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TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights multiple MIT research projects, including MIT Space Exploration Initiative’s TESSERAE, CSAIL’s Robocraft and the recent development of miniature flying robotic drones.

WHDH 7

MIT engineers have created insect-sized robots that can emit light when they fly and could eventually be used to aid search-and-rescue missions, reports WHDH. “Our idea is, if we can send in hundreds or thousands of those tiny flying robots then once they find that survivor, they will shine out light and pass information back and signal people on the outside saying ‘we found someone who’s trapped,'” explains Prof. Kevin Chen.

Popular Science

MIT engineers have developed tiny flying robots that can light up, reports Colleen Hagerty for Popular Science. “If you think of large-scale robots, they can communicate using a lot of different tools—Bluetooth, wireless, all those sorts of things,” says Prof. Kevin Chen. “But for a tiny, power-constrained robot, we are forced to think about new modes of communication.”

New Scientist

MIT researchers have developed a flexible and paper-thin speaker that can turn any surface into an audio source, reports New Scientist. “The lightweight loudspeaker uses only a fraction of the energy of a regular speaker and can generate sound regardless of the surface it is attached to,” writes New Scientist.

Salon

A time capsule buried in 1957 by former MIT President James R. Killian and Prof. Harold Edgerton will be unveiled in 2957 a full millennium after its burial, writes Michele Debczak for Salon.

Gizmodo

Researchers at MIT have built a highly efficient thermophotovoltaic cell that converts incoming photons to electricity, reports Kevin Hurler for Gizmodo. “We developed this technology—thermal batteries—because storing energy as heat rather than storing it electrochemically is 10 to 100 times cheaper," explains Prof. Asegun Henry. 

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new ultrathin material that can turn any rigid surface into a speaker, reports Haje Jan Kamps for TechCrunch. “The loudspeaker could be used in active noise cancellation, for example — combine the speaker tech with some electronics and microphones, and it could cancel out sound,” writes Kamps. “The inventors also envision immersive sound experiences, and other low-energy use cases such as smart devices, etc.”

The Daily Beast

Daily Beast reporter Tony Ho Tran writes that MIT researchers have created a new loudspeaker that is as thin as paper and produces high-quality sound. The paper-thin device “weighs roughly the same as a dime, and can be used to cover surfaces like walls and ceilings,” writes Tran. “The loudspeaker also uses a fraction of the energy a typical speaker requires, while producing comparable sound quality.”

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have developed an ultrathin speaker that can be applied to surfaces like wallpaper, reports Andrew Liszewski for Gizmodo. “The applications for the thin-film speaker material are endless,” writes Liszewski. “In addition to being applied to interiors like office walls or even the inside of an airplane to cancel out unwanted noises, an entire car could be wrapped in a speaker, making it easier to alert pedestrians that an otherwise silent electric vehicle was approaching.”

Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have created a 3D-printable Oreometer that uses twisting force to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “While studying the twisting motion, the engineers also discovered the torque required to successfully open an Oreo is about the same as what’s needed to turn a doorknob—a tenth of the torque required to open a bottle cap,” writes Juandre.

USA Today

A group of MIT scientists led by PhD candidate Crystal Owens has developed an Oreometer, a device used to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie every time, reports Maria Jimenez Moya for USA Today. “One day, just doing experiments, and, all of a sudden we realized that this machine would be perfect for opening Oreos because it already has … the fluid in the center, and then these two discs are like the same geometry as an Oreo,” says Owens.

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have developed an “Oreometer” to test the optimal way to split an Oreo cookie, an exercise in rheology, or the study of how matter flows, reports Isaac Shultz for Gizmodo. "Our favorite twist was rotating while pulling Oreos apart from one side, as a kind of peel-and-twist, which was the most reliable for getting a very clean break,” explains graduate student Crystal Owens.

CNN

CNN reporter Madeline Holcombe spotlights a new study by MIT researchers exploring why the cream on Oreo cookies always sticks to one side when twisted open. Graduate student Crystal Owens explains that she hopes the research will inspire people "to investigate other puzzles in the kitchen in scientific ways. The best scientific research, even at MIT, is driven by curiosity to understand the world around us, when someone sees something weird or unknown and takes the time to think 'I wonder why that happens like that?'"

Popular Science

Graduate student Crystal Owens speaks with Popular Science reporter Philip Kiefer about her work exploring why the cream filling of an Oreo cookie always sticks to one side. “It turns out there’s not really a trick to it,” Owens says. “Everything you try to do will get mostly a clean break.”

VICE

Graduate student Crystal Owens and her colleagues tested the possibility of separating the two wafers of an Oreo in a way that evenly splits the cream filling using a rheometer, an instrument that measures torque and viscosity of various substances, reports Becky Ferreira for Vice. “After twisting Oreos apart with the instruments, the team visually inspected the ratio of creme on each wafer and logged the findings. A number of variations on the experiment were also introduced, such as dipping the cookies in milk, changing the rotation rate of the rheometer, and testing different Oreo flavors and filling quantities,” writes Ferreira.