We're used to seeing big arrays of flat solar panels used to generate electricity, but a group of MIT researchers has discovered that a flat panel is not the most efficient way to capture the sun's energy.
The venerable and prestigious Massachusetts Institute o' Technology has decided to formalize a decades-old practice by awarding official pirate certificates to qualifying students. And not for your pansy-nerd software piracy: these kids are real life swashbuckling salty dogs, who can shoot you, stab you, shoot you again, and then skillfully sail away.
A few years back we saw how researchers at MIT were working on ways to generate electricity from grass clippings. Well they must cut the grass a lot up there at MIT, because now another group has figured out a way to make electricity generating solar panels using more of your yard trash.
MIT has been working on their clever little foldable, stackable City Car concept for nearly half a decade now, and they've finally made a real one. It's destined for Europe in 2013, but not for individuals: to drive one, you'll have to be willing to share.
Solar panels: Great idea if you're a spaceship, not so good anywhere it gets dark. There are some ways around this limitation, but MIT had a better idea: they invented a photovoltaic panel that doesn't need sunlight at all, and they've built it into a button-sized generator that can run your smartphone for a week straight.
The last few invisibility cloaks we've seen have relied on metamaterials to make tiny objects invisible to a specific wavelength of light. This "carpet cloak," from MIT, uses some calcite crystals to make much larger objects disappear in the visible spectrum.
We generally expect computers to give us precise and accurate answers every time, all the time. After all, that's why computers are computers. But as it turns out, if we cut them a little bit of slack in the accuracy department, we can easily make them a thousand times faster.
Well, this is nuts: engineers at MIT have developed a camera that can capture images of things not in its field of view. Yes, it's a camera that can see around corners, no mirrors involved.
MIT grad student Ming-Zher Poh has managed to give the humble webcam a beefy functionality upgrade without too much extra work. In fact, your webcam could tell how healthy your heart is just by looking at you.
Clean up the Gulf in just one month, you say? A claim like that would normally have us rolling our eyes, save for the fact that we heard two magic words: "MIT" and "robots." Lots and lots of robots, all soaking up oil using a special technique.