Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind," a free course on AI from MIT

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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

What will it take to get MIT to stand up for its own students and researchers?

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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

How the DHS is stalling the release of the Aaron Swartz files

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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

Celebrating three decades of amazing innovation from the MIT Media Lab

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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

Fossil fuel divestment sit-in at MIT President's office hits 10,000,000,000-hour mark

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Climatebrad writes, "The MIT grad students occupying the hallway outside President Reif's office until MIT divests from fossil fuels have hit the 10000000000-hour mark (base 2 - in base 10, that's a still-impressive 1024 hours). The sit-in began October 22." Read the rest

Adorable robotic cube jumps to the top of a pile

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Robots have a hard time making their way across uneven, unstable terrain. Read the rest

How to teach gerrymandering and its many subtle, hard problems

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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

MIT and EFF's Freedom to Innovate Summit: defending students' and hackers' right to tinker

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The Oct 10/11 event is run jointly by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Civic Media at MIT and will be hosted at the MIT Media Lab. Read the rest

MIT and Boston U open legal clinic for innovative tech projects

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 demos sub-$10k 3D printer that can spew 10 materials at once

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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.

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If phones were designed to please their owners, rather than corporations

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

Scratch creators around the world collaborate on "I'd like to teach the world to code"

Mitchel Resnick, founder of the amazing, kid-friendly programming project Scratch, writes, "Scratch community members from around the world joined together to create a collaborative project: 'I'd like to teach the world to code.'" Read the rest

LISTEN: MIT discussion about online harassment

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

Profile of MITSFS, MIT's 65-year-old science fiction club

This decades-old club maintains one of the finest science fiction libraries in the world, have a host of deeply, awesomely nerdy traditions, and are still going strong after influencing the lives of countless happy mutants.

Weird SPAM-colored soft robot moves like a zombie hot dog

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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

Plastic robots that self-assemble when cooked

MIT researchers have demonstrated a kind of Shrinky Dink robot, laser-cut 2-D plastic forms that when baked fold themselves up into 3-D robotic components, including electrical circuits and "muscles." Read the rest

Kickstarting Danger! Awesome, a hackerspace in Cambridge, Mass

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

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