By Andres Rico

The past few years have seen the field of synthetic biology (SynBio) mature and expand at a notable pace. The diverse backgrounds joining the field have contributed greatly to the advancements that are already affecting our everyday lives in ways that we might not even realize or expect. From bio-wearable systems for monitoring our health to custom-grown bone implants, low-cost fluid-handling robots, DNA hard drives, grown furniture, and city-scale biosensors, we are only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg! In the upcoming years, engineered living systems will become as ubiquitous as smart devices have become…


The Fellowships are aimed at helping students from underrepresented backgrounds establish careers in robotics, engineering, computer science, and related fields.

Amazon Robotics recently announced six initial recipients of the Amazon Robotics Day One Fellowship, a program established to help students from underrepresented backgrounds pursue master of science degrees at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford.


Economic segregation isn’t just limited to neighborhoods; it’s part of the places you visit every day.

In a world of increasing urbanization, migration, and mobility, cities are becoming the epicenter of our social life. Diverse populations and social cohesion are crucial for sustainable urban development, but cities face rising segregation and inequality. These two forces can erode the urban social fabric, dramatically affecting the economic, social, and health outcomes of people living in urban areas. …


By Sarah Beckmann | MIT Media Lab

The Space Exploration Initiative supports research across and beyond MIT in two zero gravity flights this spring

As a not-so-distant future that includes space tourism and people living off-planet approaches, the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative is designing and researching the activities humans will pursue in new, weightless environments.

Since 2017, the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) has orchestrated regular parabolic flights through the ZERO-G Research Program to test experiments that rely on microgravity. This May, the SEI supported researchers from the Media Lab, MIT Aero Astro, MIT EAPS, MIT Kavli Institute, MIT…


By Alexandra Kahn | MIT Media Lab

MIT researchers are co-leading the design of a global Space Sustainability Rating system that will soon be operational.

Each day, new and innovative space technologies are being developed in countries around the world, and with that, a steady stream of satellites, rockets, cargo ships, and crew vehicles are being launched into the Earth’s orbit and beyond.

So what happens to these systems when they come to the end of their functional life, or malfunction and break?

Some are programmed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere where, if all goes well, they incinerate safely upon…


By Avery Normandin

“The Festival of Learning is always a great opportunity to remember that we are a community of hobbyists who exist outside our official job titles. This year’s FoL provided the spontaneous interaction that I’ve missed after a year of scheduled Zoom calls. Thank you to the presenters who offered their time and expertise as a means of connection!”–FoL 2021 Attendee

We all know the beginning of 2021 at the MIT Media Lab looked and felt completely different than a typical academic year. One thing did stay the same, though: the Festival of Learning! Our challenge was to…


By Simone Williams

MIT Space Exploration Initiative event shows that collective imagination is essential to space exploration and innovation


By Guillermo Bernal

Virtual reality (VR) is increasingly being used for therapeutic purposes and for neuroscience and psychology research. Having access to real-time physiological and brain data in such experiments is highly desirable. Even still, nothing has compared to the wave of interest we are experiencing today with conferences, concerts, and meetings moving into VR due to the pandemic.

My name is Guillermo Bernal, a PhD candidate in the Fluid Interfaces group. As part of my research, I developed hardware that facilitates monitoring physiological signals from VR users. In 2018, my collaborators and I published a project called PhysioHMD in…


We started out investigating media coverage of LGBTQ+-specific data breach issues, yet race and racism are unavoidable. Potential harms from online dating apps are constant, but our attention to these issues should extend far beyond the pandemic.

By: Stephanie Nguyen, Aashka Dave, Dennis Jen, Emily Boardman Ndulue, Rahul Bhargava

Two smartphones displaying bright red hearts.

In April 2020, an Instagram influencer encouraged tens of thousands of followers to download queer dating apps to strategically out friends and family in Morocco who may be LGBTQ+. …


By Shriya Srinivasan

The Biomechatronics group recently pioneered a new type of amputation surgery, the AMI amputation, that allows patients to use a bionic prosthesis with greater control and sensory feedback.

After a year of seeing patients demonstrate significantly decreased pain, improved mobility, and speak about their vivid phantom limb sensations, we started wondering how the brains of these patients changed as compared to traditional amputees. This was especially interesting since traditional amputees experience quite a bit of phantom pain and irritating sensations, arising from the abnormal way in which their brain adapts to a loss of a limb.

In…

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