Category Archives: Science & Technology

Comparing primate vocalizations

>>Study shows Old World monkeys combine items in speech — but only two and never more, unlike humans By Peter Dizikes The utterances of Old World monkeys, some of our primate cousins, may be more sophisticated than previously realized — but even so, they display

A comprehensive catalogue of human digestive tract bacteria

>>Researchers identify nearly 8,000 strains of bacteria, while also clarifying their genetic and metabolic context By Anne Trafton The human digestive tract is home to thousands of different strains of bacteria. Many of these are beneficial, while others contribute to health problems such as inflammatory

Robotic thread is designed to slip through the brain’s blood vessels

>>Magnetically controlled device could deliver clot-reducing therapies in response to stroke or other brain blockages By Jennifer Chu MIT engineers have developed a magnetically steerable, thread-like robot that can actively glide through narrow, winding pathways, such as the labrynthine vasculature of the brain. In the

New science blooms after star researchers die, study finds

>>Deaths of prominent life scientists tend to be followed by a surge in highly cited research by newcomers By Peter Dizikes The famed quantum physicist Max Planck had an idiosyncratic view about what spurred scientific progress: death. That is, Planck thought, new concepts generally take

MIT’s fleet of autonomous boats can now shapeshift

>>New capabilities allow “roboats” to change configurations to form pop-up bridges, stages, and other structures By Rob Matheson MIT’s fleet of robotic boats has been updated with new capabilities to “shapeshift,” by autonomously disconnecting and reassembling into a variety of configurations, to form floating structures in

Study links certain metabolites to stem cell function in the intestine

>>Molecules called ketone bodies may improve stem cells’ ability to regenerate new intestinal tissue By Anne Trafton MIT biologists have discovered an unexpected effect of a ketogenic, or fat-rich, diet: They showed that high levels of ketone bodies, molecules produced by the breakdown of fat,

A battery-free sensor for underwater exploration

>>Submerged system uses the vibration of “piezoelectric” materials to generate power and send and receive data By Rob Matheson To investigate the vastly unexplored oceans covering most our planet, researchers aim to build a submerged network of interconnected sensors that send data to the surface

Using Wall Street secrets to reduce the cost of cloud infrastructure

>>“Risk-aware” traffic engineering could help service providers such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google better utilize network infrastructure By Rob Matheson Stock market investors often rely on financial risk theories that help them maximize returns while minimizing financial loss due to market fluctuations. These theories help

Tissue model reveals role of blood-brain barrier in Alzheimer’s

>>Study finds that Alzheimer’s damage allows toxins to enter the brain, further harming neurons By Anne Trafton Beta-amyloid plaques, the protein aggregates that form in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, disrupt many brain functions and can kill neurons. They can also damage the blood-brain barrier

Using recent gene flow to define microbe populations

>>New method identifies ecologically and medically relevant bacteria groups By Becky Ham Identifying species among plants and animals has been a full-time occupation for some biologists, but the task is even more daunting for the myriad microbes that inhabit the planet. Now, MIT researchers have