August 25, 2007

DME Day 4

Wow, quite the day for me today, full of disappointment, triumph, and running around with rubber balls. Let's start from the beginning.

The day started with me going to the lab and trying out my robot. I plugged him into my control box, plugged in the batteries, and then pushed the button to make him go forward. Nothing happened. I pushed another button. Nothing happened. I pushed two more buttons. Nothing happened. I knelt down to examine my robot, perhaps the connection was loose. That's when I felt the wires leading to my robot and realized that they were scalding to the touch. For those of you who aren't aware, crazy hot wires are a sign that something really really bad is happening. I frantically tried to get the batteries out of the robot but they were stuck so I had to pry them out with a screw driver. I eventually got them out and assessed the damage. I looked at my control box, noting that it too was quite warm. I saw little whisps of smoke creeping out through a seam so I opened it up, only to be blasted in the face by a giant acrid cloud of smoke.

I broke it, in other words.

Something in my box, due to all of my wonderful soldering skills, had shorted and melted all of the plastic on all of the wires. I took a nice little picture to demonstrate how bad this was.

Go ahead and click the picture to see a zoomed up version of how bad it really was. I decided to take a break from the control box after that little fiasco and decided to work on the hat for my robot. After a couple of hours my robot looked like a respectable dragon lizard green thing!

I was quite proud! It's one of the few artistic things I've done that's turned out the way I wanted it to!

After roboting for a while we went on a lab tour of Design Continuum in some city outside of Boston. When we first walked in, what did we see?

$100 laptop

I swear, this thing is everywhere! If you go to MIT and don't see the $100 laptop then you did something wrong. The lab is a product design company, they take an idea and a prototype and do all the research and product development to make it into a finished and markatable item. They're responsible for the Rebok "Pump" shoe and the Swiffer.

In the model room they had a bunch of tupperware containers containing parts and tools to be used. Two confused me though.

Go figure.

Continuing on through the model room we happened upon a poster that, believe it or not, had pictures of the


When we finished our tours we were presented with a nice going-away present: Bright Orange Bags!

Go ahead and add that to the list of things I've gotten for free! Oh, and that reminds me, this school is amazingly well funded. We took a trip to a lab 20 minutes from campus, right? Well, guess what we rode to get there. Not a school bus, not the T, not taxis, we had a charter bus. That's right, they spent money for a charter bus for our 20 minute ride there and back. That's how rich this school is. We all had dinner the other night, the total was $511, MIT picked up the tab. I shudder to think how much all the robot supplies cost, plus the two times we've gotten free ice cream, and then the "Shear Madness" tickets ($20 each, 40 people, that's $800 folks). It's nice never having to worry about resources, limitations, or budgets, MIT rocks!

After the lab we went back to our lab (after dinner of course) to do some more robots. This is when I loaned my camera to somebody so they could take pictures for the DME website/video. I present to you, in Photobucket Album form, the candids that I didn't take from the Papalardo lab at MIT, DME 2007:

Click For Candids!

After all of this we headed straight to the athletic center, known as the Z-Center, to play some dodgeball. Have I mentioned that I love dodgeball?! I spent an hour and a half playing before heading back to my dorm to relax and go to bed. That was 2 hours ago and somehow I'm still not in bed. I think it's nearly time though, so without much more typing, I'd like to say goodnight, and wish me luck at my robot competition tomorrow, it should be great!


Hawkins '12 said...

Good luck!

Star said...

Sounds like you're having a great time, despite the melting wire incident. Good luck in the competition, and have fun!

Anonymous said...

just so you know, the budget for DME is 20k

the amp pins alone cost 50 cents each

and you guys overspent by a lot on that $500+ dinner. the limit was supposed to be 15/person

Anonymous said...