M.I.T.'s Media Lab is a melting pot of engineers, artists, and scientists looking for ways to integrate technology into our everyday lives. The lab has produced the tech behind myriad high-tech gadgest, programming languages for children, and even laid the groundwork for popular video games and Lego robots.

Researchers from MIT will present a paper on a breakthrough in a dynamic new approach to useful robotics. Here with a preview of the material they call “Smart-Sand” is Daniela Rus - a professor at MIT and a member of the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory there, also known as C-SAIL, along with her PHD student Kyle Gilpin.

How has technology changed the ways that we interact with one another? Sherry Turkle's Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other is the third in a trilogy exploring this question. Social networking, e-mail and texting, Turkle says, provide the façade of socialization but ultimately leave their users dissatisfied and disconnected. It may be time to reflect and reconsider the role we really want technology to play in our lives.