Category Archives: Science & Technology

Study finds climate determines shapes of river basins

>>Results may help identify ancient climates on Earth or other planets There are more than 1 million river basins carved into the topography of the United States, each collecting rainwater to feed the rivers that cut through them. Some basins are as small as individual

X-ray data may be first evidence of a star devouring a planet

>>New data may explain star’s mysterious dimming For nearly a century, astronomers have puzzled over the curious variability of young stars residing in the Taurus-Auriga constellation some 450 light years from Earth. One star in particular has drawn astronomers’ attention. Every few decades, the star’s

Could gravitational waves reveal how fast our universe is expanding?

>>Signals from rare black hole-neutron star pairs could pinpoint rate at which universe is growing, researchers say Since it first exploded into existence 13.8 billion years ago, the universe has been expanding, dragging along with it hundreds of billions of galaxies and stars, much like

“Blind” Cheetah 3 robot can climb stairs littered with obstacles

>>Improved design may be used for exploring disaster zones and other dangerous or inaccessible environments. MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot can now leap and gallop across rough terrain, climb a staircase littered with debris, and quickly recover its balance when suddenly yanked or shoved, all while

Low-cost prosthetic foot mimics natural walking

>>New design can be tuned to an individual’s body weight and size Prosthetic limb technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, giving amputees a range of bionic options, including artificial knees controlled by microchips, sensor-laden feet driven by artificial intelligence, and robotic hands that a

Researchers decode molecule that gives living tissues their flexibility

>>Study reveals atomic structure of tropoelastin, showing what goes wrong in some diseases The stretchiness that allows living tissues to expand, contract, stretch, and bend throughout a lifetime is the result of a protein molecule called tropoelastin. Remarkably, this molecule can be stretched to eight

Nearly 80 exoplanet candidates identified in record time

>>Search considered successful “dress rehearsal” for exoplanet hunter TESS Scientists at MIT and elsewhere have analyzed data from K2, the follow-up mission to NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, and have discovered a trove of possible exoplanets amid some 50,000 stars. In a paper that appears online

Magnetic 3-D-printed structures crawl, roll, jump, and play catch

>>New printing technique could be used to develop remotely controlled biomedical devices MIT engineers have created soft, 3-D-printed structures whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The menagerie of structures that can be magnetically manipulated

Chip upgrade helps miniature drones navigate

>>Low-power design will allow devices as small as a honeybee to determine their location while flying Researchers at MIT, who last year designed a tiny computer chip tailored to help honeybee-sized drones navigate, have now shrunk their chip design even further, in both size and power consumption.

Faster analysis of medical images

>>Algorithm makes the process of comparing 3-D scans up to 1,000 times faster Medical image registration is a common technique that involves overlaying two images, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, to compare and analyze anatomical differences in great detail. If a patient has