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MIT researchers find that the growing practice of compiling massive datasets about people’s movement patterns for urban planning and development research may, in fact, put people’s private data at risk — even if that data is anonymized.

The privacy risks of compiling mobility data

Various companies, entities or institutions have started collecting anonymized data that contains location stamps of the user. Though, the data can be acquired through...
Professor Gabriela S. Schlau-Cohen (center) and graduate students Raymundo Moya (left) and Wei Jia Chen worked with collaborators at the University of Verona, Italy, to develop a new understanding of the mechanisms by which plants reject excess energy they absorb from sunlight so it doesn’t harm key proteins. The insights gained could one day lead to critically needed increases in yields of biomass and crops. Photo: Stuart Darsch

Understanding how plants use sunlight

The sun is the main source of energy for almost every living thing on Earth. It gives a plant the light energy it needs...
A strong immune response can be seen in this immunofluorescence image of lung tissue infected with pneumonia where immune cells are stained green and red. Image: Colin Buss

A simple urine test could diagnose bacterial pneumonia

Pneumonia, a respiratory disease that kills about 50,000 people in the United States every year. Rapid detection of pneumonia is critical for effective treatment, especially...
Two versions of the device designed by MIT researchers, using a strip of metal to block direct sunlight, were built and tested on the roof of an MIT building to confirm that they could provide cooling well below ambient air temperature. Photo by Bikram Bhatia

A new way to provide cooling without power

MIT scientists have developed a new system that offers cooling in extreme sunny days without using power. This approach of passive radiative cooling exploits the...
A new MIT plane is propelled via ionic wind. Batteries in the fuselage (tan compartment in front of plane) supply voltage to electrodes (blue/white horizontal lines) strung along the length of the plane, generating a wind of ions that propels the plane forward. Image: Christine Y. He

First ever plane with no moving parts wows scientists

For the first ever time, MIT scientists have developed the first-ever plane with no moving parts. This radical approach towards flying is in the form of...
Using a high-resolution system called electron tomography, researchers probed a tiny sample of kerogen to determine its internal structure. At left, the sample as seen from the outside, and at right, the detailed 3-D image of its internal pore structure. Image: Courtesy of the researchers

Structure of fossil-fuel source rocks is finally decoded

For the first time, MIT scientists and elsewhere have captured three-dimensional images of kerogen’s internal structure. These images ought to permit more precise expectations of how much...
An MIT study proposes that laser technology on Earth could emit a beacon strong enough to attract attention from as far as 20,000 light years away

Laser technology could be fashioned into Earth’s “porch light” to attract alien astronomers

According to a new MIT study, if aliens exist somewhere in our galaxy, the existing laser technology could, on a fundamental level, be molded into...
This photo shows water droplets placed on the nanostructured surface developed by MIT researchers. The colors are caused by diffraction of visible light from the tiny structures on the surface, ridges with a specially designed shape. Images: Kyle Wilke

A new approach to liquid-repelling surfaces

Omniphobic surfaces could potentially be used in everything from ship hulls that reduce drag and increase efficiency, to coverings that resist stains and protect against...
MIT researchers have built a system that takes a step toward fully automated smart homes, by identifying occupants even when they’re not carrying mobile devices. Image: Chelsea Turner, MIT

A step toward personalized, automated smart homes

MIT analysts have manufactured a system that steps toward completely automated tech-savvy home by recognizing occupants, notwithstanding when they're not carrying cell phones. The system,...