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Folding robots are nothing new, but scientists from Harvard and MIT have taken it to the next level, by designing one that assembles itself and walks away to do its job with zero human input. The robots start out as a flat sheet of paper and polystyrene plastic (which you most likely know as Shrin

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August 8, 2014 at 4:46AM
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You may want to be careful about the conversations you hold in the future; if you're near a window, someone might be listening in. A team of researchers from Adobe, Microsoft and MIT have developed a visual microphone algorithm that picks up audio by looking for microscopic vibrations in video fo

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Engadgeteers spend a lot of their day staring at a screen, so it's no surprise that nearly all of us are blind without glasses or contact lenses. But wouldn't it be great if we could give our eyes a break and just stare at the screen without the aid of corrective lenses? That's the idea behind an

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It's happened to all of us: you queue up a print job, your old desk printer starts up and it unceremoniously jams halfway through. It's easy enough to resume a botched print job when you're dealing with paper, but what do you do when you're printing in 3D? A small team of MIT students may have an

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Have you ever wondered if five fingers is really enough? The folks at MIT have. Researchers in the institute's department of mechanical engineering have created a robotic glove that adds two additional digits to the standard human claw, positioning two long fingers on either side of the hand. It's

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Water is pretty wild when you think about it: all of its three states of matter are consumable by humans, and one in particular can even give off electrical power. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has discovered that when water condenses on and spontaneously jumps back and forth

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Sorry, that's not a 3D-printed ice cream cone, Mr. President. Sure, those 3D printers that can output confectionery creations in sugar, chocolate and other edible substances are great, but a trio of MIT students have upped the awesome. Using a household Cuisinart ice cream maker and a Solidoodle

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Thermoelectrics -- which use wasted heat to generate electricity -- could get a lot more interesting thanks to a company called Alphabet Energy. It's set to commercialize tetrahedrite, a metal that more than doubles the efficiency of current tech for as little as a fiftieth the cost. Thermoelectri

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Pro photographers can spend ages setting up lighting for a shoot. That work may quickly go out the window if the subject moves, however, and an assistant won't always be there to help. Thankfully, MIT researchers have devised a clever solution to the problem: meet Litrobot, an aerial lighting dron

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Golf balls are dimpled for a reason -- they sail through the air just slowly enough that the uneven surface reduces drag, helping them fly farther than they might otherwise. Wouldn't it be nice if your car could get that kind of aerodynamic boost? It might, if MIT's newly developed morphable surfa

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Thought experiment time, folks: what would do you if you wanted to warm up a few people in a big, chilly room? Prevailing logic says to crank up the heat, but let's be honest here: sometimes the prevailing logic sucks. The folks from MIT's Senseable City Lab project have cooked up a more efficient

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Researchers from MIT and Lawrence Livermore have created a new class of materials with the same density as aerogels (aka frozen smoke) but 10,000 times stiffer. Called micro-architected metamaterials, they can withstand 160,000 times their own weight, making them ideal for load-bearing, weight-sen

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If you travel often, you know that it's hard to socialize at hotels; short of a chance encounter, you'll probably end up drinking at the bar by yourself. MIT and Marriott may have a better solution in store with their Six Degrees app. The mobile software uses LinkedIn to find connections between

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Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of scientists (and politicians) as it could produce limitless free energy without nasty consequences like meltdowns and radioactive waste. Though nobody's been able to build a reactor that produces more energy than it consumes (except arguably one time), scientists

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Two groups of MIT scientists are working on robotic limbs, which when worn together can make you look like one famous comic book villain: Doctor Octopus. Unlike prosthetic limbs developed to replace real ones, the teams' (from MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory) Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRLs) are des

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It's 2050, and you're prepping the oven to bake your next robotic minion while a 3D printer spews out its components. Wait a sec... bake a robot? As strange as that sounds, there's already a group of MIT researchers developing the technology and the printable materials that can self-assemble into

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As it stands, you can spice up your selfies with Instagram filters and other edits before beaming to the interwebs. But what about making a truly compelling smartphone self-portrait? Well, a team of researchers from MIT -- alongside folks from Adobe and the University of Virginia -- created an alg

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Pulp sci-fi novels have painted a picture of a bleak future, with dense, dystopian urban sprawl forcing us into ever-shrinking living spaces. Such ignominious abodes would probably benefit from something MIT Media Lab's Changing Places team has been working on. It's called CityHome, and it's a con

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Scientists have long yearned for a neuron-by-neuron illustration of brain activity; get that and you can see exactly what drives an animal's thoughts and reflexes. MIT may make those wishes come true, as it just revealed a system that produces a complete 3D neural activity map. The discovery revol

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