Category Archives: Science & Technology

Artificial-intelligence system surfs web to improve its performance

“Information extraction” system helps turn plain text into data for statistical analysis by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Of the vast wealth of information unlocked by the Internet, most is plain text. The data necessary to answer myriad questions — about, say, the

A new twist on airplane wing design

“Morphing” wing could enable more efficient plane manufacturing and flight by David L Chandler, MIT News Office CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — When the Wright brothers accomplished their first powered flight more than a century ago, they controlled the motion of their Flyer 1 aircraft using wires and

Making computers explain themselves

New training technique would reveal the basis for machine-learning systems’ decisions by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In recent years, the best-performing systems in artificial-intelligence research have come courtesy of neural networks, which look for patterns in training data that yield useful predictions

Mapping serotonin dynamics in the living brain

Imaging technique that creates 3-D video of serotonin transport could aid antidepressant development by Rob Matheson, MIT News CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s partly responsible for feelings of happiness and for mood regulation in humans. This makes it a common target for antidepressants,

A new player in appetite control

Brain cells that provide structural support also influence feeding behavior, study shows by Anne Trafton, MIT News CAMBRIDGE, MA – MIT neuroscientists have discovered that brain cells called glial cells play a critical role in controlling appetite and feeding behavior. In a study of mice,

To produce biopharmaceuticals on demand, just add water

 Freeze-dried cellular components can be rehydrated to churn out useful proteins. by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office CAMBRIDGE, MA — Researchers at MIT and other institutions have created tiny freeze-dried pellets that include all of the molecular machinery needed to translate DNA into proteins, which

Water vapor sets some oxides aflutter

Newly discovered phenomenon could affect materials in batteries and water-splitting devices by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — When one type of an oxide structure called perovskite is exposed to both water vapor and streams of electrons, it exhibits behavior that researchers

Beaver-inspired wetsuits in the works

By Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office Rubbery hair-lined wetsuits may help keep surfers warm CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Beavers and sea otters lack the thick layer of blubber that insulates walruses and whales. And yet these small, semiaquatic mammals can keep warm and even dry while diving,

Manufacturing microspheres

Technique mass-produces uniform, encapsulated particles for pharmaceuticals, many other uses Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Microencapsulation, in which a tiny particle of one material is encased within a shell made from another, is widely used in pharmaceuticals manufacturing and holds promise for other

New kind of supercapacitor made without carbon

Energy storage device could produce more power than current versions of this technology By David L. Chandler, MIT News Office CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Energy storage devices called supercapacitors have become a hot area of research, in part because they can be charged rapidly and deliver