EECS Research Reaches Out – Where it makes a Difference

“EECS Research Reaches Out—Where it Makes a Difference” collage from hardcopy newsletter Fall 2008 [photo credit to Felice Frankel for the colored vials used for quantum dot lighting].

“EECS Research Reaches Out—Where it Makes a Difference” collage from hardcopy newsletter Fall 2008. Photo credit to Felice Frankel for the colored vials for quantum dot lighting.

We like to say in the Department that “EECS is everywhere” — a tagline reflecting the broad range of careers into which our graduates enter, and the broad range of intellectual interests of our students and faculty. In today’s world of impending global needs in energy and societal well-being, this tagline also reflects the impressive range of areas of public concern that are being impacted by research undertaken by our faculty and students. In this article, we highlight a few of the many projects that are aimed at addressing public needs and improving public well-being in transportation, energy and power, and health care.

Important needs in transportation include: improved safety; more efficient delivery of people and products, especially with less fuel consumption and delay of transit; power-efficient monitoring systems for vehicle operation; better user interfaces for navigation and route planning; and alternative power sources for vehicle operation. The CarTel system highlights work in traffic and vehicle monitoring and management. The Urban Grand Challenge team illustrates one approach to safer vehicle operation, through autonomous navigation systems in challenging real-world settings.

Challenges in energy and power cover the spectrum of generation, conversion, storage, transmission and utilization. Marc Baldo’s work on new solar concentrators highlights both a novel and very promising technology for improved solar power generation, and illustrates the cross-disciplinary interactions between electrical engineering and material science. Dave Perreault’s work on power electronics provides innovation in the efficient conversion and transmission of power. And Vladimir Bulovic’s work on quantum dot based lighting demonstrates one example of a new approach to efficient power utilization for everyday needs.

Techniques from EECS are also revolutionizing health care processes. Polina Golland’s work in computer vision and statistical methods is providing novel ways to understand how diseases affect critical anatomical structures, as well as measuring the impact of treatment on such structures. Sangeeta Bhatia’s research leverages micro-electro-mechanical systems to create microlivers that enhance drug testing by providing realistic platforms for testing toxicity as well as drug uptake. And Fatih Yanik’s work incorporates novel advances in nanotechnology and femtosecond laser surgery to advance understanding of neural degeneration and regeneration.

These are, of course, only a few examples of the work in the department that are improving the well being of the community, and demonstrate the impact of our research outside the walls of MIT. We continue to spotlight major research advances as they are reported in major scientific journals and shared via the MIT News Office and the EECS homepage. See previous research on the EECS spotlights gallery.

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