The Latest Good News Out Of Massachusetts

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Despite daily reports on the pandemic, ongoing protests, and politics, there has also been plenty of positive news stories that flew under the radar this week.

Here is your latest weekend edition of WBZ NewsRadio's Good News for Massachusetts.

MIT Designed A Robot To Clean Boston's Food Bank

At the end of June, MIT announced that a team from the university's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory had joined forces with Ava Robotics to develop a robot that can clean the Greater Boston Food Bank facility in about half an hour.

The team said it designed the new robotic system to "powerfully disinfect surfaces and neutralize aerosolized forms of the coronavirus."

The robot doesn’t require any human supervision. Instead, the team subbed in a UV-C light array for disinfecting surfaces. Specifically, MIT said the array uses "short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms and disrupt their DNA in a process called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation."

According to MIT news, the results were encouraging enough for researchers to say the approach could be useful for autonomous UV disinfection in other environments, such as factories, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Boston Typewriter Orchestra Released A New Song In Isolation

Members of the alternative-instrumental group, which use only typewriter noises to create their songs, said it has been difficult for them to make music during lockdown.

After a few months of quarantine, the members of the BTO said they finally got together virtually to record a new song and bring a little light into the world.

The Boston-based musical group said they opted "to crank out a version of “Unprisoning Your Think R.H.I.N.O.” from our forthcoming album Workstation to Workstation."

Researchers Developed A Reusable Silicon Face Mask

According to MIT, researchers have teamed up with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to design a new silicon face mask that could stop viral particles just as effectively as N95 masks.

Since the pandemic began, hospitals started sterilizing N95 masks with hydrogen peroxide vapor, which can be used up to 20 times on a single mask. However, MIT said that process requires "specialized equipment that is not available everywhere, and even with this process, one mask can be worn for only a single day."

In response to the issue of mask-cleaning, the MIT/BWH team set out to design a mask that could be safely sterilized and reused many times.

With their newly-designed silicone rubber mask, there is space to pop in and out two N95 filters. Those filters are designed to be replaced after every use, while the rest of the mask can be sterilized and reused.

A Sanitation Worker Got Accepted To Harvard Law School

It may sound like the plot from a Matt Damon movie, but a man who was recently taking out trash for a living is now set to study law at Harvard in the Fall.

Rehan Staton said he worked in sanitation as a teen, and he continued in the field while studying for his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland.

"After high school I got rejected by every college I applied to, so i opted to work in the sanitation field to help my pops out," said Staton. "A chance to go to college came and my brother chose to drop out so I could go. Years later... I got accepted to Harvard Law School."

Boston Police And Communities Connected Over Lunch

On Thursday July 9, Boston police officers assigned to the BPD Bureau of Community Engagement held both outdoor and virtual meetings with 65 young participants from several community-based programs.

The meetings were held in partnership with the City of Boston’s Success Link Youth and Young Adult Summer Jobs initiative.

Even with social distancing and appropriate safety protocols in place, BPD said "everyone was able to have a great time on the Seaport while conducting team building exercises, participating in scavenger hunts and sharing stories over lunch."

Boston Residents Enjoyed Drive-In Movies

This City of Boston organized a free Drive-In Movie Series for the month of July, which features family-friendly movies for residents to enjoy while maintaining a safe social distance.

The first screenings took place on Wednesday, July 8th behind the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Hundreds of residents parked their vehicles, and as the sun started to set, they watched the movies "Moana" and "Yesterday" back-to-back.

There will be drive-in movies available each Wednesday throughout July in Boston. Find the full line-up here.

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