I have a vague memory of an exercise in elementary school in which, among other contrivances, the students smeared Vaseline on a pair of non-prescription glasses in order to simulate the effects of old age. As good as that science was, some researchers over at MIT created an impressive full-body aging simulation, complete with bungees (to bend the body and make everyday tasks more difficult) and a jumpsuit (because old people like jumpsuits (I think)).
The great MIT Mood Meter claims to know all your hopes, dreams and fears. Well, perhaps not. But it can count the number of smiles in a given area, giving some kind of indicator of mood expression.
The Mood Meter came about when a team of researchers at the place from whence all awesome things come, MIT's Media Lab, hooked up a camera and screen (or projector) to some nifty facial recognition algorithms that can spot faces and smiles in real time. And, after assuring campus security that they wouldn't be recording any images, they placed the installations in four different locations across MIT's campus.
The perceived future of driving tends to revolve around a networked traffic infrastructure in which cars, traffic signals, and other roadway implements talk to each other electronically to optimize traffic flow and make driving more efficient all around. But MIT researchers think we can do many of these things on an existing network: the one that ties all of our smartphones together. A network of camera-equipped mobile devices mounted on dashboards could crowd source information about traffic signals and tell drivers what speed to maintain to avoid waiting at traffic lights.
Two MIT researchers have cracked some fundamental problems with high resolution 3-D imaging using a novel gelatinous interface and computer-vision algorithms that, in tandem, can easily and portably provide imaging resolutions that were previously only possible with large and expensive laboratory gear. The resulting high-quality, 3-D models can be manipulated on a computer screen to a variety of ends ranging from quality control to criminal forensics to dermatology.
MIT engineers have a reputation for applying their vast intellectual resources and physical energies toward solving some of mankind's greatest challenges. And it's fair to say this morning that at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, researchers have lived up to that expectation.
Call it a silent killer: some 6 percent of the U.S. population has some kind of voice disorder, most of those resulting from scarring of the vocal cords that can lead to diminishing or even total loss of the ability to speak. Giving voice to the voiceless, a team of Harvard and MIT researchers have developed a synthetic, injectable material that can be implanted into scarred vocal cords to restore their function.
Someday, our cars will all be connected to each other, sharing traffic information, connecting us into "road trains," and swapping position info so that collisions become a thing of the un-wired past. But even if new cars came equipped with such networking tools tomorrow--and they won't--it would be decades before every car on the road was wired into the system.
Is there anything you and I can do that Willow Garage’s PR2 can’t do more adorably? PR2 is now learning how to bake chocolate chip cookies from scratch courtesy of MIT. Swathed in a smock to keep it from getting itself messy--the table was not so lucky--PR2 demonstrates an ability to properly combine ingredients and mix them up in the video below.
Back in 2009, we wrote about a little robotic dashboard companion called AIDA (for Affective Intelligent Driving Agent), an MIT creation that essentially read a driver's facial expressions to gauge mood and inferred route and destination preferences through social interaction with the driver.