ENDLESS FRONTIER:
INNOVATIONS IN SCIENCE & ENGINEERING

March 2019

Image: Bryce Vickmark

Science/Tech

Mini cheetah is the first four-legged robot to do a backflip

MIT’s new mini cheetah robot is springy and light on its feet. The four-legged robot can bend and swing its legs wide, enabling it to walk either right-side up or upside down, and it can trot over uneven terrain about twice as fast as an average person’s walking speed. Weighing in at just 20 pounds —the limber quadruped can perform a 360-degree backflip from a standing position. Researchers say the new mini cheetah is designed to be “virtually indestructible,” recovering with little damage, even if that backflip ends in a spill. Read more here http://news.mit.edu/2019/mit-mini-cheetah-first-four-legged-robot-to-backflip-0304

MIT and NASA engineers demonstrate a new kind of airplane wing

A team of engineers has built and tested a radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces. The wing can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in aircraft production, flight, and maintenance efficiency, the researchers say. The new approach to wing construction could afford greater flexibility in the design and manufacturing of future aircraft. Read more here http://news.mit.edu/2019/engineers-demonstrate-lighter-flexible-airplane-wing-0401

Health/Convergence

Art and science converge in the public galleries at MIT's Koch Institute

The display features a breathtaking array of colors and shapes configured in otherworldly patterns — but this is no ordinary art collection. Each of the striking scientific images adorning the walls of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research’s public galleries tells a story of hope and progress, capturing a snapshot of potentially groundbreaking research. Together, they comprise the 2016 Image Awards exhibition, a showcase of winning images from the Koch Institute’s annual competition to recognize the best and brightest of biomedical imagery from MIT laboratories.

Read more here http://news.mit.edu/2016/scientific-art-lights-up-main-street-0323

New optical imaging system could be deployed to find tiny tumors

MIT researchers have developed an imaging system that relies on near-infrared light, named DOLPHIN, which could enable them to find tiny tumors, as small as a couple of hundred cells, deep within the body. The imaging system, which relies on near-infrared light, was used to track a 0.1-millimeter fluorescent probe, and showed they can detect a signal to a tissue depth of 8 centimeters, far deeper than any existing biomedical optical imaging technique. The researchers hope to adapt their imaging technology for early diagnosis of ovarian and other cancers that are currently difficult to detect until late stages. Read more here http://news.mit.edu/2019/near-infrared-optical-imaging-system-small-tumors-0307

Energy/Environment

Energy monitor can find electrical failures before they happen

A new system devised by researchers at MIT can monitor the behavior of all electric devices within a building, ship, or factory, determining which ones are in use at any given time and whether any are showing signs of an imminent failure. When tested on a Coast Guard cutter, the system pinpointed a motor with burnt-out wiring that could have led to a serious onboard fire. Read more here http://news.mit.edu/2019/energy-monitor-find-electrical-failures-0322