Entries in MIT (5)


Biden Calls Marathon Bombers ‘Twisted Perverted Cowardly Knockoff Jihadis’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Vice President Biden spoke at Wednesday’s memorial service for Sean Collier, the MIT police officer who was allegedly killed by the Boston Marathon bombers.

Biden told the crowd that terrorism was doomed to fail, and spoke of the resilience of Boston.

“On every frontier, terrorism as a weapon is losing, it is not gaining adherents,” he said.

Biden called the two suspects “twisted perverted cowardly knock off jihadis,” and stressed that they had not achieved their goals of instilling fear in Bostonians. “The purpose of terrorism is to instill fear. You saw none of it here in Boston. Boston, you sent a powerful message to the world.”

“Next year's Boston Marathon will be bigger, more spectacular and attended by more people than any marathon in the history of the United States of America, cause that's who you are,” the vice president said.

Biden honored the dead and injured, telling the crowd that his message “is embrace the memories of those beautiful people we lost in the bombing. Stand by and help and support the hundreds who were injured and honor... honor this hero, Sean.”

MIT Police Chief John DiFava also spoke, and said Collier was the same person in uniform as out of uniform.

“His caring and compassion was genuine without duplicity and because of this depth of character he was able to achieve a level of trust with people of all backgrounds that was truly remarkable,” DiFava said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Nanomaterial Can Stop a Speeding Bullet, Strengthen Soldiers’ Body Armor

Tommy LaVergne(HOUSTON) -- Researchers at a Rice University lab are researching technology that that could potentially stop a 9-millimeter bullet and seal the entryway behind it — an advance that may have huge implications for ballistic protection for soldiers, as well as other uses.

During tests, the researchers were able to shoot tiny glass beads at the material, which effectively stopped bullets in their paths.

“This would be a great ballistic windshield material,” scientist Ned Thomas said in a clip posted on the university’s website.

The group, which included scientist Thomas, Rice research scientist Jae-Hwang Lee and a team from MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, was looking for ways to make materials “more impervious to deformation or failure.” The result would be better, stronger, lighter armor for soldiers and police, and protection for sensitive materials subject to small, fast moving objects, such as aircraft and satellites.

The researchers were looking at a complex polyurethane material that they saw was able to stop a 9 mm slug and seal its entryway. When penetrated by a tiny projectile at a high velocity,  the material melted into a liquid that stopped the fast-moving object and actually sealed the hole it made.

“There’s no macroscopic damage; the material hasn’t failed; it hasn’t cracked,” Thomas said.

During their research, they found an excellent model material called a polystyrene-polydimethylsiloxane diblock-copolymer.  Using two different methods, the team was eventually able to cross-section the structure to determine the depth of the bullets, and according to their study, the layers showed the ability to deform without breaking.

“[The layers] tell the story of the evolution of penetration of the projectile and help us understand what mechanisms, at the nanoscale, may be taking place in order for this to be such a great, high-performance, lightweight protection material.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Could MIT-Developed Technology Help Military See Through Walls?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Looking through walls is no longer something we read about in comic books or watch in Superman movies.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory has presented new radar technology that would allow humans to see through a solid wall.

The device is 8.5-feet long. It consists of an array of antennae arranged in two rows -- including eight signal receiving elements on the top and 13 signal transmitting elements at the bottom. Other components include cabling, a low-power radar transmitter, a sensitive radar receiver, a filoscope (used as a small screen purely for diagnosing problems) and of course a larger screen, similar to the average 24-inch computer screen, where one can actually view images transmitted.

All this equipment is mounted onto a movable cart that can stand at a range from 15 to 40 feet from the location you're observing.

Researcher and leader of the project, Dr. Gregory Charvat, tells ABC News the technology was conceived with the notion that it would be used by U.S. soliders during wartime.

"It can be powerful during military operations, especially in urban combat situations," said Charvat.

The device works by emitting frequency waves at a low-power microwave signal. That signal will hit in the direction of the target, in this case a wall. Each time a wave hits the wall, only some of it is absorbed inside of the wall -- a tiny portion actually gets through. Once the waves go through the wall, they propagate whatever is behind the wall and pass back through that wall and into the radar's receivers.

Only moving images can be detected, so an image such as a couch or non-moving appliance would not show up on the monitor. Images appear as red blobs moving about the screen. The researchers are currently working on a detection algorithm that would convert these red blobs into a cleaner image.

When asked if the device had a name, Charvat said for now it's being called the TWIR -- Through Wall Imaging Radar.

"That's all we came up with, but if anyone has a better name we'll certainly take suggestions," said Charvat.

Don't expect to see the TWIR out on the streets, at least not anytime soon. It's being pitched solely for military use in urban war zones.

Charvet did say he and his colleagues think that perhaps a version of this technology could be very useful in finding people stuck in rubble in the event of a natural disaster or even a terrorist attack, but right now the plan is for military use.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Harvard Ethics Student Charged with Hacking MIT Computer -- A Harvard University student has been charged with hacking into Massachusetts Institute of Technology computers and stealing more than four million scholarly articles, book reviews and other content from an academic database.

The federal indictment alleges that Aaron Swartz, 24, of Cambridge, Mass., broke into a restricted computer wiring closet in an MIT basement to access the school's network without permission. He then allegedly downloaded the articles from JSTOR, a nonprofit database for scholarly journals.

Swartz has been charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer.

"Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement. "It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away."

When MIT and JSTOR noticed the unusual activity, they tried to block Swartz's computers, but he allegedly found other ways to access the database.

Swartz is well known in the technology community as an online activist and programmer. He is the founder of Demand Progress, a nonprofit political action group that works for policy change.

Swartz also co-founded Reddit, a social news site now owned by Conde Nast. He was most recently a fellow at Harvard's Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption.

"This makes no sense," Swartz's colleague, Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal, said in a statement. "It's like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library."

Segal claims that JSTOR settled its issues with Swartz privately and asked the government not to prosecute. A letter of support for Swartz posted on the Demand Progress website garnered more than 15,000 supporters in less than three hours.

Swartz was arrested Tuesday after turning himself in. He appeared in court the same day with his parents and was released on a $100,000 bail.

If convicted, Swartz faces up to 35 years in jail and a $1 million fine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Investigate Suspicious Devices at MIT

Jupiterimages/ThinkstockUPDATE: Investigators at MIT have given the all-clear after an earlier situation involving what was believed to have been a pipe bomb. The school released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

Public officials have cleared the scene at New House and have announced that the area is safe to re-enter.

Officials have investigated and determined there was no threat to campus safety. An object that had the appearance and characteristics of a pipe bomb turned out, on further examination, to be a collection of harmless materials.

MIT is grateful to the responding federal, state, and local agencies for investigating and ensuring the safety of the campus. The Institute also thanks the community for heeding requests to stay clear of the area while emergency officials did their work.

(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- The sounds of controlled detonations pierced the quiet air of one of the nation's most prestigious campuses Tuesday as police popped the end caps off at least one pipe bomb as they investigated what appear to be multiple suspicious devices planted at an unfinished dorm building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Two buildings, including the dorm, were evacuated and the Boston police bomb squad, the FBI and officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were on the scene.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News police do not know what could be inside the devices, but are attempting to "vent" two of the devices by firing an explosively propelled high pressure water jet to shoot the end caps off the pipe in hopes of preventing any explosions. Police are assessing the other devices for possible controlled detonation, according to an early police report.

In an alert posted on the MIT website, the university asked students to "stay away" from the building in question and said "the situation is ongoing."

The campus is currently home to a relatively small fraction of students as the university celebrated its 2011 graduation last week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio