It's one of those nagging problems science has yet to solve: how do we save Earth if one of our asteroid neighbors starts heading our way? We've noodled everything from tractor beam, lasers, and even nuking them Armageddon style. A new proposal joining the chorus suggests hitting asteroids with white paintballs could do the trick — first by steering them off course with the force of impact, then by using the force of reflected sunlight bouncing off the paint to slowly move the offender out of the way.
Satellites, like the people who make them, come in all shapes and sizes. Their parts do as well. And while some thrusters are large and impressive, some satellites need smaller ones. So Paulo Lozano at MIT decided to build a rocket thruster the size of a penny.
Remember the chase scene in Evil Dead 2, where the titular dead hunted Bruce Campbell all through the inside of the cabin? Well MIT's Robust Robotics Lab has successfully reenacted that scene using a camera mounted on a small robotic plane that is able to autonomously fly indoors and maneuver around obstacles.
From churning out great works of art to replicating your own guns, the era of 3D printing is upon us. Now a couple of hardware designers have made the process even easier by creating a portable version of the technology.
The current generation of 3DTV sucks for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that it's not really 3D like a hologram is. Recognizing that true holographic video is a long way off, MIT has developed a glasses-free 3D stacked LCD display it's calling a Tensor Display that can make some of that magic happen.
Thirsty? No? You will be. It's just a matter of time. It's also just a matter of time until the expansion of humanity makes fresh water a more precious commodity than a new iPhone, but graphene sheets with lots of little holes in them could soon solve the problem by making fresh water from salt water with incredible efficiency.
Do you ever watch your local TV weather report and find yourself overcome with excruciating jealousy due to the fact you don't have your own personal Doppler radar? Of course you do. It's a normal reaction. Why do they get all that neat radar gear while you remain utterly blind to the velocities at which clouds — let alone everyday objects — are speeding to or away from you?
You've seen this in crime dramas: hard bitten detective employs computer genius with attitude to conjure vital clues from grainy and low-resolution surveillance video by using some unspecified form of "enhancement." Scoff all you like, but MIT computer geniuses can now enhance video enough to track your heart beating.
In classic MIT fashion, researchers decided gently squeezing fruit to check its ripeness [insert crude sexual innuendo here] wasn't good enough, so they created a hand-held sensor that detects when fruit is ripening. Oh, and it's affordable too. Show-offs. At least it's more kind to the fruit than this gadget.
Last week we posted about MIT students turning a building into a giant Tetris game. Well, they're at it again, but this time they added a ginormous Dalek replica (from Doctor Who, of course) to the top of a different campus building.