Sci & Tech

A Handbag for Power-Dressers

A Handbag for Power-Dressers

A smart-looking handbag can make you look good, but a smart handbag can do much more for you. The 314, a luxury handbag made in Italy with technology designed at MIT, is both good-looking and smart – and is poised to hit the market soon. The bag can charge your cellphone or any other USB-enabled device, and light up when you are rummaging through its insides. And no, you don’t have to plug in your handbag every night. Theodora Koullias, 24, is founder and chief […]



Blue-rayed Limpets shine for a reason

Blue-rayed Limpets shine for a reason

Taking a trick from birds and butterflies, a mollusk shines blue using intricate structures that allow selective reflection of light. But unlike other animals, the blue-rayed limpet, a snail that lives along the rocky shores of the northeastern Atlantic, creates functional iridescence using a hard mineral rather than an organic molecule such as a protein. The shell of the blue-rayed limpet, Patella pellucida, is largely made of calcium carbonate platelets. Just beneath the shell’s surface, materials scientist Ling Li of Harvard University and his colleagues […]



Apps vs Autism

Apps vs Autism

Can technology help children with autism accomplish what other educational efforts have not? Ned Sahin aims to find out. Sahin founded Brain Power, a Cambridge startup that is using Google Glass to teach children with autism how to better engage and socialize with people. Brain Power is developing a series of applications, one of which will display images of popular cartoon characters on the screen of Google Glass, so that when an autistic child looks at an adult talking to him, an image from, say […]



InciterHealth To Re-imagine Healthcare

InciterHealth To Re-imagine Healthcare

The primary healthcare system in the U.S. may not be broken, but it is fractured and needs fixing. This is the general consensus. (Do listen to what Dr.Eric Topol, author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine, has to say on this topic.) Here is a new fellowship program that’s trying to begin the re-imagination process. Harvard Medical School’s Center for Primary Care has launched the InciteHealth Fellowship, a new program that brings together 22 talented individuals eager to transform the delivery of health care in […]



MIT and The Shortcut to Nirvana

MIT and The Shortcut to Nirvana

The colorful and chaotic Kumbh Mela (Kumbh, for short) is possibly the largest religious gathering on earth. The Hindu pilgrimage, which happens once in twelve years in one of four Indian cities, draws millions of devotees. Now, thanks to Ramesh Raskar, a MIT Media Lab professor whose hometown, Nashik, is the venue for upcoming Kumbh, a group of tech-minded folks from Boston are pitching in with innovations to make the gathering safer among other things. Raskar is the head of MIT’s Camera Culture Group and […]



Watching you Watching Me

Watching you Watching Me

For people who use video chat services to catch up with someone close—a beloved grandma or dear friend—it’s pretty easy to read the cues and reactions of a familiar face. But in video chats among a group of people, say a business meeting among different offices, reading and correctly interpreting the facial cues of others can be difficult. Now a Waltham company’s software is being used in a video system to analyze the facial reactions of participants to deduce their emotional state in real-time. The […]



Local Warming

Local Warming

Humans don’t hibernate — we work in our offices all through the winter. How does being ensconced in a heat bubble  during those cold months strike you? An art installation dubbed “Local Warming” which offers a preview of such personalized climate control, returns from the prestigious Vienna Architecture Biennale next week. This well-received design from MIT’s Senseable City Lab also promises to be an energy saver. Local Warming uses a WiFi-based motion tracking system, developed by MIT’s Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing, to […]



Bamboo Nurseries

Bamboo Nurseries

In a remote, wet evergreen forest in southern India, the male white-spotted bush frog calls to lure a female into his snug bamboo-stalk love nest. Entry is granted through a narrow opening probably bored by insects or rodents. Once inside, the tiny frogs mate in flood-proof confines. Dad cares for the eggs, which hatch directly into froglets — no tadpole stage involved in this dry bamboo nursery. Read the rest here. html. pdf.



Reflections of a Pioneer Woman Scientist

Reflections of a Pioneer Woman Scientist

In her career as a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus, who is now 83, has researched the electronic structure of carbon in its myriad forms. Dresselhaus was in Oslo for the Kavli awards ceremony this year. I caught up with her for a chat for Science. Q:Tell us about your early years at MIT. A:I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1958 and married a fellow physicist that year. We both joined the research staff of MIT’s […]



Consulting Careers for PhDs

Consulting Careers for PhDs

It doesn’t matter all that much what your Ph.D. is in—the important thing is the analytical approach you bring, writes Brian Rolfes, partner and director of global recruiting at McKinsey & Company, in an e-mail. “That said,” Rolfes adds, “we are delighted when new hires have specific domain knowledge that is relevant to our clients. People with training in electrical engineering may be suited to serve high-tech clients like the telecom industry. And in our healthcare work we have many people with biology, genetics, bioengineering […]