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About MIT: Inventions & innovations

For more than 150 years, the Institute has married teaching with engineering and scientific studies—and produced an unending stream of world-changing advancements. These innovations translate the novel discoveries of basic research to products and infrastructure used by ordinary people in everyday life.

For MIT’s 150th anniversary, the Boston Globe published a ranked list of 150 inventions and discoveries associated with MIT, including everything from the World Wide Web to Technicolor.

Here are a few of the accomplishments from the past decade:

  • 2013—Developing a new steelmaking process that produces no emissions other than pure oxygen
  • 2014—Designing a new paper strip diagnostic test to rapidly diagnose Ebola viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola
  • 2015—Designing the bandage of the future: a gel-like material that can incorporate tiny drug-delivering channels that release medicine in response to changes in skin temperature and light up if medicine is running low
  • 2016—Recording the first direct detection of gravitational waves reaching the Earth (in collaboration with Caltech and others around the world), confirming Albert Einstein’s prediction from 100 years ago
  • 2017—Adapting a CRISPR protein that targets RNA rather than DNA, for use as a rapid, inexpensive, highly sensitive diagnostic tool with the potential to transform research and global public health
  • 2018—Developing the first-ever plane that relies on a powerful flow of ions instead of moving parts to generate thrust and propel the plane over a sustained, steady flight, thus eliminating the need for fossil fuels
  • 2019—Designing an affordable, easy-to-use handheld sensor that can indicate the presence of bacterial contaminants in food in seconds
  • 2019—Capturing the first direct image of a black hole as part of an international team of over 200 scientists
  • 2021—Ramping up a high-temperature superconducting electromagnet to a field strength of 20 tesla, the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on Earth
  • 2021—Reliably producing oxygen on Mars with the MIT-led Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE)

Entrepreneurship at MIT

MIT’s mission demands that we apply the knowledge we produce. One way this happens is through entrepreneurship: translating new discoveries into products, infrastructures, and even entire industries.

MIT Innovation HQ (iHQ) is a hub for MIT’s innovators and entrepreneurs and encourages the cross-pollination of ideas among students, faculty, staff, and the Greater Boston innovation community.

Undergraduate research

MIT undergraduates are active participants in the research enterprise and entrepreneurial environment of MIT.

One of the earliest programs of its kind in the United States, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) supports thousands of projects each year, with 94% of MIT students participating in at least one UROP during their undergraduate years.

Undergraduate entrepreneurship

At MIT, we’re committed to nurturing students curiosity and providing them with the resources to help them get started on entrepreneurial projects of their own. Any MIT student can request between $1,000 and $25,000 from the Sandbox Innovation Fund Program to explore taking a project from idea to impact. The program helps jump-start student ideas while providing support and dedicated mentoring from within MIT. The Trust Center also provides a wealth of entrepreneurial mentorship, incubation, and honest-broker advice to all students.