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MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) articles

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Wi-Fi radio signals detect REM in sleeping persons

Wi-Fi radio signals detect REM in sleeping persons
The Wi-Fi radio waves that our laptops use to communicate with wireless routers are quite sensitive to the environment they pass through. They’re so sensitive that a few years ago researchers at MIT were able to use them to wirelessly detect a child’s movement, breathing, and heart rate. Now the MIT team working with Massachusetts General Hospital have successfully demonstrated that they’re able to repurpose this Wi-Fi data to detect what state (light, deep, or REM) a sleeping person is in.
11th August 2017

Noninvasive technique for probing cells could reveal disease

Noninvasive technique for probing cells could reveal disease
MIT engineers have devised a way to assess a cell’s mechanical properties simply by observation. The researchers use standard confocal microscopy to zero in on the constant, jiggling motions of a cell’s particles — telltale movements that can be used to decipher a cell’s stiffness. Unlike optical tweezers, the team’s technique is noninvasive, running little risk of altering or damaging a cell while probing its contents.
3rd August 2017

Bioengineered liver tissue expands after transplant

Bioengineered liver tissue expands after transplant
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available. To help address that shortage, researchers at MIT, Rockefeller University, and Boston University have developed a new way to engineer liver tissue, by organising tiny subunits that contain three types of cells embedded into a biodegradable tissue scaffold.
27th July 2017


Helping patients comply with treatment regimens

Helping patients comply with treatment regimens
Around half of all medications for chronic diseases are not taken as prescribed, costing the U.S. health care system more than $100 billion in avoidable hospital stays each year. This noncompliance is even more significant in the developing world, where health care budgets are chronically overstretched and patients treated for diseases such as malaria must take multiple drugs with complex dose regimens.
27th July 2017

Determining when and how to treat heart attacks

Determining when and how to treat heart attacks
Anthony McDougal, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has developed a model that predicts a single heart cell’s response to dwindling supplies of oxygen. Specifically, it evaluates a cell’s ability to keep producing ATP — a cell’s primary fuel source — and stay alive, even as it is increasingly deprived of oxygen.
21st July 2017

Microscopy technique enables more informative biopsies

Microscopy technique enables more informative biopsies
When trying to use light and conventional optics to image a biological sample at great detail, one eventually encounters the fact that objects smaller than the light’s wavelength cannot be resolved. While technological tricks have been developed to overcome this limitation in some ways, a team of researchers from MIT and Harvard have instead focused on swelling the sample so it is large enough to be examined in detail using light microscopy.
19th July 2017

Nanoparticles fight drug-resistant bacteria

Nanoparticles fight drug-resistant bacteria
Researchers from MIT and other institutions are hoping to use nanotechnology to develop more targeted treatments for these drug-resistant bugs. In a new study, they report that an antimicrobial peptide packaged in a silicon nanoparticle dramatically reduced the number of bacteria in the lungs of mice infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a disease causing Gram-negative bacterium that can lead to pneumonia.
13th July 2017

Investing more in emergency care improves outcomes

Investing more in emergency care improves outcomes
Hospitals that spend more on initial care following patient emergencies have better outcomes than hospitals that spend less at first and rely more on additional forms of long-term care, according to a new study co-authored by MIT economists. More specifically, hospitals that invest more in inpatient care yield better results, per dollar spent, than those that assign relatively more patients to skilled nursing facilities upon discharge.
10th July 2017

Technique elucidates inner workings of neural networks

Technique elucidates inner workings of neural networks
Neural networks, which learn to perform computational tasks by analysing large sets of training data, are responsible for today’s best-performing artificial intelligence systems, from speech recognition systems, to automatic translators, to self-driving cars. But neural nets are black boxes. Once they’ve been trained, even their designers rarely have any idea what they’re doing — what data elements they’re processing and how.
30th June 2017

FLARE technique offers snapshots of neuron activity

FLARE technique offers snapshots of neuron activity
A team of MIT and Stanford University researchers has developed a way to label neurons when they become active, essentially providing a snapshot of their activity at a moment in time. This approach could offer significant new insights into neuron function by offering greater temporal precision than current cell-labeling techniques, which capture activity across time windows of hours or days.
27th June 2017

Boosting quality of patient MRIs unveil stroke outcomes

Boosting quality of patient MRIs unveil stroke outcomes
  People who suffer a stroke often undergo a brain scan at the hospital, allowing doctors to determine the location and extent of the damage. Researchers who study the effects of strokes would love to be able to analyse these images, but the resolution is often too low for many analyses.
23rd June 2017

Technique enables speedy analysis of laparoscopies

Technique enables speedy analysis of laparoscopies
  Laparoscopy is a surgical technique in which a fibre-optic camera is inserted into a patient’s abdominal cavity to provide a video feed that guides the surgeon through a minimally invasive procedure. Laparoscopic surgeries can take hours, and the video generated by the camera — the laparoscope — is often recorded.
21st June 2017

Noninvasive method helps patients with brain diseases

Noninvasive method helps patients with brain diseases
MIT researchers, collaborating with investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the IT’IS Foundation, have come up with a way to stimulate regions deep within the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp. This approach could make deep brain stimulation noninvasive, less risky, less expensive, and more accessible to patients.
2nd June 2017

Muscle grafts help amputees sense and control artificial limbs

Muscle grafts help amputees sense and control artificial limbs
A surgical technique devised by MIT researchers could allow prosthetic limbs to feel much more like natural limbs. Through coordination of the patient’s prosthetic limb, existing nerves, and muscle grafts, amputees would be able to sense where their limbs are in space and to feel how much force is being applied to them. This type of system could help to reduce the rejection rate of prosthetic limbs, which is around 20%.
1st June 2017

Multicolour light controls gene expression in bacteria

Multicolour light controls gene expression in bacteria
MIT researchers have engineered bacteria with 'multicolour vision' — E. coli that recognise RGB light and, in response to each colour, express different genes that perform different biological functions. To showcase the technology, the researchers produced several coloured images on culture plates — one of which spells out 'MIT' — by using RGB lights to control the pigment produced by the bacteria. Outside of the lab, the technology could also prove useful for commercial, pharmaceutical, and other applications.
31st May 2017

Continuous drug delivery targets residual ovarian tumours

Continuous drug delivery targets residual ovarian tumours
Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer undergo surgery to remove as many of the tumors as possible. However, it is usually impossible to eliminate all of the cancer cells because they have spread throughout the abdomen. Surgery is therefore followed by 18 weeks of chemotherapy. Delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to the abdomen through a catheter offers better results than other methods, but this regimen suffers from significant complications, and many patients are unable to complete it.
23rd May 2017

A key step in lung cancer evolution

A key step in lung cancer evolution
Lung adenocarcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer that accounts for about 40% of U.S. lung cancer cases, is believed to arise from benign tumors known as adenomas. MIT biologists have now identified a major switch that occurs as adenomas transition to adenocarcinomas in a mouse model of lung cancer. They’ve also discovered that blocking this switch prevents the tumors from becoming more aggressive.
16th May 2017

Unveiling assessment of risks and rewards before acting

Unveiling assessment of risks and rewards before acting
When animals hunt or forage for food, they must constantly weigh whether the chance of a meal is worth the risk of being spotted by a predator. The same conflict between cost and benefit is at the heart of many of the decisions humans make on a daily basis. The ability to instantly consider contradictory information from the environment and decide how to act is essential for survival. It’s also a key feature of mental health.
28th April 2017

Wireless power could enable ingestible electronics

Wireless power could enable ingestible electronics
Researchers at MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory have devised a way to wirelessly power small electronic devices that can linger in the digestive tract indefinitely after being swallowed. Such devices could be used to sense conditions in the gastrointestinal tract, or carry small reservoirs of drugs to be delivered over an extended period.
27th April 2017

Tissue expansion allows mapping of brain circuits

Tissue expansion allows mapping of brain circuits
MIT researchers have developed a way to make extremely high-resolution images of tissue samples, at a fraction of the cost of other techniques that offer similar resolution. The new technique relies on expanding tissue before imaging it with a conventional light microscope. Two years ago, the MIT team showed that it was possible to expand tissue volumes 100-fold, resulting in an image resolution of about 60 nanometers.
19th April 2017


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