Nidhi Subbaraman is a staff writer at BetaBoston, reporting on science, research, technology, and any combination of those. Before this, Subbaraman covered science and tech at NBCNews.com. Her work has also appeared online at MIT Technology Review, Fast Company, New Scientist, Nature News, and others. She hearts robots.
Millions of Americans battle anxiety disorders and depression, conditions that sap social ties and leave its sufferers vulnerable if they lack a viable support system. Now, a group of researchers with ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are creating aa private social network where people can anonymously share their daily struggles, and also find kinship.
While the forum won’t replace professional treatment or therapy, Robert Morris, who created the system as a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, said it does show promise as a reliable support for people battling stress. Read MoreSmart panels turn one shoe into a companion for any outfit
It’s a tall order, blending high fashion with high tech, but when you’re working with 4-inch heels headed for the runway, the stakes are even higher.
An international team of engineers is taking on this challenge in earnest: They have created a “smart shoe” that, chameleon-like, can change its colors and patterns, according to a wearer’s whims.
Their reasoning: Why cede closet space to a dozen pairs of shoes when you can own one pair that can transform into many?
Read Moredoc on demandWith an app for texts and video chats, FirstLine offers doctors' advice on demand
A new service launching in the United States this week wants to be the Uber for doctors, making medical practitioners available for consultation by text message, video chat, or even a house visit — for a fee, of course.
The company, FirstLine, which has offices in Boston and San Francisco, launched its app nationally this week. Two dozen California-based doctors have been contracted to be on-call and the team is already hiring and training local medics with a goal of launching in Boston this summer. Read Morebig bucks for big dataMIT data storage researcher wins Alan Turing award, $1 million from Google
Michael Stonebraker, an MIT professor who did foundational research in database management systems, an industry that is now worth billions, was announced the winner of the Alan M. Turing award in computer science on Wednesday. Read More
Medical researchers typically don’t share the results of their studies with the hundreds of subjects who participated. But Jason Bobe, one of the co-founders of the Open Humans project, wants to reverse that trend.
The latest in a series of programs that let you to share or “open source” your genetic and health data, Open Humans, which launched Tuesday, is striving to broaden the reach and eventual impact of medical research by making it easy to participate. Read MoreSticky businessLiquiGlide, Cambridge maker of slippery coatings, signs deal with glue king Elmer's
Shoulder surgery had left Marilyn Bravo, a 65-year-old Jamaica Plain resident, unable to lift more than a gallon of milk this winter. So when the record-breaking snowstorms hit, she planned to look for help shoveling out her car.
Bravo posted a request for help on a website called “SnowCrew,” which connects people who need shoveling help with able-bodied volunteers called “Yetis.” About an hour later, a strapping stranger named James was at her door, shovel in hand.
“I was never so happy to see anyone in my life,” Bravo remembers. “And later I said to him, ‘You just have no idea what this means to me, you know. This is my freedom. I can get out of the house.’” James returned to help Bravo with two bouts of shoveling this season. Read MoreInfant CareDanvers parents win pediatric health pitch contest at SXSW
Local parents with a moving personal story and a simple idea to keep sick babies comfortable took the top prize at the Impact Pediatric Health Startup Pitch Competition at SXSW in Austin this week, winning over a tough judging panel of investors and executives from the top children’s hospitals in the country. Read MoreBeta TestingGood morning, stranger! Wakie app is a human alarm clock
"Are you in bed?” It was a stranger on the phone, someone called Gaurav in Dubai. At 7:31 this morning, Gaurav was calling me at home to get me up.
I was experimenting with an app called Wakie, launched by two Armenian brothers who wanted to give the world a more effective and personalized alternative to an alarm clock. Their solution? Invite a stranger from the other side of the world to make a wake-up call. Read Morethree kinds of fixes MIT launches a trio of new cybersecurity initiatives
To prepare for a future in which the watches on our wrists and the locks on our doors are all trading electronic information, MIT has launched a 200-person cybersecurity research initiative that will tackle tech security problems both big and small. The initiative has three parts, each approaching the problem from a different angle.