What is it? » Switchable magnetic pillars
September 30, 2013
MIT materials science and engineering graduate student Nicolas M. Aimon has developed new methods of making mutiferroic complex metal oxide thin films by pulsed laser deposition and controlling their magnetic properties. The work could lead to a new generation of smaller, more energy efficient devices for computing and data storage.
What is it? » How to make ceramics that bend without breaking
September 26, 2013
Ceramics are not known for their flexibility: they tend to crack under stress. But researchers from MIT and Singapore have just found a way around that problem for very tiny objects, at least.
The team has developed a way of making minuscule ceramic objects that are not only flexible, but also have a "memory" for shape: When bent and then heated, they return to their original shapes. The surprising discovery is reported this week in the journalĀ Science, in a paper by MIT graduate student Alan Lai, professor Christopher Schuh, and two collaborators in Singapore.
What is it? » New rechargeable flow battery enables cheaper, large-scale energy storage
August 16, 2013
MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable flow battery that doesn’t rely on expensive membranes to generate and store electricity. The device, they say, may one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage.
What is it? » How to make big things out of small pieces
August 15, 2013
MIT researchers have developed a lightweight structure whose tiny blocks can be snapped together much like the bricks of a child’s construction toy. The new material, the researchers say, could revolutionize the assembly of airplanes, spacecraft, and even larger structures, such as dikes and levees.
What is it? » Researchers build an all-optical transistor
July 4, 2013
An optical switch that can be turned on by a single photon could point toward new designs for both classical and quantum computers.
What is it? »Stanford students' robots play golf, stack dominoes, swat balloons
June 13, 2013
Students from Stanford's Experimental Robotics course put their programming chops to work by teaching robots to play golf, tennis and soccer goalie; line up dominoes; and swat balloons in the style of King Kong swatting at airplanes.
What is it? »Stanford scientists develop efficient zinc-air battery
June 4, 2013
Stanford scientists have created a zinc-air battery that could become a low-cost alternative to lithium-ion technology.
What is it? » Future Battery for the Electric Car
The price tag notwithstanding, there’s one reason that drivers aren’t lining up to purchase a Tesla Model S or a Chevrolet Volt or a ZAP Alias or a Fisker Karma for that matter. The hurdle is the very thing that puts those cars on the road in the first place: the battery. In a cell phone, lithium ion batteries seem pretty small and nifty. In a car, they’re massive and will only get you so far.
What is it? » Smart Robots for Picking Fruit
Harvesting “high-value” crops like wine grapes is a time-consuming, laborious task. Imagine if a robot could be designed that would not only know which grape is ready for picking and which isn’t, but would also have the ability to gently grasp the fruit and remove it from the vine without damaging the grape.
What is it? » Stanford engineers monitor heart health using paper-thin flexible 'skin'
May 14, 2013
Engineers combine layers of flexible materials into pressure sensors to create a wearable heart monitor thinner than a dollar bill. The skin-like device could one day provide doctors with a safer way to check the condition of a patient's heart.
What is it? » Micro Air Vehicles and Our Winged Friends
Growing up in the Netherlands, David Lentink started to see his future in the skies. But although he would build a string of model airplanes, it would be a much earlier flying model that would truly catch his eye: insects and birds.
What is it? » Stanford scientists develop new type of solar structure that cools buildings in full sunlight
A Stanford team has designed an entirely new form of cooling panel that works even when the sun is shining. Such a panel could vastly improve the daylight cooling of buildings, cars and other structures by radiating sunlight back into the chilly vacuum of space.