I’m warm all the time. It doesn’t matter how hot or cold it is inside or out, I throw off heat like an aging, leaky furnace. A few MIT engineering students apparently know how uncomfortable this can be, so they’ve developed a wrist-worn device that can regulate your body temperature using thermal pulses.
The U.S. has the potential to transform itself into a powerhouse of green energy. The varying types of geography and climates within the borders of the U.S. offer the chance to tap into solar, wind and water power, allowing the country to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The problem with turning to alternative energy sources is the grid.
As shown by its utter failure during storms, or even as the result of poor timing (e.g. the blackout in 2003), the country’s grid is a creaking, fragile thing. Simply hooking a few wind turbines or photovoltaic cells up to the grid isn’t a solution, and could actually cause more problems. Compared to energy produced burning fossil fuels, energy from natural sources is somewhat sporadic. The wind doesn’t blow all the time, the sun isn’t always shining, etc. Continue reading
A team of researchers, including scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and MIT, have discovered a new state of matter and a new state of magnetism. The discoveries came by proving a quantum theory first speculated about in 1987 called “spin liquid.” A specific crystalline structure called a kagome allows the spin liquid to form, which is an unusual, “quantum state of matter in which the electrons’ magnetic orientation remains in a constant state of change.”
MIT was responsible for growing a kagome crystal they named Herbertsmithite (named after the mineralogist Herbert Smith) to test the theory. Researchers then analyzed the crystal by neutron scattering, which involved directing a beam of neutrons at the Herbertsmithite. The results proved the internal magnetic state of the kagome constantly shifted, forming quantum spin liquid. Continue reading
No, not that kind of transformer, as much as I’d like to lead this story with, “Autobots. Roll out.” Neil Gershenfeld, head of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, visiting scientist Ara Knaian and postdoctoral associate Kenneth Cheung, have created miniature robots that can be reconfigured into different shapes.
The robots are called “milli-motein,” and were inspired by a protein’s natural ability to reshape itself into nearly any form. In theory, the milli-motein bots could potentially provide the building blocks of any non-organic object. Continue reading