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The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe honored a number of MIT faculty and alumni in their Tech Power Players 50, a list of the “most influential – and interesting – people in the Massachusetts technology scene.” MIT honorees include Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, Senior Lecturer Brian Halligan, Professor Tom Leighton, Professor Silvio Micali, Katie Rae (CEO and managing partner for The Engine), and Professor Daniela Rus (director of CSAIL and deputy dean of research for the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing). 

The Boston Globe

Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert ’77 has been selected as one of The Boston Globe’s Tech Power Players 50 for his work in artificial intelligence and robotics, reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. Raibert recalls how his fascination with developing robot legs was cultivated at MIT. “I went to a presentation where someone showed a very slow-moving legged robot,” said Raibert. “I thought, wow, people and animals aren’t anything like that. ... People and animals have such fantastic locomotion. That was a thing to try to emulate and achieve.”

Mashable

MIT scientists have created a new tool that can improve robotic wearables, reports Danica D’Souza for Mashable. “The tool provides a pipeline for digital creating pneumatic actuators – devices that power motion with compressed air in many wearables and robotics,” writes D’Souza.

7 News

Robots constructed by 32 students competed in the annual 2.007 Robot Competition, which was held in person for the first time in three years, reports Lisa Gresci for 7 News. “The atmosphere is absolutely electric,” explains third year student Joshua Rohrbaugh. “It’s really amazing we can celebrate this kind of academic competition in this kind of way. It’s almost like a sporting event and that gets me hyped up.”

The Wall Street Journal

CSAIL researchers have developed a robotic arm equipped with a sensorized soft brush that can untangle hair, reports Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal. “The laboratory brush is outfitted with sensors that detect tension," writes Belkin. “That tension reads as pain and is used to determine whether to use long strokes or shorter ones.”

TechCrunch

CSAIL researchers have developed a robotic glove that utilizes pneumatic actuation to serve as an assistive wearable, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “Soft pneumatic actuators are intrinsically compliant and flexible, and combined with intelligent materials, have become the backbone of many robots and assistive technologies – and rapid fabrication with our design tool can hopefully increase ease and ubiquity,” says graduate student Yiyue Luo.

Wired

Graduate student Anna Waldman-Brown writes for Wired about the future of automation technology and how it can impact labor dynamics in the future. “While some scholars believe that our fates are predetermined by the technologies themselves, emerging evidence indicates that we may have considerable influence over how such machines are employed within our factories and offices – if we can only figure out how to wield this power,” writes Waldman-Brown.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a machine learning technique for proposing new molecules for drug discovery that ensures suggested molecules can be synthesized in a lab. Coldewey also features how MIT scientists created a new method aimed at teaching robots how to interact with everyday objects.

CNET

An MIT Media Lab team led by Ariel Ekblaw, director of the Space Exploration Initiative, has developed a robotic swarm of self-assembling robotic tiles that could be used for future in-orbit construction, reports Eric Mack for CNET. “If all goes well, MIT and [Ariel] Ekblaw hope that the technology will eventually be used for geodesic dome habitats beyond Earth, microgravity concert halls and space cathedrals,” writes Mack.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights new MIT robotics research, including a team of CSAIL researchers “working on a system that utilizes a robotic arm to help people get dressed.” Heater notes that the “issue is one of robotic vision — specifically finding a method to give the system a better view of the human arm it’s working to dress.”

CBS Boston

Chiamaka Agbasi-Porter, the K-12 STEM outreach coordinator for Lincoln Lab, speaks with CBS Boston about her mission to help inspire young people to pursue STEM interests through the Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE) program. “I think of it as a community,” said Agbasi-Porter, “we are a village that is helping our kids advance and move forward in their careers.”

Quanta Magazine

New research by Professor Erik Demaine, lecturer Zachary Abel, robotics engineer Martin Demaine and their colleagues explores whether it is possible to “take any polyhedral (or flat-sided) shape that’s finite (like a cube, rather than a sphere or the endless plane) and fold it flat using creases," writes Rachel Crowell for Quanta Magazine. “By moving finite to infinite ‘conceptual’ slices, they created a procedure that, taken to its mathematical extreme, produced the flattened object they were looking for,” Crowell explains.

Forbes

MIT researchers have developed reconfigurable, self-assembling robotic cubes embedded with electromagnets that allow the robots to easily change shape, reports John Koetsier for Forbes. “If each of those cubes can pivot with respect to their neighbors you can actually reconfigure your first 3D structure into any other arbitrary 3D structure,” explains graduate student Martin Nisser.

TechCrunch

CSAIL researchers have developed a new technique that could enable robots to handle squishy objects like pizza dough, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch.  “The system is separated into a two-step process, in which the robot must first determine the task and then execute it using a tool like a rolling pin,” writes Heater. “The system, DiffSkill, involves teaching robots complex tasks in simulations.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Michael Blanding spotlights Prof. Hugh Herr’s work with Dr. Matthew Carty in developing a new amputation surgery called agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI) procedure, which reconnects muscles to amplify electrical signals sent along the nerves. “My dream as a scientist is that a person with an arm amputation could play a Beethoven piece at normal speeds and dexterity – and for legs, that a person could dance ballet,” says Herr.