Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky died yesterday. He was one of computer science's great pioneers, a brilliant researcher who could translate his insights into material accessible even to laypeople. Read the rest
In 2007, 19-year-old MIT Media Lab student named Star Simpson went to Boston's Logan Airport to meet a friend wearing a sweater she'd decorated with LEDs in the shape of a star; the Logan police responded (with machine guns) to a call about a "dark-skinned man" with a suspicious device. Read the rest
Lisa Rein writes, "When Jacob Appelbaum called for transparency in Aaron Swartz's FOIA case, he was talking about Kevin Poulsen's ongoing case against the Department of Homeland Security, a case that MIT managed to intervene in." Read the rest
This Wired video interview with former director Nicholas Negroponte and current director Joi Ito is a mind-blowing tour through the Media Lab's storied history: from e-ink to touchscreens to multitouch to in-car GPS to wearables. The current Media Lab administration is pretty amazing, and the research just keeps getting more mind-blowing. Read the rest
Robots have a hard time making their way across uneven, unstable terrain. Read the rest
Ben Kraft teaches a unit on gerrymandering -- rigging electoral districts to ensure that one party always wins -- to high school kids in his open MIT Educational Studies Program course. As he describes the problem and his teaching methodology, I learned that district-boundaries have a lot more subtlety and complexity than I'd imagined at first, and that there are some really chewy math and computer science problems lurking in there. Read the rest
The Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Law Clinic was partly inspired by the death of Aaron Swartz, who was hounded by federal prosecutors with MIT's complicity. Read the rest
MIT researchers built a 3D printer from just $7,000 in off-the-shelf parts that can print ten different materials at a time. Current multi-material 3D printers generally can only spew out three materials and cost more than $200,000. From MIT News:
MultiFab gives users the ability to embed complex components, such as circuits and sensors, directly onto the body of an object, meaning that it can produce a finished product, moving parts and all, in one fell swoop.
The researchers have used MultiFab to print everything from smartphone cases to light-emitting diode lenses — and they envision an array of applications in consumer electronics, microsensing, medical imaging, and telecommunications, among other things. They plan to also experiment with embedding motors and actuators that would make it possible to 3-D print more advanced electronics, including robots.
Your smartphone was designed to deliver as much value as possible to its manufacturer, carrier and OS vendor, leaving behind the smallest amount of value possible while still making it a product that you'd be willing to pay for and use. Read the rest
Andrew writes, "Last night MIT's Comparative Media Studies/Writing program hosted Brianna Wu of Giant Spacekat and law professor Danielle Keats Citron, author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace. With their permission, we recorded the talk (AIFF) so others could hear their discussion about online harassment, GamerGate, revenge porn -- and what our laws can do about it." Read the rest
Harvard University released video of this unnerving soft robot that can move untethered through punishing conditions, including snow and fire, yet will remain resilient. It looks a bit like reanimated sliced SPAM in the time-lapse crawling footage, and like SPAM, it retains its shape even when its appendages are run over by a car. Read the rest
Amanda writes, "Danger!awesome is an open-access laser cutting, laser engraving, and 3D printing workshop in the heart of Cambridge, tucked right between MIT and Harvard. Our mission is to democratize access and training to rapid prototyping resources, long reserved for academic institutions and multi-million dollar R&D labs. We want to teach anyone and everyone how to make, customize, and invent. Read the rest