In 1919, a holding tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses ruptured and sent an enormous wave of goop through the streets of Boston. It enveloped and destroyed everything in its path — leaving 21 people dead and around 150 others injured. Until now, no one really knew why it was so deadly, but a team of scientists and students believe they have found a solution.
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To beat cancer, early detection is crucial. Now, a team of Japanese and American scientists has revealed extremely thin sensors that could one day be built into skin-tight, tumour-detecting gloves for doctors, who can then share digitised findings with other physicians.
The same research and technological innovations that a team from MIT, Harvard, and Columbia University used to create a pitch-perfect xylophone with bars shaped like animals could one day help make your electronics quieter.
Video: When I first heard of Harvard's Fundamentals of Neuroscience online course, I thought it was going to be so hard to understand that I'll have a seizure before the end of the first clip. But no, thanks to these cool and straightforward animations it's actually very easy.
Robots are often imagined as hard, shiny things, gleaming futuristic machines. They often are hard, shiny things. But sometimes they're softer than a baby butt and more flexible than an Illinois governor's morals. Soft robotics is a growing field devoted to the squishier side of automated technology, and with the help of a new toolkit, you can get in on the action.
Since the first crude automatons running on clockwork mechanisms, mankind has been working to build the perfect artificial copy of ourselves for centuries. But what's a more accurate recreation of a human? A robot made of various components and wires all cobbled together? Or one made of billions of tiny robots all working together like the atoms that make up everything around us?
The intricate folds of origami are infinitely useful across science, from designing safer airbags to building more resilient architecture. Here, though, the same principles are being applied to a self-assembling robot that uses a tiny microcontroller to transform itself from 2D to 3D, then walks away.
Google Street View is an excellent way to watch your neighbourhood change. In fact, we've conducted our own informal surveys of urban transformation in Detroit, San Francisco and Brooklyn. While our investigations were based on casual observation, now a pair of sociologists from Harvard are using Google Street View data to measure gentrification — and predict if those trends will continue.
With countless wires protruding from the side, as a lamp, this creation from researchers at Harvard is a disappointment at best. But as a demonstration of future technologies that promise to revolutionise manufacturing — like printable, self-assembling electronics — it's about as awesome as tech demos can get.
Navigating a new campus is all part of the nostalgic movie montage that is first year of university. Meet the tour guide! It's...a drone? That's the concept behind Skycall, a playful prototype that's designed to help visiting Harvard students find their way around MIT's notoriously confusing campus — which has been called "one of mankind's most difficult and disorienting labyrinths."
Humans have long wished to see through the eyes of other animals — like Bran Stark's Warg ability, say — but so far the best we've achieved is mounting GoPros on them. One Harvard research team, though, has just brought us a step closer to that goal with a prototype noninvasive brain-to-brain interface allowing test subjects to control a rat's tail with nothing more than their thoughts.
Tony Stark used exotic composites, metal alloys, and other Hollywood-only make-believe materials to build his armor-plated Iron Man suit. But researchers at Harvard University's Wyss Institute, constrained by the limitations of reality, took a different approach with a muscle-enhancing exoskeleton that could one day be as comfy to wear as your favourite pair of jeans.