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Removing health-care barriers and boundaries

MIT’s Amar Gupta and his wife Poonam were on a trip to Los Angeles in 2016 when she fell and broke both wrists. She was whisked by ambulance to a reputable hospital. But staff informed the couple that they couldn’t treat her there, nor could they find another local hospital that would do so. In the end, the couple was forced to take the hospital’s stunning advice: return to Boston for treatment.

MIT engineering students team up with Georgetown lawyers-in-training on internet privacy legislation

Every spring, engineering students from MIT and law students from Georgetown University overcome the distance between their institutions and disciplines in a semester-long flurry of virtual classroom meetings and late-night Google hangout sessions, culminating in presentations to policy experts in DC.

Articles

3Q: D. Fox Harrell on his video game for the #MeToo era

The Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has released a new video game called Grayscale, which is designed to sensitize players to problems of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault in the workplace.

Goldwasser, Micali, and Rivest win BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards

This week it was announced that MIT professors and CSAIL principal investigators Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali, Ronald Rivest, and former MIT professor Adi Shamir won this year’s BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards in the Information and Communication Technologies category for their work in cryptography.

Chasing complexity

In his junior year of high school, Ryan Williams transferred from the public school near his hometown of Somerville, Alabama — “essentially a courthouse and a couple gas stations,” as he describes it — to the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile.

Teleoperating robots with virtual reality

Certain industries have traditionally not had the luxury of telecommuting. Many manufacturing jobs, for example, require a physical presence to operate machinery. But what if such jobs could be done remotely? Last week researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) presented a virtual reality (VR) system that lets you teleoperate a robot using an Oculus Rift headset.

An algorithm for your blind spot

Light lets us see the things that surround us, but what if we could also use it to see things hidden around corners? It sounds like science fiction, but that’s the idea behind a new algorithm out of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) — and its discovery has implications for everything from emergency response to self-driving cars.

Videos

MIT engineering students team up with Georgetown lawyers-in-training on internet privacy legislation

Every spring, engineering students from MIT and law students from Georgetown University overcome the distance between their institutions and disciplines in a semester-long flurry of virtual classroom meetings and late-night Google hangout sessions, culminating in presentations to policy experts in DC.

Custom robots in a matter of minutes

Even as robots become increasingly common, they remain incredibly difficult to make. From designing and modeling to fabricating and testing, the process is slow and costly: Even one small change can mean days or weeks of rethinking and revising important hardware. But what if there were a way to let non-experts craft different robotic designs — in one sitting?

High-quality online video with less rebuffering

We’ve all experienced two hugely frustrating things on YouTube: our video either suddenly gets pixelated, or it stops entirely to rebuffer. Both happen because of special algorithms that break videos into small chunks that load as you go. If your internet is slow, YouTube might make the next few seconds of video lower resolution to make sure you can still watch uninterrupted — hence, the pixelation. If you try to skip ahead to a part of the video that hasn’t loaded yet, your video has to stall in order to buffer that part.

Designing the microstructure of printed objects

Today’s 3-D printers have a resolution of 600 dots per inch, which means that they could pack a billion tiny cubes of different materials into a volume that measures just 1.67 cubic inches. Such precise control of printed objects’ microstructure gives designers commensurate control of the objects’ physical properties — such as their density or strength, or the way they deform when subjected to stresses. But evaluating the physical effects of every possible combination of even just two materials, for an object consisting of tens of billions of cubes, would be prohibitively time consuming.

Somersaulting simulation for jumping bots

In recent years engineers have been developing new technologies to enable robots and humans to move faster and jump higher. Soft, elastic materials store energy in these devices, which, if released carefully, enable elegant dynamic motions. Robots leap over obstacles and prosthetics empower sprinting. A fundamental challenge remains in developing these technologies. Scientists spend long hours building and testing prototypes that can reliably move in specific ways so that, for example, a robot lands right-side up upon landing a jump.

Reshaping computer-aided design

Almost every object we use is developed with computer-aided design (CAD). Ironically, while CAD programs are good for creating designs, using them is actually very difficult and time-consuming if you’re trying to improve an existing design to make the most optimal product.

Drones that drive

Being able to both walk and take flight is typical in nature — many birds, insects, and other animals can do both. If we could program robots with similar versatility, it would open up many possibilities: Imagine machines that could fly into construction areas or disaster zones that aren’t near roads and then squeeze through tight spaces on the ground to transport objects or rescue people.

Talks