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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.

Fast Company

Rob Morris PhD ’14 has dedicated his career to easing access to mental health services online, reports Shalene Gupta for Fast Company. “When you search for a flight on Google, you get directed to these options that make you instantly buy a flight,” he says. “The interface is beautiful. But when you look up mental health, it’s not great. I want to do for mental health what Google did for flights.”

The Boston Globe

A forthcoming study by Prof. Erik Lin-Greenberg finds that the use of drones in the military could lower the risk of escalating an existing conflict, reports Kevin Lewis for The Boston Globe. Lin-Greenberg “presented members of the military with scenarios in which a US reconnaissance aircraft is shot down by a surface-to-air-missile from a hostile country,” writes Lewis. “The military decision-makers generally felt they had to escalate with force when the downed aircraft was manned, whereas that was generally not the case with a drone.”

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.

Forbes

Prof. Pattie Maes, and graduate students Valdemar Danry, Joanne Leong and Pat Pataranutaporn speak with Forbes reporter Stephen Ibaraki about their work in the MIT Media Lab Fluid Interfaces research group. “Their highly interdisciplinary work covering decades of MIT Lab pioneering inventions integrates human computer interaction (HCI), sensor technologies, AI / machine learning, nano-tech, brain computer interfaces, design and HCI, psychology, neuroscience and much more,” writes Ibaraki.

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.”

Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have found that the brain can send a burst of noradrenaline when it requires you to pay attention to something crucial, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “The MIT team discovered that one important function of noradrenaline, commonly known as norepinephrine, is to assist the brain in learning from unexpected results,” explains Juandre.

The Daily Beast

MIT researchers have developed a new computational model that could be used to help explain differences in how neurotypical adults and adults with autism recognize emotions via facial expressions, reports Tony Ho Tran for The Daily Beast. “For visual behaviors, the study suggests that [the IT cortex] pays a strong role,” says research scientist Kohitij Kar. “But it might not be the only region. Other regions like amygdala have been implicated strongly as well. But these studies illustrate how having good [AI models] of the brain will be key to identifying those regions as well.”

Wired

A study by MIT AgeLab research scientist Bryan Reimer found that drivers using autopilot were “more likely to look away from the road once the system was on,” reports Aarian Marshall for Wired. “With automation comes an inherent new level of complexities. There are lots of risks and lots of rewards,” says Reimer.

Wired

Wired reporter Maggie Chen spotlights Prof. Katharina Ribbeck and her lab’s work deconstructing how glycans hidden inside mucus can work to keep specific organisms healthy. Glycans “can be beneficial – assisting in food digestion, regulating immunity, and protecting against germs – but that can be harmful if they outcompete one another or become virulent, potentially leading to infection,” writes Chen.

Gizmodo

A team of MIT researchers have proposed that rafts of bubbles, carefully positioned between the Earth and Sun, can deflect sunlight to prevent further global warming, reports Angely Mercado for Gizmodo.

Xinhuanet

Scientists from MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, Sun Yat-sen University and Beijing-based AI startup Galixir have developed a deep-learning toolkit that can predict biosynthetic pathways for natural products, which are a primary source of clinical drug discovery, reports Xinhua Net. “The researchers presented a toolkit called Bionavi-NP to propose NP biosynthetic pathways from simple building blocks in an oprtimal fashion, which requires no already-known biochemical rules,” writes Xinhua Net.

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Charlotte Hu writes that MIT researchers have developed an “electronics chip design that allows for sensors and processors to be easily swapped out or added on, like bricks of LEGO.” Hu writes that “a reconfigurable, modular chip like this could be useful for upgrading smartphones, computers, or other devices without producing as much waste.”

AccuWeather

Prof. Desiree Plata speaks with AccuWeather senior on-air meteorologist Geoff Cornish about her research in using zeolite clay to control and remove methane emissions from the air.  “So, the really interesting thing about zeolite is it has these cool pore spaces so when you drop copper into those pore spaces it can grab onto a methane molecule and attach an oxygen atom to it and that helps convert that methane into carbon dioxide which is a much less potent greenhouse gas and so the net benefit to the climate can be quite dramatic,” explains Plata.

Forbes

Forbes contributor Jeff Kart writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that yeast, an abundant waste product from breweries, can filter out even trace amounts of lead. The researchers demonstrated that in just five minutes “a single gram of the inactive, dried yeast cells can remove up to 12 milligrams of lead in aqueous solutions with initial lead concentrations below 1 part per million.”