If you wanted to get pasta out of a pot of water, would you boil off the water, or use a strainer? While home cooks would choose the strainer, many industries continue to use energy-intensive thermal methods of separating out liquids. In some cases, that’s because it’s difficult to make a filtration system for chemical separation, which requires pores small enough to separate atoms.
It started not with a stroke of creative genius, but with a rain barrel that Mike Evans ’99, MEng ’00, wanted to install in his garden. Fourteen calls later, he still hadn’t been able to hire anyone. He started researching the home maintenance sector and discovered that many US trade schools have closed in recent decades, creating a shortage of handypeople. That’s how Fixer was born.
Many scientists and researchers still rely on Excel spreadsheets and lab notebooks to manage data from their experiments. That can work for single experiments, but companies tend to make decisions based on data from multiple experiments, some of which may take place at different labs, with slightly different parameters, and even in different countries.
Hovering one hundred meters above a densely populated urban residential area, the drone takes a quiet breath. Its goal is singular, to systematically measure air quality across the metropolitan landscape, providing regular updates to a central communication module where it docks after its patrol, awaiting a new set of instructions. The central module integrates each new data point provided by a small drone fleet, processing them against wind and traffic patterns and historical pollution hotspot information. Then the fleet is assigned new sampling waypoints and relaunched.
Whether it’s computer chips, smartphone components, or camera parts, the hardware in many products is constantly getting smaller. The trend is pushing companies to come up with new ways to make the parts that power our world.
America has over 4 million miles of roads and, as one might expect, monitoring them can be a monumental task.
To collect high-quality data on the conditions of their roads, departments of transportation (DOTs) can expect to spend $200 per mile for state-of-the-art laser profilers. For cities and states, these costs are prohibitive and often force them to resort to rudimentary approaches, like visual inspection.
There is a lot of activity beneath the vast, lonely expanses of ice and snow in the Arctic. Climate change has dramatically altered the layer of ice that covers much of the Arctic Ocean. Areas of water that used to be covered by a solid ice pack are now covered by thin layers only 3 feet deep. Beneath the ice, a warm layer of water, part of the Beaufort Lens, has changed the makeup of the aquatic environment.
Walking into MIT can feel like entering a foreign country — one with a number for every building and an unwieldy acronym for every organization. Deeper conversations are even more opaque, as fields and sub-fields command their own complex scientific argot. But if the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that bridging the gap between scientists and their wider society is more important than ever. The School of Engineering's EECS Communication Lab, in partnership with the MIT Libraries, is working to bridge that communications gap and help research scientists translate their findings for lay audiences in a series of talks called “Science Snippets.”
Arnav Patel is a self-described sustainability enthusiast. Working on solutions related to climate change has been a central thread woven throughout his time at MIT. As a first-year student, he was initially drawn to mechanical engineering because he wanted to keep his options open.
In November, mechanical engineering PhD candidate Hyunwoo Yuk earned the top prize at the Collegiate Inventors Competition hosted by the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. Yuk was named the graduate winner for his invention SanaHeal, a bioadhesive tape that can easily bind to tissues or organs. The tape could one day be used in place of sutures to promote healing and minimize complications after surgery.