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Deep ocean drillers battle the crust’s hardest rocks

June 30, 2011 12:36 pm | News | Comments

The drilling team from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) have pushed Hole 1256D, a deep scientific borehole, more than 1,500 m below the seafloor and into the Pacific Ocean's igneous crust. They are now encountering metamorphic rocks that is sometimes even tougher than the most resilient of hard formation drilling and coring bits.

Interagency collaboration aims to bring advanced robotics to all

June 30, 2011 6:41 am | News | Comments

NASA, NIH, NSF and USDA are combining forces to fast-track the development and use of co-robots in the U.S. that work cooperatively with people. A solicitation for proposals for the new National Robotics Initiative (NRI) was recently released along with the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Investments in NRI may reach $50 million in the first year.

The future of chip manufacturing

June 30, 2011 3:56 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

MIT researchers show how to make e-beam lithography, commonly used to prototype computer chips, more practical as a mass-production technique.

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Battelle licenses body measurement technology for apparel applications

June 28, 2011 4:23 am | News | Comments

Battelle has granted an exclusive license for a technology that will help clothing shoppers find better fitting clothes easily and quickly, as well as assess their overall fitness.

Fermilab experiment weighs in on neutrino mystery

June 27, 2011 5:28 am | News | Comments

Scientists of the MINOS experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced the results from a search for a rare phenomenon, the transformation of muon neutrinos into electron neutrinos. The result is consistent with and significantly constrains a measurement reported by the Japanese T2K experiment, which announced an indication of this type of transformation.

Giant solar telescope mirror takes shape

June 23, 2011 1:14 pm | by Daniel Stolte, University Communications | News | Comments

When finished, the 4.2-meter mirror being crafted by the Univ. of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope in Hawaii will be the largest telescope mirror ever pointed at the sun. Complicating the task of polishing this mirror is the shape: the telescope’s design calls for a complex off-axis paraboloid surface.

500-year-old hair tells story of royal mercury poisoning

June 23, 2011 4:25 am | News | Comments

Hair breaks. It singes. It falls out. It might not be the strongest feature of living human bodies, but hair is one of the best-preserved tissues of dead ones, providing a record of diet, age, metabolism, and sometimes, even the cause of death. With intense beams of x-rays at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), a team of researchers is using hair samples collected from the decomposed bodies of two 15th-century Italian royals to determine how they really died.

Hot air is re-routed into energy savings

June 16, 2011 8:33 am | News | Comments

Students in California are taking what would normally be annoyance and making it an asset. They are working to implement a system that uses heat that collects in a home’s attic to warm a thermal closet that would dry clothes. Supplemented by power from a roof-mounted solar cell, the closet could cut electricity bills up to 16%.

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Smart cars that are actually smart

June 14, 2011 4:50 am | by Emily Finn, MIT News Office | News | Comments

MIT mechanical engineers are working to develop a new intelligent transportation system (ITS) algorithm that takes into account models of human driving behavior to warn drivers of potential collisions, and ultimately takes control of the vehicle to prevent a crash.

Researchers refine system to detect explosive materials

June 10, 2011 7:50 am | News | Comments

Airport security workers this year will employ an array of pre-boarding detection measures to scan for deadly materials smuggled into the luggage of the world’s 625 million passengers expected to travel this year. None, however, yet uses what researchers at the Univ. of Florida believe is the world's first explosive detection system that utilizes ultraviolet light to zero in on specks of dangerous explosives found on these items.

Methods for Model Building

June 9, 2011 6:45 am | by Lindsay Hock | Articles | Comments

Prototyping systems can move a design concept from CAD data to a 3D model rapidly and accurately when using the appropriate tool for the task.

China plans restructure of rare earths industry

June 8, 2011 11:56 am | News | Comments

One of China’s biggest, state-owned rare earths miners and producers has been given a monopoly over rare earth mining, processing, and trading in the northern part of the country. The move is an effort by the country’s government to bring the rare earths industry, which provides 97% of global supply, under tighter control.

Explaining the dynamics behind the best thermoelectric materials

June 7, 2011 4:27 am | by Bill Cabage | News | Comments

Neutron analysis of the atomic dynamics behind thermal conductivity is helping scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory gain a deeper understanding of how thermoelectric materials work. The analysis could spur the development of a broader range of products with the capability to transform heat to electricity.

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A hot body could help ships reduce drag, save fuel

June 2, 2011 8:04 am | News | Comments

In revisiting the 255 year-old Leidenfrost effect, which describes how a liquid produces an insulating vapor layer when contacting a solid hotter than its boiling point, researchers at the University of Melbourne and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia have found a new way to reduce drag on large ships.

Researchers cut machinery fuel consumption by half

June 1, 2011 12:43 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Aalto Univ. in Finland have found a way to cut the amount of fuel consumed by non-road mobile machinery by half. This new technology captures energy, which up to now has been lost by the machinery when working, and uses it instead of fuel. The fuel consumption of construction and mining machines, agricultural machines, and material handling machines is reduced significantly.

Modern-day jetpack takes flight

May 31, 2011 11:46 am | by Paul Livingstone | News | Comments

Last weekend, the Martin Jetpack successfully lifted off, pilot attached, over the New Zealand landscape. The test showcased the machine’s ability to quickly achieve 5,000 feet in altitude and deploy the world’s first ballistic jetpack parachute before returning to earth. The Martin Aircraft Company’s goal is to provide jetpack flight for less than $100,000.

Honing household helpers

May 26, 2011 5:55 am | by Emily Finn, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Imagine a robot able to retrieve a pile of laundry from the back of a cluttered closet, deliver it to a washing machine, start the cycle, and then zip off to the kitchen to start preparing dinner. This may have been a domestic dream a half-century ago, when the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence first captured public imagination. However, it quickly became clear that even "simple" human actions are extremely difficult to replicate in robots. Now, MIT computer scientists are tackling the problem with a hierarchical, progressive algorithm that has the potential to greatly reduce the computational cost associated with performing complex actions.

Shale gas: a short history from NETL

May 25, 2011 6:39 am | News | Comments

After lying dormant for hundreds of millions of years, shale gas was tapped for the first time in a natural gas well in 1821. Since then, oil has taken the spotlight, but now shale gas is looked to as the energy resource of the present and future. The National Energy Technology Laboratory, which helped pioneer hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, tracks some of the technological developments in shale gas extraction.

Simplifying Parkinson's surgery

May 25, 2011 4:31 am | News | Comments

Univ. of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics has become the second academic medical center in the country where neurosurgeons can perform deep-brain stimulation (DBS) in an intra-operative MRI (iMRI) suite.

How protein-making machine bends without breaking

May 20, 2011 5:15 am | News | Comments

In a development that could lead to better antibiotics, scientists from several institutions derived atomic-scale resolution structures of the cell's ribosome at key stages of its job. The structures reveal that the ribosome's ability to rotate an incredible amount without falling apart is due to the never-before-seen springiness of molecular widgets that hold it together.

Characterizing the renegade protein in Huntington's Disease

May 19, 2011 5:15 am | by Agatha Bardoel | News | Comments

An ORNL-Univ. of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine collaboration has for the first time successfully characterized the earliest structural formation of the disease type of the protein "huntingtin" that creates such havoc in Huntington's Disease.

NMR without the magnets

May 18, 2011 9:43 am | News | Comments

Conventional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is unsurpassed for chemical analysis. The catch is that conventional NMR depends on strong magnetic fields and big, expensive, superconducting magnets. Now Berkeley researchers have found a way to perform chemical analysis with NMR without using any magnets at all.

World's smallest 3D printer

May 17, 2011 8:25 am | News | Comments

Printers, which can produce three-dimensional objects have been available for years. However, at the Vienna Univ. of Technology, a printing device has now been developed, which is much smaller, lighter, and cheaper than ordinary 3D-printers.

Energy-efficient laser for optical communication systems

May 17, 2011 7:41 am | by Andrew Myers | News | Comments

In the push toward ever-smaller and ever-faster data transmission technology, a team of Stanford electrical engineers has produced a nanoscale laser that is much faster and more energy efficient than anything available today.

Engineers to help paraplegic student walk at graduation

May 12, 2011 1:33 pm | by Sarah Yang, Media Relations | News | Comments

Austin Whitney was instantly paralyzed in 2007 when a car accident severed his spinal cord. When he graduates this Saturday at UC Berkeley, he will rise out of his wheelchair to accept his diploma thanks to the help of fellow students who have designed a robotic exoskeleton for his wheelchair.

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