Category Archives: Science & Technology

Albatross robot takes flight

>>Autonomous glider can fly like an albatross, cruise like a sailboat MIT engineers have designed a robotic glider that can skim along the water’s surface, riding the wind like an albatross while also surfing the waves like a sailboat. In regions of high wind, the

Researchers develop virtual-reality testing ground for drones

>>With new system, drones navigate through an empty room, avoiding crashes while “seeing” a virtual world Training drones to fly fast, around even the simplest obstacles, is a crash-prone exercise that can have engineers repairing or replacing vehicles with frustrating regularity. Now MIT engineers have

Plug-and-play diagnostic devices

>>Modular blocks could enable labs around the world to cheaply and easily build their own diagnostics. Researchers at MIT’s Little Devices Lab have developed a set of modular blocks that can be put together in different ways to produce diagnostic devices. These “plug-and-play” devices, which require little

Protecting confidentiality in genomic studies

>>Cryptographic system could enable “crowdsourced” genomics, with volunteers contributing information to privacy-protected databases. Genome-wide association studies, which look for links between particular genetic variants and incidence of disease, are the basis of much modern biomedical research. But databases of genomic information pose privacy risks. From

Untangling DNA knots

Chemical engineers discover how to control knots that form in DNA molecules CAMBRIDGE, MA — Just like any long polymer chain, DNA tends to form knots. Using technology that allows them to stretch DNA molecules and image the behavior of these knots, MIT researchers have

For nuclear weapons reduction, a way to verify without revealing

>>New isotope-detection method could prove compliance but avoid divulging secrets In past negotiations aimed at reducing the arsenals of the world’s nuclear superpowers, chiefly the U.S. and Russia, a major sticking point has been the verification process: How do you prove that real bombs and

Integrating optical components into existing chip designs

>>Technique would allow addition of optical communication components to existing chips with little modification of their designs Two and a half years ago, a team of researchers led by groups at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and Boston University announced a milestone: the fabrication

A graphene roll-out

>>Scalable manufacturing process spools out strips of graphene for use in ultrathin membranes MIT engineers have developed a continuous manufacturing process that produces long strips of high-quality graphene. The team’s results are the first demonstration of an industrial, scalable method for manufacturing high-quality graphene that

Carbon taxes can be both fair and effective, study shows

>>Several different carbon-pricing approaches would help reduce emissions, and some would be fair as well, researchers report Putting a price on carbon, in the form of a fee or tax on the use of fossil fuels, coupled with returning the generated revenue to the public

Self-healing metal oxides could protect against corrosion

>>Researchers find an ultrathin layer of aluminum oxide, though solid, can flow like a liquid instead of cracking. Researchers have found that a solid oxide protective coating for metals can, when applied in sufficiently thin layers, deform as if it were a liquid, filling any