A U.S. Army ranger is on a battlefield in a country known to be making chemical weapons. Through his binoculars, he spots a cloud of smoke a mile away. Does it contain lethal gas? At the moment, there is no easy way to know. But researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and MIT are working on a dime-sized sensor that could be built into binoculars or telescopes to spot toxic gases before they do any damage.
The sensor identifies the infrared absorption spectrum of a gas. When a toxic gas is picked out, the system alerts the user. The researchers, who include MIT’s Steve Senturia and Sandia’s Mike Butler and Mike Sinclair, expect to test an experimental device this fall; they hope to build a lab prototype within two years. Although the device is being developed for the military, it carries obvious peacetime uses-fighting chemical fires being one.
DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.
“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.
What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines
New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.
Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats
With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure
Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation
From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.