150 stories
Blink launches on-demand eye exams in New York City
Call it the Uber of opticians, or the Toms of eyeglass prescriptions: A new service that launched in New York City last week brings an eye testing service to customers at their homes. Blink, as the service is called, was first developed by the Camera Culture group at MIT's Media Lab and its Somerville spinoff EyeNetra. Read More
Backing Young Talent
Rough Draft Ventures offers student startups backing from their peers
Presenters, from left, Toni Oloko and Matt Neary pitch their business "PracticeGigs" to the weekly Rough Draft Ventures meeting at the offices of General Catalyst Partners. Photo: Erik Jacobs for the Boston Globe.
On a Monday evening in mid-March, Toni Oloko walked into the Harvard Square offices of General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm that has put up millions to back companies like Kayak, Snapchat, and Rue La La. The 18-year-old entrepreneur and his cofounder, Harvard freshman Matt Neary, fiddled with their MacBook as they prepared to pitch PracticeGigs, a smartphone app that finds tennis partners for players seeking to improve their game. If they seemed oddly calm, it was because they weren’t seeking millions from the fund’s partners. Instead, they were pitching to a panel of their peers — in search of cash, yes, but also access to a growing network supportive of Boston’s student startups. Read More
Your move Ikea: Shape-shifting table assembles itself
Image: MIT Self Assembly Lab
Ikea changed the lives and living rooms of every first-time renter when it went big on flat-packed furniture. Now, with a shape-shifting table that bounces into shape on its own, a group of designers and engineers offer an answer to every Ikea customer's prayer: Why won't that Nornäs coffee table just assemble itself? Read More
Researchers rely on website that tracks illegal Rx sales

StreetRx is a website that lets people who illegally buy prescription drugs post the prices they paid, and how much they got, in different parts of the country. But it's not something dreamed up by users themselves — this website is a project of Epidemico, a health-data tracking company founded in 2007 by people from Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and MIT. Researchers hope to use the crowd-sourced data on drug trasnsactions to learn more about addiction, assess whether public policy is effective, and track how the illegal drug market evolves. Cops also use the site to help them keep tabs on the street prices and flow of drugs, particularly for undercover work.

On Friday, someone in New Bedford paid a dealer $2 for a 5-milligram hydrocodone pill, a price deemed "cheap" in the busy black market for prescription opioids. That same day in Winchendon, a person spent $5 on a 30-milligram Adderall, rated "not bad" for the popular stimulant. The sales are illegal.

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I Thought They Smelled Bad on the Outside
How do you measure a miserable winter? An MIT student might have the answer
In the final, brutal days before Boston officially broke its record for snowfall in one winter, many people had the same thought: How could there possibly ever have been a winter worse than this? Surely, the snow-measurers had to be making some mistake. Ben Letham, a PhD candidate studying applied math at MIT, was in a rare position to double-check his gut reaction. “I thought, `Oh I’ll just download the data and figure it out myself,’" Letham said with a chuckle. Read More
Alcalde de Tweets
MIT's Twitter-backed research highlights Twitter use by small Spanish town
Twitter can be used for a lot of things — a personal newswire, celebrity PR machine, or meme distribution system. It appears that one small town in Spain is taking advantage of Twitter's real-time conversation stream to replace the complaint line at City Hall. Read More
This handbag built for power lunchers can also charge a phone
The 314 handbag promises to charge your phone or other devices. (Photo via Jon Lou)
A smart-looking handbag can make you look good, but a smart handbag can do much more for you. The 314, a luxury handbag made in Italy with technology designed at MIT, is both good-looking and smart – and is poised to hit the market soon. The bag can charge your cellphone or any other USB-enabled device, and light up when you are rummaging through its insides. Plus, it can order a power pack refill before the system runs out of juice. And no, you don’t have to plug in your handbag every night. Read More
here a bot there a bot
Robots on the loose! Cambridge Science Week scavenger hunt begins Monday
These three robots -- spray painted water bottles sold at the MIT Museum -- will be hidden all around Cambridge. (Photo: Tina McCarthy/MIT Museum)
The Cambridge Science Festival begins next Friday, and visitors to the geek carnival can visit a "robot zoo," solve a CSI-style mystery, and meet astronaut Chris Cassidy. To add to the fun this year is a scavenger hunt: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find one of three golden robot figurines hidden away in the city.  Read More
Cybersecurity summer camp
MIT students, Highland Capital, partner to launch Cybersecurity Factory
Networking Switch
Over the past several months, two PhD candidates in MIT's CSAIL program have been busy attempting to solve a few tough questions: How do you make cybersecurity sexy? How can you create excitement about the field? And perhaps most importantly, how do you take the impressive work being done at academic institutions and find ways to bring it to market? Read More
Private social network 'Koko' to give people with depression a boost on bad days
Millions of Americans battle anxiety disorders and depression, conditions that sap social ties and leave sufferers vulnerable if they lack a viable support system. Now, a group of researchers with ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are creating a 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 More