Using algorithms to build a map of the placenta

The placenta is one of the most vital organs when a woman is pregnant. If it’s not working correctly, the consequences can be dire: Children may experience stunted growth and neurological disorders, and their mothers are at increased risk of blood conditions like preeclampsia, which can impair kidney and liver function.  Unfortunately, assessing placental health is difficult because of the limited information that can be gleaned from imaging. Traditional ultrasounds are cheap, portable, and easy to perform, but they can’t always capture enough detail. This has spurred researchers to explore the potential of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Even with MRIs, though, the curved surface of the uterus makes images difficult to interpret. This problem got the attention of a team of researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), who wondered whether the placenta’s scrunched shape could be flattened out using some fancy geometry. Next month they’re publishing Continue reading Using algorithms to build a map of the placenta

An interdisciplinary approach to accelerating human-machine collaboration

David Mindell has spent his career defying traditional distinctions between disciplines. His work has explored the ways humans interact with machines, drive innovation, and maintain societal well-being as technology transforms our economy. And, Mindell says, he couldn’t have done it anywhere but MIT. He joined MIT’s faculty 23 years ago after completing his PhD in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and he currently holds a dual appointment in engineering and humanities as the Frances and David Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and professor of aeronautics and astronautics. Mindell’s experience combining fields of study has shaped his ideas about the relationship between humans and machines. Those ideas are what led him to found Humatics — a startup named from the merger of “human” and “robotics.” Humatics is trying to change the way humans work alongside machines, Continue reading An interdisciplinary approach to accelerating human-machine collaboration