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Popular Science

MIT researchers have developed SoftZoo, “an open framework platform that simulated a variety of 3D model animals performing specific tasks in multiple environmental settings,” reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. “This computational approach to co-designing the soft robot bodies and their brains (that is, their controllers) opens the door to rapidly creating customized machines that are designed for a specific task,” says CSAIL director, Prof. Daniela Rus.


Researchers at MIT have developed “SoftZoo,” a platform designed to “study the physics, look and locomotion and other aspects of different soft robot models,” reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “Dragonflies can perform very agile maneuvers that other flying creatures cannot complete because they have special structures on their wings that change their center of mass when they fly,” says graduate student Tsun-Hsuan Wang. “Our platform optimizes locomotion the same way a dragonfly is naturally more adept at working through its surroundings.”

Inside Higher Ed

The MIT Press will publish all monographs and edited collections on an open-source access basis this upcoming spring, reports Suzanne Smalley for Inside Higher Ed. The move presents a “model that scholars and librarians say could be revolutionary for cash-strapped libraries, university presses and a dwindling number of humanities scholars,” writes Smalley.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Aaron Pressman spotlights Prof. Tim Berners-Lee’s startup, Inrupt, for creating open-sourced based software applications that protect and maintain digital data. “The idea is that a person or company could stash important personal or business data in a digital space, kind of like an online locker,” writes Pressman.

The Verge

MIT startup Skydio has launched a platform that allows users to create custom software that can be applied to the company’s autonomous drone, reports Nick Statt for The Verge. The platform will let “app makers and drone enthusiasts develop custom software that takes advantage of the device’s bevy of cameras and sensors, as well as its sophisticated computer vision software and machine learning algorithms.”

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Matt McFarland writes that researchers in the CityFARM group, which is devoted to developing scalable urban farming systems, hope to start an open-source movement for vertical farming. Caleb Harper, founder of CityFARM, explains that his focus “is on getting the tools out there.”


Klint Finley, a reporter for Wired, reports on Open Ephys, a project for sharing open-source neuroscience hardware designs founded by MIT and Brown University researchers.