MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Current Research: Project Openings

Below are currently advertised UROP projects available to MIT, CME and cross-registered Wellesley College undergraduates. All projects, regardless of mode (pay, credit, or volunteer) are expected to be worth MIT academic credit and be supervised by MIT faculty. Projects appear on this list in the order they have been received.

These projects do not represent all available UROPs as many faculty do not submit project listings for this site. Rather, they expect interested students to contact them based on their general research to discuss potential UROPs.

Available UROPs

UROP Project listings are posted for approximately one month before they are removed, unless we are asked to re-post.

3/26/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Daniela Rus

Project Title: Origami Robot Design and Programming

Project description: This project aims at automated design of origami robots for miniature-scale operation. With the successful development of magnetically controlled self-folding origami robots in our group, the goals of the project are:
(1) to advance the robot’s design with integrated sensors
(2) to develop and program automated crease design algorithms and run simulations
(3) to develop an idea for a robot with adaptive mechanisms for variable environments (printable robot brain).

Topics:
Origami robot design (Matlab / C / SolidWorks / Auto CAD)
Fabrication (Planar fabrication, laser cutter, 3D printer, electronics)
Control & Programming (Magnetic remote, PID, Arduino)

Prerequisites: Mechanical design skills (course 2), programming skills (course 6)

Place: Distributed robotics lab, CSAIL. 1 desk space per person

URL: https://www.dropbox.com/s/akbv2fch3oskfab/UROPSummer2015.pdf?dl=0

Contact: Please send your resume to Shuhei Miyashita [shuheim@csail.mit.edu]


3/26/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemistry (Course 5)
Faculty Supervisor: Matthew Shoulders

Project Title: Assessing Protein Stability in Living Cells

Project Description: Proteins are cellular workhorses capable of executing an amazing slew of biological functions. Loss or gain of proper protein function is associated with myriad diseases. The vast majority of small molecule drugs therefore target protein function. Two important factors vital to protein function are: 1) the protein s intrinsic conformational stability and 2) the protein s microenvironment. Unfortunately, no methods exist that can accurately and precisely report on changes in protein conformational stability or protein microenvironments inside a living cell. This summer project involves the development of such a method. The project will expose the undergraduate researcher to principles and techniques of spectroscopy, biophysical chemistry, organic chemistry, and modern cell biology.

URL: www.shoulderslab.mit.edu

Contact: Matthew Shoulders (mshoulde@mit.edu)


3/26/15
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Alan Jasanoff

Project Title: Magnetic nanosensors for brain imaging

Project Description: A UROP position is available in the lab of Prof. Alan Jasanoff in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT. The goal of the project is to help prepare MRI contrast agent sensitive to neural events in the brain. Components of the research involve nanoparticle preparation, in vitro analysis, molecular biology, and imaging. The UROP will work closely with a senior chemist in the laboratory. The successful candidate should be enrolled in a chemistry or bioengineering-related program at MIT, and should ideally have some experience with organic chemistry or biochemistry.

Primary responsibilities: The UROP will assist postdoctoral associate Satoshi Okada in the lab of Prof. Jasanoff in the some or all of the following:
1. Preparation of MRI contrast agents.
2. Evaluation of the structure and functional characteristics of synthetic products in vitro.
3. Purification of a protein from bacterial cells.

Prerequisites: Some experience with organic chemistry or biochemistry.

URL: http://web.mit.edu/jasanofflab/

Contact: Satoshi Okada (sokada@mit.edu)


3/26/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: John Hart

Project Title: Prototyping of soil sensors for rural Indian farmers

Project Description: Project Description: Currently, rural Indian farmers suffer from information poverty with respect to the chemical composition of their soil, information critical for making accurate fertilizer and irrigation decisions on the farm. According to the Deshpande center, nearly 98% of farmers do not test their soil - due to either a lack of access, poor education, or inefficient and corrupt government soil testing centers. The aim of this project is to develop a low cost platform for farmers to test their soil chemistry; including a sensing device as well as an associated card or guide that converts the results of the sensor to recommended action items. This project is not only highly unique in its interdisciplinarity, from anthropology to mechanical engineering to electrical engineering - but also in the opportunity for consistent interaction with the end user via trips to India funded by the TATA center. Ideally a candidate could start as soon as possible, and continue throughout the summer for our ultimate month-trip to India during the end of summer.

The UROP project will vary according to the person's strong suit. As it stands, a few potential projects could form:
(1) Coding a microcontroller that converts a signal from the soil sensor to a colorimetric output
(2) Maximizing the stability of the device by optimizing surface chemistry and composition of the electrode
(3) Designing a roll to roll process to manufacture the sensors in streamlined way (4) Mechanically designing the enclosure of the reader device.

Prerequisites: Academic pre-requisites will vary as projects may take a rather interdisciplinary form (specifically among materials science, mechanical engineering, product design, chemical engineering, and even a little electrical engineering/computer science). Regardless, though, a strong background in chemistry, materials science, or chemical engineering is preferred. An ideal candidate would be highly fluent in engineering fundamentals, committed to put in the necessary time and effort, and perhaps most importantly - passionate about making devices that address real needs. This is a full-time summer position (40 hours/week paid) and the student may begin working part-time before the end of the spring semester if available.

Contact: Ron Rosenberg (Ronrose@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Andrew Lippman

Project Title: Glue

Project Description: Join the team to help develop a way for both machines and humans to understand vast stores of media: TV and web. We want to find the details of media, everything from curse words to stories about economics. The challenge is to understand visual media: how many people are on the screen, whether they are excited, and when their story changes. We are building "Glue". Glue consumes a stream of media, both by crawling the internet and from broadcasted tv, and processes the media for more complex, searchable features. Glue enables plethora of rich media applications. We have a 20 channel DVR storing broadcasts and we need help building the analysis system that makes data out of raw content. It is modular and connected to a variety of Media Lab applications that transform passive entertainment into engaging media. What you'll do: This project is geared towards those with an interest and some experience in programming. According to your skills and preference you will either build novel media exploration applications using front-end technologies or develop new media analysis modules using a breadth of tools ranging from image processing to natural language processing.

Prerequisites: Required: Proven programming experience. Preferred: Python, Javascript, HTML5 Nice to have: ffmpeg, MongoDB, Solr, RabbitMQ,

Contact: Tomer Weller (weller@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Spring 2015-Spring 201
Department: Theater
Faculty Supervisor: Alan Brody

Project Title: Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT (CC@MIT) Science Theater Project

Project Description: CC@MIT is a collaboration between MIT and Central Square Theater, dedicated to creating and presenting plays that deepen public understanding about science, while simultaneously providing artistic and emotional experiences not available in other forms of dialogue about science. CC@MIT’s mission is to engage audiences in thinking about themes in science and technology of social and ethical concern; to provide insight into the culture of science and the impact of that culture on our society; and to examine the human condition through the lens of science and technology that intersects our lives and the lives of the scientists whose work changes our world and their own.

There are opportunities for Spring, 2015 through Spring, 2016. Projects will be designed according to time, skill sets, and interests of the UROP student, who will be engaged in one or more of the following:

Dramaturgy. Research related to upcoming 2015-16 productions, in collaboration with Artistic Directors, to be used by stage directors, designers and performers.
Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn

- Einstein’s Dreams, by Wesley Savick, adapted from the novel by Alan Lightman
- Precious Little, by Madeleine George
- Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard

Finding and engaging expertise. Outreach to and engagement of scientists and other members of the community who could bring to bear valuable insight on the productions, both in conversation with the artists and with our audiences.

Communication with new audiences. Work with our artistic, community connectivity, and marketing staff to strategize ways of engaging new audiences.

Researching and Archiving Scripts. Read and catalogue scripts thematically related to science and technology. Help organize and expand CC@MIT’s existing database of scripts and playwrights.

Assist in launching CC@MIT Commissioning Program. Provide essential support in the creation of a new initiative dedicated to making possible new plays created by teams of playwrights and scientists.

Work will be centered at the Central Square Theater, 450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge.

This UROP is an outgrowth of the D’Arbeloff Fund course I developed 2013, Making Theater About Science. With my work as one of the co-directors of the CC@MIT and my work as a playwright (Small Infinities and Operation Epsilon, both science based pieces) I will be making use of the UROP in developing my next science based play.

The onsite supervisor will be Debra Wise, Artistic Director of the Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theater in close consultation with Professor Brody.

Opportunities exist for Spring/Summer 2015, Fall Semester 2015, and/or January/Spring 2016.

Prerequisites: Some experience in theater or other performing arts, either as an artist or through course work. Ability to articulate interest in exploring the useful synergy between theater and science. Ability to commit a minimum of 10 hours weekly during the semester, or 15-30 hours weekly over the summer.

Method of application: Submit resume to Faculty Supervisor, who will conduct preliminary interview as needed before referring to On Site Supervisor for an in-person interview.

Contacts: Alan Brody (Professor of Theater, CC@MIT CoDirector, Faculty Supervisor) brody@mit.edu; Debra Wise (Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater, CC@MIT CoDirector, On Site Supervisor) dwise@undergroundrailwaytheater.org.


3/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Karen Gleason

Project Title: Development of advanced membranes for desalination

Project Description: The goal of this project is to develop new membranes for membrane distillation desalination systems. Membranes are produced using initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) and characterized using SEM, AFM, FTIR among other techniques. The UROP student is expected to assist graduate students in producing and characterizing the membranes.

Prerequisites: Self-motivated, committed to doing lab-work, prior lab experience preferred. Training will be provided for any new techniques.

Contact: Amelia Servi (aservi@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (WI)
Faculty Supervisor: Hazel Sive

Project Title: Exploring how cellular communication directs face formation

Project Description: Faces are our primary sensory gateways to the world. Not only do our faces enable sight, sound, smell taste and feel, but they also project our moods and attention to others around us. The human (and animal) face has the uncanny power to charm an audience, intrigue a stranger and intimidate competitors. To read a face is to read the world. Despite its complexity, the face begins as a featureless and blank slate of tissue. How do cells of the developing face know where to go and what tissue types to become? The Sive lab has identified a facial organizer termed the EAD (Extreme Anterior Domain) at the very anterior tip of the frog embryo. Although the EAD is just a small patch of cells, it is essential in coordinating cell migration and morphogenesis. We are currently investigating what mechanisms/signaling pathways grant the EAD its organizing ability.

UROPs will have a few projects to choose from including
1) Engineering transgenic frogs or fish.
2) Culturing facial explants and recreating aspects of face formation in vitro.
3) Using new fluorophores to improve live imaging in frogs.

Prerequisites: Applicants should be in Course 7. The most important attributes are interest in the project, self-motivation and reliability. If possible, I would like to extend the UROP into the 2015 Fall semester and beyond. Prior lab experience and knowledge of developmental biology will be useful but is not required.

Contact: Justin Chen (juchen@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aero/Astro
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Alvar Saenz-Otero

Project Title: Fatigue and Situational Awareness During Satellite Operations

Project Description: In the last few decades fatigue and sleep deprivation has become increasingly more prevalent in today's society. Billions of dollars are spent or lost annually due to various problems related to sleep deprivation including work accidents, car accidents, and sleeping disorders. Sleep deprivation has been a factor in multiple major accidents in aerospace such as the Challenger Disaster and American Airlines Flight 1420. A study is being developed using the Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellite (SPHERES) testbed to determine the effects of fatigue on satellite operations with multiple assets, which addresses a current NASA research gap. The study will involve subjects avoiding collision with space debris while controlling satellites. Subjects will be tested at a baseline “well rested” condition and a condition of multiple nights of partial sleep deprivation. The test will also include use of an interface that will attempt to mitigate the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

I am looking for a student who is interested in programming, working with hardware, and being a part of a study involving humans as subjects. The student will help me run tests with human subjects in the Space Systems Lab throughout the summer.

Desired previous experience: Some programming background (preferably in C and/or Matlab)

UROP Type: for pay, all Summer, prefer 40 hours per week

Contact: 2nd Lieutenant Jonathan James Schneider, jjschnei@mit.edu


3/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL)
Faculty Supervisor: David Moncton

Project Title: Three-dimensional neutron imaging of magnetic materials

Project Description: We are studying domain phenomena in modern magnetic materials using novel neutron-imaging techniques. The formation and structure of magnetic domains are basic problems in magnetism, for both fundamental and practical reasons. Therefore, it is surprising how few experimental techniques are available for imaging magnetic domains in the bulk of non-transparent materials. Optical, electron, and X-ray methods are restricted to near-surface regions due to low penetration depths. While neutrons penetrate deep into materials, low neutron flux limits their use. We seek to remove this limitation by creating a powerful suite of techniques for three-dimensional neutron imaging of bulk magnetic materials at length scales from microns to tens of microns. Initial experiments will be conducted over the summer at a world-leading neutron research facility near Berlin, Germany (a suitable novel US instrument is currently under construction). We will measure helical magnetic domains in multiferroics, an important class of compounds, where direct coupling exists between magnetic, ferroelectric and structural orders. Multiferroics are actively studied compounds, which exhibit interesting basic phenomena and a potential for applications in solid-state devices. A UROP student with the MIT supervisor will travel to Germany for two weeks for the experiment. Before and after the experiment, the student will help with the data analysis of existing and new data.

Prerequisites: The ability to travel to Germany for two weeks in July is required (travel funds are available). Basic knowledge and interest in magnetic phenomena is also required. Working knowledge of Matlab of Python is needed for data analysis.

Contact: Boris Khaykovich (bkh@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: James DiCarlo

Project Title: Modeling the effect of cortical inactivation on object recognition behavior

Project Description: Our experimental findings show that optogenetic and pharmacological inactivation of small subregions of the primate visual cortex can affect specific object recognition behaviors. We are currently combining our findings with neural recordings to develop computational models for the observed effects, generalize them to the broader domain of object recognition and to understand how perception and behavior emerge from population patterns of neural activity in the brain. We are looking for a motivated student with strong computational background who wants to help us in this project. The project includes data analysis, programming, and active engagement in the discussions about the scientific questions related to this work.

Prerequisites: Some computer programming ability, including familiarity with Python

Contact: Dr. Arash Afraz (afraz@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Algorithms for Structured Light 3D Imaging

Project Description: The goal is to develop algorithms for 3 dimensional imaging of a scene using a cheap projector--camera setup. See for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structured-light_3D_scanner.

Project Goal: Developing new algorithms for structured light imaging systems.

Candidate Role: The student will implement computer vision and signal processing tools for 3D imaging data. Some part of this work is about implementing break through algorithms that were made in our lab. Exceptional effort may result in development of new algorithms.

Relevant Skills: Candidates should have ideally taken courses in computer vision and signal processing. Candidates should be proficient in Matlab.

Timeline: Position is available for Spring/Summer 2015.

Funding: Sponsored research funds are available to support this project

Contact: Interested students should contact Ayush Bhandari (ayush@MIT.edu). Include a resume and a list of relevant courses.


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL)
Faculty Supervisor: David Moncton

Project Title: How to build a neutron microscope

Project Description: Neutron scattering is one of the most useful methods of studying the structure and dynamics of matter. However, a neutron analog of an optical microscope has not been built so far, mostly because weak interaction of neutrons with most materials precludes making effective neutron lenses. At MIT Nuclear Reactor, we are developing novel neutron focusing optics, which might make neutron microscopy practical. In 1952 Hans Wolter described the advantages of axisymmetric glancing-angle mirrors for focusing x-rays, and today such mirrors are used extensively in x-ray telescopes. We have recently implemented a system of neutron Wolter mirrors. As a result, a neutron microscope is under construction at NIST Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, MD The UROP student will conduct computer ray-tracing simulations of the neutron microscope. The project is suitable for students interested in physics, optics, nuclear or materials science, or computational methods.

Prerequisites: Good programming skills and an interest in code writing are required. Familiarity with Python or Matlab will be needed to complete this project.

URL: web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/new-kind-of-microscope-uses-neutrons-1004.html

Contact: Boris Khaykovich (bkh@mit.edu)


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)
Faculty Supervisor: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: TaleBlazer - Location-based Augmented Reality on Smartphones

Project Description: Interested in location-based technology? Interested in games? Want to play with smartphones? Apply to work on TaleBlazer for a full-time (paid or credit) summer UROP! TaleBlazer is a location-based Augmented Reality game creation platform. Game designers build interactive games using the TaleBlazer Editor web application. Similar to Starlogo TNG, Scratch or AppInventor, the TaleBlazer Editor includes a blocks-based programming environment that allows the game designer to specify the game logic. Game players use the TaleBlazer mobile application to download and play TaleBlazer games on GPS enabled smartphones (Android or iOS). As the players move around the real world, they meet virtual characters or objects in the game world that the game designers have built for them. TaleBlazer is intended for educational purposes the players explore subject matter in a new and exciting way in a real world context. We have worked with zoos, schools, after-school clubs, etc. to design and launch various professionally developed games with science, math, and history content. The TaleBlazer Editor can also be a valuable teaching and learning tool for student game designers, who learn programming skills and game design, while delving deeply into subject matter to create games about specific topics. Job Description: Research and address the needs and expectations of professionals at world class locations developing TaleBlazer games for their general visitor audience. What are the challenges of the first-time player of a TaleBlazer game at a zoo or botanical garden? How can YOU improve the user interface and feature set to meet the needs of such players and the expectations of the professional game designer? Make it easier for organizations to manage their games! Make it easier for players to start playing! Technology: The TaleBlazer Mobile application is built using Appcelerator Titanium, a 3rd party toolkit which allows the programmer to write a single codebase in JavaScript that is then compiled into native iOS and Android applications. The TaleBlazer website is based on a CakePHP/MySQL backend with a PHP/JavaScript/HTML/CSS.

Prerequisites: While this FULL-TIME position requires a strong programming background, experience with specific programming languages is not required.

URL: education.mit.edu

Contact: If you are interested, please send an email to tep-jobs@mit.edu and include:
* an overview of your programming experience (specific references to relevant courses and other development and programming projects would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs
* a summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume if you have one)
* a short cover letter describing why you are interested in working on this project
* Please put "TaleBlazer Software UROP" in the subject line


3/19/15
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Algorithms for 3D Imaging

Project Description: 3D imaging (e.g. Microsoft Kinect) is an active area of research and hi-tech industries with a number of commercially viable solutions. In this project, we are looking for enthusiastic candidates who can contribute towards developing algorithms for 3D imaging.

Project Goal: Developing new algorithms for 3D imaging problems.

Candidate Role: The student will implement machine learning and signal processing tools for 3D imaging data. Some part of this work is about implementing break through algorithms that were made in our lab. Exceptional effort may result in development of new algorithms.

Relevant Skills: Candidates should have ideally taken courses in linear algebra and signal processing. Candidates should be proficient in Matlab.

Timeline: Position is available for Spring/Summer 2015.

Funding: Sponsored research funds are available to support this project

Contact: Interested students should contact Ayush Bhandari (ayush@MIT.edu). Include a resume and a list of relevant courses.


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Joel Voldman

Project Title: Developing an Automated Imaging Platform to Monitor Cell Health through Cell-based Sensors

Project Description: Healthy cells are required for any biological or clinical experiment. However, it is often challenging to assess a cell health quantitatively. Most specific assays require large cell numbers and are destructive, meaning that it is hard to monitor individual cell health over time. We have recently engineered a panel of cell-based sensors that report on cell health in microsystem environments. Specifically, when these cell sensors are stressed, they express fluorescence that corresponds to the activation of a particular stress pathway, and therefore report on the local environmental stress. This allows us to obtain a live-cell measurement for a live-cell readout each cells health state. These cell sensors will be highly valuable not only to the microtechnology community for evaluating experimental design, but also to the general biological community for gaining better understanding of cell physiology. We are looking for a summer UROP student to help create an automated imaging platform for assessment of cell-based sensors. In order to maximize the utility of these sensors, we culture all sensors together and assess the stress (fluorescence) level of each sensor type. We are looking for assistance in creating a software interface for long term image acquisition (sensor monitoring) using microscopy. This would allow for detection of each sensor identity and its readout via quantitative fluorescence. The student will investigate different imaging algorithms and methodologies to optimize for cellular identification and readout. The student will then automate the image acquisition for spatiotemporal measurements at single-cell level over various experimental conditions. Finally, the automation system will be tested in traditional dish-based cultures or in microfluidic cell cultures. These microfluidic devices are used in our laboratory for controlling cellular microenvironments. The student will learn about and help with Matlab graphical user interface software, instrumentation control, image acquisition, as well as fabrication and testing of microfluidic devices.

Prerequisites: We will consider all candidates, but as this is primarily a computational project, having prior programming experience is required (Matlab knowhow is desirable). Experience with microscopy, image processing and GUI development is a bonus. Additionally, experience with data acquisition or control systems is a plus.

Contact: Please send a pdf CV\resume to Prof. Joel Voldman (voldman@mit.edu), along with a paragraph in the email describing your interest in the project.


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Political Science
Faculty Supervisors: Chris Warshaw and Devin Caughey

Project Title: American Democracy Project

Project Description: Professors Chris Warshaw and Devin Caughey are interested in hiring 2–4 UROPs to work on the American Democracy Project. This project is designed to assess the relationship between public opinion and state policy outcomes in the United States between 1900 and 2012. We will examine questions such as: When state public become more liberal, do state policies move in the same direction? What is the relative importance of the public’s partisanship and its policy preferences? How much does partisan control of state governments affect policy outcomes? This is an exciting way to learn more about state politics and how democracy works in the United States.

The UROP will collaborate with a team including MIT faculty and graduate students. Some of the tasks that UROP students may work on include:
• Gathering information about each state’s policies on specific issue areas, such as abortion, gay marriage, and gun control.
• Gathering public opinion data from surveys in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
• Gathering election data, such gubernatorial election results.
• Gathering information about the media coverage of state elections and congressional elections.
• Writing literature reviews about previous research on state politics and representation.

Skills Required: Internet research skills and familiarity with Excel. Advanced students with statistical skills in R or Stata may be able to take a larger role in the project.

Contact: Melissa Meek (mmeek@mit.edu)


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Physics (Course 8)
Faculty Supervisor: Marin Soljacic

Project Title: Glider Simulations in LaRCsim

Project Description: We want to program a remote-control glider to fly. Over the summer the UROP student will run simulations and develop a control algorithm for flying a small gliding drone in different wind conditions to maximize the glide time. The student will develop realistic models of the wind conditions and glider and develop the optimal algorithm to navigate these conditions. We may also start doing experiments to test our algorithms and the student may assist with these.

Prerequisites: 16.06, 16.30/16.31, more advanced course, practical experience, or enthusiasm; Java, C or C++

Contact: Scott Skirlo (sskirlo@mit.edu)


3/19/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
Faculty Supervisor: Martha Gray

Project Title: neuroQWERTY

Project Description: In 2013, the average US adult spent 2:21 hours interacting with a mobile device. Every day. Not including voice calls. In this project, you will contribute to developing technology able to detect early decline in motor function as is seen in many neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson's disease). We are looking for an outstanding, highly motivated student with cross disciplinary interests in computer science and medicine. Your initial role will be the development of low latency Android keyboard for acquiring non sensitive data. The system you develop will be employed in clinical studies in Boston and Madrid. Our studies so far, in which we made measurements on physical keyboards, suggest this approach is very promising for detecting subtle changes in motor function. Your work on an Android platform would help advance the technological development, and if successful, could have a major impact in our understanding of and ability to detect neurological disease.

Prerequisites: Android development skills are required. iOS development and Python/Matlab are a plus.

URL: neuroqwerty.mit.edu

Contact: Luca Giancardo (gianca@mit.edu)


3/19/15
Department: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Smartphone Spectrometer for Skin Analysis

Project Description: We are developing a highly sensitive mobile phone based spectrometer that has potential to detect cancerous skin lesions in a rapid, non-invasive manner. Earlier reports of low cost spectrometers utilize the camera of the mobile phone to image the field after moving through a diffraction grating. These approaches are inherently limited by the closed nature of mobile phone image sensors and built in optical elements. Our system uses a novel integrated grating and sensor that is compact, accurate and calibrated. UV and visible LED sources built into the device can excite skin to emit fluorescence. Reports have shown that the fluorescence can be used as an indication of various skin conditions.
The mobile phone spectrometer will be coupled to a dermatoscope to perform rapid screening of skin conditions.

Prerequisites: We are looking for candidates with experience in android programming. The candidate will develop an app that gathers spectral information from the sensor and displays it on the phone. The App will be capable of carrying out basic operations like averaging and plotting data. Experience in Matlab, signal processing, optics, spectroscopy is preferred. Arduino programming is desirable as well. There may be exciting opportunities to test the device at local health facilities as well.

Contact: Please send your resume to Anshuman Das (ajdas@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kevin Slavin

Project Title: Project G.A.M.R. - Determining Cognitive Traits from Video Game Behavior

Project Description: The aim of the project is to create a cognitive model of video game players from their game behavior. The model will consist of cognitive traits such as personality and motivation. Data on cognitive traits will be collected through online surveys. Video game data will be extracted through APIs offered by game developers. Cognitive traits will be related to game behavior through the use of statistical and machine learning techniques.

Prerequisites: Experience with REST API's, database management (SQL), and either statistical or machine learning methods for data analysis. An affinity with video games is a plus.

Contact: Shoshannah Tekofsky (tekofsy@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Alexie Kolpak

Project Title: Mobile Simulators: development of the heat diffusion equation solver with CUDA

Project Description: The broader project aims at the development of next-generation computational tools, which run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This novel paradigm would enable "on the fly" computations and bypass the need of having a Internet connection for complex-science applications. The ideal candidate should be able to build a solver for heat diffusion equation within Android, relying on the CUDA programming paradigm. This solver will run on a NVidia graphic card (i.e. Tegra K1).

Prerequisites: Ideally, the successful candidate's background include CUDA development and experience with Android programming. However, willing to learn how to develop a simulator on graphic cards is enough. Knowledge of heat transfer is not a prerequisite.

Contact: To apply, please send your CV and statement of interest to Giuseppe Romano (romanog@mit.edu).


3/17/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Alexie Kolpak

Project Title: Mobile Simulators: development of the Graphical User Interface

Project Description: The broader project aims at the development of next-generation computational tools, which run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This novel paradigm would enable "on the fly" computations and bypass the need of having a Internet connection for complex-science applications. The ideal candidate should be able to design the Graphical User Interface within android. The GUI will receive user input, solve for the heat diffusion equation and then plot the results.

Prerequisites: Ideally, the successful candidate's background include Android development and graphic designing within mobile Apps. Willing to learning the VTK format is plus. Knowledge of heat transfer is not a prerequisite.

Contact: To apply, please send your CV and statement of interest to Giuseppe Romano (romanog@mit.edu).


3/17/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Tangible Media Group : Atomulates (spring + summer)

Project Description: We aim to introduce a novel interaction method and construction space for simple structures and animation through the use of levitating physical radical atoms in mid air. Atomulates refers to Particulates or atmospheric particular matter and takes the notion of Tangible Bits, capable of rendering semi-3D content from one direction, such as with Shape Displays like "inForm" and allows the atoms to be manipulated freely from any direction in a controlled space. Using unmanned arial vehicles surrounded in basic primitives, the seemingly intangible quadcopter becomes an object that can be grasped, moved and combined with other atoms to form structures, record and playback animations and allows for the addition or removal of matter in a digital space. The opportunities are exciting even for a few atomulates however with many more, the ultimate goal is to make a 3D shape display. We are looking for a UROP who has a deep knowledge of programming in C++ and Open Frameworks.

Considering we will be using the Vicon system to track quadcopters with IR cameras any computer vision background would be ideal. Any prior work with UAV's would also be excellent. You will have the opportunity to work in the Tangible Media Group in both the spring and summer alongside researchers who are rather obsessed with making the digital world we know physical. Atomulates PDF Description https://www.dropbox.com/s/tphny14b2s8mpxo/Interaction%20Heriachy.pdf?dl=0

Prerequisites: C++, Open Frameworks (bonus), prior work or basic understanding of UAV's (drones), Computer vision knowledge (bonus)

URL: http://tangible.media.mit.edu

Contact: Luke Vink (lajv@media.mit.edu)


3/17/15
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering, Materials Science Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Darrell Irvine

Project Title: Development of cancer immunotherapy via engineered biomaterials and nanotechnologies

Project description: The Irvine Lab is looking for a motivated UROP to work under a senior postdoc on a collaborative team including other UROPs. The central project revolves around engineering biomaterials for novel cancer immunotherapies.

This UROP will play a crucial role in the development, in vitro characterization, and in vivo testing of locally administered microparticle drug depots to modulate a candidate immunotherapy pathway in cancer and metabolism. Experimental duties include synthesis and validation of a small library of ligand and inhibitor particles, and basic mouse handling and assisting necropsies to evaluate different particle effects on cancer progression in mice; cellular analyses will be performed using microscopy and flow cytometry as described above. This work will also include advanced mammalian cell culture and molecular biology/immunology work including Western blots, real time RT-PCR, and ELISA.

Required participation in summer journal clubs, lab meetings and presentation. Independent experimental design and planning is also expected. Contributions will be recognized by authorship on impending publications.

The ideal candidate would have the following skills & goals: committed and organized with previous research experience in biology/engineering, works well in a team, desires increased research independence and the opportunity to generate and explore their own ideas, and is interested in learning more about cancer, immunology, and/or materials science.

Prerequisites: Must be comfortable assisting with mouse procedures. Preference will be given to candidates with previous experience in a biology or engineering research lab, but previous experience is not a requirement.

Time commitment: Volunteer basis immediately for 5-10 h per week to begin training. Full time during the summer (apply for pay from UROP office or bring your own funding).

Continuation throughout the fall semester is desirable, provided that project interests and working relationships are compatible. Preference will be given to candidates who have more time available and show particular desire to develop research independence to learn and implement principles in experimental design and planning.

Contact: Please email CV and email/letter of interest directly togszeto@mit.edu or gszeto@gmail.com.


3/17/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Gregory Stephanopoulos

Project Title: Synthetic Biology Approaches to the Isoprenoid Pathway for the Production of Drugs and Biofuels

Project Description: Isoprenoids constitute a large and diverse class of metabolites with potential uses as fuels, drugs, and flavors/fragrances (examples include biofuels isopentenol and farnesene, the drugs Artemensin and Taxol, and the fragrances nootkatone and pinene). Due to the complex structures and number chiral centers, many of these molecules cannot be produced synthetically cheaply and are instead extracted from organic material (common sources include orange peels and tree leaves). However, as this process has low efficiency and is only moderately economically favorable, we aim to produce these molecules in a bacterial system for high-level production and eventual commercialization. All isoprenoids are derived from two molecules, IPP and DMAPP, and the largest hurdle to inexpensive production of isoprenoids relies on the availability of these two precursors within cells. The proposed project will apply standard synthetic biology and metabolic engineering techniques in order to improve the upstream pathway allowing for high-level production of these building blocks. This optimized upstream pathway can then be used be used to produce any known isoprenoid. Several areas of focus within the pathway are available depending on student interests, and focus on a downstream molecule (Taxol, anti-cancer, sales ~$5 billion/year) is also possible.

Position is for summer, though project will continue after, preference will be given to students who can commit for at least summer and fall. Credit or pay available, must apply for direct funding through UROP office for pay

Prerequisites: Intro biology required (7.012, 7.013, 7.014, or 7.016). Previous research in biology-related fields is helpful, but not required. Due to interdisciplinary research (biology, chemistry, engineering), students in any related major are encouraged to apply.

Contact: Steven Edgar (sedgar@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Josh McDermott

Project Title: Independent Subspace Analysis of Natural Sounds

Project Description: Independent Subspace Analysis (ISA) is a statistical model inspired by information processing principles which are believed to underlie sensory processing in the brain. ISA has provided insights into the functioning of the visual system, and it is useful in a number of technical applications. In the auditory domain however, the ISA model generates unintuitive results, which are not well understood. The goal of this project would be to explore statistics of natural sounds using ISA. The project would involve running ISA using existing code, critically analyzing obtained results, and finally trying to compare them to known mechanisms of auditory processing.

Prerequisites: basic programming knowdledge (Matlab is a default tool, but other languages may be also used) interest in statistics / machine learning / signal processing knowledge of neuroscience / auditory physiology is not required

Contact: Wiktor Mlynarski (mlynar@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Hiromi Ozaki

Project Title: Robotic Intimacy Technology: Designing and prototyping empathic robots

Project Description: Working in the realms of robotics, interaction design and industrial design, we explore novel ways of communication and human experience through mixed medium, inviting reflective evaluation about the implications of future robot-human interactions. We will be designing devices thatdemonstrate empathy towards human. We will test different prototypes and improve them to produce a polished final product. We will make the fictional real, bringing our fantasies into play.

Prerequisites: Prototyping skills SolidWorks Mechanism design Optional: Familiarity with a variety of shop machines (ShopBot, Laser Cutter, water jet, 3D printers Motion Design Basic mechanics Design of plastic and/or metal parts Fabulous communication skills Demonstrated empathy for other design disciplines Be self-directed toward excellent work outcomes Toy Design Programing Hardware, robotics, UI

Website: pixedge.com/robotics

Thesis: http://pixedge.com/download/dan_thesis.pdf

Contact: Dan Chen (dkc@mit.edu)


3/12/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Patrick S. Doyle

Project Title: Synthesis of Functional Particles by Microfluidic Devices

Project Description: The use of polymeric particles has spread from applications requiring bulk quantities of particles to niche applications in photonics, diagnostics and tissue engineering where the properties of each individual particle are critical to their technological function. We are working on the preparation of non-spherical functional particles by Stop-Flow-Lithography based on microfluidic devices. This project involves synthesis and characterization of the particles, and their applications.

Prerequisites: No previous experience and backgrounds are required. There is a possibility for extending this project into the summer and/or into the Fall semester.

URL: https://doylegroup.mit.edu/

Contact: If you are interested, please send your CV to Seung Goo Lee (seunggoo@mit.edu) and Hyundo Lee (hyundo@mit.edu).


3/12/15
Term: Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture (Course 4)
Faculty Supervisor: John Ochsendorf

Project Title: Environmental impacts of long span roof structures

Project Description: When faced with the challenge of long span roofs, designers define the structural system primarily based on the span they have to cover and spatial properties they aim to achieve. Other considerations such as acoustic, thermal and fire efficiency come to play an important role. Therefore, the environmental impact in terms of embodied carbon is rarely taken into account in the design process. The research project under development aims to investigate the embodied carbon of iconic long span roofs. The UROP students are expected to propose and investigate some of the most iconic contemporary steel long span roofs. The architectural, spatial and structural challenges are explored together with the environmental impacts.

Prerequisites: No specific prerequisites are expected, a part from a strong interest in understanding how structures and architecture work together in defining large spaces. Moreover, interest in quantifying material and environmental impacts are required.

Contact: Ornella Iuorio (oiuorio@mit.edu)


3/12/15
Term: Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemistry (Course 5)
Faculty Supervisor: Alan Jasanoff

Project Title: Chemical probes for MRI detection of cell signaling

Project Description: A UROP position is available in the lab of Prof. Alan Jasanoff in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT and Prof. Peter Caravan at Mass General Hospital. The goal of the project is to synthesize an MRI contrast agent sensitive to cell signaling events in the brain. Components of the research involve organic synthesis, in vitro analysis, protein biochemistry, and imaging. The UROP will work closely with a postdoctoral chemist at MGH and a bioengineer at MIT. The successful candidate should be enrolled in a chemistry or bioengineering-related program at MIT, and should ideally have some experience with organic chemistry.

Prerequisites: General and Organic Chemistry Lab

URL: http://web.mit.edu/jasanofflab/

Contact: Ben Bartelle (bartelle@mit.edu)


3/12/15
Term: Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Non-Intrusive Quantity Estimation of Things (2nd Recruitment)

Project Description: Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining major interest today. At the Mechatronics Research Laboratory, we are interested in non-intrusive estimation methods for measuring quantity of Things, such as liquid, tablets, etc...The approach requires wireless sensing devices, instrumentation, mobile application, data analysis, and interpretation. We are looking for new members to work with us in further developing both the experimental aspect along with the data analysis and mobile application. The work can be either for units or pay. Preferred starting date is around mid March. The sooner, the better.

Prerequisites: Applicants should be able to commit at least 10 hours per week during the academic year and have experience with creating a mobile application and strong interests in wireless sensing, programming, and instrumentation.

URL: http://mechatronics.mit.edu

Contact: Takayuki Hirano (thira@mit.edu)


3/11/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Kristala Jones Prather

Project Title: Metabolic engineering for optimized biofuel production

Project Description: Biofuels aim to be a critical portion of our future energy portfolio due to their renewability and drop-in use with conventional fuels. Second generation biofuels with higher energy densities and research octane numbers than ethanol are desired for increased performance and better compatibility with current combustion engines. As such, our laboratory has created a multi-enzyme pathway to produce one of these branched biofuels, 4-methyl-1-pentanol, using the bacterium E. coli. However, this pathway has not been optimized resulting in low titers and undesired side products. We are looking for a motivated and creative student to begin to improve this pathway to make this biofuel more industrially competitive. Specifically the student will use metabolic modeling to predict strain mutations that will benefit product output, modify the existing pathway using molecular cloning techniques and evaluate the use of alternative enzymes within the pathway. The initial term of this appointment will be the summer and can be likely extended to the following school year.

Prerequisites: General chemistry and lab. Molecular cloning experience is desired.

Contact: Jason Boock (boock@mit.edu)


3/11/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Rakesh Jain

Project Title: Investigating the molecular determinants of lymph node metastasis

Project Description: Metastasis remains the principal cause of cancer mortality. Thus, the challenge is how to treat cancer cells that have spread to lymph nodes or distant organs in order to prevent their growth and ideally eradicate them from the body. A major goal of our lab is to dissect the molecular determinants of lymph node metastasis. Using multiple animal models of lymph node metastasis that are established in our lab, we will investigate the gene profiles of these tissues in order to determine what genes allow cancer cells to thrive in metastatic sites. With assisted guidance, student (s) will develop a protocol to extract and analyze tissue/cells for the purpose of RNA sequencing. Student(s) will be involved in the workflow of RNA sequencing and in the process, gain an understanding of several molecular biology techniques.

A long-term commitment represents the opportunity for co-authorship on a manuscript, in addition to experience with intravital imaging, immunofluorescence microscopy, tumor biology/immunology, cell culture and biochemical assays. We are searching for 1-2 dedicated and ambitious undergraduate researchers to assist with this project. The undergraduate researcher(s) will work closely with two postdoctoral fellows to execute the research plan.

Prerequisites: No prior research experience is necessary. Applicants should be self-motivated, interested in the project and reliable.

Contact: Please contact Ethel Pereira (epereira@steele.mgh.harvard.edu) if you are interested.


3/11/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)
Faculty Supervisor: Nick Fang

Project Title: Lightweight composite materials with tunable acoustic absorption

Project Description: Every year, new lightweight composite material and manufacturing technology are being pursued by automotive industries in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emission. In this project, we are looking for new design of lightweight materials that can withstand mechanical load, provide proper thermal insulation, and block acoustic noises at the same time. To achieve this goal, we will begin by arrays of hollow cylinders embedded a soft elastic matrix as a model system. The work will include the design (choice of dimension and materials) and experimental measurement of the scattered acoustic field from the hollow cylinders. Longer term effort is the design of a lightweight functional material made of an array of hollow cylinders and its experimental characterization for tunable acoustic transmission.

Prerequisites: The successful candidate should be comfortable with lab work. He/She will get familiar with laboratory equipment such as oscilloscope, generator, acoustic emitter/receiver, translation stage. CAD software might be used for the design.

Contact: Nicolas Viard (nviard@mit.edu)


3/11/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemistry (Course 5)
Faculty Supervisor: Bradley Pentelute

Project Title: Mechanistic elucidation of a self labeling peptide

Project Description: Recently, this lab discovered several novel peptides sequences that are highly reactive toward select perfluoroaromatic compounds in which the peptide will covalently bond with a small molecule. Currently, the mechanism by which they achieve their reactivity is unknown. The main focus of this project will be to uncover this mechanism in addition to using these peptides to perform crucial chemo- and regioselective bioconjugation reactions on intact proteins. From an application standpoint, this discovery is quite exciting in the context of antibody drug conjugates, a burgeoning class of pharmaceuticals, in which controlled labeling of antibodies with drugs in paramount. This project will rely on peptide synthesis, purification and characterization techniques including various forms of mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography (in addition to protein expression) and teach experimental development and critical thinking.

Prerequisites: An interest in chemistry and/or chemical biology!

URL: http://pentelutelabmit.com/

Contact: Ethan Evans (eevans@mit.edu)


3/11/15
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Neil Thompson

Project Title: Examining how the presence of a scientific article on Wikipedia impacts scholarly discussion in academic journals.

Project Description: This project looks at how the presence of a scientific article on Wikipedia impacts scholarly discussion in academic journals. It does this by measuring how content added to Wikipedia is reflected in the text and citations of scientific articles. This is an important question for Wikipedia and for science in general. For Wikipedia, it matters because evidence of a large impact could help in the recruitment of contributors for scientific articles, and because it would further anchor its reputation as an important scientific commons. For science more generally, this question matters for policy, because a large impact would imply that bodies such as the National Academies should be very active in promoting contributions to Wikipedia and other forms of scientific commons.

This analysis will involve two parts:
(i) A retrospective analysis of how the addition of previous Wikipedia articles has impacted academic science
(ii) A prospective randomized control trial of adding Wikipedia articles and tracking their impact on academic science

Requirements: Data Scientist/Programmer to iteratively develop and execute custom-developed scripts that parse Wikipedia XML Dump files into consumable XML datasets for specific categories of Wikipedia information, and additionally to insert categories of Wikipedia information into MySQL databases in formats that can then be used for further research manipulation and analysis.
• Academic Research experience preferred
• Must be adaptable to changing needs and very analytically minded
• Strong scripting language skills for parsing large amounts of XML data. Python preferred.
• Either has a deep understanding of the Mediawiki XML Schema and data model used by Wikipedia, or has the ability to quickly get a deep understanding of it based on available online documentation
• Experience with working in a cloud computing environment such as AWS, Google or Azure.
• Experience loading and manipulating data in MySQL databases
• Able to develop scripts for parallel execution that address I/O intensive processing needs.
• Comfort with work that will be highly iterative, including working with members of the research team on experimenting with different output formats to find what outputs work best

Schedule: Project work would likely be substantial from ASAP until June, and then on an as-needed basis after that

Contact: Neil Thompson (neil_t@mit.edu) or John Letchford (Jletchfo@mit.edu)


3/5/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Nick Fang

Project Title: Optimization of TiO2 Photo-catalysis by Photon-Recycling at Nanoscale

Project Description: An potentially viable route to water treatment is the use of semiconductors to absorb visible light and generate electron-hole pairs. The electrons are then injected into the conduction band of the semiconductor and migrate to cathode-electrolyte interface for the reduction of environmental toxins. Over the past several years, chemists have developed synthesis procedures to tune the band gap of substrate materials for harnessing visible light. In this project we look for UROP students to fabricate and test nanostructured TiO2 for visible light photocatysts, which is stable, non-corrosive, environmentally friendly, abundant, and cost effective. We are also looking for students to simulate light absorption process in the proposed structures.

Prerequisites: Students with skills in material synthesis, experimental photochemical analysis or optical modeling are welcome.

Contact: Sang Hoon Nam (shnam@mit.edu)


3/6/15
Spring and Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: History (Course 21H)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Malick W. Ghachem

Project Title: The French Indies Company in the Eighteenth Century

Project description: This opening is for a research assistant to support work related to an ongoing study of the French Indies Company from roughly 1720 to 1800. A major theme of the study is how France, like Great Britain, became a global commercial power through the vehicle of a joint-stock trading corporation, and what effect this growth had on financial and colonial politics in the Atlantic revolutionary era. Among the principal research projects: creation of an historical timeline and map, using Neatline (a plugin for Omeka) or a similar software, that tracks the Company’s activities and locations over the course of the eighteenth century; organizing (on a Zotero database) manuscript documents (in French) detailing the principal legal disputes in which the Company was involved; potentially some work in local archives and libraries; and related tasks.

UROP type: credit/volunteer.

Website: http://history.mit.edu/people/malick-w-ghachem

Qualifications: Strong French reading ability is essential. Experience with Omeka, and Neatline (or similar programs) and Zotero is a plus but not a prerequisite. Students who can continue after this spring into the summer are preferred.

Contact: Prof. Malick W. Ghachem, mghachem@mit.edu


3/6/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Kamal Youcef Toumi

Project Description: The goal of the project is to enable multiple robots working in the same environment to do a given task cooperatively. The robots are multi-linked armed manipulators. The work would involve instrumenting (design and placement of sensors including cameras) and developing algorithms (for motion planning) for these robots. Depending on their strengths, the UROP(s) have the option of choosing to work on mechanical/optical design for vision system, sensor placement and instrumentation, or development of algorithms for motion planning. In either case UROPs should be comfortable in writing embedded codes (in either Audrino, C++, MATLAB, or ROS) as it is needed to program the robots.

The project can start immediately and we are looking for potentially 2 UROPS.

Preferred majors: Course 2,6,16

Contact: Interested candidates should contact Amith Somanath (amith@mit.edu) and copy (cc) Prof Kamal Youcef Toumi (youcef@mit.edu) with a CV and relevant background.


3/6/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Ki Goosens

Project Title: The role of ghrelin in fear acquisition in humans

Project Description: Recent work from the Goosens laboratory suggests that ghrelin, a hormone made primarily by endocrine cells in the stomach, is a stress hormone that plays a critical role in the regulation of fear in rodents. The aim of this project is to reproducibly measure circulating endogenous ghrelin levels around the time of fear acquisition in humans. Components of the research involve the organization of the study visits and data collection in healthy participants. The UROP would be primarily involved in the recruitment of participants for the study, running behavioral tests, collecting hormone samples and data analysis.

Prerequisites: Interest in cognitive science is highly preferred. This position is available starting in April 2015 with an option to continue in summer. There may be opportunities to work on brain imaging subprojects in healthy participants and translation to rodents.

Hours: 12 hours per week for academic credit. Schedule may be arranged on appointment to fit with classes.

Contact: To apply, please send your CV and statement of interest to Maria Dauvermann (mariad@mit.edu).


3/5/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mathematics (Course 18)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Alan Edelman

Project Title: Spreadsheets, Big Tables, and the Abstract Algebra of Associative Arrays

Project description: Spreadsheets are used by nearly 100M people every day. Triple store databases (e.g., Google Big Table, Amazon Dynamo, and Hadoop HBase) store a large fraction of the analyzed data in the world and are the backbone of modern web companies. Both spreadsheets and big tables can hold diverse data (e.g., strings, dates, integers, and reals) and lend themselves to diverse representations (e.g., matrices, functions, hash tables, and databases). D4M (Dynamic Distributed Dimensional Data Model) has been developed to provide a mathematically rich interface to triple stores. The spreadsheets, triple stores, sparse linear algebra, and fuzzy algebra. This projects seeks to strengthen the abstract algebraic foundations of associative arrays. The student will work with the faculty advisor to develop the basic theorems of associative arrays by building on existing work on fuzzy algebra and linear algebra. Participants will be paid.

Website: http://www.mit.edu/~kepner/

Qualifications: Strong mathematical background (the student should have completed 18.701 and 18.702). Experience with Matlab is helpful, but not a requirement.

Contact: Dr. Jeremy Kepner, kepner@ll.mit.edu


3/5/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Kinetic Objects: Geometric Primitives as Building Blocks and Augmented Interactive Tokens on Shape Displays

Project Description: The MIT Media Lab's Tangible Media Group is looking for a student with Computer Vision skills for help with ongoing research around shape changing pin displays (see link). The focus of this project is to explore the possibilities and limitations of inter-material interaction. We will use the shape display to automatically translate and stack geometric primitives to assemble larger structures. Additionally, we will investigate how these building blocks can be used as interactive tokens. Moving the geometric primitives within the shape display environment can trigger different actions. We are looking at how we can seamlessly blend passive physical objects with the virtual dynamic physical objects. For that endeavor we need help with the camera tracking using the Microsoft Kinect and implementing different interactive scenarios. The position is open immediately.

Prerequisites: Experience in C++ and OpenCV (blob detection, color tracking, fiducial marker tracking) Experience using openFrameworks or Processing is a plus but not necessary.

URL: http://tangible.media.mit.edu/project/inform/

Contact: If interested or you have additional questions please contact Philipp Schoessler (phil_s@mit.edu)


3/5/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Basheer Tome

Project Title: Shape changing automotive interiors

Project Description: Physical objects can have a layer of expression through it's physical form. We seek to use a dynamic texture to manipulate physical form and enhance emotional experiences. The goal of this research is to connect a user with their environment through enjoyable emotional experiences. As a UROP, you will be working with us, alongside auto manufacturers from the industry as we look to manipulate aspects of a vehicle interior in order to convey vehicle emotions. Interested students should be independent workers and able to commit 10-15 hours/week in the Media Lab. Responsibilities: The UROP will be asked to help with the software and/or hardware prototyping of a demo piece able to showcase this compelling user experience.

Prerequisites: We are seeking an experienced and motivated student, most likely from course 6 or related. Experience with electronics, programming, device prototyping (software & hardware) and use of Arduino platforms is encouraged. Past experience of shop and rapid prototyping equipment (laser cutter etc) is a benefit but can be learned on the job.

Contact: Basheer Tome (basheer@media.mit.edu)


3/3/15
Spring and Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Christian Catalini

Project Title: Classification of Citations in Scientific Literature

Project Description: Citations are an integral part of the scientific process. However despite their importance, little is known about their collective usage patterns. Recent advances in computerized natural language processing and machine learning have allowed researchers to meaningfully study these citations en masse. We are researching the contexts in which different types of citations are used, and investigate any prevailing patterns.

One possible area of application is in the ranking of papers in journal databases. Currently papers are ranked without a systematic process, and even when they are, they rely on inaccurate heuristics like total inbound citations. By understanding the metaphorical anatomy of citations, we can build robust paper ranking systems that give extra credit to inbounding positive citations, and discount inbounding negative citations.

We are looking for candidates to help us build a catalogue of scientific citations and their associated properties. Candidates will read a wide array of cutting-edge scientific literature and track citation patterns. This catalogue will serve as our machine learning models’ source of objective truth or “golden standard” during training. All of our results will depend on the quality of this curated catalogue.

Ideal candidates should have:
• Strong ability to read and understand scientific literature
• Strong organizational skills
• Basic understanding of statistics or machine learning

Responsibilities will include:
• Reading cutting-edge scientific literature
• Track patterns of citation usage in journals

Steering the direction of machine learning feature engineering

Contact: Please email Christian Catalini (catalini@mit.edu) with your resume/CV and copy Edward Kim (edwardk@mit.edu).


3/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Aude Oliva

Project Title: myMemory: Understanding and Improving Human Memory

Project Description: The goal of this project is to develop an application (desktop or mobile) to help people understand and improve their memory using the concept of 'memorability', (see http://facemem.csail.mit.edu). Our goal is to develop a variety of "games" that help people better understand their own memories (e.g. Person A might be better at remembering cats, while Person B is better at remembering dogs), and how they compare to the average of the population. We would also like to collect information about people playing these games to identify the factors that contribute to similarities and differences in memory. To attract users, we will do media outreach to generate interest in our application. If it takes off, this will provide a lot of extremely valuable data for further analysis. This project is quite flexible and once the initial application is developed, it can take a direction that best suits your goals. In general, we would like to work with you to best adapt the project to your liking while working towards a common end goal.

Prerequisites: Our ideal candidate would have experience in web and/or mobile development and should have taken, or be planning to take the computer vision course (6.869).

Contact: Aditya Khosla (khosla@mit.edu)


3/3/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering – Physics
Faculty Supervisor: Pr. Nicholas X. Fang

Project Title: Acoustic response of two elastic spheres in contact

Project description: Active acoustic metamaterials, in which the effective material properties are modulated or controlled by external signals, offer the opportunity to push material functionality in applications such as medical ultrasound imaging and surgery.

The static contact between two elastic spheres is well described by nonlinear theory of Hertzian contact. It gives the deformation of the two spheres, when loaded, proportional to the applied force to the power of 2/3 (Theory of Elasticity, Landau). Other configuration that has already been given attention is that of the nonlinear propagation of acoustic wave in a one-dimensional infinite granular chain or random arrangement of beads in contact.

Here we are interested in the acoustic -dynamic- response of a “dimer” made of two elastic spheres in contact under acoustic disturbance. Indeed, it can be expected to have two very different behaviors, depending on whether the incident acoustic wave is along the axis formed by the two spheres, or perpendicular to that axis.

The short-term component of the project is the design of one dimer (choice of material, dimension, choice of surrounding material) followed by the experimental characterization of its acoustic response. The long-term component is mass production of identical dimers and their incorporation in a fluidic matrix. The successful candidate should be comfortable with experimental work. He/She will get familiar with lab bench work and laboratory equipment such as oscilloscope, generator, acoustic emitter/receiver, translation stage. CAD software might be used for the design.

Avaibility: Spring 2015, Summer 2015, Fall 2015

Contact: Interested students are asked to email Prof. Nicholas Fang (nicfang@mit.edu) or Dr. Nicolas Viard (nviard@mit.edu) with your CV.


3/3/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Pattie Maes

Project Title: TRIBE: iOS mobile app development to enable behavior change experiment on strengthening human connections.

Project Description: Strong relationships enable you to live your life to the fullest. Unfortunately, when faced with major life changes like moving to a new city or graduating from school many people struggle to prioritize time for the relationships that matter most. TRIBE is an envisioned iOS mobile app that makes it easy to sustain relationships with up to 9 close friends and family. Major elements of the app will include making it easier to find convenient times to connect with loved ones through calendar synchronization and one-click scheduling, and making it easier to share moments at the end of your day through push notifications. While the objectives of the experiment are clear, we are looking to work with a UROP who can creatively translate those objectives into features. This initiative is being developed as part of the Media Arts & Sciences Course Behavior Change Lab. We are looking for a motivated UROP to build and test this app in March in preparation for launching the app in April as part of a behavioral experiment.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have knowledge and experience with front and back-end iOS mobile app development. Experience or knowledge of how to merge app databases with e-mail engines is a plus. An entrepreneurial mindset and ability to work well in a team are a must.

Start Date: Immediate opening

Hours per week: Total of approximately 20 hours between March 2nd and March 27th. This will be a paid position.

Contact: You will be working most closely with Chetan Jhaveri (cjhaveri@mit.edu). If you are interested, send an email with your CV (plus website and/or portfolio).


2/27/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Engineering Systems Division (ESD)
Faculty Supervisor: Edgar E Blanco

Project Title: MIT Megacity Logistics Lab: KM2 and Compass

Project Description: The MIT Megacity Logistics Lab conducts innovative theoretical and applied research to help companies operate better logistics for cities and government to design better cities for logistics. Learn more at http://lastmile.mit.edu We have developed prototype web tools that allow analysis and visualization of relevant urban logistics data at the square kilometer level (KM2) and at the company operational level (Compass). We are looking for two UROPs to help us implement new user interfaces, enhancements and visualizations.

Prerequisites: Technologies used in building these websites include Ruby on Rails, Yii Framework, Google MAPS API, Javascript (including HighCarts Library) with a PostgreSQL. Experience with some of them highly desired. Candidates with web development experience are also encouraged to apply.

URL: http://lastmile.mit.edu

Contact: Daniel Merchan (dmerchan@mit.edu)


2/27/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Engineering Systems Division (ESD)
Faculty Supervisor: Edgar E Blanco

Project Title: Megacity Logistics Lab: Building Megacity Profiles

Project Description: The MIT Megacity Logistics Lab conducts innovative theoretical and applied research to help companies operate better logistics for cities and government to design better cities for logistics. We are looking for a team of 5-10 UROPs that will help us build profiles of the top 25 megacities in the world: Tokyo, Delhi, Seoul, S o Paulo, Shanghai, Mumbai, Karachi, Mexico City, Beijing, Jakarta, New York City, Osaka, Manila, Cairo, Dhaka, Los Angeles, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Kolkata, London, Bangkok, Lagos, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Teheran. Creating these profiles requires reviewing secondary information on regulation, public transport, population, GDP, infrastructure, land use, retail sector and Open Street Maps. Minimum 8 hours per week, starting as early March 15th for 6-8 weeks. Please indicate multi-lingual skills (with level of knowledge) in your application. All backgrounds welcome. At least one students from Urban Studies and Planning will be part for the team.

Prerequisites: Preference will be given to students that can read the local language of any of the target cities. Familiarity with GIS systems a plus, but not required (you will be trained during the UROP).

URL: http://megacitylab.mit.edu

Contact: Edgar E Blanco (eblanco@mit.edu)


2/27/15
Department: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Member: Prof. Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Mobile context classification using optical features. Mobile context classification using optical features.

Project Description: Surface and object recognition is of significant importance in ubiquitous and wearable computing. While various techniques exist to infer context from material properties and appearance, they are typically neither designed for real-time applications nor for optically complex surfaces that may be specular, textureless, and even transparent. These materials are, however, becoming increasingly relevant in HCI for transparent displays, interactive surfaces, and ubiquitous computing. We developed a new sensing technology for surface classification of exotic materials, such as glass, transparent plastic, and metal. The technique extracts optical features by employing laser and multi-directional, multi-spectral LED illumination that leverages the material's optical properties.

We are looking for multiple motivated Junior or Senior UROP to help continuing this effort by creating novel applications and making the device ands system compact, robust, and wireless.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have knowledge and experience with some of the following items: Image processing, machine learning, and classification. Rapid prototyping skills, including Arduino, Processing, 3D printing, analog circuit design, circuit board fabrication/assembly, and ARM Cortex programming. Human Computer Interaction, interaction design, photography, video editing, 3D CAD, and website design.

Start Date: Immediate opening

Hours per week: commitment of 10-20 hours/week

Contact: You will be working with Munehiko Sato, PhD
(munehiko@mit.edu). If you are interested in joining the team, send an email with your CV (plus website and/or portfolio). Depending on the progress, funding is available for subsequent terms.


2/27/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. Ghoniem and A. Slocum

Project Title: Waste management / renewable energy for rural development

Project Description: In many parts of the developing world, agricultural and other biomass waste is simply burned in the open air, creating much toxic pollution. Thermochemical treatment (torrefaction) is a process whereby this waste can be converted into solid fuel. This has the potential to provide renewable energy, create new income and jobs, reduce waste, and in some cases cut down pollutions and greenhouse emissions. You will help develop analytical tools to design and optimize a low-cost biomass-to-fuel conversion process described above. Scope of the work, depending on your background, may involve modeling combustion processes and reactors, with subsequent prototype testing. You will learn the fundamental process of engineering design and modeling tools that are widely applicable to other areas of engineering. Successful projects will have potential follow-on travel opportunities (India, Kenya, etc.) to test viable prototypes.

Prerequisites: Multi-semester engagement strongly preferred. Prior experience with Matlab is preferred.

Contact: Kevin Kung (kkung@mit.edu)


2/27/15
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Chris Schmandt

Project Title: HearingBand: Enhancing social behavior of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Project Description: CAD/Fabric manufacturing (mechanical engineering): The student will research wearable technology designs, come up with a good form factor for the wrist band and manufacture it through 3D printing or fabric. Bonus experience: PCB design and manufacturing to fit in the mechanical prototype. The project is expected to be deployed and tested with real users.

Project Abstract: Due to social implications of disability, disabled people are known to exhibit behaviors that can be termed as "weird" or "socially unacceptable". We aim to develop a technical product to improve social behavior of people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Specifically, we would create a wrist band which shines and vibrates if the sound emitted from an object kept on the table is too loud. The long term hope is to educate a person with hearing loss "with a polite way" of keeping the objects on the table.

Requirements: Proficient with CAD and/or fabric design and manufacturing. Some hardware experience (Arduino) preferred. Preferably an undergraduate from course 2 but others are encouraged to apply. If interested, please send us a mail with your resume and description of the relevant project with your role in it.

Contact: Dhruv Jain, djain@media.mit.edu


2/27/15
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Chris Schmandt

Project Title JogCall: Increasing collaborations between local couples by persuading them to jog together.

Project Description: Mobile application development (Software engineering): The student is expected to research the psychological and design factors involved to (i) develop a compelling and interactive mobile application interface, and (ii) improve the backend module for interacting with hardware over wireless networks. The results are expected to culminate in a work-in-progress submission to a conference on persuasive technologies.

Project abstract: Many technologies are designed to promote collaborations between remote couples like Skype, Pillow talk etc., allowing them to share their intimate experiences. However, there are very few projects which enhance interactions between couples in close proximity. This project aims to increase the collaboration between local couples by instrumenting their homes with a series of carefully planned sensors and physical artifacts. Using a series of alarm triggers and a small sculpture, it motivates couples to interact with each other by performing some form of a group activity like cooking, jogging or gardening.

Requirements: Proficient with android application design and development with some orientation towards design based research. Some hardware experience (Arduino) preferred. Preferably an undergraduate from course 6 but others are encouraged to apply. If interested, please send us a mail with your resume and description of the relevant project with your role in it.

Contact: Dhruv Jain, djain@media.mit.edu


2/23/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Supervisor: Joshua B. Tenenbaum

Project Title: Web Game Development for Cognitive Game Theory

Project Description: How does cooperation spontaneously emerge in competitive environments? What computational principles underlie the scale and sophistication of human social behavior? This project focuses on testing models from artificial intelligence and computational game theory that enable cognitive agents to coordinate on socially optimal outcomes in the absence of top-down signals.

To test these theories, the UROP student will design and build a series of simple *multiplayer* web games and automatically collect data using Amazon Mechanical Turk on human behavior. We will be building these games using Javascript and Node.js.

Prerequisites/Requirements: Experience with web development is required. Interest in cognitive science, behavioral economics or experimental game theory highly preferred. This position is available starting now and students who want to continue over the summer and do a deeper project will also be considered.

Contact: To apply, send your CV/Resume and a brief description of previous web development experience (coursework or otherwise) to Max Kleiman-Weiner at maxkw@mit.edu


2/23/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Engineering Systems Division (ESD)
Faculty Supervisor: Dava Newman

Project Title: Earth Operating Manual (EOM)

Project Description: Spring 2015 UROP Needed: We are looking for an undergraduate interested in environmental engineering, climate change, architecture, urban planning, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, policy, and more to help develop the concept, and design an Earth Operating Manual (EOM). We will research sustainable appropriate applied technologies, and systems in the areas of architecture, energy, transportation, space, oceanography, agriculture, food production, and more. The EOM will serve as the go to portal for architects, engineers, farmers, and others to search for information, and get feedback on the impact on the planet of materials and systems before they select them for projects. It will also be a forum to discuss and analyze new technologies systems and technologies.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have an inquisitive mind, web and apps design abilities, excellent communications skills, and design experience. Extensive software development, coding, and visualization experience is a plus.

URL: trottistudio.com

Contact: If you are interested in participating on this exciting project please send your resume to: Alexandra Hilbert (ahilbert@mit.edu)


2/18/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Sea Grant College Program
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Chrys Chryssostomidis

Project Title:  Climate Adaptation in Coastal Cities

Project Description: 

Chelsea, Massachusetts is a coastal city north of Boston which is densely populated with the most diverse population in the state.  Almost 50% of  its 2.5 square miles is in the federally designated 100-year flood plain, making the people, businesses, and infrastructure highly vulnerable to flooding from storms, tides, and sea level rise. 

The Chelsea Planning Department is interested in reducing risk to its population and providing adaptation options for current buildings and new construction.  This project would focus on (1) identifying adaptation options and evaluating their successes in areas where they have been implemented,  (2) reviewing existing modeling results to identify vulnerable areas, (3) evaluate the economic benefits and costs of adaptation options in the short- and long-term, and (4) conduct a vulnerability assessment for Chelsea’s municipal buildings and properties.  Depending on the student’s interests and abilities, they will assist with any of the above projects and should be willing to work with city planners and the public.  The overarching goal is to provide the Planning Department with tools that will enable them to ensure new development will protect the health and safety its citizens and to develop options for retrofitting current buildings at risk.

Students from all departments are encouraged to apply.   Applicants should be enthusiastic about being able to effect positive change working with a municipality that has limited resources.  Prior experience with GIS, economic risk and vulnerability analysis, or flooding and inundation models (e.g., SLOSH, SLAMM, ADCIRC) would all be desireable but not required.

Contact Name: Juliet Simpson
Contact Email: simpsonj@mit.edu


2/17/15
Term: Spring
Department: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Julie Shah

Project Title: Robotic Systems for Airplane Final Assembly

Project Description: Till recently, most robots worked in isolation of people in factories. We are developing robotic systems that are capable of sharing the workspace and co-operating with human collaborators to build airplanes. We are looking into deformable object manipulation with the specific application being, installation of cable harnesses during aircraft fuselage assembly. We are seeking a sophomore or a junior UROP. We currently have a planning environment in MATLAB and a task environment in a robotic simulator VREP. The position entails working with VREP and bridging it with the planning environment in MATLAB. You would have to go into the details of dealing with object constraints and object representations in VREP and involves quite an extensive amount of working with VREP scripts. The language is very similar to MATLAB/python interface.

Prerequisites: 1) Programming in object oriented programming (C++/java) and scripting languages (python, MATLAB) 2) Ability to implement algorithms in code 3) Familiarity with basic Linear Algebra and Matrix operations

Contact: Ankit Shah, ajshah@mit.edu


2/17/15
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: 2D Nanosheet/Polymer Hybrid Materials for Catalysis, Separation and Energy Storage/Conversion.

Project Description:
Two-dimensional materials (graphene, MoS2, WS2, etc) exhibit tunable electronic structure, and when combined with electrochemically active polymeric materials, can have the potentials towards applications in a variety of applications such as energy storage/conversation, and electrochemically mediated catalysis and separation. In this project, the student will have the opportunity to work on synthesis and characterization of 2D nanosheet/conducting polymer or redox polymer hybrid material systems. The student will also learn important material/electrochemical characterization and data analysis methods to assist the engineering design. The main applications we are exploring using these hybrid materials include energy conversion in dye-sensitized solar cells, energy storage, organic synthesis and liquid phase separation. The student can be actively involved in designing and conducting experiments to evaluate the performance of the resulting materials in those applications.

We are seeking a highly motivated and self-driven UROP to join this project. No prior 2D materials or polymer or electrochemistry knowledge is required, but the student should have the desire to learn new concepts and deliver in a fast paced environment.

Details: Minimum 10 hours per week, 12 hour per week preferred. Basic Excel/Matlab skills are preferred for data analysis. Prior laboratory experience is preferred, but not required. Students who can continue after this spring semester are preferred. Credit or pay available, must apply for direct funding through UROP office for pay.

Contact: Please send your CV/resume and a brief discussion of your interest to Xianwen Mao (xmao@mit.edu).


2/13/15
Spring 2015
UROP Department: Urban Studies and Planning
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: P. Christopher Zegras (czegras@mit.edu)

Project Title: Exploring urban energy use and emissions using mobile technologies

Project Description: Consumer-oriented information and communications technologies (ICTs) are changing how urban citizens interact with energy services and create carbon emissions; in turn, place-based and interest-based communities can use ICT tools to influence how their constituents contribute to local and global environmental impacts. In this project, we are investigating how ICTs, and mobile technologies in particular, can help make sense of energy use patterns domains of mobility, residential, and commercial energy services.

This project builds on the Future Mobility Sensing platform (FMS, happymobility.org), developed by the FMS team at SMART, and the Energy Proforma neighborhood energy assessment tool (energyproforma.mit.edu) to log and analyze users' daily patterns of energy consumption and emissions. Examples of data logging include digital activity diaries, mobile thermal comfort tracking and environmental sensing, and home electricity load monitoring. The web- and phone-based applications will then provide users with feedback on their own emissions compared with aggregate patterns of emissions, with data visualizations designed to help individuals and communities understand the climate impacts of everyday activities. Finally, we will use these applications to pilot strategies for influencing users' energy consumption.

Responsibilities: The student will collaborate with MIT researchers and the Singapore-based FMS development team to prototype and develop software for data collection and user feedback. In the near term, the work will focus on (1) integrating new data logging strategies into FMS and (2) app prototypes and data visualizations for extending FMS to include energy feedback, using data we have already collected from FMS. The student can also participate in piloting the apps and conducting energy analysis.

Prerequisites: Candidates should be proficient in Java and Javascript. Web and Android UI development experience, with an interest in data visualization, is desirable. We also welcome students who are willing to experiment with mobile sensors, signal processing, and classification. An interest in GHG emissions assessment is helpful, but no previous experience with energy and emissions analysis is necessary for this position.

UROP Type: For credit or pay during the spring semester. Work hours can be discussed.

Contact: Professor Chris Zegras (czegras@mit.edu) and Cressica Brazier, PhD Candidate (cressica@mit.edu)


2/12/15
Spring UROP
Little Devices Group
Faculty Supervisor: Jose Gomez-Marquez

Project Title: Electronic bioinstrumentation toolkits for extreme environments

Project Description: The Little Devices group is seeking a motivated UROP to develop the electronic instrumentation for robust health sensing platforms. You will be working with a multidisciplinary team of mechanical engineers, chemists and biologists that create medical devices for international and domestic healthcare systems. Using advanced sensors and smart materials, the team is fabricating unconventional platforms that permit accessible and modular health monitoring. A successful UROP will design and test a suite of biosensors for physiological and biological diagnostics while incorporating room for future user customization. Interested students should be independent workers and able to commit 10-15 hours/week.

Prerequisites: 6.002 preferably with 6.115. Experience with device prototyping using Arduino platform or Raspberry Pi. Familiarity with health and wellness. Interest in sensor development. Demonstration of creative and resourceful thinking.

Contact: Please send your CV and statement of interest to akyoung@mit.edu


2/12/15
Spring UROP
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alan Grodinsky

Project Title: Detecting mechanical properties of biomaterial in micro, micro and nanoscale

Project Description: The objective of this research is to quantitatively assess the role of aging and running on the degradation of cartilage tissue and progression of osteoarthritis. At macro scale classical mechanical indentation testing will be used on hydrogels and tissues including mouse or cow cartilage. At micro and nano scale a novel atomic force microscopy (AFM) system will be used to measure the micro-mechanics and nano-dynamics of hydrogels and cartilage tissue. This unique project, implements state of the art measurement techniques as well as classical methods to measure both elasticity and visco-poro elasticity of biomaterials and hydrogels at different scales (e.i. Macro, micro and nano scale).

Prerequisites: Applicants will be Junior or Senior students from Mechanical Engineering (Course 2) or Materials Science and Engineering (course 3) Departments with strong interests in instrumentation and experimental methods. Previous experience in experiments and research is a plus.

Applicants should be able to commit at least 10-12 hours per week during the spring term. Please email Dr. Azadi (azadi@mit.edu) to request a brief interview if interested.

URL (if applicable): http://web.mit.edu/continuum/www/Research.html


2/12/15
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture (Course 4)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Azra Aksamija

Project description: The Future Heritage Collection [FHC] is a collection of stories about heritage that provide different perspectives on its origins, its past, present or future politics and relevance, and contemporary threats. FHC is comprised of stories collected though interviews with ‘experts’ on varied subjects that may range from Egyptian architecture, Islamic manuscripts and the memory of the Holocaust. Interviewees are asked to propose an example of that they consider to be ‘future heritage’ through and object that could be photographed. These objects could be recognizable artifacts of art and culture, but also of everyday life, household goods, furniture, items of clothing, handicraft, books, poems. The introduced objects are photographed and cataloged and then returned to their owners. Stories about the objects are distributed online. The Future Heritage Collection is aimed at fostering a discussion about the relationship between global citizenship and ownership of cultural heritage.

Responsibilities: You will be helping identify and conduct interviews with various experts. You will also be photographing objects and cataloguing them.

What you will learn: You will learn about meaning of culture and politics of heritage.

Requirements: Basic in photography are required, as well as the use of WordPress. Interest in contemporary art is a plus. There is a possibility for extending this research into the Fall semester, for subsequent phases of this project.

Contact: If interested, please email to azra@mit.edu


2/12/15
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture (Course 4)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Azra Aksamija

Project Title: MENAM Art Map - Social network visualization

Project Description: Call for UROP Position MIT Program in Art, Culture, Technology Project description: MENAM Art Map is an interactive visualization of the institutional connections, life trajectories and centers of prominent members of the Middle Eastern art scene exhibiting in the west. The geo-spatial network representation is based on information extracted from a large corpus of artist biographies. The project aims to investigate the relationship between the contemporary art scene in the Middle East with the international art world, but also to reveal characteristics of the institutional context artists are embedded in.

Responsibilities: Conduct content analysis of artist biographies to detect common features and patterns. You will be working on creating a database, identifying dates, locations, personal trajectories, and institutions such as museums, galleries, festivals and academies. What you will learn: You will learn about computational text analysis a!
nd visualization. You will also learn about contemporary art from different parts of the world, with the focus on the Middle East, Europe and USA

Requirements: Interest in contemporary art is a plus. There is a possibility for extending this research into the Fall semester, for subsequent phases of this project.

Additional information: You will be working in an interdisciplinary team of artists, designers and computer scientists software developers.

Contact: If interested, please email to azra@mit.edu


2/12/15
Spring UROP
Department/Lab/Center: Biology (Course 7)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Barbara Imperiali
MIT Faculty Supervisor Email: imper@mit.edu

Project Title: Examination of the N-linked glycosylation pathway of Campylobacter jejuni.

Project Description: Protein glycosylation is an important posttranslational modification required for the pathogenesis of Campylobacter jejuni, a common Gram-negative food-borne pathogen. Many of the proteins that are selectively modified with a glycan are surface proteins that contribute to host colonization. While the enzymes involved in glycan biosynthesis and transfer onto a protein substrate are known, it remains unclear whether proteins are modified before or after protein folding and how the glycosylation enzymes organize within the cell. The research project will address these topics by 1). examining how the structure of protein substrates contributes to efficient glycosylation and 2). determining the subcellular localization patterns of the glycosylation enzymes. The student will learn to design and construct plasmids containing genes that encode N-linked glycosylation protein substrates and enzymes, using molecular biology techniques. These plasmids will be used for E. coli and C. jejuni based protein expression and purification experiments to determine the glycosylation status of the substrates. The student will also generate plasmids and perform subcellular localization studies using fluorescence microscopy. Hours per week: A minimum of 10 hours/week is required.

Prerequisites: 7.05/5.07 or equivalent biochemistry course is required. The student should be enrolled in a biology related program at MIT. Preference will be given to students who can commit for at least two semesters or longer.

Please email a CV/resume, schedule availability and potential start date to Julie Silverman, Postdoctoral Fellow, silverjm@mit.edu.


2/12/15
Man Vehicle Laboratory, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Charles Oman

Project Title: iOS Programming and Development of Script for Train Conductor

GE Global Research Center and MIT are doing a human factors project exploring human and automation roles in rail operations. The project is supported by the US DOT Federal Railroad Administration and will utilize the Volpe Research Center CTIL locomotive cab simulator. The experiments at CTIL will involve an experienced train engineer in the simulator who interacts with a conductor. The team is looking to develop a system to prompt the conductor on what to say in various operating scenarios. This scripted information will be conveyed on an iPad, so the student should have experience in iOS programming and development. The student will be expected to spend approximately 6-10 hours per week on this project. The student will have the opportunity to learn about trains, freight rail operations, and will get to visit the locomotive simulator at Volpe. As this is a project in the Man Vehicle Lab, the student will also gain exposure to the other interesting projects related to space and aviation going on in the lab as well!

For further information, please contact Hannah Groshong (groshong@mit.edu) or Dr. Andrew M. Liu (amliu@mit.edu) providing a copy of your resume, with cc to Dr. Charles M. Oman (coman@mit.edu).


02/11/15
Space Systems Lab/Course 16
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Alvar Saenz-Otero,
alvarso@mit.edu
Direct Supervisor: Todd Sheerin, tsheerin@mit.edu

Project Description: SPHERES INSPECT – The Integrated Navigation Sensor Platform for EVA Control and Testing
The Integrated Navigation Sensor Platform for EVA Control and Testing (INSPECT) system is a testbed for EVA payload and control systems that builds off of the Synchronized Position Hold Engage Reorient Satellites (SPHERES) facility at MIT and the International Space Station (ISS). INSPECT’s payload includes a stereo-vision optical camera, an optical range finder and a thermal IR imager. Enhanced pointing precision and slew control is provided by an external array of control moment gyroscopes (CMGs). The Space Systems Lab seeks a highly motivated electrical engineer to aid with circuit integration and testing activities related to INSPECT. The system has recently flown on NASA’s parabolic aircraft and has been invited for a second experimental flight campaign in the coming months. Integration work will focus on providing reliable power and data flow between the SPHERES system and CMGs to improve the system for the next flight campaign.

Knowledge of C/C++ or robotics background recommended but not strictly necessary.

If interested, please contact Todd Sheerin (tsheerin@mit.edu) or David Sternberg (davister@mit.edu).

UROP Type: Credit


2/11/15
Space Systems Lab/Course 16
Faculty Supervisor: Rebecca Masterson (
becki@mit.edu)
Direct Supervisor: Pronoy Biswas (pbiswas@mit.edu)

Project Description: REgolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) Flight Software Testing

The Space Systems Lab (SSL) is looking for a Course-6 UROP to develop and conduct flight software testing for the REXIS project. REXIS (http://ssl.mit.edu/newsite/research/REXIS.php) is an X-ray spectrometer that will fly on board NASA’s OSIRS-REx spacecraft (http://www.asteroidmission.org/) to characterize the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx mission is a NASA New Frontiers Mission that will collect and return a sample of Bennu to Earth.  REXIS is the student instrument on board and scientific data generated by REXIS will provide context to the sample return and will allow for categorization of Bennu among the known meteorite groups.

The REXIS flight software is responsible for interpreting commands from the spacecraft, managing power in the instrument, and processing the X-ray images into a format suitable for low data-rate transmission back to Earth. To be successful, the REXIS software must be methodically and thoroughly tested. This testing at MIT is facilitated with the use of a Python and web-based based spacecraft simulator.  The simulator needs additional upgrades and regular maintenance in the areas of:

We are looking for a student who is proficient with Python, web programming, and C. You will be challenged to find and fix software bugs, develop a sophisticated testing suite, and participate as a member of the REXIS avionics team.  Your will have the opportunity to make significant contributions to software that flies into inter-planetary space onboard REXIS.

Previous experience:


UROP type:

Contact: Pronoy Biswas (pbiswas@mit.edu)


2/11/15
Space Systems Lab/Course 16

Faculty Contact: Dr. Alvar Saenz-Otero, alvarso@mit.edu

Project Description: Accelerated SPHERES Software UROP for In-Space Satellite Docking Operations

SPHERES is a long duration zero-gravity testbed that we operate on the International Space Station. The SPHERES facility enables development of high-risk spacecraft technologies in the fields of control and autonomy. The MIT SPHERES team is seeking highly motivated undergraduate researchers to first learn and then lead a variety of satellite docking and computer vision test sessions through the Spring and Summer terms. The UROP(s) will work closely with multiple graduate students during the Spring months and follow an accelerated SPHERES Training Program. The UROP(s) will learn everything they need to know about operating the SPHERES hardware and developing code that will eventually run on the ISS.

This UROP opportunity requires the student to participate in the spring training and the student must be available to work during the summer. The student should have proficiency in at least one programming language.  Experience in Linux or with Computer Vision is a plus.

UROP Type: For credit during the Spring semester. For pay during the Summer term.

Contact: Duncan Miller, duncanlm@mit.edu


2/10/2015
Undergraduate Research Project, Spring 2015
Graduate Student Mentor Dr. Jeong Jae Wie (Postdoctoral Research Associate, MechE)
Supervising Faculty Prof. John Hart, Mechanical Engineering (http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu)

Project: Flow-induced crystallization of conductive polymer films

Description: High quality conducting organic films will be instrumental to a next generation of energy-efficient and flexible electronic systems. Crystallization of semicrystalline polymers occurs via stepwise nucleation and growth which generates isotropic spherulites under quiescent conditions. The introduction of shear flow can accelerate crystallization kinetics and manipulate molecular configuration to be highly aligned. Our group is performing research on flow-induced crystallization processes that use a unique custom-built instrument to achieve high crystallinity in conducting polymeric films.

This UROP project will have two main parts: (1) fabrication of highly crystalline conducting polymer films by optimizing material and mechanical parameters; (2) characterization of crystalline structure and quality. The results from this research will help us understand how strain fields influence the structural and morphological evolution of crystalline phases as well as charge transport phenomenon of the conducting polymer. The films will be used to fabricate high-performance electronic devices.

To express your interest, please email Prof. Hart (ajhart@mit.edu) and Jeong Jae Wie (wie@mit.edu) and attach your resume. Knowledge and/or experience in thermodynamics, kinetics, and polymer physics is desirable but not required.


2/10/2015
Spring 2015 and Summer 2015
Department: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Christian Catalini

Project Title: Machine Learnt Classification of Citations in Scientific Literature

Project Description: Citations are an integral part of the scientific process. However despite their importance, little is known about their usage patterns. We will use a combination of natural language processing and machine learning to study the context in which different types of citations are used.

We are looking for candidates to help us build the machine learning models and supporting infrastructure from the ground up. If you are interested in getting practical software engineering and machine learning experience, this is a great opportunity to do it.

Ideal candidates should have:

Responsibilities will include:

Contact: Please email Christian Catalini (catalini@mit.edu) with your resume/CV and copy Edward Kim (edwardk@mit.edu).


2/10/2015
Spring
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Rohit Karnik
MIT Faculty Supervisor Email: karnik@mit.edu

Project Title: Transport across atomically thin membranes

Project Description: Atomically thin 2D materials like graphene have zero bulk and consist of only a surface. Pristine graphene is impermeable to most molecules unless defects are introduced. This project will focus on controllable defect creation in graphene for making atomically thin membranes. A combination of gas and liquid transport through these membranes will be studied using a combination of pressure and diffusion flow experiments. The project offers UROP students the possibility of exploring the ultimate paradigm in length scales transcending beyond Nanotechnology to probing single atom thick membranes with simple, easy to perform table top Nanofluidic experiments.

Prerequisites: No prior experience is needed and all skills can be easily learned within a few weeks of supervision. However, a willingness to learn new experimental techniques, enthusiasm for research and a scientific work ethic is highly appreciated.

If you are interested, please email Piran Kidambi (krpiran@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. There are a few UROP positions for Spring 2015. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in summer and/or subsequent semester(s).

Contact Name: Piran Kidambi
Contact Email: krpiran@mit.edu


2/10/15
Term: Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Science, Technology, and Society (STS)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Durant
MIT Faculty Supervisor Email: jdurant@mit.edu

Project Title: Combining Physical Objects and Digital Information for Exhibition

Project Description: The project takes place in the MIT Museum Studio/Compton Gallery, located at center of campus at 10-150. The MIT Museum Studio is a newly purposed space that connects MIT students with the unique learning opportunities of the MIT Museum. Students work on original technology projects that advance the Museum s multi-sensory learning environment. The UROP opportunity is to work with digital projectors and displays, hacking and adapting them for experimental exhibition purposes. The objective is to find ways of interrelating physical objects and digital information that contribute to a flexible and visually seamless gallery experience. We're developing the Compton Gallery as a "3D Blog", a continuously evolving display of student prototypes and models, informed by updateable (and perhaps interactive) digital information using, e. g. LED Matrix, small display/controller, mini-projector, etc. Work in the Studio requires experimentation and creative problem solving. Students should be self-motivated and able to work independently toward original solutions.

Prerequisites: We are seeking students with skills in mechanical device construction, programming, digital media, interactive media, use of cameras and/or Kinect as input devices, etc.

URL (if applicable): http://mitmuseumstudio.mit.edu/urop/

Contact Name: Seth Riskin
Contact Email:riskin@mit.edu


2/10/15
Term: Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Science, Technology, and Society (STS)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Durant
MIT Faculty Supervisor Email: jdurant@mit.edu

Project Title: Holocam: Flying Through Holographic Image Spaces

Project Description: The project takes place in the MIT Museum Studio/Compton Gallery, located at center of campus at 10-150. The MIT Museum Studio is a newly purposed space that connects MIT students with the unique learning opportunities of the MIT Museum. Students work on original technology projects that advance the Museum s multi-sensory learning environment. Work in the Studio requires experimentation and creative problem solving. Students should be self-motivated and able to work independently toward original solutions. The goal of this project is to build a robotically positioned camera that can be set in front of a hologram, providing the means for a remote exploration of the holographic image by an online user. This is an ambitious goal, and in pursuing it we ve developed a number of intermediate steps and have further articulated our desire to provide access to not only our extensive collection of holograms via the internet, but to also provide access to data about the holograms. One very successful result of our work has been the discovery that we can use Microsoft s Photosynth software to turn photographs of holograms into 3-dimensional, internet-accessible views of the holograms. The ability to do this has led us to further research into the development of full 3D CAD models of select holograms. With complete 3D models, we would be able to provide a richer remote viewing experience, and pursue novel ideas such as producing a physical model of a holographic image. We are currently developing the robotic platform and software needed to run it, as well as the web server that will allow remote visitors to control the robotically positioned camera. We have a basic camera motion platform that needs to be updated and refined.

Prerequisites: We are seeking experienced and motivated students. Skills needed for this UROP are Arduino and/or Rasberry Pi control of stepper motors, web application programming with a framework like Flask, Django, RoR, etc., and some familiarity with low-latency delivery of real-time web video and/or images.

URL (if applicable): http://mitmuseumstudio.mit.edu/urop/

Contact Name: Seth Riskin
Contact Email:riskin@mit.edu


2/10/15
Term: Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Science, Technology, and Society (STS)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Durant
MIT Faculty Supervisor Email: durant@mit.edu

Project Title: Robotic Light Ballet

Project Description: The project takes place in the MIT Museum Studio/Compton Gallery, located at center of campus at 10-150. The MIT Museum Studio is a newly purposed space that connects MIT students with the unique learning opportunities of the MIT Museum. Students work on original technology projects that advance the Museum s multi-sensory learning environment. Work in the Studio requires experimentation and creative problem solving. Students should be self-motivated and able to work independently toward original solutions. The Robotic Light Ballet project is an art and engineering collaboration featuring the artwork of the late MIT Professor Emeritus Otto Piene. Light Ballet uses perforated sculptural objects from which environmental light effects extend into the surrounding space. Through the changing articulation/motion of light, the Light Ballet sculptures shape the space and time perception of viewers. A robotic platform has been developed that brings driving moti! on control to the Light Ballet art. Three robots have been created and are now being prepared for performance/exhibition at a museum in Muenster, Germany. The current UROP project is to further develop and refine the control system and interface of the Light Ballet robots. The project focuses on the dialogue between artistic and engineering processes and requirements leading to a robust system for repeated public display. In addition to the engineering, the work will include performance development including driving and choreography of the three robots. Technical challenges: A Raspberry Pi is used to control three DC motors, and to provide WiFi access to the platform for control via a tablet interface. The system must be able to boot up in a new environment and be usable with no technical intervention. The system must be simple enough for non-technical museum staff to use. Prerequisites: We are seeking experienced and motivated students. Skills needed for this UROP are use of Rasberry Pi to control DC motors, Python web application programming with a framework like Flask or Django.

URL (if applicable): http://mitmuseumstudio.mit.edu/urop/

Contact Name: Seth Riskin
Contact Email:riskin@mit.edu


2/10/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Pattie Maes

Project Title: Using Drones for Assisting in Remote Task Completion

Project Description: We are looking for students skilled in control or robotics for our drone-based project. Our goal is to use drone for completing tasks in remote location. The UROP will be asked to work on the control of the drone in flight. (Path planning, PID control).

Prerequisite: Control (Fabrication/Computer Vision skills are a plus)
Development Environment: Windows, C++, Openframeworks, ARDrone API

More specifics can be discussed if you contact Sang (sangwon@mit.edu)

For more information on our project, please feel free contact Sang (sangwon@mit.edu).


2/6/15
Spring UROP
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture
MIT Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Larry Sass

Project Title: Interactive Physical Design Computing

Project Description: The Interactive Physical Design Computing UROP project will explore how physical computation technologies, including a robotic arm manipulator, environmental sensors, integrated electronics, can support and enhance creative design processes. The goal of the UROP project is to empower designers to work interactively with a robotic arm instead of through programming predefined static motion paths. We will simplify the design task to one of picking and placing extruded 2D shapes such as squares, triangles, and circles in creative patterns. Creating robotic operations such as mirroring, rotating, and arraying will be the primary mode of pattern development by which the designer works with the robotic arm.

By addressing three technical challenges we believe we can meet this exciting goal:
1. Object Recognition: Refining shape/object recognition algorithms (in Matlab) that were developed in the lab last semester. Additionally we may decide to pursue motion tracking both for safety issues and for interfacing with the robot arm via human action.
2. Dynamic Programming: Setting up real-time communication link between robot arm and object recognition algorithms. This will be achieved through a custom software package called Robot Sensor Interface developed by Kuka Robotic Arms. The UROP student will be working with Kuka engineers to setup the software with our robotic arm.
3. ROS packaging: Developing and sharing open-source ROS inverse kinematic packages for real-time motion planning.

Prerequisites: We are seeking experienced and motivated course 2 or 6 programmers to work with our PhD research student (course 4) and our current UROP from course 2. Skills in Matlab, ROS, robotic arm manipulator (software and hardware) are strongly desired. Demonstrated experience is required such as completed coursework or other UROP projects.

Hours per week: 10+ hours/week, for credit or funding.

Contact: Please contact Dan Smithwick, djs2@mit.edu, and include a short statement of why you are interested in the project, the skills that you bring, samples of relevant work, and an up-to-date resume.


2/5/2015
Spring UROP
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Wesley L Harris
MIT Faculty Supervisor Email: weslhar@mit.edu

Project Title: Local, Off-Grid Power Solutions for The Republic of Liberia

Project Description: About 2/3 of the population of The Republic of Liberia live in regions of the country that are not on the country s small power grid. Much of the power infrastructure outside of the capital city of Monrovia, is in a degraded or inoperable state. Rebuilding the existing infrastructure or extending the power grid in new, remote areas is costly and will take many years. The government is looking to identify inexpensive, off-grid power solutions to deliver energy to many remote and isolated regions of the country. We are seeking a UROP to help us survey potential technologies at MIT that can potentially help solve these problems quickly and at a low cost.

Prerequisites: Sophomore year or higher. Preferably Junior or Senior, with an interest in developing nations, energy, and low-cost emerging technologies.

Contact Name: Yonatan Tekleab
Contact Email: ytekleab@mit.edu


Spring 2015
Dept: Opera of the Future, MIT Media Lab
Faculty: Prof. Tod Machover

Project Title: Web and Mobile Development for Collaborative Symphonies

Description: Opera of the Future is producing two collaborative symphonies for the cities of Detroit (www.symphonyind.com) and Lucerne (www.symphonyforlucerne.ch) which rely on submissions from the general public via geotagged uploads, as well as web-based activities that allow users to remix and mash up content that has been collected. Positions are available for several iOS, Android, and web developers to contribute to these projects and others.

Students should be self motivated and able to work independently. Those who do well in Opera of the Future are creative at finding answers and solutions even when they are not sure exactly what path to take.

Research Roles: Working with project producers to design, build and refine web and mobile platforms, maintaining a code base, testing and evaluating user experiences, designing and implementing new features. Programming proficiency in Objective C, Javascript (HTML/CSS), Swift, Python preferred.

Contact: Please e-mail Simone Ovsey (sovsey@mit.edu) with your resume/CV and related mobile and web development experience.


2/4/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Kent Larson

Project Title: Data Analytics and Application Development for Coordinate and Pressure Sensitive Surfaces

Project Description: The Internet of Things is a powerful paradigm in current technology for its ability to connect a multitude of distinct devices and provide high-volume collection of data for optimization, quantification, and enhancement.  Single devices and appliances have already found a comfortable place within this construct but the scope of “things” can be expanded even further.  In particular, the largest surfaces in any given space such as the floors, walls, tabletops, and countertops have the least amount of sensing associated with them.   These vast spaces are significant capture areas that are underutilized as a location of data collection. 

Our group has developed a prototype hardware system of modular sheets, which can transform these inactive surfaces into useful input devices for capturing user-based data.  By placing these strips or assemblages of strips under carpets, tablecloths, countertops, seat cushions or even on the walls, a developer can begin to design applications that make use of these now aware locations within a space.  The inspiration for this project was to design a system that could inexpensively monitor elderly or disabled individuals within their home.  But additional applications for entertainment, education, or fitness, for example, could all be achievable from the same base hardware. 

This semester we are looking for highly motivated and skilled UROPs who are interested in both analyzing data coming from such a system and who are interested in developing novel applications that can demonstrate the system’s potential. 

Candidates: We are looking for Junior or Senior EE/CS and/or Interaction Design students that:

EE/CS--Have relevant prior experience with electronics design, signals processing, algorithms, computer vision, embedded systems, Python (and related languages), or MATLAB.

Interaction Design--Have relevant prior experience with human computer interaction, game design, or visual programming.

Lab: http://cp.media.mit.edu

Hours per week: commitment of 10 to 20 hours per week

Contact: If you are interested please write an email to Daniel Goodman, dhgood@mit.edu, and include a short statement of why you are interested in the project, the skills that you bring, examples of previous relevant work, and your current resume/CV. We have both paid and credit positions available. 


2/4/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Krystyn Van Vliet

Project Title: Quantifying intraclonal heterogeneity in mesenchymal stem cells via time-lapse image analysis

Project Description: Adult bone marrow stromal cells, a subset of which can be classified as stem cells, have been involved in hundreds of clinical trials to date. Potential treatments broadly range anywhere from autism to multiple sclerosis to graft-versus-host disease. However, functional heterogeneity in MSC populations imposes limitations for large-scale expansion as well as for many potential clinical applications, and this challenge has yet to be overcome by conventional culture protocols or cell isolation devices. The overall goal of this project is to elucidate the extent to which cell signaling and mechanical cues influence intraclonal heterogeneity and to use this understanding to prototype devices and methods to minimize this heterogeneity. We are currently seeking 2-3 highly-motivated UROPs to participate in this high-impact, interdisciplinary project. Students will first gain experience in image analysis using MATLAB, CellProfiler, and Image J. Additional training on key techniques in the fields of biological engineering, materials science and engineering, and computer science including (but not limited to) cell culture, biochemical assays, polymeric material synthesis, time-lapse microscopy, and programming are available to dedicated students interested in participating in a longer-term position with this project.

Prerequisites: Applicants should be highly motivated, have strong communication skills, and have a positive attitude toward learning. No prior experience in image analysis is needed.

Contact: Deena Rennerfeldt, deenaar@mit.edu


2/4/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab/Center for Civic Media
Faculty Supervisor: Ethan Zuckerman

Project 1: Media Meter

Media Meter is a tool for visualizing and analyzing the coverage of over 40,000 online news sites and blogs. We've already launched 1.0 and are looking for a UROP to help implement new user interfaces and visualizations. The project is built with JavaScript (jQuery, backbone.js, d3.js).

We're seeking someone with front-end (HTML, JavaScript, CSS) experience. This project is a great chance to learn about single-page, asynchronous web programming, as well as visualizing large data sets with d3.js.

Project 2: Action Path

Action Path is a mobile tool for civic engagement. This Android app uses GPS to help citizens monitor and impact. The UROP involves building portions of the app and/or back end.

This project is a good match for a student with Android experience who would like to learn about GPS, geo-fencing, and integrating an app with a back-end server.

Contact: If you're interested in either of these UROPs, please send a resume/CV and code sample to elplatt@mit.edu.


2/4/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Urban Studies & Planning (in collaboration with the SENSEable City Lab)
Faculty Supervisor: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: Call Me Maybe?

Project Description: A network is nothing more than a collection of individuals. But beneath this seemingly simple proposition is a rich, complicated, and revealing set of data. Understanding how and why individuals are connected allows us investigate how and why these connections proliferate across economic and political landscapes. By quantifying the connections between communities and comparing them with political and economic outcomes, this project seeks to investigate the possibility of a predictive relationship between strength of connection (vis a vis communication over telecom networks) and the likelihood of exchange of economic activity (trade, employment), and political and social ideology (such as voting outcomes).

Despite the terrible working title, this project is offering motivated students interested in computation and social sciences an opportunity to work with some big, but interesting data. This is a very interdisciplinary project as it draws from economics, urban studies, and political science. Interested students need not be experts in any one of these fields but should express general interest in the intersection of these disciplines.

Responsibilities: Help us explore how our social connectivity is telling a bigger story about citizens. The team is looking for students to be part of the team--testing approaches, challenging ideas, and getting into the data. We’re looking for team members who have experience with databases (SQL) and MatLab. A mathematics background is a plus, as is experience with or interest in the social sciences (particularly economics, political science, or urban studies).

Contact: Lyndsey Rolheiser & Anthony Vanky (socialconnect@mit.edu)


2/4/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Urban Studies & Planning / SENSEable City Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Carlo Ratti

Project 1: Human Interactions in Physical Environments

Project Description: Human interactions in physical environments are increasingly leaving digital traces behind them in a form of big data created by human activity through digital media. One of the examples of such a dataset which is now available for research purposes is countrywide anonymized bank card spending data in Spain over the course of last several years.

Through analyzing this dataset, for the first time in modern history, we are able to gain insight into a very large portion of small-scale economic behaviors—from households to the level of the individual. With the aid of data analytics, individual behaviors can be scaled up with varying degrees of resolution with the aim of uncovering macro trends: for instance how economical success or failure propagates through a network of businesses, locations and individuals emerging all the way from smaller individual happenings into bigger widely recognizable events? One of the particular objectives of the project is to come up with a new metrics of current economical success of a geographical area or local neighborhood and more importantly it's existing opportunity, through the dataset of individual economical transactions.

MIT students experienced or interested in big data mining and analytics are very welcome to join this multidisciplinary research initiative of MIT SENSEable city laboratory and one of the largest Spanish banks, BBVA.

Contact: Stanislav Sobolevsky, stanly@mit.edu


Project 2: Analytical and Computational Modelling of Complex Human Mobility Patterns at Urban Scale

Project Description: Digital human mobility data obtained from position tracking sensors have opened a new avenue for doing quantitative research on the spatial and temporal mobility patterns in a way which has never been possible before. Modelling and understanding these patterns enable us to propose smart strategies with the aim of improving the quality of urban life, reducing the costs associated with the different modes of transportation in a city and finally increasing the overall energy efficiency by turning the cities into smart environments which are equipped with efficient sensing-actuating systems.

Here at Senseable City Lab, we are studying several types of these spatio-temporal datasets obtained from mobile technologies. Building upon an inter-disciplinary approach encompassing computer science, physics, applied mathematics, our aim is to construct consistent models in order to better understand complex systems of human mobility at regional, urban and global scale. On the other hand, we would like to quantify impacts of using smart vehicle sharing/dispatching strategies and predict relevant future trends in this area to find new solutions for important urban-scale challenges. Finally, we are aiming at discovering underlying universal laws which may exist in this emerging field of “science of cities”.

Project Tasks:
• Working with and analyzing various datasets accessible to our lab, and extracting relevant subsets for use in various Senseable City Lab’s projects.
• Constructing and implementing network and transport models using python programming language, in collaboration with other team members and under the supervision of your supervisor.
• Frequent participation in weekly and bi-weekly lab meetings and providing well written reports on your progress whenever there is a request from your supervisor.

Requirements:
• Being very enthusiastic about working with large datasets and collaborating with your supervisor and other lab members to construct useful mathematical/network models with global impact
• Strong communication (verbal, written) and team-work skills
• Fluency in python programming language
• Students with strong math (graph science and statistics), computer science, and physics backgrounds will be given priority

Contact: Mohammad Vazifeh (mvazifeh@mit.edu)


2/4/15
Spring 2015 & Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Brian L. Wardle

Title: Structural Evolution and Mechanical Behavior of Aligned Carbon Nanotube Carbon Matrix Nanocomposites

Project Overview: High temperature operation and enhanced mechanical properties motivate the integration of a carbon ceramic matrix into highly scalable aligned carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays. While previous work has shown that further processing can lead to more than 100% increases in the strength of the aligned CNT carbon matrix nanocomposites (A-CMNCs), the physical origin of this enhancement is not currently known. In this project, we aim to evaluate the impact of thermal processing and CNT nanoconfinement on the structure and crystallite morphology of the carbon matrix, and to study how such modifications can be used to engineer the mechanical properties of these nanostructured materials. The knowledge gained from this proposed study could enable the application of A-CMNCs in high value industrial applications, such as airplane brakes, thermal shields on re-entry vehicles, etc., where precise prediction of the mechanical behavior of the material structures is required.

UROP’s Responsibilities: During this project, the student will be trained on a variety of characterization techniques that include but are not limited to:
• Raman Spectroscopy
• Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
• Wide and Small Angle X-Ray Diffraction
• Vickers Microhardness

These approaches will be used to characterize nanocomposites that the UROP will be trained to synthesize by the graduate student mentor using an industry compatible polymer derived ceramics technique.

Qualifications: The successful candidate should have an interest in working on fundamental science of engineering materials on the nanoscale. Previous experience in materials processing and/or characterization is desired but not required. We are specifically seeking students to work with our group for multiple projects, and will prefer candidates who are Sophomores or Juniors with from Course 2, 3, 10, and 16 (or a related discipline), though others are welcome to apply.

This position is available for either credit (Spring Term) or pay (Spring and Summer Term).

URL: http://necstlab.mit.edu/

Contact: Interested students are invited to contact Itai Stein (iys@mit.edu) to request an interview. Please include a recent copy of your resume/CV, a brief statement of interest in the work, and dates/time slots you will be available to meet.


2/4/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: HST
Faculty Supervisor: Roger Mark

Project Title: Development of a Sana Mobile health app for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Abstract: Write code that matters and make a difference in the lives of refugees! We are looking for passionate, motivated, and skilled Android or Django developers to work on a mobile health application to treat non-communicable diseases in the Syrian refugee population. The project will be deployed and piloted on the ground in a year. Opportunities for travel and publications in journals exist.

Project Description: As a result of brutal fighting in the Syrian Civil War, millions of Syrians have been displaced from their homes and forced to seek refuge in the surrounding countries. This has led to a massive influx of refugees to countries such as Lebanon. With a population of only 4 million, refugees account for almost a quarter of the population, placing tremendous strain on the health system. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are major sources of disability and death. This project seeks to improve care to the refugee population by developing and deploying a mobile health system that will guide doctors in treatment with a decision support system and provide consistent care across clinics in this migratory population. It is a joint public health project between MIT, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and the International Organization for Migration. This is a pilot study to test for efficacy of such mHealth tools, and if successful, the system may be deployed in other locations as well by the IOM.

Prerequisites: We are using the codebase of an open-source mHealth platform called Sana Mobile (http://sana.mit.edu) developed here at MIT that has been deployed in many countries around the world. It consists of an Android app frontend, a dispatch server communication layer built on the Django framework, and a data storage backend on Android with cloud synchronization. Previous experience with Android development or Django is strongly preferred and UI/UX skill is a positive. With satisfactory performance and 2+ semesters of involvement, there will be opportunities for travel and publication in peer-reviewed journals. You will also have the opportunity to work with international leaders in the field of mobile health and people involved with healthcare IT startups. If interested, apply for this UROP by sending your CV to tamhok@mit.edu.

Contact: tamhok@mit.edu


2/4/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: Electrospun Polymer Nanofiber for Sensing and Gas Separation Applications

Project Description:
Polymer materials can be engineered into nanostructured fibers and then be functionalized for various applications such as sensing and gas separation.  In this project, the student will have the opportunity to work on functionalization and optimization of polymer nanofibers and obtain hands-on experience of chemical- and electro-polymerization. The student will also learn important material/electrochemical characterization and data analysis methods to assist the engineering design. The other aspect of the project involves exploring the energy and environment applications of the novel polymeric nanomaterial. The student can be actively involved in designing and conducting experiments to evaluate the performance of the nanofiber composites in those applications.

We are seeking a highly motivated and self-driven UROP to join this project. No prior polymer or electrochemistry knowledge is required, but the student should have the desire to learn new concepts and deliver in a fast paced environment.

Details: Minimum 10 hours per week. Basic Excel skills is needed for data analysis. Prior laboratory experience is preferred, but not required. Students who can continue after this spring semester are preferred.

Contact: Please send your CV/resume and a brief discussion of your interest to Wenda Tian (tianw@mit.edu)


2/3/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Economics
Faculty Supervisors: Prof. Parag Pathak & Prof. David Autor

Project Title: Effects of the end of rent control in Cambridge on gentrification

Project Description: Professor David Autor and Parag Pathak seek UROPs for project studying the effects of the end of rent control in Cambridge on gentrification. The project builds on earlier work studying house price appreciation across neighborhoods in Cambridge following rent decontrol, which was recently published in the Journal of Political Economy. UROP will gain familiarity with empirical economic research using frontier econometric methods. Attention to detail and a minimum of 10 hours of a week are required. Please include a transcript and cover letter as part of your application.

Contact: Professor Pathak, ppathak@mit.edu


2/3/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: CMS/W Design Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Federico Casalegno

Project Title: synthetic biology interaction design and prototype

Project Description: We want to extend the interaction space around smart objects by sensing the world around us beyond sensor electronics. Can we utilize passive interaction that occurs in the exciting field of Synthetic Biology and Chemistry to inform this thought? How do we design and prototype interactive objects with this new paradigm in mind?

Our goal is to come up with new ways to design with bio-inspired sensors and actuators that can be used to prevent accidents in the industrial setting. If you are excited about biology, synthetic biology, chemistry and sensing the world; this would be a great opportunity.

UROP tasks:
The student will work on literature and scientific papers search, will collect and classify existing projects and technologies. In the second phase, The student should be confident building conceptual and physical prototypes.

Hours per week: 15-20 hours/week, for pay or credit. We’re looking for someone to start as early as the week of Monday, February 9. This is an ongoing project, if the student’s interest aligns with the project, there is a possibility to continue on the project in the following semester.

Contact: Guillermo (gbernal@mit.edu) and include a short statement of why you are interested in the project, the skills that you bring, samples of relevant work (portfolio of projects related to the above topics), and an up-to-date resume.


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