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by   -   April 21, 2019


A new “particle simulator” developed by MIT researchers improves robots’ abilities to mold materials into simulated target shapes and interact with solid objects and liquids. This could give robots a refined touch for industrial applications or for personal robotics— such as shaping clay or rolling sticky sushi rice.
Courtesy of the researchers

By Rob Matheson

A new learning system developed by MIT researchers improves robots’ abilities to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a learning-based particle simulator, could give industrial robots a more refined touch — and it may have fun applications in personal robotics, such as modelling clay shapes or rolling sticky rice for sushi.

by   -   April 21, 2019

RoCycle can detect if an object is paper, metal, or plastic. CSAIL researchers say that such a system could potentially help enable the convenience of single-stream recycling with lower contamination rates that confirm to China’s new recycling standards.
Photo: Jason Dorfman

By Adam Conner-Simons

Every year trash companies sift through an estimated 68 million tons of recycling, which is the weight equivalent of more than 30 million cars.

by   -   April 7, 2019
Researchers trained a hybrid AI model to answer questions like “Does the red object left of the green cube have the same shape as the purple matte thing?” by feeding it examples of object colors and shapes followed by more complex scenarios involving multi-object comparisons. The model could transfer this knowledge to new scenarios as well as or better than state-of-the-art models using a fraction of the training data.
Image: Justin Johnson

A child who has never seen a pink elephant can still describe one — unlike a computer. “The computer learns from data,” says Jiajun Wu, a PhD student at MIT. “The ability to generalize and recognize something you’ve never seen before — a pink elephant — is very hard for machines.”

by   -   April 5, 2019

By Rob Matheson
Researchers have developed computationally simple robots, called particles, that cluster and form a single “particle robot” that moves around, transports objects, and completes other tasks. The work hails from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Columbia University, and elsewhere.
Image: Felice Frankel

Taking a cue from biological cells, researchers from MIT, Columbia University, and elsewhere have developed computationally simple robots that connect in large groups to move around, transport objects, and complete other tasks.

by   -   February 19, 2019
MIT Media Lab researchers are using RFID tags to help robots home in on moving objects with unprecedented speed and accuracy, potentially enabling greater collaboration in robotic packaging and assembly and among swarms of drones.
Photo courtesy of the researchers

A novel system developed at MIT uses RFID tags to help robots home in on moving objects with unprecedented speed and accuracy. The system could enable greater collaboration and precision by robots working on packaging and assembly, and by swarms of drones carrying out search-and-rescue missions.

by   -   January 25, 2019

By Rob Matheson

A novel model developed by MIT and Microsoft researchers identifies instances in which autonomous systems have “learned” from training examples that don’t match what’s actually happening in the real world. Engineers could use this model to improve the safety of artificial intelligence systems, such as driverless vehicles and autonomous robots.

by   -   December 16, 2018

Aleksander Madry is a leader in the emerging field of building guarantees into artificial intelligence, which has nearly become a branch of machine learning in its own right.
Photo courtesy of CSAIL

By Kim Martineau

Machine learning algorithms now underlie much of the software we use, helping to personalize our news feeds and finish our thoughts before we’re done typing. But as artificial intelligence becomes further embedded in daily life, expectations have risen. Before autonomous systems fully gain our confidence, we need to know they are reliable in most situations and can withstand outside interference; in engineering terms, that they are robust. We also need to understand the reasoning behind their decisions; that they are interpretable.

by   -   December 9, 2018

interactive installation at Cambridge Public Library, was shown live on monitors at Hayden Library and streamed online.
Still photos courtesy of metaLAB (at) Harvard.

By Brigham Fay

“The Laughing Room,” an interactive art installation by author, illustrator, and MIT graduate student Jonathan “Jonny” Sun, looks like a typical living room: couches, armchairs, coffee table, soft lighting. This cozy scene, however, sits in a glass-enclosed space, flanked by bright lights and a microphone, with a bank of laptops and a video camera positioned across the room. People wander in, take a seat, begin chatting. After a pause in the conversation, a riot of canned laughter rings out, prompting genuine giggles from the group.

by   -   December 2, 2018

The RePaint system reproduces paintings by combining two approaches called color-contoning and half-toning, as well as a deep learning model focused on determining how to stack 10 different inks to recreate the specific shades of color.
Image courtesy of the researchers

By Rachel Gordon

The empty frames hanging inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum serve as a tangible reminder of the world’s biggest unsolved art heist. While the original masterpieces may never be recovered, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) might be able to help, with a new system aimed at designing reproductions of paintings.

by   -   November 19, 2018
Water droplets are inserted into the microhydraulic actuator, which rotates when voltage is applied to electrodes that pull the droplets in one direction. This disc-shaped actuator’s inner diameter is 5 millimeters.
Photo: Glen Cooper

Look around and you’ll likely see something that runs on an electric motor. Powerful and efficient, they keep much of our world moving, everything from our computers to refrigerators to the automatic windows in our cars. But these qualities change for the worse when such motors are shrunk down to sizes smaller than a cubic centimeter.

by   -   November 4, 2018

MIT researchers describe an autonomous system for a fleet of drones to collaboratively search under dense forest canopies using only onboard computation and wireless communication — no GPS required.
Images: Melanie Gonick

By Rob Matheson

Finding lost hikers in forests can be a difficult and lengthy process, as helicopters and drones can’t get a glimpse through the thick tree canopy. Recently, it’s been proposed that autonomous drones, which can bob and weave through trees, could aid these searches. But the GPS signals used to guide the aircraft can be unreliable or nonexistent in forest environments.

by   -   November 4, 2018

MIT researchers have developed a “semantic parser” that learns through observation to more closely mimic a child’s language-acquisition process, which could greatly extend computing’s capabilities.
Photo: MIT News

By Rob Matheson

Children learn language by observing their environment, listening to the people around them, and connecting the dots between what they see and hear. Among other things, this helps children establish their language’s word order, such as where subjects and verbs fall in a sentence.

by   -   October 24, 2018

This photo shows circles on a graphene sheet where the sheet is draped over an array of round posts, creating stresses that will cause these discs to separate from the sheet. The gray bar across the sheet is liquid being used to lift the discs from the surface.
Image: Felice Frankel

By David L. Chandler

Tiny robots no bigger than a cell could be mass-produced using a new method developed by researchers at MIT. The microscopic devices, which the team calls “syncells” (short for synthetic cells), might eventually be used to monitor conditions inside an oil or gas pipeline, or to search out disease while floating through the bloodstream.

by   -   October 24, 2018

Ethical questions involving autonomous vehicles are the focus of a new global survey conducted by MIT researchers.

By Peter Dizikes

A massive new survey developed by MIT researchers reveals some distinct global preferences concerning the ethics of autonomous vehicles, as well as some regional variations in those preferences.

by   -   October 18, 2018


MIT researchers have built a system that takes a step toward fully automated smart homes, by identifying occupants even when they’re not carrying mobile devices. Image: Chelsea Turner, MIT

By Rob Matheson

Developing automated systems that track occupants and self-adapt to their preferences is a major next step for the future of smart homes. When you walk into a room, for instance, a system could set to your preferred temperature. Or when you sit on the couch, a system could instantly flick the television to your favorite channel.