Quantum dots are nanocrystals made of semiconductor materials. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Quantum dots are nanocrystals made of semiconductor materials. They have a number of potential applications, including solar cells and medical imaging. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

MIT is no stranger to innovation. From the invention of Technicolor to unlocking the human genome, innovation is at the Institute’s core. If all companies founded by MIT alumni formed their own nation, it would be the 11th largest economy in the world, as noted in a 2009 report.

The future of innovation and manufacturing were key topics at this year’s World Economic Forum, held January 22-25. Blogging from Davos, MIT President L. Rafael Reif highlighted key areas where MIT is leading the field:

Vladimir Bulović, Fariborz Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technology and Associate Dean for Innovation, is leading the effort to translate nanotech insights into transformative technologies.

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Daniela Rus, works in distributed robotics and has developed self-assembling, self-organizing robots that can perform a variety of tasks.

Panasonic Professor of Robotics (emeritus) and co-founder of iRobot, Rodney Brooks, has successfully introduced affordable robots to a wide range of industries through his company, Rethink Robotics.

Novel materials
R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Gerbrand Ceder, is pioneering new methods to understand the “DNA” of materials.

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