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System improves automated monitoring of security cameras

June 4, 2012 9:27 am | News | Comments

Police and security teams guarding airports, docks, and border crossings from terrorist attack or illegal entry need to know immediately when someone enter a prohibited area. A network of surveillance cameras is typically used to monitor these at-risk locations. Now, a system being developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology can perform security analysis more accurately and in a fraction of the time it would take a human camera operator.

Origami-inspired design method merges engineering, art

May 21, 2012 12:43 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have shown how to create morphing robotic mechanisms and shape-shifting sculptures from a single sheet of paper in a method reminiscent of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. The new method, called Kaleidogami, uses computational algorithms and tools to create precisely folded structures.

Floating robots use GPS-enabled smartphones to track water flow

May 10, 2012 4:26 am | News | Comments

A fleet of 100 floating robots took a trip down the Sacramento River in a field test organized by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley. The smartphone-equipped floating robots demonstrated the next generation of water monitoring technology, promising to transform the way government agencies monitor one of the state's most precious resources.

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Robots that reveal the inner workings of brain cells

May 7, 2012 3:38 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a way to automate the process of finding and recording information from neurons in the living brain. The researchers have shown that a robotic arm guided by a cell-detecting computer algorithm can identify and record from neurons in the living mouse brain with better accuracy and speed than a human experimenter.

Pirates, beware: Navy's smart robocopters will spy you

April 5, 2012 10:37 am | News | Comments

Navy unmanned aircraft will be able to distinguish small pirate boats from other vessels when an Office of Naval Research-funded sensor starts airborne tests this summer. Called the Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker, the sensor is a mix of high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors, and laser-radar technology.

Self-sculpting sand

April 2, 2012 4:01 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

New algorithms developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers could enable heaps of 'smart sand' that can assume any shape, allowing spontaneous formation of new tools or duplication of broken mechanical parts.

A new dimension for solar energy

March 27, 2012 5:05 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Intensive research around the world has focused on improving the performance of solar photovoltaic cells and bringing down their cost. But very little attention has been paid to the best ways of arranging those cells, which are typically placed flat on a rooftop or other surface. Now, a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has come up with a very different approach.

Can a machine tell when you're lying?

March 26, 2012 8:20 am | News | Comments

Inspired by the work of psychologists who study the human face for clues that someone is telling a high-stakes lie, University at Buffalo computer scientists are exploring whether machines can also read the visual cues that give away deceit. Results so far are promising.

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Guiding robot planes with hand gestures

March 14, 2012 4:00 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Aircraft-carrier crew use a set of standard hand gestures to guide planes on the carrier deck. But as robot planes are increasingly used for routine air missions, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a system that would enable them to follow the same types of gestures.

New system allows robots to continuously map their environment

February 16, 2012 4:24 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

Robots could one day navigate through constantly changing surroundings with virtually no input from humans, thanks to a system developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that allows them to build and continuously update a 3D map of their environment using a low-cost camera such as Microsoft's Kinect.

The mathematics of taste

January 24, 2012 4:03 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Givaudan has turned to researchers in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) for help analyzing taste-test results. To analyze taste-test results, the CSAIL researchers are using genetic programming, in which mathematical models compete with each other to fit the available data and then cross-pollinate to produce models that are more accurate.

The faster-than-fast Fourier transform

January 18, 2012 3:26 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new algorithm that, in a large range of practically important cases, improves on the fast Fourier transform—an algorithm that was devised in the mid-1960s that made it practical to calculate Fourier transforms on the fly. Under some circumstances, the improvement can be dramatic—a tenfold increase in speed.

Data mining without prejudice

December 16, 2011 6:16 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new technique, developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for finding relationships between variables in large datasets makes no prior assumptions about what those relationships might be.

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Streamlining chip design

December 8, 2011 4:47 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Designers of mobile devices need to think hard about which functions to implement in hardware and which in software. A new programming language, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, makes that much easier.

Kilobots leave the nest

November 22, 2011 6:17 am | News | Comments

Kilobots scuttle around autonomously on three toothpick-like legs, but their real power is the ability to coordinate behavior and swarm with other Kilobots. Created by engineers at Harvard University, the quarter-sized bots have been licensed by a Swiss manufacturer, allowing researchers and robotics enthusiasts to build their own swarms.

Honda shows smarter robot, helps in nuclear crisis

November 8, 2011 8:33 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

In an effort to show that Asimo is more than a toy-like showcase for the Honda Motor Co. brand, the company recently demonstrated a revamped robot that can run faster, balance itself, hop on one foot, and pour a drink. It may even help with clean-up at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.

Advanced mathematical techniques enable better AUV navigation

November 8, 2011 3:42 am | by Nancy Stauffer, MIT Energy Initiative | News | Comments

Since the 1970s, when early autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scientists there have tackled various barriers to the design of robots that can travel autonomously in the deep ocean. Part two of the four-part series examines how advanced mathematical techniques enable AUVs to survey large, complex, and cluttered seascapes.

Scientists improve autonomous underwater vehicles

November 7, 2011 3:19 am | by Nancy Stauffer, MIT Energy Initiative | News | Comments

Since the 1970s, when early autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Institute scientists have tackled various barriers to robots that can travel autonomously in the deep ocean. This four-part series examines current MIT efforts to refine AUVs’ artificial intelligence, navigation, stability, and tenacity.

Father of artificial intelligence dies in California

October 26, 2011 10:28 am | News | Comments

John McCarthy, a pioneer in artificial intelligence technology and creator of the computer programming language often used in that field, died this week at age 84. He was a leader in the field, coining the term in a 1955 research proposal and going on to create influential laboratories at both Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Robot biologist solves complex problem from scratch

October 14, 2011 5:16 am | News | Comments

First it was chess. Then it was Jeopardy. Now computers are at it again, but this time they are trying to automate the scientific process itself. An interdisciplinary team of scientists at Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and CFD Research Corporation Inc., has taken a major step toward this goal by demonstrating that a computer can analyze raw experimental data from a biological system and derive the basic mathematical equations that describe the way the system operates.

All for one, 'R-one' for all

October 11, 2011 12:44 pm | News | Comments

Robots for everyone. That's James McLurkin's dream, and as the director of a Rice University robotics laboratory, he's creating an inexpensive and sophisticated robot called the "R-one" to make the dream a reality.

Innovator of the Year: Dr. David Ferrucci and IBM’s DeepQA Team

September 28, 2011 10:22 am | News | Comments

Since 2000, R&D Magazine has annually honored an individual whose research has greatly contributed to the advance of high technology, and whose achievements have helped change society. In 2011, for the first time, the editors recognize the teamwork involved in making possible the most advanced computer-supported intelligence system yet: Watson.

Algorithm developed for determining focus error in eyes and cameras

September 26, 2011 9:06 am | News | Comments

University of Texas at Austin researchers have discovered how to extract and use information in an individual image to determine how far objects are from the focus distance, a feat only accomplished by human and animal visual systems until now.

Researchers develop smarter robot arms

September 21, 2011 4:31 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

By combining two innovative algorithms developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers have built a new robotic motion-planning system that calculates much more efficient trajectories through free space. This will allow robots to execute tasks more efficiently and move more predictably.

Engineers find leaky pipes with artificial intelligence

September 6, 2011 7:20 am | News | Comments

University of Exeter engineers have pioneered new methods for detecting leaky pipes and identifying flood risks with technologies normally used for computer game graphics and artificial intelligence. These techniques could help to identify water supply and flooding problems more quickly than ever before, potentially saving people from the traumatic experience of flooding or not having water on tap.

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