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Marketplace

David Zipper, a senior fellow at the MIT Mobility Initiative, speaks with Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace about how cars in the U.S. are getting heavier and larger, and the environmental and safety costs associated with larger vehicles. “For decades, people who buy enormous, very heavy cars have been creating societal costs that they aren’t paying for. That’s what’s called a market failure,” said Zipper. “So if you want the market for automobiles to succeed, we need to make sure that when people are shopping for their next car, they are considering the societal costs of their purchase.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Harvard Prof. Edward L. Glaeser make the case that “the Bay Area needs a lot more housing, and we may need privately built cities to get there.” Ratti and Glaeser note, “building in the Bay Area will enable America to continue its history of allowing people to relocate to more productive places.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Mitchel Resnick explores how a new coding app developed by researchers from the Lifelong Kindergarten group is aimed at allowing young people to use mobile phones to create interactive stories, games and animations. Resnick makes the case that with “appropriate apps and support, mobile phones can provide opportunities for young people to imagine, create, and share projects.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, MIT Prof. Carlo Ratti and Harvard Prof. Antoine Picon examine AI and the future of cities, noting that their research has shown “once trained, visual AI is shockingly accurate at predicting property values, crime rates, and even public health outcomes — just by analyzing photos.” They add: “Tireless, penetrating artificial eyes are coming to our streets, promising to show us things we have never seen before. They will be incredible tools to guide us — but only if we keep our own eyes open.”

WBUR

WBUR’s Lloyd Schwartz spotlights Prof. Tod Machover’s revival of “VALIS” at MIT, staged by Prof. Jay Scheib. “The score is an inventive and often hauntingly beautiful arrangement of synthesizer, live instruments, and electronically expanded instruments,” writes Schwartz, “which Machover calls ‘hyper-instruments,’ a compelling amalgamation of minimalism, medieval, Wagner and rock.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Carlo Ratti emphasizes that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic “urban areas need to fundamentally reweave their fabric to thrive in the era of flexible work: That means ending homogeneous zoning, promoting mixed-use developments, converting some offices into housing, and giving more space to arts and culture. We should recognize that the fundamental attraction of urban areas is the pleasure they provide to their residents — and that the affordability of housing needs to be seriously tackled.”

The Conversation

Writing for The Conversation, postdoc Ziv Epstein SM ’19, PhD ’23, graduate student Robert Mahari and Jessica Fjeld of Harvard Law School explore how the use of generative AI will impact creative work. “The ways in which existing laws are interpreted or reformed – and whether generative AI is appropriately treated as the tool it is – will have real consequences for the future of creative expression,” the authors note.  

The New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Harvard Prof. Edward Glaeser emphasize that in order to, “create a city vibrant enough to compete with the convenience of the internet, we need to end the era of single-use zoning and create mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods that bring libraries, offices, movie theaters, grocery stores, schools, parks, restaurants and bars closer together. We must reconfigure the city into an experience worth leaving the house for.”

Fast Company

MIT researchers have developed a low-cost air quality sensor that can be 3-D printed using open-source instructions and used by people around the world, reports Kristin Toussaint for Fast Company. “The reason we started this project was because we wanted to democratize environmental data,” explains research scientist Simone Mora. “We’re not just opening the data we’ve collected so far, but we hope to funnel a huge development in terms of sensors deployed in the streets, and in turn [make] the data collected available to everyone.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Robert Muggah of the SecDev Group explore the pushback against 15-minute cities and how the concept behind creating more accessible neighborhoods could “facilitate the meaningful and sustained in-person connections that the internet cannot.” They note that "the concept could be the solution to bridging our divides. By creating more open, integrated, and healthy neighborhoods, it is possible to restore the in-person connections that are an antidote to polarization.”

WHDH 7

MIT researchers have created a new headset, called X-AR, that can help users find hidden or lost items by sending a wireless signal to any item that has a designated tag on it, reports WHDH. The augmented reality headset “allows them to see things that are otherwise not visible to the human eye,” explains Prof. Fadel Adib. “It visualizes items for people and then it guides them towards items.” 

Boston.com

Boston.com reporter Ross Cristantiello writes that MIT researchers have developed a new augmented reality headset that combines computer vision and wireless perception to allow users to track and find objects hidden from view. “The system relies on radio frequency signals that can pass through everyday materials like cardboard, plastic, and wood,” Cristantiello explains.

The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Michael Andor Brodeur spotlights Prof. Tod Machover’s work exploring the concepts and techniques needed to advance the future of music, including using AI to help “exponentially increase access to music and creative tools for making it.” Machover explains that to him “pieces of music aren’t just pieces of sound. They’re because some human being thought something was important to communicate and express.”

Vox

Vox reporter Kelsey Piper writes that a new report by Prof. Kevin Esvelt provides a roadmap for how to prepare for the next pandemic. In the report, Esvelt emphasizes that: “We’re not helpless, whether against nature or malign actions by human beings. We do have to invest in actually being prepared, but if we’re prepared, we could weather even a worst-case scenario: a deliberate release of a human-made virus engineered to be both extra deadly and extra contagious.”

Madame Architect

Prof. Mary Anne Ocampo speaks with Madame Architect reporter Gail Kutac about what inspired her passion for architecture and urban planning, and her advice for new designers. “The impact I would like to have in this world is creating strong collaborations that promote inclusive and resilient design visions,” says Ocampo. “To me, there’s this combination of understanding design as a process, and design as a commitment that helps us to recognize the ways we value our environment and people.”