that exist today,” Thompson explains.

Technology Review

Technology Review reporter Will Knight spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new chip that is many times more efficient than silicon chips and could help bring AI to a multitude of devices where power is limited. “We need new hardware because Moore’s law has slowed down,” explains Prof. Vivienne Sze.

Forbes

Forbes reporter Jessica Baron writes that MIT researchers have developed a platform that “addresses the key issue in cloud computing, which is that the data (or “breadcrumbs”) we leave behind online when we search the web, sign up for subscriptions, use social media, make purchases, etc. is stored on remote data servers where the information is then combined and sold to advertisers.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray writes that MIT startup Altaeros has developed a helium-filled airship called a SuperTower that can be used to carry cellular antennas and can be tethered 800 feet above ground. Bray explains that radio signals from the SuperTower “have a range of more than 35 miles over flat terrain, taking the place of 15 land-based cell towers.”

Scientific American

Reporting for Scientific American’s “60-Second Science” podcast, Christopher Intagliata explores how MIT developed a device, called a rectenna, that can capture energy from Wi-Fi signals and convert them into electricity. The scientists “envision a smart city where buildings, bridges and highways are studded with tiny sensors to monitor their structural health, each sensor with its own rectenna,” Intagliata explains.

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Jeff Hecht writes that MIT researchers developed a new flexible material that can harvest energy from wireless signals. “The future of electronics is bringing intelligence to every single object from our clothes to our desks and to our infrastructure,” explains Prof. Tomás Palacios.

Guardian

MIT researchers developed a super-thin, bendy material that converts WiFi signals into electricity, reports Ian Sample for The Guardian. “In the future, everything is going to be covered with electronic systems and sensors. The question is going to be how do we power them,” says Prof. Tomás Palacios. “This is the missing building block that we need.”

Fast Company

MIT researchers have found that it’s easy to reidentify anonymized data compiled in massive datasets, reports Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan for Fast Company. The findings show that urban planners, tech companies and designers, “who stand to learn so much from these big urban datasets,” writes Campbell-Dollaghan, “need to be careful about whether all that data could be combined to deanonymize it.”

Xinhuanet

A new study by MIT researchers provides evidence that compiling massive anonymized datasets of people’s movement patterns can put their private data at risk, reports the Xinhua news agency. The researchers found “data containing ‘location stamps’ – information with geographical coordinates and time stamps – could be used to easily track the mobility trajectories of how people live and work.”

The Daily Beast

In an essay for The Daily Beast, researchers at the MIT AgeLab explore the extent to which driving is a “secondary” activity when piloting a vehicle, and caution that automation on its own cannot protect drivers from distractions. “While these technologies can nudge us in a safer direction, the decision to practice safer phone habits ultimately lies in the hands of drivers,” they write.

Mashable

The “One Laptop Per Child” project, originated in the Media Lab, was the subject of a study that revealed the importance of having a laptop in the home for “access to information, educational games, and tools for self-expression.” In an op-ed for Mashable, Sandra Nogry calls on educators to encourage the use of technology for learning in developing countries.

Wired

Wired reporter Liz Stinson writes that researchers from MIT and Google have developed a new algorithm that can automatically retouch images on a mobile phone. “The neural network identifies exactly how to make it look better—increase contrast a smidge, tone down brightness, whatever—and apply the changes in under 20 milliseconds,” Stinson explains. 

New York Times

A study by Prof. Tanveet Suri shows that a mobile-money service called M-Pesa had a long-term impact on poverty in Kenya, writes Tina Rosenberg for The New York Times. The researchers found that M-Pesa “helped women graduate from subsistence agriculture to small business, perhaps because having an M-Pesa account gives a woman her own money…and a greater sense of agency.”

Boston Globe

A report released by MIT startup Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) shows that one in four drivers were using a smartphone just before an accident occurred, reports The Boston Globe’s Matt Rocheleau. Prof. Samuel Madden, founder and chief scientist at CMT, explains that the study shows “people are using their phones a lot, and that’s playing a role in the accidents.”