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.
posted by schmod
on Apr 12, 2012 -
MIT students created water bottle light bulbs
that diffract natural sunlight and provide the equivalent of a 55 watt light bulb out of an empty plastic bottle, water, and a few drops of bleach. They are being installed and used in shanty towns where no natural light gets into the makeshift tin roof homes.
posted by COD
on Aug 3, 2011 -
Necessity Is the Mother of Invention. (NY Times, reg. req.) Amy Smith
teaches MIT students about the politics of delivering technology to poor nations and the nitty-gritty of mechanical engineering and helped start the IDEAS competition
; she herself designed (among other things) a screenless hammer mill
suited to third-world conditions and using "materials available to a blacksmith in Senegal."
Smith's entire life is like one of her inventions, portable and off the grid. At 41, she has no kids, no car, no retirement plan and no desire for a Ph.D. Her official title: instructor. ''I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Why would I spend six years to get a Ph.D. to be in the position I'm in now, but with a title after my name? M.I.T. loves that I'm doing this work. The support is there. So I don't worry.''...
Likewise, the inventors who most inspire her will never strike it rich. ''There are geniuses in Africa, but they're not getting the press,'' she says. She gushes about Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher who came up with the pot-within-a-pot system. With nothing more than a big terra-cotta bowl, a little pot, some sand and water, Abba created a refrigerator -- the rig uses evaporation rather than electricity to keep vegetables cool. Innovations that target the poorest of the poor don't have to be complicated to make a big difference. The best solution is sometimes the most obvious.
A rare optimistic story for these downbeat times.
posted by languagehat
on Dec 3, 2003 -
Turning immigrants into cyborgs. A small video monitor and loudspeakers are installed at the center of the instrument and in front of the user's mouth. The monitor and the loudspeakers replace the real act of speech with an audio-visual broadcast of pre-recorded statements.
posted by riley370
on Nov 6, 2002 -
Lying with video.
Researchers at MIT have created videos of people uttering sentences they never said that consistently fool viewers and are accepted by them as real. Once upon a time, it was a lot harder to be false with film, but whether the medium will be in any way trustworthy going forward seems doubtful. What will it mean when you can't even believe your own eyes?
posted by zoopraxiscope
on May 15, 2002 -
MIT's Erotic Computation Group.
"By developing advanced sexual appliances and techniques, we seek to broaden the range of human amative expression and heighten our potential for sexual gratification." Good to see that at least some people are doing research that will benefit all mankind.
posted by Eloquence
on Nov 25, 2001 -