Pictures from the MIT Media Lab.

In August of 2013 the wonderful folks at Geeks Without Bounds held an unconference at the MIT Media Lab called Catalytic Converter. I was invited to both attend and present, and when I wasn't in session I wandered around Cambridge as well as the Media Lab. Cutting to the chase, here are the photographs I took during my visit. I saw some very impressive things there, and I wanted to share them with all of you in the hope that you'd partake of some of the wonder I felt.

Oh, there was also an active Byzantium mesh at MIT for …

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Not quite mind reading, not mind control the way people usually think of it, but significant nonetheless.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology biotech researchers have made progress on an area of prosthetics that most people don't think about because it's so obvious but is still very important nonetheless: The neural interface. Specifically, they've worked out an algorithm that converts patterns of chemoelectrical activity in the brain that signify intent of motion into commands for an external device. Current prosthetics aren't directly hooked into the central nervous system but the "network edge" of the peripheral nervous system via interface jacks connected to nerve endings. Let's be clear, interface jacks that accept only broad sorts of input, such …

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Genetically engineered 'queen' cancer cells.

Geneticists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new cell culturing medium that does something amazing: It allows human cells to transform into so-called 'queen' cancer cells, cancer cells that reproduce rapidly and produce mutants that become the actual tumours. Think of them as stem cells that specialize in producing cancers as we normally think of them. Not all malignant cells are capable of doing this, most just sit there and use up resources and oxygen and reproduce, but don't actually break off and spread to other parts of the body. This germ line of cells came about …

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Quantum encryption partially cracked?

A team of researchers at MIT have figured out how to partially compromise quantum cryptography systems through a creative interpretation of the entanglement principle. In a system protected with quantum cryptographic principles, bits of information are encoded by assigning meaning to the polarisation of individual photons of light (up-down could mean a one, left-right could mean a zero) and thus exchange keying material. The very act of observing quantum particles changes their properties and thus destroys the data encoded in the particles, so in theory an eavesdropper Somewhere Out There listening in would corrupt the stream of data by damaging …

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