Category Archives: Science & Technology

Reading a neural network’s mind

>>Technique illuminates the inner workings of artificial-intelligence systems that process language Neural networks, which learn to perform computational tasks by analyzing huge sets of training data, have been responsible for the most impressive recent advances in artificial intelligence, including speech-recognition and automatic-translation systems. During training,

Device makes power conversion more efficient

>>New design could dramatically cut energy waste in electric vehicles, data centers, and the power grid    Power electronics, which do things like modify voltages or convert between direct and alternating current, are everywhere. They’re in the power bricks we use to charge our portable

Device makes power conversion more efficient

New design could dramatically cut energy waste in electric vehicles, data centers, and the power grid BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Power electronics, which do things like modify voltages or convert between direct and alternating current, are everywhere. They’re in the power bricks

New 3-D printer is 10 times faster than commercial counterparts

New design may open new opportunities for 3-D-printing technology BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — MIT engineers have developed a new desktop 3-D printer that performs up to 10 times faster than existing commercial counterparts. Whereas the most common printers may fabricate a few

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

Pocket-sized device detects charged particles in surrounding air BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — At any given moment, the Earth’s atmosphere is showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic

Researchers develop flexible, stretchable photonic devices

>>Light-based devices could be used as biomedical sensors or as flexible connectors for electronics. Researchers at MIT and several other institutions have developed a method for making photonic devices — similar to electronic devices but based on light rather than electricity — that can bend

A new way to mix oil and water

>>Condensation-based method developed at MIT could create stable nanoscale emulsions. The reluctance of oil and water to mix together and stay that way is so well-known that it has become a cliché for describing any two things that do not go together well. Now, a

3-D-printed device builds better nanofibers

Printed nozzle system could make uniform, versatile fibers at much lower cost BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Meshes made from fibers with nanometer-scale diameters have a wide range of potential applications, including tissue engineering, water filtration, solar cells, and even body armor. But

Researchers bring optical communication onto silicon chips

Ultrathin films of a semiconductor that emits and detects light can be stacked on top of silicon wafers BY HELEN KNIGHT, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The huge increase in computing performance in recent decades has been achieved by squeezing ever more transistors into a

Toward efficient high-pressure desalination

>>Surprisingly, pressurization isn’t to blame for fouling of membranes, study finds. BY DAVID L. CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The desalination industry, a critical source of potable water in many arid regions, generated more than $13 billion last year and is expected to double