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
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 collaboration with the MGH Martinos Center, we performed brain scanning (MRI) to look at changes between normal subjects, subjects with traditional amputations, and subjects with the AMI amputation. We found that AMI subjects had significantly less change and were receiving sensory feedback in the brain, just like the control subjects. We also learned that they rely less on their visual system to guide their limbs, unlike traditional amputees. The regions of their brain that coordinate sensorimotor activity also resembled the activity of normal brains to a greater degree. …
By Canan Dagdeviren
Quick Response and Transition
Back in March of 2020, universities and academic labs across the world were forced to cease operations and ramp down due to the coronavirus pandemic. My academic cleanroom at the MIT Media Lab was no exception. Although restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, etc. were already under heavy restrictions, it still came as a shock when I was told that the MIT Media Lab would be closing down until further notice. On this day, I stood in my group’s office space with the remaining staff who had not yet transitioned to remote working — myself, my lab manager, my research scientist, and my administrative assistant — as we discussed the steps that would need to be taken to ramp down our lab and transition my course to being fully remote. …
By Alexandra Kahn
Space research, led by a diverse team of women scientists, will be presented at this year’s AIAA Ascend Conference.
Self-assembly construction, soft robotics, space debris reduction, satellite data for public health policy, insect life cycles, gastronomy, arts in microgravity. Just a sampling of the breadth of space research underway at the MIT Media Lab.
This week, as Media Lab researchers lead keynotes, plenary sessions, and workshops at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Ascend conference, the Media Lab’s distinctive contributions to the space sector will be on display.
Over the past few years, space research at the Media Lab has visibly flourished, driven by both faculty and student initiatives. The multidisciplinary approach that so characterizes the Lab is now seamlessly lending itself to space research — from exploring the ways people can live, thrive, and build communities in space, to programs for protecting the space environment and to tools for enhanced wellbeing, social engagement, productivity, and sustainability. …
By Carolyn “CC” Song, High School Senior and Personal Robots Intern
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Whether the last time you thought about this question was a few days ago or a few decades ago, your answer has the power to potentially set you on a course for life.
For kids nowadays, future opportunities in the tech world are more abundant than ever. More specifically, the field of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing at an incredibly rapid rate and the careers that correspond to it are multiplying as well. That’s why I believe it is essential to introduce kids to these jobs as early as possible, because awareness around these opportunities is the first step to closing wage gaps and inequalities across race and gender lines that are prevalent in tech-related fields. Through my time as an intern in the Personal Robots group at the MIT Media Lab, I have learned so much about AI and how it might apply to my own career. I wanted to create an opportunity for other students to learn about it as well. …
By the Space Exploration Initiative team
This year, we joined Ars Electronica In Kepler’s garden online program, a collective effort to reconnect.
We hosted three interactive workshops, spanning a diverse range of SEI’s current research thrusts: Wellbeing in Extreme Environments, led by Maggie Coblentz; Interplanetary Time, Communication and Longevity, led by Che-wei Wang and Sands Fish; and A New Moon Landing, led by Mehak Sarang. In addition we featured an exhibition on Sojourner2020, the first international art open call that took a trip to the International Space Station this March, led by Xin Liu.
Our digital spaceship is also live, and houses our diverse portfolio of projects. We invite you to visit this interactive space, and immerse yourself in this digital world. …
By Roman Stolyarov
My name is Roman Stolyarov, and for my PhD work at the Media Lab I developed a terrain-adaptive control system for robotic leg prostheses. While modern prostheses allow people with leg amputations to get around, the way that they get around is often tiring, uncomfortable, and burdensome on their intact joints. In the worst case, irregular terrain geometries — from uneven sidewalks to rugged hiking trails — can be difficult or impossible to navigate with conventional prostheses, burdening the user’s mobility, independence, and sense of being able-bodied. …
By Sarah Beckmann | MIT Media Lab
Device not only helps record dream reports, but also guides dreams toward particular themes.
The study of dreams has entered the modern era in exciting ways, and researchers from MIT and other institutions have created a community dedicated to advancing the field, lending it legitimacy and expanding further research opportunities.
In a new paper, researchers from the Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group introduce a novel method called “Targeted Dream Incubation” (TDI). This protocol, implemented through an app in conjunction with a wearable sleep-tracking sensor device, not only helps record dream reports, but also guides dreams toward particular themes by repeating targeted information at sleep onset, thereby enabling incorporation of this information into dream content. …
By MIT Media Lab
When nations across the globe began facing the growing danger of the Covid-19 pandemic, it became evident that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) would be in short supply. In March 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) admitted that the country struggles to meet even a fraction of the demand for respirator face masks.
In response to this serious need, a diverse team consisting of engineers, designers, clinicians, technicians, molders, among other entities, concentrated their intellects and efforts towards the rapid deployment and mass manufacture of an “open hardware, reusable, sterilizable, modular, and filter-media agnostic face mask that aims to hit the N95 efficacy criteria.” …