Research

15 stories
not too hot not too cold
This self-powered boiler can help you survive New England winters
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When the next cold snap cuts downs power lines and leaves New Englanders disconnected from the grid, a quarter-sized device could help them tap their boilers for electricity. The same technology—a precise combination of materials sandwiched together—is poised to impact larger markets, and make cars and heavy industries more energy-efficient.  Read More
Now you see it
Magic materials fold themselves at MIT exhibition this month
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Time is the fourth dimension. That's the first thing you need to know before you enter the 3-D/4-D exhibition that opened this week at an MIT gallery this week. Sheets of wood, metal and cloth that are 3-D printed into fantastic structures are on display at the Keller Gallery on campus, but the real twist is this: They are programmed to shape-shift over time. Read More
3-D Printed pepperoni? Natick's Army lab tests extreme menus for soldiers
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With rescue robots, bionic arms, and microscopic drones on the docket, it seems the military is no stranger to far-our futuristic technologies. But this time they've gone after a concept straight out of science fiction: 3-D printed food. And the military’s research lab based in Natick is leading the charge. Read More
Harvard's SLIPS technology solves sticky situations
Image: Wyss Institute
A surprising number of the world's problems arise because of stuff sticking to other stuff: Ice on airplane wings, barnacles growing on undersea power lines, blood sticking to blood bags. A new company launched out of Harvard University hopes they've found a solution. Their creation? A suite of ultra-slippery surfaces that repel blood, bacteria, dust, water, ice, cement, and more. Read More
a fine line
Facebook reveals research guidelines after playing with users' feeds
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Back in 2012, researchers from Facebook and Cornell University altered the kinds of posts people saw in their Facebook feeds to study the way they responded to them. When Facebook users found out this year, they were mad. Now Facebook has responded, with its chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer publishing a response, laying out a set of guidelines by which research on Facebook will be conducted in the future. Read More
Your space my space
How to ethically study people on Facebook? Researchers discuss
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A study on Facebook users that altered the news feeds of some 700,000 people in 2012 drew shrill outcry from Facebook users, ethicists, politicians, and researchers when the work was published this summer. The feedback prompted a post-mortem of the methods in that study within the research community as well as a re-examination of ethics surrounding research on people and their data. Read More