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New Algorithm Lets Robots Autonomously Plan for Tasks

May 27, 2015

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New Algorithm Allows Robots to Plan on the Fly

Researchers from MIT have developed a new algorithm that lets autonomous robots divvy up assembly tasks on the fly, an important step forward in multirobot cooperation. Today’s industrial robots are remarkably efficient — as long as they’re in a controlled environment where everything is exactly where they expect it to be. But put them in […]

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Cell-Squeezing Device Opens New Possibilities for Cell-Based Vaccines

May 22, 2015

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Cell Squeezing Device Opens New possibilities for Cell-Based Vaccines

A newly published study details how researchers from MIT developed a new microfluidic cell-squeezing device, opening new possibilities for cell-based vaccines. MIT researchers have shown that they can use a microfluidic cell-squeezing device to introduce specific antigens inside the immune system’s B cells, providing a new approach to developing and implementing antigen-presenting cell vaccines. Such […]

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Researchers Control Light Emission by Pairing Exotic 2D Materials

May 20, 2015

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Researchers Control Light Emission by Pairing 2D Materials

By applying a DC voltage to layers of graphene and boron nitride, researchers have demonstrated the ability to control light emission from a nearby atom. Researchers have found a way to couple the properties of different two-dimensional materials to provide an exceptional degree of control over light waves. They say this has the potential to […]

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A Promising New Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

May 15, 2015

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Researchers Solve Multiple Sclerosis Puzzle

New research shows that auto-reactive T cells in MS patients produce different types of inflammatory hormones called cytokines than they do in healthy subjects, opening the door to new treatments for the disease. Evidence has long suggested multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease, but researchers have been puzzled because they found the same T […]

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Neuroscientists Pinpoint Neurons That Help Tell Faces Apart

May 8, 2015

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Neuroscientists Pinpoint Neurons That Help Primates Tell Faces Apart

Using optogenetics, neuroscientists from MIT have provided the first evidence that directly links FD neurons to face-discrimination in primates — specifically, differentiating between males and females. How do primates, including humans, tell faces apart? Scientists have long attributed this ability to so-called “face-detector” (FD) neurons, thought to be responsible for distinguishing faces, among other objects. […]

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NIAC Program Working on Ideas for an Ecosystem on Mars

May 7, 2015

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Planting an Ecosystem on Mars

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is funding cutting-edge work that is testing the viability of using ecosystem-building pioneer organisms to churn out oxygen by using Martian regolith. Taming the brutal environment of Mars for future human explorers to survive and thrive there may demand a touch of “ecopoiesis” – the creation of an ecosystem […]

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Deep Dielectric Charging May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

May 5, 2015

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Deep Dielectric Charging May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

Data from the Cosmic Ray Telescope and the Advanced Composition Explorer has revealed that energetic charged particles (such as galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles) can penetrate deep within the lunar surface, possibly altering the properties of the soil. The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by University of New […]

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How Bombardier Beetles Produce an Explosive Chemical Jet

May 1, 2015

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How Bombardier Beetles Produce an Explosive Defensive Chemical Jet

An newly published study form MIT reveals how bombardier beetles superheat liquid and expel it in an intense, pulsating jet as a defensive mechanism. Bombardier beetles, which exist on every continent except Antarctica, have a pretty easy life. Virtually no other animals prey on them, because of one particularly effective defense mechanism: When disturbed or […]

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Paleontologists Discover Bizarre ‘Platypus’ Dinosaur

April 29, 2015

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Chilesaurus Diegosuarezi Fossils of a Strange Dinosaur

A team of scientists have unearthed fossils of a strange dinosaur in southern Chile. Named Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, this dinosaur featured a bizarre combination of traits. Paleontologists are referring to Chilesaurus diegosuarezi as a ‘platypus’ dinosaur because of its bizarre combination of characters that resemble different dinosaur groups. For example, Chilesaurus boasted a proportionally small skull, […]

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Nanoparticles Deliver PNA Molecules to Correct Mutation in Cystic Fibrosis

April 28, 2015

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Scientists Correct Mutation in Cystic Fibrosis

New research details how a team of scientists delivered peptide nucleic acids and donor DNA via microscopic nanoparticles to successfully corrected the most common mutation in the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited, life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system. It is most commonly caused by a mutation in […]

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Yale Engineers Design Metallic Glass Nanostructures of Tunable Shape

April 22, 2015

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New Research Details Metallic Glass Nanostructures of Tunable Shape

Engineers from Yale University have developed a unique method for designing metallic glass nanostructures of tunable shape and composition, enabling the fabrication of an array of new materials. Metallic glass, a class of materials that offers both pliability and strength, is poised for a friendly takeover of the chemical landscape. Yale University engineers have found […]

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Oldest Known Human Ancestors May Have Had Precision Grip Capabilities

April 20, 2015

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Oldest Human Ancestors May Have Had Precision Grip Capabilities

Researchers present a kinematic model of thumb–index precision grip and manipulative movement based on bony hand morphology in a broad sample of extant primates and fossil hominins, revealing that even the oldest available fossil hominins may have shared comparable precision grip manipulation with modern humans. Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability […]

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Double-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Display Singular Qualities

April 16, 2015

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Double-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Have Singular Qualities

In a newly published study, researchers at Rice University demonstrated that two walls are better than one when turning carbon nanotubes into materials like strong, conductive fibers or transistors. Rice materials scientist Enrique Barrera and his colleagues used atomic-level models of double-walled nanotubes to see how they might be tuned for applications that require particular […]

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A New Birth Story for Gigantic Marine Lizards That Once Roamed the Oceans

April 10, 2015

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A New Birth Story for a Gigantic Marine Lizard That Once Roamed the Oceans

Paleontologists now believe that mosasaurs gave birth to their young in the open ocean, not on or near shore. They weren’t in the delivery room, but researchers at Yale University and the University of Toronto have discovered a new birth story for a gigantic marine lizard that once roamed the oceans. Thanks to recently identified […]

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Carnufex Carolinensis – North America’s Top Predator Before Dinosaurs?

March 20, 2015

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Carnufex Carolinensis

New research from North Carolina State University shows that a 9-foot long crocodile ancestor may have been North America’s top predator before the dinosaurs arrived. A newly discovered crocodilian ancestor may have filled one of North America’s top predator roles before dinosaurs arrived on the continent. Carnufex carolinensis, or the “Carolina Butcher,” was a 9-foot […]

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Neuroscientists Find That Cognitive Skills Peak at Different Ages

March 10, 2015

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Cognitive Skills Peak at Different Ages Across Adulthood

New research from neuroscientists at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital reveals that different parts of the brain work best at different ages. Scientists have long known that our ability to think quickly and recall information, also known as fluid intelligence, peaks around age 20 and then begins a slow decline. However, more recent findings, including […]

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Yale Study Reveals Connection Between Genes That Contribute to Autism

March 10, 2015

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Study Shows Connection Between Key Autism Risk Genes

A newly published study from Yale University reveals an important connection between key autism risk genes in the human brain, a major step toward understanding how brain development goes awry in some individuals with the disorder. The research shows that CHD8, a gene that is strongly linked to autism, acts as a master regulator in […]

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