Week in Review: 12/17/17 – 12/23/17


Nature’s Smallest Rainbows, Produced by Peacock Spiders, May Inspire New Optical Technologies
One species of peacock spider – the rainbow peacock spider (Maratus robinsoni) – is particularly impressive, because it showcases an intense rainbow iridescent signal in males’ courtship displays to females. This is the first known instance in nature of males using an entire rainbow of colors to entice females to mate. But how do males make their rainbows? A new study published in Nature Communications looked to answer that question.


Nanotubes go with the flow to penetrate brain tissue
Rice University researchers have invented a device that uses fast-moving fluids to insert flexible, conductive carbon nanotube fibers into the brain, where they can help record the actions of neurons. The Rice team’s microfluidics-based technique promises to improve therapies that rely on electrodes to sense neuronal signals and trigger actions in patients with epilepsy and other conditions.

Week in Review: 12/10/17 – 12/16/17


Electricity, eel-style: Soft power cells could run tomorrow’s implantables

Inspired by the electric eel, a flexible, transparent electrical device could lead to body-friendly power sources for implanted health monitors and medication dispensers, augmented-reality contact lenses and countless other applications. http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/multimedia/videos/25325-electricity-eel-style-soft-power-cells-could-run-tomorrow-s-implantables


Researchers Develop Test That Can Diagnose Two Cancer Types

A blood test using infrared spectroscopy can be used to diagnose two types of cancer, lymphoma and melanoma, according to a study led by Georgia State University. http://news.gsu.edu/2017/12/12/researchers-develop-blood-test-can-diagnose-two-types-cancer/

Week in Review: 12/3/17 – 12/9/17


Group maps atomic shifts in charge-ordered manganite

Using a manganite crystal, a group led by Lena Kourkoutis, assistant professor of applied and engineering physics, has described a new approach to characterizing and understanding exotic charge-ordered phases in which electrons are ordered into periodic patterns. These phases are marked by ever-so-slight displacements (shifts) in the arrangement of a material’s atomic lattice and directly determine the properties of a material. http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2017/12/group-maps-atomic-shifts-charge-ordered-manganite


Seeing Through Walls of Unknown Materials

Researchers at Duke Engineering have developed a new way to see through walls using microwaves— without needing to know what the wall is made out of beforehand. According to the researchers, the new approach could lead to applications in security and devices to help locate conduits, pipes and wires. https://pratt.duke.edu/news/wall-scan


Replicating peregrine attack strategies could help down rogue drones

Researchers at Oxford University have discovered that peregrine falcons steer their attacks using the same control strategies as guided missiles. http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2017-12-04-replicating-peregrine-attack-strategies-could-help-down-rogue-drones


Professor Kentaro Hara receives grant from Air Force

Kentaro Hara, assistant aerospace engineering professor, recently received the 2018 Young Investigator Research Program Award from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research, which entails a $450,000 grant over the next three years. http://www.thebatt.com/science-technology/professor-kentaro-hara-receives-grant-from-air-force/article_b3ffe208-d89f-11e7-bf67-0fa5ca0a49e3.html

Week in Review: 11/26/17 – 12/2/17


Building the hardware for the next generation of artificial intelligence

Vivienne Sze and Joel Emer teach Hardware Architecture for Deep Learning, a class in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science that focuses on building specialized hardware for AI. http://news.mit.edu/2017/building-hardware-next-generation-artificial-intelligence-1201

Vivienne Sze shares Engineering Emmy Award with colleagues

Vivienne Sze, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was a member of the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC), which developed the acclaimed High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. For its work, the team received an Engineering Emmy Award during the Television Academy’s recent 69th Engineering Emmy Awards ceremony in Hollywood.



Scientists demonstrate one of largest quantum simulators yet, with 51 atoms

Physicists at MIT and Harvard University have demonstrated a new way to manipulate quantum bits of matter. In a paper published today in the journal Nature, they report using a system of finely tuned lasers to first trap and then tweak the interactions of 51 individual atoms, or quantum bits. http://news.mit.edu/2017/scientists-demonstrate-one-largest-quantum-simulators-yet-51-atoms-1129


Tufts University engineer wins Air Force grant for ultra-high-resolution bio-imaging

Xiaocheng Jiang, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering at Tufts University, has been awarded an early-career award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) for his work developing graphene-based microfluidics for ultra-high-resolution, dynamic bio-imaging. http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/tufts-university-engineer-wins-air-force-grant-ultra-high-resolution-bio-imaging

Week in Review: 11/19/17 – 11/25/17


Young investigator award funds vision enhancement research

An assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kats aims to enhance the spectral information available to healthy human eyes. https://www.engr.wisc.edu/young-investigator-award-funds-vision-enhancement-research/

Optoelectronics origami: An easy-to-make, double-duty curved image sensor

In a breakthrough that could, for example, lead to cameras with beyond-the-state-of-the-art features such as infinite depth of field, wider view angle, low aberrations, and vastly increased pixel density, flexible optoelectronics pioneer Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma has devised a method for making curved digital image sensors in shapes that mimic an insect’s compound eye (convex) and a mammal’s “pin-hole” eye (concave).