Posted on February 20, 2014 by Rob Matheson   |   Rise of the compliant machines MIT News Office

MIT spinout Meka Robotics, recently acquired by Google, creates ‘sociable’ humanoids that could help advance human-robot interaction.

Are we on the brink of a robotics revolution? That’s what numerous media outlets asked last December when Google acquired eight robotics companies that specialize in such innovations as manipulation, vision, and humanoid robots.  

Among those acquisitions was MIT spinout Meka Robotics, co-founded by Aaron Edsinger SM ’01, PhD ’07 and Jeff Weber, a former research engineer in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.

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Posted on February 19, 2014 by Larry Hardesty   |   Smarter caching MIT News Office

Cleverer management of the local memory banks known as ‘caches’ could improve computer chips’ performance while reducing their energy consumption.

Computer chips keep getting faster because transistors keep getting smaller. But the chips themselves are as big as ever, so data moving around the chip, and between chips and main memory, has to travel just as far. As transistors get faster, the cost of moving data becomes, proportionally, a more severe limitation.

So far, chip designers have circumvented that limitation through the use of “caches” - small memory banks close to processors that store frequently used data. But the number of processors - or “cores” - per chip is also increasing, which makes cache management more difficult. Moreover, as cores proliferate, they have to share data more frequently, so the communication network connecting the cores becomes the site of more frequent logjams, as well.


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Posted on February 11, 2014 by Jennifer Chu   |   MIT robot may accelerate trials MIT News Office

Robot protocol able to cut time and cost of Phase III drug trials by 70 percent.

The development of drugs to treat acute stroke or aid in stroke recovery is a multibillion-dollar endeavor that only rarely pays off in the form of government-approved pharmaceuticals. Drug companies spend years testing safety and dosage in the clinic, only to find in Phase III clinical efficacy trials that target compounds have little to no benefit. The lengthy process is inefficient, costly, and discouraging, says Hermano Igo Krebs, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.


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