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Robotics

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CBC News

Prof. Fadel Adib speaks with CBC Radio about his lab’s work developing a wireless, battery-free underwater camera that runs on sound waves. "We want to be able to use them to monitor, for example, underwater currents, because these are highly related to what impacts the climate," says Adib. "Or even underwater corals, seeing how they are being impacted by climate change and how potentially intervention to mitigate climate change is helping them recover."

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Alex Wilkins writes that MIT researchers have developed a robotic pill that can propel itself through mucus in the intestines and could enable some injection-only medications to be taken orally. “The pill is 2.5-centimeters long and 1-centimeter wide – about the size of a large multivitamin ­– and encased in a gelatin capsule that dissolves in stomach acid,” writes Wilkins. “The pH in the lower intestine activates the motor, which is powered by a small battery.”

Newsweek

Hasier Larrea MS ’15 - CEO of Ori, a company that creates expandable tiny apartments - writes for Newsweek about his journey and inspiration for developing expandable housing options. Larrea writes that Ori is focused on creating, “expandable urban apartments that are more flexible, functional, affordable and sustainable—in short, living spaces that can suit the amazing diversity of people who want to live in the world's most incredible cities.”

Politico

Prof. Cynthia Breazeal discusses her work exploring how artificial intelligence can help students impacted by Covid, including refugees or children with disabilities, reports Ryan Heath for Politico. “We want to be super clear on what the role is of the robot versus the community, of which this robot is a part of. That's part of the ethical design thinking,” says Breazeal. “We don't want to have the robot overstep its responsibilities. All of our data that we collect is protected and encrypted.”

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.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elissaveta Brandon writes that a team of scientists from MIT and elsewhere have developed an amphibious artificial vision system inspired by the fiddler crab’s compound eye, which has an almost 360-degree field of view and can see on both land and water. “When translated into a machine,” writes Brandon, “this could mean more versatile cameras for self-driving cars and drones, both of which can become untrustworthy in the rain.”

Popular Mechanics

The MIT mini cheetah broke a speed record after learning to adapt to difficult terrain and upping its speed, reports Rienk De Beer for Popular Mechanics.

Forbes

MIT researchers have developed a new system that enabled the mini robotic cheetah to learn to run, reports John Koetsier for Forbes. ““Traditionally, the process that people have been using [to train robots] requires you to study the actual system and manually design models,” explains Prof. Pulkit Agrawal. “This process is good, it’s well established, but it’s not very scalable. “But we are removing the human from designing the specific behaviors.”

Fast Company

Ariel Ekblaw, director of the Space Exploration Initiative and founder of the Aurelia Institute, speaks with Fast Company reporter Rachael Zisk about accessibility needs for human spaceflight and the next generation of space stations. “The goal of democratizing access to space is to allow more people around the world to see themselves in that future,” says Ekblaw. 

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed FuseBot, a new system that combines RFID tagging with a robotic arm to retrieve hidden objects from a pile, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “As long as some objects within the pile are tagged, the system can determine where its subject is most likely located and the most efficient way to retrieve it,” writes Heater.

New Scientist

CSAIL graduate student Yunzhu Li and his colleagues have trained a robot to use two metal grippers to mold letters out of play dough, reports Jeremy Hsu for New Scientist. "Li and his colleagues trained a robot to use two metal grippers to mould the approximate shapes of the letters B, R, T, X and A out of Play-Doh," explains Hsu. "The training involved just 10 minutes of randomly manipulating a block of the modelling clay beforehand, without requiring any human demonstrations."

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.”

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).