MIT News

New Energy-Friendly Chip Can Perform Powerful AI Tasks

February 4, 2016

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Energy-Friendly Chip Can Perform Powerful AI Tasks

Engineers from MIT have designed a new chip to implement neural networks. It is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms locally, rather than uploading data to the Internet for processing. In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence […]

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New Research May Solve Longstanding Fusion Reactor Mystery

January 21, 2016

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MIT Experiments Reveal Two Forms of Turbulence Interacting

New research from MIT shows two types of turbulence within plasma that cause significant heat loss. Solving this problem could take the world a step closer to fusion power which has the promise of limitless and relatively clean energy. One of the biggest obstacles to making fusion power practical — and realizing its promise of […]

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Voltage-Controlled Switchable Material Could Enable New Memory Chips

January 20, 2016

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Switchable Material Could Enable New Memory Chip Design

A new thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting could lead to new memory chip designs. Two MIT researchers have developed a thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting simply by applying a small voltage. The material then stays in its […]

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Neuroscientists Identify a Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

January 18, 2016

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Scientists Identify Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT identify a protein that allows brain cells to dampen their sensitivity. Strengthening and weakening the connections between neurons, known as synapses, is vital to the brain’s development and everyday function. One way that neurons weaken their synapses is by swallowing up receptors on their surfaces that normally […]

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New Material Can Store Solar Energy During the Day and Release it Later as Heat

January 13, 2016

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A New Way to Store Solar Heat

Engineers from MIT have developed a new material could harvest sunlight by day and release heat on demand hours or days later. Imagine if your clothing could, on demand, release just enough heat to keep you warm and cozy, allowing you to dial back on your thermostat settings and stay comfortable in a cooler room. […]

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Two-Stage Process Makes Incandescent Bulbs More Efficient

January 11, 2016

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New Two-Stage Process Makes Incandescent Bulbs More Efficient

Using a two-stage process that captures heat loss and reflects it back to the filament to be re-absorbed and re-emitted as visible light, engineers from MIT have combined the warm look of traditional light bulbs with 21st-century energy efficiency. Traditional light bulbs, thought to be well on their way to oblivion, may receive a reprieve […]

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New Device Harnesses the Energy of Small Bending Motions

January 6, 2016

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New Device Harnesses the Energy of Small Bending Motions

Using a new method based on electrochemical principles, engineers at MIT have developed a new device that could provide electrical power source from walking and other ambient motions. For many applications such as biomedical, mechanical, or environmental monitoring devices, harnessing the energy of small motions could provide a small but virtually unlimited power supply. While […]

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New Technique for Developing Nanodevices at One-Hundredth the Current Cost

December 22, 2015

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New Techniques for Building Microelectromechanical Systems

Researchers from MIT have developed new techniques for building microelectromechanical systems at one-hundredth of the current cost. Microelectromechanical systems — or MEMS — were a $12 billion business in 2014. But that market is dominated by just a handful of devices, such as the accelerometers that reorient the screens of most smartphones. That’s because manufacturing […]

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New Research Reveals How Cancer Cells Escape Blood Vessels

December 16, 2015

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Scientists Reveal How Cancer Cells Escape Blood Vessels

A newly published study from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital reveals how cancer cells latch onto blood vessels and invade tissues to form new tumors — a finding that could help researchers develop drugs that inhibit this process and prevent cancers from metastasizing. Cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream can stick to blood vessel walls […]

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Scientists Develop “Kill Switches” for Engineered Bacteria

December 14, 2015

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Engineered Bacteria with Kill Switches

To prevent genetically modified bacteria from escaping into the wider environment, MIT researchers have developed safeguards in the form of two so-called “kill switches,” which they call “Deadman” and “Passcode.” These kill switches can cause synthetic bacteria to die without the presence of certain chemicals. Many research teams are developing genetically modified bacteria that could […]

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Scientists Develop a New Way to Deliver MicroRNAs for Cancer Treatment

December 8, 2015

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Researchers Develop a New Way to Deliver MicroRNAs

By twisting RNA strands into a triple helix and embedding them in a biocompatible gel, researchers from MIT have developed a new way to shrink tumors in mice with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Twenty years ago, scientists discovered that short strands of RNA known as microRNA help cells to fine-tune their gene expression. […]

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Scientists Overcome Key CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing Hurdle

December 3, 2015

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Researchers Develop a Highly Specific Genome-Editing Tool

Using structural knowledge of Cas9, scientists have overcome a key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle and developed a highly specific genome-editing tool. Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on “off-target” […]

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Earth’s Geomagnetic Field Intensity is Double the Historical Average

November 24, 2015

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Geomagnetic Field Intensity is Double the Long-Term Historical Average

New research from MIT shows that the Earth’s geomagnetic field intensity is double the long-term historical average, indicating that the current field intensity has a long way to fall before reaching an unstable level that would lead to a reversal. The intensity of Earth’s geomagnetic field has been dropping for the past 200 years, at […]

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MIT Chemists Create New Adaptable Metallic-Cage Gels

November 19, 2015

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MIT Chemists Create a New Type of Gel

By combining the flexibility of polymer gels with the rigid structure provided by metal-based clusters, chemists from MIT have created a new material that could be well-suited for a range of possible functions, including drug release, gas storage, or water filtration. These new gels, known as polyMOCs, are a hybrid of two materials called metallogels […]

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Neuroscientists Identify New Mechanism That Contributes to Strengthening Synapses

November 18, 2015

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Newly Identified Mechanism Helps Strengthen Links between Neurons

Neuroscientists from MIT have identified a new mechanism that allows the brain to strengthen links between neurons. When the brain forms memories or learns a new task, it encodes the new information by tuning connections between neurons. MIT neuroscientists have discovered a novel mechanism that contributes to the strengthening of these connections, also called synapses. […]

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MIT Engineers Develop a Shockwave-Based Process for Desalination of Water

November 12, 2015

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New Shockwave-Based Process for Desalination of Water

Chemical engineers from MIT have developed an efficient shockwave-based process to treat salty, brackish or contaminated water to make it usable. As the availability of clean, potable water becomes an increasingly urgent issue in many parts of the world, researchers are searching for new ways to treat salty, brackish or contaminated water to make it […]

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Newfound Venus-Like Planet GJ 1132b May Have an Atmosphere

November 12, 2015

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Astronomers Discover a Venus-Like Planet

Using the MEarth-South array, a team of astronomers has discovered a Venus-like planet (GJ 1132b) that is cool enough to potentially host an atmosphere. The collection of rocky planets orbiting distant stars has just grown by one, and the latest discovery is the most intriguing one to date. The newfound world, although hot as an […]

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New Synthetic Hydrogel is Tougher Than Natural Adhesives

November 9, 2015

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New Hydrogel is Tougher Than Natural Adhesives

Engineers from MIT have developed a method to make synthetic, sticky hydrogel that is more than 90 percent water. The hydrogel, which is a transparent, rubber-like material, can adhere to surfaces with a toughness comparable to the bond between tendon and cartilage on bone. Nature has developed innovative ways to solve a sticky challenge: Mussels […]

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