I just finished the front-page article in the December 20 issue of MIT’s TechTalk newsletter concerning the first Massachusetts Energy Summit held at MIT on Dec. 13, 2006. The Summit was convened by MIT President Susan Hockfield and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and meeting’s major purpose was to gather the movers and shakers of the Commonwealth to discuss methods for establishing leadership in solving the world’s energy crisis.
The term coined at the summit to describe these still-amorphous methods is “enertech”, a play on the hot-button words we technophiles commonly use to impress our non-technical friends at parties: infotech, biotech, nanotech, etc. For an extended explanation of the etymology of “enertech”, I refer you to the VCMike guest blog by Robert Metcalfe. Incidentally, Metcalfe was one of the speakers at the Energy Summit, and he includes some interesting expanded commentary on enertech in Massachusetts within his posting.
When Susan Hockfield took the reins at MIT, she set out to consolidate the Institute’s hodgepodge of energy research to focus on solving the world’s energy crisis. This endeavor culminated in the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), a virtual research center which is overseen by the MIT Energy Research Council (ERC). Given MIT’s newfound energy momentum, it is hoped by many that the Institute will anchor a new energy technology cluster in Massachusetts.
So it looks like I got pretty lucky. I may be in the right place at the right time to blog from the future enertech capital of the world!
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.