Entries with tag massachusetts institute of technology.

Soft Robotics Research and Development Growing

A growing research area within robotics is that of soft robotics. Most robots have rigid structures, but soft structures pose several operating advantages. These types of robots move differently, which means the movements do not need to be precisely calculated by operating algorithms. They also can work in environments alongside humans without fear of injury to human or robot. The danger “is on par with being attacked by a pillow,” notes MIT researchers who are working on a fish-inspired silicon robot named Bubbles.  Among the other academic organizations and businesses working on soft robotics are Harvard University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, San Francisco-based Otherlab, and researchers in Italy who constructed a robotic tentacle. (SlashDot)(The Verge)(MIT News Office)

Digital Tool Displays Taxi-Sharing Benefits

MIT researchers have developed a tool that lets users see the possible energy and time savings that sharing taxi rides could generate. The HubCab tool is based on a dataset consisting of 170 million single-passenger taxi trips by all 13,500 licensed New York City taxis in 2011, complete with all pickup and drop-off points’ GPS coordinates. The tool uses OpenStreetMap street shapes segmented with Python imported into a Mongo database. During their research, the scientists found that taxi-sharing could reduce the number of trips by 40 percent. Were there device-enabled taxi sharing networks available, this could result in less traffic congestion costs, and pollution they say. HubCab is a project of the MIT Senseable City Lab, which investigates the convergence and changes digital technologies are bringing to cities and their inhabitants.  (SlashDot)(Co.Design)(HubCab @MIT Senseable City Lab)

Researchers Create New Nanoscale Material

An international team of researchers led by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and RMIT University have developed a new two-dimensional material they say “could revolutionize the electronics market.” The material consists of molybdenum oxide layers in sheets about 11 nanometers thick that are similar to graphite layers. The material’s structural properties, which are also semiconducting, allow electrons to freely flow at ultra-high speeds, which could enable smaller devices to be created that are able to transfer data at high speed. The researchers made nanoscale transistors with the material but say additional research is needed before devices can be made using the material. Other research collaborators included scientists from Monash University, University of California at Los Angeles, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The researchers published their work in Advanced Materials. (EurekAlert)(The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

New Application Handles Roaming, Other Mobile Challenges

MIT researchers have created a new remote-login program called Mosh that lets users sign onto remote wireless devices and that improves mobile applications’ performance. Rather than using TCP, Mosh—a name derived from the words “mobile shell”—uses state synchronization protocol, which the MIT scientists based on the concepts used for videoconferencing. The researchers have made Mosh freely available to users and say it has been downloaded 70,000 times. They presented the work at the Usenix Annual Technical Conference in Boston earlier this month. (EurekaAlert)(MIT News Office)(MOSH: The Mobile Shell) 

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