While computers have gotten faster and software fancier, the humble mousepad has remained happily low-tech. But researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory are now converting the unassuming slabs of foam into information-input devices. The Media Lab’s “smart mousepad” (which draws power from the keyboard connector) reads information from a simple electronic tag that can be implanted in a variety of objects.
After the mousepad reads the tag, software connects to an online database to find out what to do. Consumer goods might pull up manufacturers’ Web sites. Setting a tagged bottle of medicine on the pad, for example, could call up the drug company’s Web page, offering more information about the medication than is included with the packaging. The Media Lab’s Henry Holtzman imagines his 3-year-old using tagged tokens to call up online images of her favorite things.
Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build
“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”
ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it
The narrative around cheating students doesn’t tell the whole story. Meet the teachers who think generative AI could actually make learning better.
Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives
The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.
Learning to code isn’t enough
Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.