Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Microsoft Research, and Adobe Research have presented a technique
for reconstructing an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. For example, the method can be used to extract intelligible speech from video of a bag of potato chips filmed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass. [more inside]
"While the problem of consciousness is far from being solved, it is finally being formulated mathematically as a set of problems that researchers can understand, explore and discuss.
Today, Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, sets out the fundamental problems that this new way of thinking raises. He shows how these problems can be formulated in terms of quantum mechanics and information theory. And he explains how thinking about consciousness in this way leads to precise questions about the nature of reality that the scientific process of experiment might help to tease apart.
Tegmark’s approach is to think of consciousness as a state of matter, like a solid, a liquid or a gas. 'I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness,' he says."
Spacewar! was perhaps the first true video game. Now, thanks to the Internet Archive, you can play it in your browser
“I wanted to use the intermediate value theorem but it just wasn’t happening.”
MIT undergrad Zach Wener-Fligner reports from this year's William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition
, the nation's premier math contest for college students, a test so hard that the median score is often zero.
The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz.
The Boston Globe reviews over 7,000 pages of discovery documents in the Aaron Swartz case (previously
): Most vividly, the e-mails underscore the dissonant instincts the university grappled with. There was the eagerness of some MIT employees to help investigators and prosecutors with the case, and then there was, by contrast, the glacial pace of the institution’s early reaction to the intruder’s provocation.... MIT never encouraged Swartz’s prosecution, and once told his prosecutor they had no interest in jail time. However, e-mails illustrate how MIT energetically assisted authorities in capturing him and gathering evidence — even prodding JSTOR to get answers for prosecutors more quickly — before a subpoena had been issued.... Yet if MIT eventually adopted a relatively hard line on Swartz, the university had also helped to make his misdeeds possible, the Globe review found. Numerous e-mails make it clear that the unusually easy access to the campus computer network, which Swartz took advantage of, had long been a concern to some of the university’s information technology staff.
Approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America alone. Associated costs of the disease are estimated to be a staggering $22 billion annually
. The pain can be debilitating and infertility is a common outcome. Yet after decades of research, the jury is still out on what causes it, and many doctors still don't even know when they should be looking for it. Now, a group of researchers at MIT have taken a new approach, one with a characteristic engineering slant
"After his son was arrested for downloading files at MIT, Bob Swartz did everything in his power to save him. He couldn’t. Now he wants the institute to own up to its part in Aaron’s death
A new Report on the State of Health + Urbanism
(pdf) from MIT
looks at the relationship between urban planning and public health, with some surprising findings. The cities covered are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [more inside]
MIT Researchers Say
They Have Created The Trickiest Tongue Twister To Date [more inside]
Researchers at an MIT lab have devised a way to determine how well straphangers can comprehend a subway map
in a single glance. Massimo Vignelli really DID know what he was doing.
Researchers at MIT have created M-Bots
, small cubes with internal flywheels that use angular momentum to move and magnets to help them stay aligned, as demonstrated in a video
. At this point, the robots are not strictly autonomous; rather they are controlled by commands sent by radio.
It's 1963. You're in a cold war with Russia. You want to keep up communication capabilities globally. Communication satellites haven't come into their own. The ionosphere is fickle and jammable. What do you do? You fire 480 million tiny copper wires into space to create an artificial dipole antenna belt around the earth. You call it Project West Ford
. It works. [more inside]
Report to the President
L. Rafael Reif releases the Aaron Swartz report to allmit. [more inside]
is a tool from the MIT Media Lab that analyzes the metadata from your Gmail account, displaying a beautiful visualization of the networks of people you contact most frequently. [more inside]
MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion
, a geometric structure machine-woven with silk thread and then reinforced by the efforts of 6500 silkworms. Watch the beautifully-done making-of video
data analysis shows... [more inside]
What started as a report of a convenience store robbery near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last night has sprawled into a chaotic manhunt for the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon
The deadly pursuit, involving a policeman's murder, a carjacking, a violent chase with thrown explosives, and the death of one suspect
, has resulted in Governor Deval Patrick
ordering an unprecedented lockdown of the entire Boston metropolitan area
as an army of law enforcement searches house by house for the remaining gunman.
The Associated Press has identified the duo as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev
, who remains at large. Both are immigrants
from wartorn Chechnya
in southwestern Russia.
The Guardian liveblog is good for quick updates, and Reddit's updating crowdsourced timeline of events
that has often outpaced mainstream media coverage of the situation. You can also get real-time reports straight from the (Java-based) local police scanner
A few years ago Charles Guan
was a teacher's assistant in MIT's 2.007 introductory design and manufacturing class. To help out his fellow students he made a guide to building robots quickly and efficiently. Now he has expanded the original guide, retitled it How to Build your Everything Really Really Fast (HTBYERRF)
and published it on Instructables, available for anyone wishing to progress from the "zip ties and duct tape" stage of building things.
Defense contractor takes break from F-35 JSF, finds a way to eliminate 99% of the energy cost of desalination.
Lockheed-Martin has developed a way to craft sheets of carbon a single atom thick, which can filter the salt (and just about anything else) from water with a tiny fraction of the energy required by current processes. "Lockheed officials see other applications for Perforene as well, from dialysis in healthcare to cleaning chemicals from the water used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," of oil and gas wells." Previously
Andrew "bunnie" Huang (previously
) offered MIT students insight on how to bring electronic designs from paper to manufactured product. He summarized the process in a four part series:
On Design for Manufacturing
Industrial Design for Startups
Picking (and Maintaining) a Partner
. [more inside]
, a newspaper at MIT, has published a report
about MIT students' stress. (via
) [more inside]
DJ Focus couldn't wait to get back to Sierra Leone.
AKA Kelvin Doe, this young man makes beautiful, functional and very useful electronic devices out of trash found in his native Sierra Leone. It's not clear whether he or M.I.T. was more impressed after his visit there.
Ever wished your favorite song could be extended infinitely? Well, today's your day.
Behold: The Infinite Jukebox
. [more inside]
A Slower Speed of Light
is a first-person game prototype, built by the MIT Game Lab, that emulates the visual effects of special relativity.
Researchers have developed a backpack that generates building layout map in realtime.
(yt) The prototype system automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. It was designed at MIT to be used by emergency responders. Read more.
You supply the muscle to move the tool and the computer supplies the accurracy.
The tool shown here is a router but it seems like a more general technique. You move a hand held power tool around sloppily and a computer makes small movements of the tool as you do that keeps it to a corrected path.
Beating the system:
The Boston Globe reports how a group of MIT students beat the Massachusetts state lottery by working out that you were almost guaranteed to get a return on the game Cash Win Fall at certain times, and only buying tickets at that point. It's reckoned that they made $48m on a $40m stake over several years, that other syndicates were also involved, and the state 'bent and broke' the rules by allowing them to buy tickets in bulk. The game was closed down after the Globe started to investigate. [more inside]
As they become more readily available
to consumers, LEDs will undoubtedly replace CFLs as the primary light source for residential
, due to their dramatic efficiency gains
. In an unexpected turn of events, however, MIT researchers have developed an LED with 230 percent efficiency
Previously [more inside]
Have you ever been frustrated because you can't get the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle? MIT has a solution for you
If you've ever worked with the command prompt on a Unix-based computer, you're likely familiar with SSH
(Secure SHell), which is a program and a protocol that allows you (yes, you!) to securely access a remote system. While SSH has certainly earned the "Secure" portion of its namesake over the years, it's functionality as a shell has ironically received very little attention, and has begun to show signs of age and obsolescence: SSH doesn't work very well on mobile connections, and its support for Unicode
is buggy and incomplete. A group of MIT researchers think they've found solutions to these problems, and have created Mosh
as a potential successor to SSH, which fixes many of the old protocol's annoyances and shortcomings, while retaining all of SSH's security features.
MIT is leading an NSF-funded project with researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Harvard that aims to enable anyone to "design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours."
Constructed from "cyber-physical primitives," the robots (some early examples here
) would be able to be made in bulk on demand and could help change the entire workflow of device and robot creation, from engineering to warehousing to assembly.
"We want to eat, not be eaten by our food, right?"[TED]
. Artist/MIT graduate Jae Rhim Lee
's current project explores the possibility of, and interest in ecologically responsible interment. She is currently cultivating personalized Infinity Mushrooms
, which in combination with the Mushroom Death Suit
will promote postmortem mycological growth, and more importantly intimacy with and acceptance of the physical realities of decomposition as vehicles toward death acceptance. [more inside]
A quicker picker-upper.
"[A] group of MIT researchers will present a new algorithm that, in a large range of practically important cases, improves on the fast Fourier transform."
executes database queries over encrypted data without ever decrypting it
. [more inside]
Capturing light in motion at a trillionth of a second.
MIT, using a new technique called Femto Photography, consisting of femtosecond laser illumination, picosecond-accurate detectors and mathematical reconstruction techniques, has captured the movement of pulses of light.
is the all-online student publication for MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing
. [more inside]
Which place looks safer? Which place looks more unique? Which place looks more upper-class?
MIT is crowdsourcing a "perception network" to analyze people's subconscious judgments about urban spaces. Preliminary results
for Boston, New York City, Vienna, Salzburg, and Linz (Austria). [more inside]
Donald Thomas "Tom" Scholz (born 10 March 1947) is an American rock musician, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, inventor, and mechanical engineer, best known as the founder of the hard rock band Boston. He is also the inventor of the Rockman guitar amplifier. [more inside]