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May 26, 2017

BROWSE NEWS RESULTS

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MIT Research News
November 23, 2010

Heading Off Trauma

Study suggests adding a face shield to military helmets would help more soldiers avoid blast-induced brain injuries.
More than half of all combat-related injuries sustained by U.S. troops are the result of explosions, and many of those involve injuries to the head. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, about 130,000 U.S. service members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have sustained traumatic brain injuries — ranging from concussion to long-term brain damage and death — as a result of an explosion.

Raul Radovitzky, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is among the researchers looking at ways to prevent these injuries. In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and his colleagues report that adding a face shield to the standard-issue helmet worn by the vast majority of U.S. ground troops could significantly reduce traumatic brain injury, or TBI. The extra protection offered by such a shield is critical, the researchers say, because the face is the main pathway through which pressure waves from an explosion are transmitted to the brain.
Read Full Article at MIT News Office
MIT Research News
November 22, 2010

When the Playroom is the Computer

A block-shaped robot that seems to roll onto a computer screen is part of an educational-media system that gets kids out of their chairs.
For all the work that’s gone into developing educational media, even the most stimulating TV shows and video games leave kids stationary. Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory are hoping to change that with a system called Playtime Computing, which gives new meaning to the term “computing environment.”

The prototype of the Playtime Computing system consists mainly of three door-high panels with projectors behind them; a set of ceiling-mounted projectors that cast images onto the floor; and a cube-shaped, remote-controlled robot, called the Alphabot, with infrared emitters at its corners that are tracked by cameras mounted on the ceiling.
Read Full Article at MIT News Office
Technology Review
November 22, 2010

Chinese Project Puts Cow Dung to Work

A massive biogas facility will turn manure from dairy farms into electricity and fertilizer.
A rapidly growing industry in China—dairy farming—is also a major new source of greenhouse-gas emissions. But Huishan Dairy in northeast China is trying to change this by installing the world's largest system for generating electricity by collecting methane gas emitted by fermenting cow manure. The Chinese have not, historically, been big milk drinkers, but decreasing costs and aggressive marketing efforts have changed that. Huishan's new system will prevent methane—which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas—from reaching the atmosphere. It will also reduce waste and odors, and produce a valuable organic fertilizer that's safer than raw manure.
Technology Review
November 22, 2010

An App with a Direct Line to City Hall

Software lets citizens snap and geographically tag urban blight.
When you see something ugly or hazardous in your neighborhood—a couch on the sidewalk, a pothole, or a tree limb blocking part of a road—you can call the city, send an e-mail, or walk into city hall and file a complaint. But these methods can be time-consuming and often don't give the city all the information it needs to respond quickly. A startup called CitySourced has developed a mobile application for iPhones, Android devices, and Blackberry smart phones that it believes greases the gears of civic responsibility. The app lets people send geographically tagged pictures of urban blight, complete with a time stamp, a category (graffiti, trash, etc.), and a note from the user. Crucially, the data from the app is fed directly into a city's back-office workflow management system—servers that manage work orders for various departments.
Technology Review
November 22, 2010

How Mobile Phones Jump-Start Developing Economies

Ubiquitous handsets introduce mobile payments to those who lack bank accounts.
As one of the fastest-spreading technologies in history, the mobile phone has been transformative for the billions of people in the developing world who never had a landline or an Internet connection. One of the most unexpected benefits is its ability to deliver banking services. Veronica Suarez, like some 2.5 billion other adults on the planet, has no bank account of her own. Suarez and her husband run a small grocery store in Quito, Ecuador, a city of about 1.4 million people on a plateau ringed with dormant volcanoes. In the past, she would often spend half a day traveling to pay bills in cash. But since June, she has been testing a mobile banking service called Mony, which is run by the Panama-based startup YellowPepper Holding. Now she can simply type out text messages that zap payments to the phones of the delivery men who bring cases of Coca-Cola and boxes of vegetable oil to her shop. That could enable her to save travel time, reduce the risk of getting robbed, and run her business more efficiently.
MIT Research News
November 19, 2010

In The World: Turning waste into profit

Students aim to improve Kenyan slum-dwellers’ access to basic sanitation — and generate renewable energy and jobs along the way.
About 2.6 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation, including more than 10 million in Kenya’s densely populated urban slums. Given the lack of critical infrastructure, slum dwellers go to the bathroom in holes in the ground surrounded by primitive sheds that are shared by up to 150 people. These “pit latrines” are typically constructed with foreign aid, but funding to maintain them is lacking, and so they often fall into disrepair. As a result, many people resort to open defecation, which contaminates drinking water.

What is needed to tackle this sanitation crisis is a new model that addresses the entire sanitation value chain — the processes involved in producing a good or providing a service — and that doesn’t rely on donor funding, according to two second-year students at the MIT Sloan School of Management. David Auerbach and Ani Vallabhaneni have developed such a model as co-founders of Sanergy, a company that seeks to improve sanitation conditions while simultaneously creating jobs and profit. Their model proposes to create a sustainable sanitation cycle that has significant positive environmental, health, economic and social impacts.
Read Full Article at MIT News Office
Technology Review
November 19, 2010

Thinking Outside the In-box

One of the Internet's oldest tools is getting a whole new set of functions.
Search the Internet, and you'll find hundreds of applications designed to help you collaborate with other people more effectively. But examine your own habits, and you'll most likely find that you use just one piece of software for that purpose: an e-mail client. You're not alone. A recent Forrester Research study found that 83 percent of business users typically send e-mail attachments to colleagues rather than using collaboration software. According to a recent survey by technology consulting company People-OnTheGo, the average information worker spends 3.3 hours a day dealing with e-mail, and 65 percent of such workers have their e-mail client open all the time.
Technology Review
November 19, 2010

Silicon's Long Good-bye

Researchers make transistors out of a material that's better than silicon.
Sometime in the coming decades, chipmakers will no longer be able to make silicon chips faster by packing smaller transistors onto a chip. That's because silicon transistors will simply be too leaky and expensive to make any smaller. People working on materials that could succeed silicon have to overcome many challenges. Now researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a way past one such hurdle: they've developed a reliable way to make fast, low-power, nanoscopic transistors out of a compound semiconductor material. Their method is simpler, and promises to be less expensive, than existing ones.
Technology Review
November 19, 2010

How Brain Imaging Could Help Predict Alzheimer's

The discovery could one day allow doctors to catch the disease before it's done irreversible damage.
Developing drugs that effectively slow the course of Alzheimer's disease has been notoriously difficult. Scientists and drug developers believe that a large part of the problem is that they are testing these drugs too late in the progression of the disease, when significant damage to the brain makes intervention much more difficult. "Drugs like Lilly's gamma secretase inhibitor failed because they were tested in the wrong group of patients," says Sangram Sisodia, director of the Center for Molecular Neurobiology at the University of Chicago. People in the mid or late stages of the disease "are too far gone, there is nothing you can do."
Technology Review
November 19, 2010

Meet the New Monopoly, Same as the Old One

A new book argues that concentration of power is an inevitable result of new communications networks.
For much of the last century, people didn't have a choice of phone companies; a monopoly owned the lines that carried calls, and it provided the phones to homes as well. AM radio stations were held by a handful of people, who managed to squelch independent voices and delay the advent of a superior technology, FM radio. Television was dominated by just three national networks in the United States, and each offered similar programming. Fortunately, we've overcome that. Governments recognized the benefits of busting up monopolies in these information industries so that competitors with creative ideas and innovative technologies could flourish. Inexpensive computers and electronic devices made it possible for more people to become creators. And the Internet emerged as a distribution platform that no one was in charge of, so anyone could be heard. Now we have more choices than ever in the media we consume and the ways we consume them.
Technology Review
November 18, 2010

Wind Project Shows How China and the U.S. Can Get Along

Even as a trade dispute puts the countries at odds, some are finding ways to work together.
Tensions between the United States and China were ratcheted up recently when the Obama administration said it would investigate complaints of unfair trade policies in China connected to renewable energy. But a controversial wind farm project in Texas could offer a model for greater cooperation. It is succeeding because the manufacturing of hundreds of wind turbines will be split between the two countries. The 600-megawatt wind project was announced last year by investors in China and the United States. It will involve the construction of about 300 wind turbines and will draw on financing from both Chinese banks and from the 2009 U.S. Recovery Act.
Technology Review
November 18, 2010

Cell-Phone Chips to the Rescue

Data centers, under greater demand than ever, are looking to low-power chips as a way to save money—but switching won't be easy.
It takes energy to run the computers inside data centers—and then more energy to cool them down. With demand for cloud computing growing rapidly, the companies that run these centers are looking for ways to save on energy costs. The microprocessors inside their computers look to be an ideal target. For years, Intel and AMD have dominated the microprocessor market with high-performance chips. But as the cost of cooling chips becomes a bigger issue, these companies will face competition from low-power upstarts, some of which use chip architectures originally developed for cell phones and other mobile devices.