The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has created a unique opportunity. They created the first-ever MIT Media Lab Disobedience award. The winner will receive a cash prize of $250,000 – with no strings attached.
The award will go to a person or group engaged in what MIT believes is “an extraordinary example of disobedience for the benefit of society.” The award will honor work that impacts society in positive ways, and is consistent with the following set of key principles: non-violence, creativity, courage, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. Some examples include: scientific research, civil rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and the freedom to innovate.
The MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award seeks to highlight effective, responsible, ethical disobedience across disciplines, and around the world. Disobedience Award objectives are to build awareness and support of disobedience-robust work being done and to promote role models for younger people.
People nominated for the award must meet eligibility requirements:
- The recipient must be living.
- The recipient must have taken a personal risk in order to affect positive change for greater society.
- Both individuals and groups are eligible to win the prize.
MIT will be accepting nominations from March 6, 2017 to May 1, 2017. You can nominate someone by filling out an online form. They plan to announce the winning recipient at their summer event on July 21, 2017. MIT will announce a shortlist of nominees prior to that event.
Inanimate matter programmed to spontaneously create duplicates of any object. That’s what MIT student Kyle Gilpin and computer science and engineering professor Daniela Rus have figured out how to do (in theory, of course). The duo’s research project and subsequent paper they co-authored (to be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May) details an algorithm by which “smart pebbles” or “smart sand” could be programmed to form duplicate three-dimensional shapes based on the original item.
From MIT News, the best way to imagine how this would work is to think of immersing a small item (they use a footstool as an example) in this smart sand. The grains of sand read and effectively learn the shape by passing information back and forth via electric pulses sent through magnets (the magnets act to connect grains, as well as pass power and information). More accurately, the smart sand mimics shape, but through learning the space occupied by the item (specifically the border created by the item), rather than the item itself.
Hang on a second. You know who can explain this better? Paper co-author and PhD Kyle Gilpin himself:
The implications for scaling this technology are pretty amazing. Smart sand technology could theoretically be used to re-create broken mechanical parts; manufacture new tools or other items; or to take smaller items and make larger, identical replicas.
You think copyright and patent laws are complicated now? Imagine the hurricane of litigation that would surround the commercial or private use of smart sand.
Best wishes go out to Derek and his family on his recovery from surgery to stop the spread of cancer. I play one of his songs at the end of the show be sure to check out his website!
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