In theory, quantum computers should be able to perform certain kinds of complex calculations much faster than conventional computers, and quantum-based communication could be invulnerable to eavesdropping. But producing quantum components for real-world devices has proved to be fraught with daunting challenges. Now, a team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University has achieved a crucial long-term goal of such efforts.
Researchers in the Department of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology will receive up to $32 million over the next five years from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health to develop a technology platform that will mimic human physiological systems in the laboratory, using an array of integrated, interchangeable engineered human tissue constructs.
While epidemiologists and scientists who study complex network systems are working to create mathematical models that describe the worldwide spread of disease, to date these models have focused on the final stages of epidemics, examining the locations that ultimately develop the highest infection rates. But a new study shifts the focus to the first few days of an epidemic, determining how likely the 40 largest U.S. airports are to influence the spread of a contagious disease originating in their home cities.
While images of Titan have revealed its present landscape, very little is known about its geologic past. Now researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville have analyzed images of Titan's river networks and determined that in some regions, rivers have created surprisingly little erosion.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new approach to creating the complex array of wires and connections on microchips, using a system of self-assembling polymers. The work could eventually lead to a way of making more densely packed components on memory chips and other devices.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Central Florida have developed a versatile new fabrication technique for making large quantities of uniform spheres from a wide variety of materials—a technique that enables unprecedented control over the design of individual, microscopic particles. The particles, including complex, patterned spheres, could find uses in everything from biomedical research and drug delivery to electronics and materials processing.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have designed algorithms that vastly improve robots' navigation and feature-detecting capabilities. Using the group's algorithms, robots are able to swim around a ship's hull and view complex structures such as propellers and shafts. The goal is to achieve a resolution fine enough to detect a 10-cm mine attached to the side of a ship.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new semiautonomous safety system to keep drivers safe. The system uses an onboard camera and laser rangefinder to identify hazards in vehicle's environment. An algorithm then analyzes the data obtained and identifies safe zones. The system allows a driver to control the vehicle, only taking the wheel when the drive is about to exit a safe zone.
Despite impressive recent advances, holographic television, which would present images that vary with varying perspectives, probably remains some distance in the future. But in a new paper, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab's Camera Culture group offers a new approach to multiple-perspective, glasses-free 3D that could prove much more practical in the short term.
Biologists' capacity for generating genomic data is increasing more rapidly than computer power. A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University researchers have developed a new algorithm that reduces the time it takes to find a particular gene sequence in a database of genomes.
A clinical trial of an Alzheimer's disease treatment developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that the nutrient cocktail can improve memory in patients with early Alzheimer's. The results confirm and expand the findings of an earlier trial of the nutritional supplement, which is designed to promote new connections between brain cells.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have taken a step toward battery-free monitoring systems. Previous work focused on the development of computer and wireless-communication chips that operate at extremely low power levels, and on a variety of devices that can harness power from natural light, heat, and vibrations in the environment. The latest development is a chip that could harness all three of these ambient power sources at once.
The Secure Shell, or SSH, is a popular program that lets computer users log onto remote machines. First release in 1995, SSH was designed for an Internet consisting of stationary machines, and it hasn't evolved with the mobile Internet. It also can't handle roaming. Now, a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchs have developed a new remote-login program called Mosh, for mobile shell, which solves many of SSH's problems.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that relatively simple, microscale roughening of a surface can dramatically enhance its transfer of heat. Such an approach could be far less complex and more durable than approaches that enhance heat transfer through smaller patterning in the nanometer range.
Nobel winner Roger Myerson's work on single-item auctions was groundbreaking research, but his question regarding the best way to organize an auction in which bidders are competing for multiple items has remained unanswered for decades. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed an algorithm to generalize this problem.
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a software that amplifies variations in successive frames of video that are imperceptible to the naked eye. The software works in real time and displays both the original video and the altered version of the video, with changes magnified.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Spain has found a new mathematical approach to simulating the electronic behavior of noncrystalline materials, which may eventually play an important part in new devices including solar cells; organic LED lights; and printable, flexible electronic circuits.
Scientists have mapped Shackleton crater with unprecedented detail, finding possible evidence for small amounts of ice on the crater's floor. Using a laser altimeter on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, the team essentially illuminated the crater's interior with laser light, measuring its albedo, or natural reflectance. The scientists found that the crater's floor is in fact brighter than that of other nearby craters—an observation consistent with the presence of ice.
Fish cannot display symptoms of autism, schizophrenia, or other human brain disorders. However, a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologists has shown that zebrafish can be a useful tool for studying the genes that contribute to such disorders.
In the dead of a Martian winter, clouds of snow blanket the Red Planet's poles—but unlike our water-based snow, the particles on Mars are frozen crystals of carbon dioxide. Most of the Martian atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide, and in the winter, the poles get so cold—cold enough to freeze alcohol—that the gas condenses, forming tiny particles of snow. Now researchers have calculated the size of snow particles in clouds at both Martian poles from data gathered by orbiting spacecraft.
Two years ago, a fledgling social-networking site called Blippy accidentally posted the credit card numbers of its users online. While that was a particularly egregious example, such inadvertent information leaks happen all the time. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new programming system that could help prevent such inadvertent information leaks.
Ultrasound images, known as sonograms, have become a familiar part of pregnancy, allowing expectant parents a view of their unborn child. But new research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology could improve the ability of untrained workers to perform basic ultrasound tests, while allowing trained workers to much more accurately track the development of medical conditions, such as the growth of a tumor or the buildup of plaque in arteries.
Complex systems inhabit a "gray world" of partial failures, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Olivier de Weck says: While a system may continue to operate as a whole, bits and pieces inevitably degrade. Over time, these small failures can add up to a single catastrophic failure, incapacitating the system. However, De Weck and his colleagues have created a design approach that tailors planes to fly in the face of likely failures.
Highly purified silicon represents up to 40% of the overall costs of conventional solar-cell arrays—so researchers have long sought to maximize power output while minimizing silicon usage. Now, a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found a new approach that could reduce the thickness of the silicon used by more than 90% while still maintaining high efficiency.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have developed a fuel cell that runs on the same sugar that powers human cells: glucose. This glucose fuel cell could be used to drive highly efficient brain implants of the future, which could help paralyzed patients move their arms and legs again.