Friday’s space shuttle launch will be much more than the final hurrah for the shuttle Endeavour. Riding in its cargo bay is a massive and controversial physics experiment that could help answer some of the most confounding mysteries in science. With the delivery of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space shuttle’s penultimate mission could turn out to be one of its greatest achievements.
Teams of viruses can help build better solar panels by ensuring nanoscale components behave properly, according to a new study. MIT researchers say their virus-assisted breakthrough could improve solar panels’ energy conversion efficiency by one-third.
Clean drinking water is arguably the most basic human necessity, yet in developing countries it’s a rare and precious resource — nearly 900 million people worldwide live without it, according to the World Health Organization. One MIT researcher has a solution: Drink the fog.
The need for more consistent cell reception has led to some major, expensive efforts from wireless carriers--they might spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a new 4G network, or billions to acquire a competing carrier.
MIT's Robust Robotics Group seems to be as thrilled with the Kinect and the hacking possibilities that emanate therefrom as we are. They've attached a Kinect to a quadrocopter, which enables completely autonomous 3-D mapping and flight--even the processing is done on board.
A practical artificial leaf that can turn sunlight and water into energy as efficiently as the real thing has long been a Holy Grail of chemistry, and researchers at MIT may have finally done it. Today at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society researchers from MIT’s Nocera Lab, led by Dr. Daniel Nocera, claimed that they’ve created an artificial leaf made from stable and--more importantly--inexpensive materials.
As far as things that come out of the MIT Media Lab are concerned, perhaps a flute is among the less impressive. But take into account that the entire fully-functioning acoustic instrument was created via 3-D printer with a minimum of human assembly, and it sounds markedly more impressive.
The Kinect's more official uses, namely its games, have pretty much avoided tracking of individual fingers in favor of full-body tracking. That's fine for traditional motion games of the sort pioneered by the Nintendo Wii, but the Kinect has potential far beyond ping-pong and dancing games--and a lot of that future depends on finger tracking for more delicate controls. Luckily, MIT's Robot Locomotion Group and Learning Intelligent Systems teams took it upon themselves to show that the Kinect can absolutely recognize ten fingers and some relatively minute gestures.
Call it science imitating art imitating life. Arizona State researchers are working up a self-diagnosing, self-healing material that can sense the presence of damage and regenerate itself -- just like the Terminator. Like a biological structure, this “autonomous adaptive structure” could be used to develop useable composites that are self-healing, halting the progression of cracks or damage and regenerating material wherever needed to re-strengthen the structure.
To most of us, seeing what’s around the corner before rounding the bend is known as premonition. For students and professors at MIT’s Media Lab, it’s called physics. The lab is working on a laser-based camera that can snap images around corners, imaging scenery that is beyond direct line of sight.