Bringing Star Trek to Earth: Ion Thrusters and Airplanes

MIT ion thrusters featured

‘Anti-gravity’ ion thrusters can power a tiny plane.When we think of getting on an airplane we think of the constant hum of the engines running. Even other vehicles that fly, such as drones, or helicopters, rely on the whirl of a motor and the drip of fuel. This is a …

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Bionic Mushroom Power

bionic mushroom featured

Mario’s mushroom power.Super Mario Brothers is a long-loved game where magical mushrooms can give Mario or Luigi extra powers. While these mushrooms won’t give you extra powers, they might be able to give your house a little extra power.  We can thank our mushroom power to a few things: the mushroom, some tiny bacteria, 3D …

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A 3D printed Cornea

For many, the ability to see is taken for granted.That ability to see relies on healthy eyes with healthy lenses. Our eyes contain two lenses, the cornea, and the lens. The cornea is, what some would call, the window to our souls. The cornea allows light to enter our eyes and does …

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This is random

peter bierhorst NIST quantum entanglement random number generation

Researchers believe that have finally cracked the code when it comes to making a random number generator. Randomness is important in everyday life. Things such as polls to determine how a large population feels about a topic (for example, a Presidential race), can be done with a random sample of a …

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Saving the Great Barrier Reef

Two scuba divers check the health of the Great Barrier Reef

A sunshade to save the Great Barrier Reef.This week the University of Melbourne released a new method to potentially save the Great Barrier reef, and it is basically a giant sunshade.What is the sunshade made of?The proposed sunshade to protect the Great Barrier reef from incident sunlight is made of …

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A spy in the water: Engineering robotic fish

Soft_under-actuated_fish-like_robot

Blending in: A robotic fish becomes a reef resident.Researchers at MIT have recently developed and tested SoFi, the robotic fish that can blend in so well it can even swim alongside other fish.Why a robotic fish?You might wonder why researchers would want to create a robotic fish given all of …

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Recycling CO2 to make Ethanol

Synthetic Photosynthesis would recycle carbon dioxide while creating ethanol

Carbon dioxide is a pesky gas that is building up in our atmosphere from burning too many fossil fuels. About 10-25% of the greenhouse effect is due to carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect.Life on Earth relies on a delicate balance of heat from our Sun. …

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Lego Bricks meet MIT microfluidics science

By National Institute of Standards and Technology (Lab-On-A-Chip; GEMBE) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lego Bricks make it to MIT.Lego bricks are a ton of fun to build with at home, and now they are making themselves a place in top-notch research labs as well.  Legos in Labs? Can Legos be used to do cutting-edge research? It turns out they can in the world of …

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Optogenetics: When the Force finds Light Control

optogenetics mouse

Controlling the brain. The world where the Force can control your thoughts with a hand wave is coming soon to theaters near you. In the real world scientists are playing catch up and controlling the brain with light. Two leaders in the field just won the Breakthrough Prize. Karl Deisseroth …

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