Category: Research

A tech intervention to tame tuberculosis

For tuberculosis patients, complying with a full course of treatment can be daunting and difficult. But a new experiment conducted by MIT researchers in Kenya, in collaboration with the digital health company Keheala, shows that a digital program used on mobile phones helps patients successfully finish their treatments. The program created interactive communication between patients […]

How “information gerrymandering” influences voters

Many voters today seem to live in partisan bubbles, where they receive only partial information about how others feel regarding political issues. Now, an experiment developed in part by MIT researchers sheds light on how this phenomenon influences people when they vote. The experiment, which placed participants in simulated elections, found not only that communication […]

Comparing primate vocalizations

The utterances of Old World monkeys, some of our primate cousins, may be more sophisticated than previously realized — but even so, they display constraints that reinforce the singularity of human language, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT linguist.  The study reinterprets evidence about primate language and concludes that Old World monkeys […]

MIT’s fleet of autonomous boats can now shapeshift

MIT’s fleet of robotic boats has been updated with new capabilities to “shapeshift,” by autonomously disconnecting and reassembling into a variety of configurations, to form floating structures in Amsterdam’s many canals. The autonomous boats — rectangular hulls equipped with sensors, thrusters, microcontrollers, GPS modules, cameras, and other hardware — are being developed as part of the […]

Two studies reveal benefits of mindfulness for middle school students

Two new studies from MIT suggest that mindfulness — the practice of focusing one’s awareness on the present moment — can enhance academic performance and mental health in middle schoolers. The researchers found that more mindfulness correlates with better academic performance, fewer suspensions from school, and less stress. “By definition, mindfulness is the ability to […]

What’s the best way to cut vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions?

Policies to encourage reductions in greenhouse gas emissions tend to stress the need to switch as many vehicles as possible to electric power. But a new study by MIT and the Ford Motor Company finds that depending on the location, in some cases an equivalent or even bigger reduction in emissions could be achieved by […]

Using CRISPR to program gels with new functions

The CRISPR genome-editing system is best-known for its potential to correct disease-causing mutations and add new genes into living cells. Now, a team from MIT and Harvard University has deployed CRISPR for a completely different purpose: creating novel materials, such as gels, that can change their properties when they encounter specific DNA sequences. The researchers […]

Study: Climate change could pose danger for Muslim pilgrimage

For the world’s estimated 1.8 billion Muslims — roughly one-quarter of the world population — making a pilgrimage to Mecca is considered a religious duty that must be performed at least once in a lifetime, if health and finances permit. The ritual, known as the Hajj, includes about five days of activities, of which 20 […]

Robotic thread is designed to slip through the brain’s blood vessels

MIT engineers have developed a magnetically steerable, thread-like robot that can actively glide through narrow, winding pathways, such as the labrynthine vasculature of the brain. In the future, this robotic thread may be paired with existing endovascular technologies, enabling doctors to remotely guide the robot through a patient’s brain vessels to quickly treat blockages and […]

High-precision technique stores cellular “memory” in DNA

Using a technique that can precisely edit DNA bases, MIT researchers have created a way to store complex “memories” in the DNA of living cells, including human cells. The new system, known as DOMINO, can be used to record the intensity, duration, sequence, and timing of many events in the life of a cell, such […]