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Research Laboratory of Electronics

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Boston.com

MIT researchers have developed “a programmable wireless device that can control light orders of magnitude more quickly than commercial devices,” reports Susannah Sudborough for Boston.com. “The device, which is called a spatial light modulator (SLM), will have impactful practical uses beyond creating holograms,” writes Sudborough.

Science

Alexander Sludds, a graduate student in MIT’s Research Lab for Electronics, joins Megan Cantwell on the Science magazine podcast to discuss his team’s new method for processing data on edge devices, which are devices that connect two networks together.

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma spotlights Prof. Kevin Chen’s research creating flying lightning bug robots that could be used to pollinate crops in vertical farms or even in space. “If we think about the insect functions that animals can’t do,” says Chen, “that inspires us to think about what smaller, insect-scale robots can do, that larger robots cannot.”

Fortune

Researchers from MIT’s Research Laboratory for Electronics have developed a portable desalinator that can turn seawater into safe drinking water, reports Ian Mount for Fortune. Research scientist Jongyoon Han and graduate student Bruce Crawford have created Nona Technologies to commercialize the product, writes Mount.

CNN

MIT researchers have “developed a free-floating desalination unit consisting of a multilayer evaporator that recycles the heat generated when the water vapor condenses, boosting its overall efficiency,” reports Nell Lewis for CNN. “Researchers suggested it could be configured as a floating panel on the sea, delivering freshwater through pipes to the shore, or it could be designed to serve a single household, using it atop a tank of seawater,” writes Lewis.

Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers have developed firefly-inspired robots that can emit light while flying, reports Popular Mechanics. “The robots may be able to converse with one another because of this electroluminescence and, for instance, a robot that finds survivors while on a search-and-rescue mission, within a fallen building, could use lights to alert others and request assistance.”

The Washington Post

Prof. Yoel Fink speaks with Washington Post reporter Pranshu Verma about the growing field of smart textiles and his work creating fabrics embedded with computational power. Fink and his colleagues “have created fibers with hundreds of silicon microchips to transmit digital signals — essential if clothes are to automatically track things like heart rate or foot swelling. These fibers are small enough to pass through a needle that can be sown into fabric and washed at least 10 times.”

Science Friday

Prof. Jesús del Alamo speaks with Ira Flatow of NPR’s Science Friday about the importance of the CHIPS Act and the pressing need to invest in semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. “There is a deep connection between leading-edge manufacturing and innovation,” says del Alamo. “Whoever gets the most advanced technology first in the marketplace is going to rip off the greatest profits, and as a result is going to be able to invest into innovation at a greater level and therefore be able to move faster than their competitors.”

NPR

Prof. Jesús del Alamo speaks with Ann Fisher of WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher about the importance of supporting domestic chip manufacturing in the U.S., and the need to help encourage students to pursue careers in the semiconductor industry. “Universities and colleges train over 50% of the semiconductor workforce,” says del Alamo, “and so investing in education, investing in the infrastructure, both human but also physical infrastructure that supports education and research, is really critical in the long run.” 

This Old House

Ross Trethewey, co-host of This Old House, visits Prof. Vladimir Bulović, director of MIT.nano, to learn more about the future of solar technology, including an electricity-generating film that can be applied to windows and other materials. “Dramatic advancements are on the horizon,” says Bulović. “We can make solar cells that don’t weigh very much at all so deployment of them on top of your roof could be as simple as unrolling a carpet and stapling it to the roof with a plug. Maybe your windows will be turned into solar cells.” 

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.”

Fast Company

MIT researchers developed a suitcase-sized, portable desalination device that can turn salt water into drinking water with the push of a button, reports Elissaveta M. Brandon for Fast Company. Brandon writes that the device could be a “vital tool for remote island communities, seafaring cargo ships, and even refugee camps located near water.”

Motherboard

Motherboard reporter Audrey Carleton writes that MIT researchers have developed a “filter-less portable desalination device that uses an electrical field generated by solar energy to repel charged particles like salt, bacteria, and viruses.” Research Scientist Junghyo Yoon explains that: “All indicators tell us that water scarcity is a growing problem for everyone due to rising sea levels. We don’t hope for a grim future, but we want to help people be prepared for it.”