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Cynthia Breazeal Wants You to Make Friends with Robots

Ask anyone to name a famous robot, and it is likely they will mention characters like C-3PO, R2-D2, Wall-E, and Optimus Prime. What all of these friendly androids from film have in common is something that the majority of modern robots lack: the ability to converse with humans.

Cynthia Breazeal, an electrical and computer engineer, has dedicated her career to making robots more sociable. She is currently the director of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, where she researches and develops machines that can teach, learn, talk, and mimic human emotions.

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Aircrafts of the Future

Anna-Maria McGowan assures a flight-phobic comedian that air travel is the safest mode of transportation

Anna-Maria R. McGowan works on designing cutting-edge technology for air vehicles of the future as project manager for NASA’s Morphing Project.

Instead of building actual airplanes, McGowan is working on futuristic technologies such as active materials for aircraft structures or wings that can change shape on command.

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Meet Leland Melvin: Engineer and Astronaut

Many kids dream about flying into space one day, and countless others picture themselves being drafted onto a professional sports team. Amazingly, Leland Melvin has accomplished both.

Before earning a master’s degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Virginia, Melvin was chosen as an 11th round draft pick for the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately injuries prevented him from pursuing an NFL career, but this did not deter him from chasing even more ambitious goals.

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Trailblazer: Salman Khan

Need some help with your homework? Look no further than Khan Academy.

The website features over 1,800 mini-lectures on subjects including mathematics, history, finance, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and economics.

All online tutorials are produced and narrated by Salman Khan, who has a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. Usually under 15 minutes in length, the videos are low-tech and conversational, with Khan using step-by-step doodles and diagrams on an electronic blackboard to explain various concepts.

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Meet John Dabiri: Bioengineer and
Jellyfish Expert

When it comes to design, engineers have a lot to learn from nature and its diverse forms of life. That’s why John Dabiri, a bioengineer and recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Genius Grant, has turned his eye to a strange and surprisingly complex creature: the jellyfish.

Known as the “jellyfish engineer,” Dabiri uses physics, mathematics, and statistical modelling to better understand the locomotion of these fascinating animals.

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