Robo-picker grasps and packs

Robo-picker grasps and packs

“New robotic system could lend a hand with warehouse sorting and other picking or clearing tasks. Unpacking groceries is a straightforward albeit tedious task: You reach into a bag, feel around for an item, and pull it out. A quick glance will tell you what the item is and where it should be stored. Now engineers from MIT and Princeton …

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System draws power from daily temperature swings

System draws power from daily temperature swings

“Technology developed at MIT can harness temperature fluctuations of many kinds to produce electricity. Thermoelectric devices, which can generate power when one side of the device is a different temperature from the other, have been the subject of much research in recent years. Now, a team at MIT has come up with a novel way to convert temperature fluctuations into …

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Neural networks everywhere

Neural networks everywhere

“New chip reduces neural networks’ power consumption by up to 95 percent, making them practical for battery-powered devices. Most recent advances in artificial-intelligence systems such as speech- or face-recognition programs have come courtesy of neural networks, densely interconnected meshes of simple information processors that learn to perform tasks by analyzing huge sets of training data. But neural nets are large …

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Physicists create new form of light

Physicists create new form of light

“Newly observed optical state could enable quantum computing with photons. Try a quick experiment: Take two flashlights into a dark room and shine them so that their light beams cross. Notice anything peculiar? The rather anticlimactic answer is, probably not. That’s because the individual photons that make up light do not interact. Instead, they simply pass each other by …

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Energy-efficient encryption for the internet of things

Energy-efficient encryption for the internet of things

“Special-purpose chip reduces power consumption of public-key encryption by 99.75 percent, increases speed 500-fold. Most sensitive web transactions are protected by public-key cryptography, a type of encryption that lets computers share information securely without first agreeing on a secret encryption key. Public-key encryption protocols are complicated, and in computer networks, they’re executed by software. But that won’t …

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Programming drones to fly in the face of uncertainty

Programming drones to fly in the face of uncertainty

“CSAIL’s NanoMap system enables drones to avoid obstacles while flying at 20 miles per hour, by more deeply integrating sensing and control. Companies like Amazon have big ideas for drones that can deliver packages right to your door. But even putting aside the policy issues, programming drones to fly through cluttered spaces like cities is difficult. Being able to …

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Automating materials design

Automating materials design

“For decades, materials scientists have taken inspiration from the natural world. They’ll identify a biological material that has some desirable trait — such as the toughness of bones or conch shells — and reverse-engineer it. Then, once they’ve determined the material’s “microstructure,” they’ll try to approximate it in human-made materials. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial …

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Modeling the universe

Modeling the universe

“MIT’s Mark Vogelsberger and an international astrophysics team have created a new model pointing to black holes’ role in galaxy formation. A supercomputer simulation of the universe has produced new insights into how black holes influence the distribution of dark matter, how heavy elements are produced and distributed throughout the cosmos, and where magnetic fields originate. Astrophysicists from MIT …

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Startup makes labs smarter

Startup makes labs smarter

“Platform connects individual pieces of lab equipment, compiles data in the cloud for speedier, more accurate research. Although Internet-connected “smart” devices have in recent years penetrated numerous industries and private homes, the technological phenomenon has left the research lab largely untouched. Spreadsheets, individual software programs, and even pens and paper remain standard tools for recording and sharing data in academic …

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A new approach to rechargeable batteries

A new approach to rechargeable batteries

“New metal-mesh membrane could solve longstanding problems and lead to inexpensive power storage. A type of battery first invented nearly five decades ago could catapult to the forefront of energy storage technologies, thanks to a new finding by researchers at MIT. The battery, based on electrodes made of sodium and nickel chloride and using a new type of metal mesh …

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