MIT.nano's First Major Research Symposium Addresses Future of Sensory Technology

Artist rendering depicts MIT.nano, the 214,000 square-foot nanoscience and nanotechnology research facility taking shape in the heart of MIT campus. (Image: Tim Blackburn)

The age of ubiquitous sensing is close at hand. Smart sensors will soon be monitoring buildings, machines, and bridges, tracking people’s health and wellness, and enabling autonomous cars.

Huge networks of small, economical sensors will enable mass worldwide data collection — influencing disease-outbreak detection and intervention, the distribution of agriculture and water, disaster recovery, environmental monitoring, and the operation of cities. With this vision in mind, MIT is developing a singular hub to bring together experts as they develop an advanced generation of sensors, and sensing and measurement technologies.

On May 25-26, SENSE.nano will be inaugurated, marking the first “center of excellence” powered by MIT.nano, the 214,000 sq-ft research facility taking shape in the center of MIT campus. The center will empower people in the MIT community, educate the public, and engage industry leaders.

There is a thing we do extremely well at MIT: We lock arms and make progress that is beyond the scope of any one researcher. If you look at what’s happening with sensors, you’ll see that many different disciplines have to come together. Ubiquitous sensing has so many aspects — chemical, biological, physical, radiological. With all this sensing research going on, we need a place to coordinate our synergies.

Timothy Swager, John D. MacArthur Professor, Department of Chemistry, MIT

As part of the opening, a one day symposium will feature experts deliberating on technical challenges, humanitarian and commercial requirements, and the societal influence of ubiquitous sensor and sensing systems. In a nod to the daily impact of this technology, NPR journalist Tom Ashbrook will lead a wide-ranging discussion on “Sensing, Society, and Technology.”

Novel sensors and sensing systems will provide previously unimaginable insight into the condition of individuals and the built and natural worlds, positively impacting people, machines, and the environment.

Brian W. Anthony, Principal Research Engineer, MIT

SENSE.nano will assist partnership between people from a variety of specialty areas — engineering, materials science, Earth science, business, computation, electronics, biology, nanoscience, physics, chemistry, computer science, neuroscience, and advanced manufacturing.

We want to use this event as an opportunity to strengthen the community and improve our connection to the local innovation and manufacturing ecosystem. And to accelerate the rate at which our new sensing technologies and innovations are scaled-up and go out and impact the IoT enabled industries, advanced instrumentation, and beyond.

Brian W. Anthony, Principal Research Engineer, MIT

Vince Roche, CEO of Analog Devices, and Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, founder of the Deshpande Foundation, will give the morning and afternoon keynotes, framing the wide influence and opportunity of sensing technologies to the U.S. economy and the world’s societal requirements. Analog Devices, a semiconductor company cofounded by Raymond S. Stata, is a keystone company in sensor products and advanced manufacturing in Massachusetts.

“It is time for people to reach out and find the best ways to collaborate,” he says. “We’re looking for input from the community, sensor and sensing system manufacturers, government, academe, and researchers to help us define the grand challenge focus areas within SENSE.nano.”

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