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MIT News

A team of researchers from Professor Daniela Rus’ Distributed Robotics Lab has developed a new type of self-assembling, jumping, flying rolling, modular robot called M-Blocks. The robots, “are cubes with no external moving parts. Nonetheless, they’re able to climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground, and even move while suspended upside down from metallic surfaces,” wrote Larry Hardesty for the MIT News Office.

Professor John Leonard and his colleagues at the National University of Ireland (NUI) at Maynooth have developed a new mapping algorithm that creates highly-detailed 3-D maps.
“The technique solves a major problem in the robotic mapping community that’s known as either “loop closure” or “drift”: As a camera pans across a room or travels down a corridor, it invariably introduces slight errors in the estimated path taken. A doorway may shift a bit to the right, or a wall may appear slightly taller than it is. Over relatively long distances, these errors can compound, resulting in a disjointed map, with walls and stairways that don’t exactly line up,” wrote Jennifer Chu in an article in MIT News.

At the annual conference of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication, Professor Hari Balakrishnan and CSAIL graduate student Keith Winstein will present a new computer system called Remy that designs computer algorithms for controlling network congestion.
“In the researchers’ simulations, algorithms produced by Remy significantly outperformed algorithms devised by human engineers,” wrote Larry Hardesty for the MIT News Office.
Read the full article here: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/a-faster-internet-designed-by-computers-0719.html.

A new system developed by Professor and CSAIL Principal Investigator Dina Katabi along with her graduate student Fadel Adib could one day let us see through walls Superman style. The technology uses low-power Wi-Fi signals to track human movement and can even decipher motions behind walls.
“The system, called “Wi-Vi,” is based on a concept similar to radar and sonar imaging.  But in contrast to radar and sonar, it transmits a low-power Wi-Fi signal and uses its reflections to track moving humans. It can do so even if the humans are in closed rooms or hiding behind a wall,” wrote Larry Hardesty for MIT News.

New research from Professor John Guttag, Professor Fredo Durand and graduate student Guha Balakrishnan provides a new means for determining an individual’s heart rate by analyzing an ordinary digital video, with results consistently within a few beats per minute of those produced by electrocardiograms (EKGs). The algorithm developed by the CSAIL researchers analyzes small head movements that accompany the rush of blood caused by the heart’s contractions to accurate determine heart rate.
A video-based pulse-measurement system could be useful for monitoring newborns or the elderly, whose sensitive skin could be damaged by frequent attachment and removal of EKG leads.

Professor Brian Williams
Jason Dorfman, CSAIL photographer

New research from Professor Brian William’s Model-Based Embedded and Robotic Systems Group at CSAIL could allow humans, robots and other autonomous vehicles to collaborate on everything from navigation to trip planning, and eventually pave the way for the operation of personal aircraft and driverless cars. The algorithms developed by Williams and CSAIL graduate student Peng Yu could allow a human passenger to dictate a trip, such as a trip to Paris with a flyover of the Eiffel Tower within certain time constraints, and allow the autonomous machine ferrying the passenger to make suggestions that allow the trip to stay on schedule. “In general, everything around us is getting smarter,” said Williams.