Category Archives: Science & Technology

New invention can draw 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

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

Back-and-forth exchanges boost children’s brain response to language

>>Study finds engaging young children in conversation is more important for brain development than “dumping words” on them. A landmark 1995 study found that children from higher-income families hear about 30 million more words during their first three years of life than children from lower-income

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

Cities of the future may be built with locally available volcanic ash

>>Study finds adding volcanic ash reduces the overall energy required to manufacture concrete MIT engineers working with scientists in Kuwait have found that volcanic rocks, when pulverized into a fine ash, can be used as a sustainable additive in concrete structures. In a paper published

Hairy tongues help bats drink up

>>New model predicts how hairs on a bat’s tongue draw up nectar Animals have evolved all manner of adaptations to get the nutrients they need. For nectar-feeding bats, long snouts and tongues let them dip in and out of flowers while hovering in mid-air. To

Microfluidics from LEGO bricks

>>MIT engineers make microfluidics modular using the popular interlocking blocks MIT engineers have just introduced an element of fun into microfluidics. The field of microfluidics involves minute devices that precisely manipulate fluids at  submillimeter scales. Such devices typically take the form of flat, two-dimensional chips,

Engineers design artificial synapse for “brain-on-a-chip” hardware

>>Design is major stepping stone toward portable artificial-intelligence devices  When it comes to processing power, the human brain just can’t be beat. Packed within the squishy, football-sized organ are somewhere around 100 billion neurons. At any given moment, a single neuron can relay instructions to

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 and other institutions. The