The Blog

An Interpreter of Interesting Research

An Interpreter of Interesting Research

No news story has written itself for me, thus far. This is not a complaint, it is a boast. As a science journalist, I work hard to file good articles, or copy as we say in the business. I translate jargon into narrative for a living.  I have to coax intelligible sentences out of some very smart scientists, so I, in turn, can make sense to my readers. Even in a short news item, I hope to convey: why the research is being done, what […]



The Flight of An Insect-Scaled Robot

The Flight of An Insect-Scaled Robot

The aerodynamic feats of insects do not interest most of us in the least — in fact, our first instinct would be to swat at any fly that hovers too close. But researchers from Harvard University have drawn inspiration from the maneuvers of these airborne creatures to design a lightweight flapping-wing robot, capable of controlled flight. They report their findings in this issue of Science. The team led by Prof. Robert Wood of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences invented an efficient way […]



Meeting Nexi

Nexi, the robot, features in articles on MIT Media Lab’s Center for Future Storytelling. I am not entirely sure why this should be the case. Anyway, I decided to go meet this robot in Cynthea Brazeal’s Personal Robotics Lab . Currently, the humans in the group are training their newest robot to be more personable. Nexi was in a booth-like setup; dark make-shift walls cut us off from the rest of the room. Undeniably, robot has this cute, child-like quality, but definitely needs to work harder to gain people’s […]



Spiderman & Insect Research

Few stop to marvel at the backyard tree-scaler who limbers up palms to pluck coconuts for a living in South India. Considering that the trees reach up to a height of 60 feet, the hazards of this occupation are obvious. Appachan, a tree-climbing professional from Kerala, has designed an elegant contraption that cuts down some of the risk for the climber; he has a new nickname: “Spiderman!” Coconut Climber Heidi Renninger, a Boston University researcher in the department of Geography and Environment, who studies the […]