Category Archives: Science & Technology

Mass timber: Thinking big about sustainable construction

>>MIT class designs a prototype building to demonstrate that even huge buildings can be built primarily with wood The construction and operation of all kinds of buildings uses vast amounts of energy and natural resources. Researchers around the world have therefore been seeking ways to

How Africans developed scientific knowledge of the deadly tsetse fly

>>New book by MIT Associate Professor Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga explores science in action in Africa Few animals are more problematic than the tiny African insect known to English speakers as the tsetse fly. This is the carrier of “sleeping sickness,” an often deadly neurological illness

Cell-sized robots can sense their environment

>>Made of electronic circuits coupled to minute particles, the devices could flow through intestines or pipelines to detect problems Researchers at MIT have created what may be the smallest robots yet that can sense their environment, store data, and even carry out computational tasks. These

Doctors rely on more than just data for medical decision making

>>Computer scientists find that physicians’ “gut feelings” influence how many tests they order for patients Many technology companies are working on artificial intelligence systems that can analyze medical data to help diagnose or treat health problems. Such systems raise the question of whether this kind

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